Yesterday was the first of a two part series reviewing current office holders of the Coventry Town Council and some things to consider if you were choosing candidates to run in the election this November. Today the focus is on the current members of the Board of Education.
Two thirds of the total Coventry Town Budget goes to the Board of Education and their responsibility extends to every facet of the educational program they have been elected to lead. This means they have the responsibility for policy, curriculum, maintenance and contract negotiations, just to name a few specific areas.
This has been an interesting two year term for the Board of Education with many meetings that frankly looked more like a circus of the absurd than a Board of Education. Far too often the majority on this Board have abdicated their responsibility to the administration and performed more as a rubber stamp committee approving actions after the fact.
To be clear as stated yesterday the opinions expressed here are based on personal observation and comments from others. There has been no discussion with either political party or their Nomination Committee. It is not known which candidates they are considering or even if the current office holders are intending to run for re-election. The opinions expressed here are not to be construed as a promotion for or an endorsement of any candidate and are merely offered for discussion purposes.
Current Board of Education Members
Cheryl Trudon, Chairman – Ms. Trudon is a multiple term member that should have the experience required for her position. She is however, the only Chairman that has been observed raising her hand to recognize herself to speak. It appears to be she is in over her head when it comes to acting as the Chairman. Ms. Trudon as a member of the Board has been willing to abdicate her responsibilities as a Board member in favor of just letting administrators take control and endorse the action after the fact. This was the case when classrooms were leased without the knowledge of the BOE and the rent money was allocated and spent without prior approval an action she did not oppose.
Jennifer Beausoleil, Vice-Chairman – A first term member of the Board Ms. Beausoleil has shown support for increased staff, new programs and has been a reliable supporter of the school administration. Unfortunately Ms. Beausoleil has been somewhat condescending in her attitude to other Board members during discussions of issues. A respect for a difference of opinion and point of view can foster a better solution for issues than the acrimony created by Ms. Beausoleil.
Mary Ann Emanuele, Secretary – Ms. Emanuele is one of two members on the Board that could be called unpredictable on many issues. She has been a voice of independent thought and reason. Her comments on many issues reflect the fact she has prepared for the meeting with some in-depth study of an issue.
John Barrett, Member – Mr. Barrett has had the biggest impact of any individual on the Board frequently raising or delving into issues. His passion for the position and the responsibility it holds is reflected when he often quotes State law or Board policy in an attempt to have the majority take on a more active roll in the responsibilities of leadership as members of the Board.
Mary Kortmann, Member – Ms. Kortmann is the other somewhat unpredictable member of the Board on many issues. Although Ms. Kortmann often sides with Ms. Beausoleil and Ms. Trudon on issues of policy she has shown an independent and responsible thought process concerning financial issues. Her input has been worthwhile.
Mark Malcolm, Member – Mr. Malcolm has been a calm consistent voice of reason and independence on the Board. His financial background has proven to be a true asset particularly in the budget process. He often looks at an issue from a variety of perspectives and offers unique insights with his comments and contribution to the Board have proven to be valuable.
Gene Marchand, Member – Mr. Marchand was only recently appointed to the Board and did not contributed much to the budget process but that may be due to inexperience. He has not yet demonstrated independence or in-depth understanding on issues.
The Board of Education meetings have too often been an inharmonious group of people intolerant of the differences of opinion and contributions of other members. For the good of the community this must change. Coventry desperately needs leadership on the Board of Education willing to take the responsibilities granted to them under the state statues seriously. Our elected leaders should and must take a more active role in the decisions impacting our schools. They must provide guidance, direction and leadership to the Superintendent of Schools.
Are these the people you want to lead our schools for the next two years? Should the nominating committees from the two political parties endorse the same people or should they look for new leadership?
Now is the time to express how you feel before they endorse their candidates for the next election. Comments maybe made by clicking on the link “Leave a comment” in the box below.
Silence and apathy erode the power of a democracy; let your voice be heard.