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Partisanship On The Board Of Education Must Stop



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To the Editor:

It’s a shame to see that Washington partisanship has arrived in Newtown, especially on the Board of Education. Our elected officials on the Board of Education should be razor focused on our children, not some national political issue.

Each elected official represents the residents of Newtown and should be making their decision based on the facts, the schools policies, and what’s best for the children, not what their political parties are telling them to do. With recent BOE votes: all of one party’s members for and all the other party’s members against each motion, it’s impossible to call this anything but Partisan Politics.

I’m not minimizing the issues, but I expect each elected official to make their own decision, and that does not appear to be happening. Half of the registered voters in Newtown are Independent or unaffiliated voters. Who is representing those voters. It appears no one.

Let’s dial down the Party Politics and serve the interest of the children.

Bruce Walczak


Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. netwownnutmegger says:

    Bruce, not a single member of the BOE (including GOP members, who I sense you are focused on here) initiated the action to have these books reviewed. It was a parent in town. So to insinuate that a political party (GOP) was guiding the hand of the BOE just isn’t based in facts. I would counter that such an assertion is indicative of someone who is being hyper-partisan themselves.

    Not to be overlooked, not a single member of the BOE, from either party, motioned to have the books removed. In fact, it was the GOP members who made motions seeking compromise to address the concerns of parents both in favor and against the books (i.e., keep the books but allow parents to opt-out of having them checked out by their children). That sure doesn’t sound like national partisanship to me.

    1. teacher_citizen says:

      Maybe you aren’t aware that FOIA request unearthed the names of the people who filed the challenges including the RTC chair and his wife, several other prominent republican town officials, and close friends of the BOE members who resigned. There were screenshots of the BOE members who resigned coordinating strategy with people who were supporting the challenge. Then, on the May 16 meeting, the 3 republican members of the BOE who were present all voted to reject the special committee’s recommendation to keep the books, which is a vote to remove (or ban) the books. If the 4th member was present and voted with the other 3, the books would be removed. This was literally a Newtown GOP action.

    2. basedinreality says:

      This is absolutely a coordinated national effort that started before the last local elections. Just google “local school boards” and you’ll see plenty of articles from a wide range of sources that address the issue of local school boards and the DEI/Masking/Book Challenge/Superintendent Firing moves that have been supported by so-called “conservative” members. Would you say that it’s a coincidence that soon after the Newtown BOE swung to a Republican majority, issues such as DEI and challenges on books became heated topics as the majority of the Newtown BOE (again, Republicans) start pushing back on what was historically just common-decency decisions? The two books in question (this time around) were either never taken out of the NHS library or taken out only once – years ago. Tell me that this isn’t a concerted effort, especially since it mirrors things happening on majority-Republican BOE’s in recent months. Our BOE had all the information needed to make this an easy decision (a thorough report from the subcommittee, majority support from the community), but the Republicans on the board dug their heels in much to the horror of their fellow residents. And this “compromise” is just going to turn into another mess. I’m guessing that the Republican majority (once the new members are elected) will get way into the weeds on this future “process” and it will turn into another circus or at the very least tax an inordinate amount of school staff time. What the Republican party didn’t plan on was the fact that a town like Newtown, know for its kindness, can also get pretty mad. So we’ll all be watching for the next saga in this Republican mess. BTW, I’m a democrat and I would ABSOLULTE be calling out my own party if they were acting this way. I mention “Republican” only because it IS a partisan issue – it is only the Republican’s on our BOE who are refusing to listen to the experts and their own town. It didn’t have to take this long to come to a partial solution.

      1. debz says:

        The vacancy process was changed in the last charter revision process. The updated Charter is available at: https://www.newtown-ct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3546/f/uploads/newtown_charter_2022_final_for_website.pdf.

        2-31 on pages 11 – 12 states:
        (c) Board of Education: If a vacancy occurs in the office of any member of the local Board of
        Education, then the successor shall be determined by:
        (1) A majority vote of the remaining members of the same political party of the former
        member provided said vote occurs within 45 days of vacancy;
        (2) A majority vote of the remaining members regardless of party affiliation after 45 days.
        (3) Should the vacancy still not be filled after 90 days, then the current Chair of the Board of
        Education shall appoint the successor
        (4) Should all seats on the Board of Education become simultaneously vacant, then a special
        election shall be called to fill all seats
        (5) Any successor(s) so appointed shall serve until the next regular town election for Board
        of Education positions, at which election a successor shall be elected for the unexpired
        portion of the term, the official ballot specifying the vacancy to be filled.

        There is also a restriction re: party, also on page 11:
        2-30(c) If a person vacating an elective Town Body shall have been elected as a member of a
        political party, the vacancy shall be filled by a member of the same political party.

        Deb Z

    3. tim06470 says:

      It’s true that many of the initial challengers to Flamer are Republican elected officials, and that the wording and timing of the challenges show that they were well coordinated.
      The “compromise” motions offered by the Republicans were not for an “opt-out” system. They were for an “opt-in” system which would have restricted access to the books for all students unless their parents specifically allowed access. This would be a de facto ban on the books and would again place the responsibility for implementation on the library staff.
      The committee, the superintendent, and dozens of educators, students, and parents all overwhelmingly determined that no restriction was necessary. There was simply no reason to “compromise” the 1st amendment to appease a few extremists and the politicians who were willing to pander to them.

      1. nb.john.voket says:

        This comment was edited by the moderator.

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