Wilton Board of Education candidate: Mandi Schmauch
Mandi Schmauch is a doer, but when asked why she is running for Board of Education, she cited an epiphany she had while a member of the Miller-Driscoll School Building Committee.
The architect for the project announced at a meeting that the windows for the school would be slightly off the size that had been ordered, and then said it would not be an issue. Schmauch disagreed.
As she recalled the meeting in a talk with The Bulletin, the Republican candidate said, “I raised my hand and said if this was my house I would not be OK with that.” She pressed for the committee and project manager to hold “whoever messed up accountable.” It was a multi-million-dollar project, after all.
“As a result, we got a credit,” enough to install a second playground as part of the school renovation.
“We got a second playground out of this for the community,” she said. “It felt good to hold them accountable.”
Schmauch believes the biggest issue facing the board is communication. “I want to increase communication for the community,” she said.
One idea she had for how to approach this, is to recruit a high school student to create an app to enable people to download information on what the board is doing, rather than having to hunt through the district website.
“To me, communication is number one. I don’t have all the answers,” she said. “The goal is to be a conduit to the community so we can all have information.”
She also suggested that the board’s subcommittee meetings, which are not publicized or available on video, need greater transparency and communication.
“No one has time to go to a website and find what they are looking for, and by that time the decisions have already been made,” she said.
“I see what’s going on with SAT scores, the ELA scores have dropped, they’ve changed the math program dramatically, river study was taken away. I want a seat at the table to understand why,” she said.
Schmauch, who has two children in Wilton schools, said she would also like to broaden learning opportunities.
“I think every student should have an opportunity to grow in our schools. We don’t have a gifted and talented program. We got rid of high-level math. Maybe we should bring coding to school and make it optional. We could have more individualized learning that can help every child,” she said.
As far as the budget is concerned, she said spending is “of the utmost concern to me as a parent and a taxpayer.” She said she is looking forward to working with the Board of Finance.
“It goes back to communication for me,” she said, “to get people more involved to make decisions on more than just voting.”
Asked if there was anything else she wanted to add, she said, “I’m just excited and thrilled to be considered and I take this very seriously. I can’t wait to work with the community.”