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Enthusiastic Support

Published: October 25, 2017

To the Editor:

I write to enthusiastically support Michelle Embree Ku’s candidacy to continue her outstanding service on Newtown’s Board of Education. Michelle has served as the board’s vice chairperson and on several subcommittees. Her own education achievements include a BS in animal science from Cornell University and a PhD in pathobiology from Brown University. She worked as an adjunct professor for Brown University and as a researcher from Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, and several pharmaceutical companies prior to her service on Newtown’s Board of Education.

I was very impressed with Michelle’s command of the issues when I had the chance to know her better and talk with her at some length about the future of our schools in Newtown. It is clear to me that she applies the same rigor used in her research work to the volunteer served she offers as a school board member. She comes to the issues with an eager mind to digest the facts, weight the costs and benefits of taking proposed actions, and demands information that is accurate, sufficient, and that considers long-term effects that may come with proposed short-term solutions.

Truly, there is no one I would rather have on the Board of Education at this time of change in the way public schools will be funded in Connecticut. The governor’s Executive Order is the necessary reaction to a court ruling that seems to me to be very much like that of California’s Serrano-Priest decision, which addressed the extreme inequality of funds available to students in the state due to the wealth (or poverty) of the student’s community. In California, this resulted in a centralized system of collecting taxpayer funds (state income tax,), and distributing the money in a way that assured a shared baseline of funding for poorer (and all) areas of the state.

However Connecticut decides to resolve the issue of assuring a base of adequate funding for all students in this state, there will be the need for our town officials, including especially Board of Education leaders, to work closely with our legislative representatives, as well as the people of Newtown to help shape the best solution overall for this state. I will vote with great confidence in Michelle Embree Ku, knowing that she will be a wise, well-informed, and strong voice in that discussion.

I ask you to join me in supporting Michelle Ku — an advocate for education who knows that excellent schools enrich the entire community, even as they nourish our children who are the future of our democracy and our civil society.

Linda Weidenhamer
94 Suzie Drive, Newtown         October 21, 2017

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