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Is The School Board A Closed Shop?

(The following letter to the Newtown Board of Education has been received for publication.)

Last week I sent the following email to each member of the Board of Education. Not one of the seven members has acknowledged it or responded. Hopefully some of them read The Newtown Bee so I am submitting my concerns in this venue.

To Members of the Board of Education:

Your decision to fill a vacancy on the school board without reaching out to the public for interested and qualified volunteers was a mistake.

Merely requesting names from the RTC was not enough, especially when only one name was submitted by that organization and that person is a former board member.

I am troubled that you are creating the impression that the school board is a “closed shop” and only “insiders” will be invited to serve. My disappointment with the board's actions is not because I intended to apply and was denied the opportunity. As some of you know, I have submitted my name several times in the past and was not successful in securing an appointment. But in each of those instances, I was one of many applicants and always considered the process fair. My concern is that your failure to advertise and reach out to the community in other ways this time to bring more candidates forward, will leave an unsavory impression with the public.

I am confident that Kathy [Hamilton} will do an outstanding job as a returning member to the BOE, but the public must believe that every effort was made to be fair and inclusive. Unfortunately, your actions in this matter do exactly the opposite. I highly recommend that the board issue a public statement explaining your actions in this vacancy appointment. The BOE must preserve its credibility with the public it serves in order to be effective.

George Caracciolo

Schoolhouse Hill Road, Newtown        July 16, 2013

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