Qualifications Must Drive Selection of the BOE Chair

Newsletter Volume 1 • Number 23

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Help ensure qualifications drive selection of the Board of Education chair

The Board of Education (BOE) met on November 16 to vote on a new chair to replace outgoing leader Kathleen Stowe. The vote resulted in a tie, with the four Democratic members voting for Christina Downey, left, and the four Republicans for Joe Kelly. 

If the BOE is looking to pick the most qualified nominee, the choice couldn’t be clearer. Let’s ask them to choose based on merit and vote for Democrat Christina Downey. Email the BOE here or find individual board member contact information here

Should the BOE fail to break the tie by December 15, the decision will be made by the Greenwich Board of Selectmen, which consists of two Republicans and one Democrat. The last time that happened was in 2016, when the Board of Selectmen installed Peter Sherr as chair, and ushered in years of rancor under his divisive leadership.

Christina Downey is uniquely suited to be the next BOE chair. She has three children who all attended Greenwich Public Schools K-12, she served on the GHS PTA Board, as a Riverside PTA Co-President, as PTA Council Treasurer, has been on nearly every BOE committee since she was elected in 2019, including in leadership as Chair of the Policy Governance Committee and the Budget Committee. 

She is fully fluent in Greenwich Public School policies, procedures, and finances. Christina currently serves on two building committees experience that will be especially important as Greenwich undertakes the building of Central Middle School and other long-awaited projects. 

Christina was previously elected to town government on the RTM where she served on the Education Committee and she has been an AVID (college readiness program) mentor through the Greenwich Alliance for Education. Even Republican board member Cody Kittle acknowledged that Christina’s resume was a “tough act to follow” when he was asked to speak in support of Joe Kelly’s nomination during the November 16th BOE meeting.

Nevertheless, First Selectman Fred Camillo already said in a radio interview that if the decision comes before him, he will support his fellow Republicans and elect Joe Kelly. It would be unfortunate if the next chair of the Board of Education was selected because of his close friendship with the First Selectman, and a reminder that local elections have consequences.

You can help secure a solid Democratic Senate by phone-banking for Reverend Rafael Warnock’s re-election. Sign up for a shift here. All you need is a computer or smartphone. Training will be provided at the start of each shift. Please sign up today.

Relief for utility and transportation costs

Governor Ned Lamont announced measures to provide Connecticut families with relief from high electricity and fuel prices this season. The state legislature also met in a special session on Monday and voted to extend the suspension of the state gas tax, continue free public transportation through March 2023, and add funds to the state’s low-income fuel assistance program. Learn how you can benefit here

For your calendar

Zero Energy Ready building workshop, hosted by the Town Energy Management Advisory Committee. Learn about the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance. 

Case studies will show how these buildings can be built affordably, utilizing tried and true technologies, and provide improvements in indoor air quality. The substantial incentives that are available for such buildings will be discussed. 

These energy saving strategies can be applied not only to residential and commercial buildings, but also to Town and school buildings, both new builds and renovations. 

Monday, December 5 from 7:00-8:30pm. Town Hall, first floor, Room 105, 101 Field Point Road. Register here.

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