Democratic Region 19 Board of Education candidate James Mark said he is passionate about maintaining the quality of education offered by E.O. Smith High School.
Mark has been on the Region 19 Board of Education, which is the governing body of E.O. Smith, for eight years. He has been chairman for six of those years and is currently running for his third four-year term.
Mark said the board has accomplished several things during his tenure, but those accomplishments are “a function of the Board as a whole, not of the particular accomplishment of any one person.”
“Among the accomplishments of the Board during this time was the ability to attract tuition students from the town of Columbia, which has served both to enrich the student body of the high school and also to provide over $2,000,000 in additional revenues for the region, resulting in tax savings to the three member towns,” Mark said.
Mark continued that, the board has been able to submit budgets which have contained minimal increases despite various contractual obligations. He said for a period of four years, the board was able to submit net zero budgets to the member towns.
If re-elected in the upcoming term, Mark hopes to address what he sees as the two main issues facing the school: the budget and the building improvements he says the school needs. This includes replacement of the roof and existing boilers.
“In these economic times, (the budget) continues to be a major problem. The goal has also been, and continues to be, to be able to submit budgets which are reasonable and fair to the taxpayers, and yet will allow the school to maintain the programs and services which have made it an attractive and highly regarded institution,” Mark said.
Mark said the Board’s Building Committee is currently studying the improvements.
Mark said there is a third issue that all tows are facing- the effects of declining enrollments.
“However, so far, we have been able to maintain our total enrollment numbers at levels needed to maintain the major programs and services offered by the school,” Mark said.
The Region 19 Board of Education is comprised of twelve members, four from each of the member towns of Ashford, Mansfield and Willington.
It is separate from and independent of the legislative bodies of each of the member towns.
- Running for re-election on the Region 19 Board of Education, where he has been a member for eight years and Chairman for six of those years
- Believes the two main issues facing the school are its budget and the building improvements it needs
- Also concerned with the effects of declining enrollment on the school
Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.