STAMFORD, Conn. — The five candidates for Stamford’s Board of Education believe the city’s growing student population will force the schools to take action to maintain class sizes.
A new school on the city’s West Side may have to be the answer, incumbent Republican Jerry Pia said. He said he has spoken with members of the community centers and they expressed a need and a desire for a school.
“The city is going to need to find a way to bond it and find a way to build it,” Pia said during Wednesday’s candidate forum at the Yerwood Center.
Challenger Dolores Burgess, a Democrat, said she opposes redistricting but would get many people involved in the decision-making process before doing anything. The city would need to find the most cost-effective solution to the increase in students, she said.
“We can’t just jump to redistricting,” incumbent Republican Lorraine Olson said, not wanting to worry parents. The school board realizes it is a problem and says there is time to look at trends, projections and strategies before determining the best action for Stamford.
Board President Polly Rauh disagreed with Olson, saying the student population is a serious issue now. A permanent, long-term solution was needed, and the “Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid” approaches had to stop, said Rauh, a Democrat.
Republican Challenger Jon Hoch said he wants to get input from parents and community members before making a decision. If a new school is what is best, then the board should invest in building one, he said. Hoch also said he would favor redistricting because something needs to be done.
The five candidates are vying for three open spots on the board. Election Day is Nov. 6.
Wednesday’s forum was the second held by the Parent-Teacher Council. The first took place Oct. 15 at the Stamford Government Center.