We may be in a moment of polarizing cultural conflict, but you don’t have to warn Sophie Koven about what she’s getting into by running for the Greenwich Board of Education. She’s a professional mediator. “I’m used to working with people who can’t agree,” she says, matter-of-factly. “You have to understand why people are feeling the way they do, and move away from emotions toward shared values.”
Koven is aware of an undercurrent of opinion in Greenwich that is either dismissive of the state of our public schools, or apparently seeking to upend them. “People should run for the school board to focus on education, not to grind an ideological ax.”
Then there’s the partisan tussle at the town’s finance board over funds to upgrade several schools, including Central Middle School (CMS), which was temporarily condemned, and Old Greenwich School, which is unsafe. “We know we need to get to a new building for CMS. We can have a pragmatic conversation focused on facts and numbers,” Koven explains. “It may be useful to build a school with some flexible space to house students while other school buildings are rebuilt. It’s important to think holistically about our entire infrastructure.”
Koven, a Riverside resident, has already spent eleven years as a Greenwich public school parent, shepherding her four children through the system, with nine more years to go before the last graduates. She’s seen how real estate values have been supported by the schools’ reputation, “but if they decline, people will move to towns like Westport.” To families who enroll their kids elsewhere, she points out that three-quarters of the children in town attend the public schools at some point. “It’s a mistake to have a balkanized approach to education in Greenwich.”
She suggests the meager, one-year contract extension for Superintendent Toni Jones was not a good sign. “We’ve had so much turnover of school superintendents. At private schools, the heads stay in the job for a long time, which helps them deeply understand the kids and their families.”
Reflecting on these events, Koven pauses. She is a lawyer as well as a mediator, so she chooses her words judiciously. “I want it to be constructive. People are tired of the politics of recent years. It’s exhausting and demoralizing. We can choose not to conduct ourselves that way.”
Choose someone who can bring people together and is vested in supporting public school education. Vote for Sophie Koven on Nov. 7, along with incumbent Karen Hirsch, in the Board of Education race.
Heading out of town this fall?
Thinking about running for the RTM?
You can have a positive impact on Greenwich by running for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). This November 7, every seat on this 230 member body will be up for election. All it takes to get on the ballot are a few dozen signatures. Learn more about serving here. When you’re ready to go, download the petition here and start gathering signatures.
Tax-free week just in time for back to school shopping!
Enjoy tax-free shopping from August 20 – 26 on purchases of clothes and shoes. Every item costing less than $100 is tax exempt. Kids grow fast and back to school shopping can get pricey. The state legislature adopted tax free shopping week to help families stretch their dollar a little further.
For your calendar
What could be better than a relaxing summer evening of wine and cheese, meeting up with old friends and making new ones at beautiful Greenwich Point? Join us at 5:30 (picnic area just past 2nd snack stand). Bring your beach chair!
Please RSVP so we can be sure to have enough refreshments.
Save the date! Join fellow Democrats, our municipal candidates and our local statewide elected officials for our Annual Campaign Kickoff Picnic. Sunday, September 10th, 12-3 pm at the Greenwich Botanical Center, 130 Bible Street in Cos Cob.
Click here for tickets. We look forward to seeing you…rain or shine!
Editorials that caught our eye
Jim Finn, former candidate for First Selectman, responds to comments made by Fred Camillo claiming he supported funding for the rebuild of Old Greenwich School. Finn writes, “Simply put, the First Selectman could have backed the Board of Education’s bipartisan proposal in March and in June. But he didn’t.”
Diane Kretschmann writes about her alarm over the Ron DeSantis invitation to Greenwich by prominent Republicans and Camillo’s praise of DeSantis for “doing very good things in Florida.” Kretschmann writes, “I was raised in a Republican household. I voted Republican on a national and local level upon turning 18. When I moved to Old Greenwich in 1991, I voted for local Republican candidates. Yet the current Republican leadership in town is unrecognizable to me and countless colleagues and friends … We may be voting for local leadership, but our choices will speak loudly about the American values that we in Greenwich support for our families and our future.”
|Volume 2, Number 4 • August 10, 2023|
|Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.|
|Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836|