And more local politics
The Hamilton Avenue School construction project continues to fall apart, with every day bringing a new announcement of further delays and more money required for completion. Meanwhile, school test scores drop, the students are being ill-served and no one will take responsibility.
The First Selectman and his branch of our local government pretty much get a pass on this because, under our town’s charter, the School Board is a separate fiefdom. It owns and pretends to maintain our schools, initiates and oversees disasters like the Hamilton Ave. project and selects all our school administrators and teachers. To suggest that the Board has completely failed to execute any of its responsibilities is to understate the problem badly. And for that failure, we can look to the two governing political parties running Greenwich.
Under the charter they created, Democrats and Republicans control the School Board by holding the exclusive power to nominate candidates. They could, if they wished, each nominate four candidates and give the town’s voters a choice – a limited choice because, again under the system they set up, each party is guaranteed two seats on the four-person board. But they won’t. Two candidates from each party are “nominated” – appointed would be a more accurate term – and on Election Day, you’re free to pull the lever for those four or not – it makes no difference in to the result.
The same machinations are used to fill the BET but, usually, the BET runs efficiently and competently and there’s not much of an outcry for change. The School Board is clearly an institution in serious need of reform; we could start by demanding that the Democrats and Republicans give us a choice of who serves; then we should perhaps consider why it is we’ve allowed these two parties to run our town.