Hartford: Democrats, Working Families Split Four Open Seats On School Board
November 03, 2009
HARTFORD - The Democratic and Working Families parties prevailed Tuesday in the election to fill four open seats on the board of education.
In an unofficial results, Democrat Lori Hudson led the way, followed closely by Working Parties candidate Elizabeth Brad Noel. Working Families candidate Robert Cotto and Democrat Luis Rodriguez-Davila also won seats.
In a light turnout of about 7 percent of registered voters, a crowded field of 13 candidates vied, including Working Families candidate Sharon Patterson-Stallings, an incumbent, who finished fifth; Democrat Albert J. Barrueco; Republicans Michael J. Fryar, Nyesha McCauley and Richard Barton; Parents Choice candidates Lillian Milly Arciniegas, Mary R. Storey and Cherylann Perry; and petitioning candidate Ines Duke Pegeas.
Noel, who was not re-endorsed by the Democratic town committee, and Rodriguez-Davila are incumbents.
Democratic town committee chairman Sean Arena commended Hudson for running an intense door-to door campaign that included many family members. He also credited the Working Families Party for running an organized, union-financed campaign.
"Hartford's been a one-party city for a long time," Arena said.
The winners, who will serve four year terms, join five school board members appointed by Mayor Eddie A. Perez, including the mayor, who named himself to the board. Their four year terms expire December 2011.
"There are still five [Democratic] members appointed. That doesn't change the direction of the board at all," Arena said.
Elected or appointed, the school board will have no shortage of critical issues to deal with in the next four years as the district continues its reform efforts.
Student achievement has been on the rise, including two consecutive years of improvement on the Connecticut Mastery Test and slow but steady increases in the high school graduation rate.
But the district remains among the lowest achieving in the state and the high school graduation rate stands at 42 percent, with Superintendent of Schools Steven J. Adamowski hopeful of reaching the 50 percent mark in two years.
Adamowski's strained relationship with Hartford's teachers and custodial unions also continues to deteriorate and the district is facing more layoffs to offset flat funding from the state.
Cotto, a teacher in Bloomfield, said Tuesday that he planned to focus on holding Adamowski accountable in his dealings with unions and supporting teachers working in the classroom.
Because Patterson-Stallings finished within 25 votes of the fourth highest vote getter, the registrar's office will conduct a recount of her and Rodriguez-Davila's vote total.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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