Education board adopts political policy

During its May 11 meeting, the Wilton Board of Education approved a new policy and regulation regarding the board’s role in political matters.

The education board decided during a special meeting on March 17 to have its Communications, Alignment and Policy Committee draft a policy that addresses the superintendent’s advocacy, submitting of perspectives to the board prior to advocating in Hartford, and frames when and how the board may take a position of advocacy.

During the special meeting, Board of Education Chair Bruce Likly said the board occasionally gets requests to “get involved in political issues,” and board member Christine Finkelstein proposed the idea of coming up with guidelines to help "narrow down" when the board gets involved in political matters.

Policy 1440/1430, titled Activism on Federal and State Legislative and Regulatory Issues, states that the education board will “refrain from actively engaging in national and state legislative and regulatory debates unless an issue has imminent budgetary implications for the Wilton Public Schools, or could directly affect the operation of our schools.”

The regulation of the same title, states that education board members are “elected by the Wilton community to represent the town’s interests regarding the public school system,” and “since state and federal initiatives can directly affect school funding and policy decisions, the Board has a role in staying informed about applicable legislative and regulatory efforts and, when appropriate, to engage on behalf of the Wilton Public Schools.”

The regulation lays out guidelines to direct the board in its “legislative and regulatory participation.”

To “align with the state legislative schedule,” the regulation states, the board will “develop a list of legislative/regulatory priorities” at the start of each school year.

The regulation states that the list “should be developed in conjunction with Wilton’s elected state representatives,” and the board will “convene a special meeting to publicly discuss its priorities” and “determine a course of action for each initiative.”

In addition to the development of the list and monitoring “federal and state initiatives throughout the year,” the board will also “consider requests from members of the community for the board to engage on a particular issue.”

If a majority of board members believe board engagement is warranted on an issue, the regulation states, “the issue will be discussed at a subsequent meeting.”

Click here to view the policy and regulation.