STAMFORD, Conn. - Improving the reputation of Stamford’s schools would be a top priority if he were elected, Democratic mayoral candidate David Martin told a local women’s group Wednesday.
Fresh off his primary victory last week, Martin told about 45 members of Women on Watch (WOW) and guests at the Harry Bennett Branch Library that he would fight to obtain funding from the state and federal government to help Stamford’s schools.
Additionally, he said he would regularly attend Board of Education meetings now that the mayor’s position has a seat with the group.
“To my knowledge, the current mayor has not attended a single meeting,” said Martin. “This school system has issues that we’re dealing with, but it also has done a lot of good things. It’s time that someone at the highest levels of government in this city become a champion of this school system.”
Martin, currently a Board of Finance member, is running against Republican Michael Fedele, the state’s former lieutenant governor under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Additionally, Jerry Pia and John Zito will be on the ballot.
Martin lost to current Mayor Michael Pavia in 2009, and he served on the Stamford Board of Representatives for 26 years, eight as its president. WOW has endorsed Martin for mayor, saying none of the other candidates has his experience in Stamford government.
On the Board of Finance, Martin has challenged the Board of Education to establish tangible benchmarks so he and other officials can see improvements and to bring its annual budget increase requests under the rate of inflation.
“I told the board that if they did that, I would support their budget,” said Martin. “And I did.”
The city is grappling with overcrowding in its elementary schools, according to a new report commissioned by the Board of Education, and Martin plans to meet with School Superintendent Winifred Hamilton this week to discuss options.
“I suspect we may need to build another school, though I hope it doesn’t come to that,” said Martin. “But if that’s the case, we will get the money for a new school, whether from the state, the federal government or bonds.”