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Kathy Castelli

Contact info: kcast1234@comcast.net

Office sought: Board of Education

What is your dream for Wallingford?

First and foremost, I want Wallingford to be renowned for having the best educational system in the state of Connecticut and rated in the top ten throughout the nation. Here is why:

  • Wallingford would be the beneficiary of graduates who will be our future leaders in this town, this state and the country.
  • Folks will desire to move to Wallingford which will increase our tax base and increase our real estate value!
  • More taxpayers means lessening the burden on the current tax base and potentially allowing more dollars to be spent enhancing our school district.
  • Businesses will want to move to Wallingford knowing it is a thriving community.
  • And most important of all, is to graduate our students with a diploma which will ensure every one of them success in whatever path they choose to take.

Additionally, I want Wallingford to enter the 21st century with online access for taxpayers to multiple services currently requiring a trip to town hall during business hours of 8:00 AM-5:00PM - the same hours many folks are working and unable to make a trip to town hall! Researching or checking land records during the evening, getting a dog license, even simply leaving voice messages for Town Hall employees after hours. These are some of the services other towns offer their taxpayers and their businesses. Wallingford should be doing the same and will be doing the same under new leadership. Direct Deposit for all town employees should be in place. This simple change will reduce payroll costs and the inconvenience to employees who have to use their break time to take their checks to the bank.

How do we get there?

For schools, the district needs to continue its visionary approach ensuring we are ahead of the curve for future curriculum and social/emotional aspects of education, both for our students and our teachers and staff. We (Board of Education members) do this by asking challenging questions of proposals brought forth to the board regarding curriculum, policies, and structural needs. We need to invest in our physical structures ensuring they service all curriculum – not just curriculum that can be handled at a desk. Examples include Robotics (now held in the hallways), and Morning News using Green Screen technology (now held in very tight quarters).

To address the services our town should offer we need to invest in technology to remove the barriers regarding access to Town Hall after hours. All public records should be digitized (as other towns have done) to eliminate the need to physically travel to Town Hall for this information.

We need to implement Direct Deposit for all unions who have already agreed to bi-weekly pay periods - a prerequisite imposed by the Mayor before he will allow direct deposit, and then only once ALL unions have agreed to bi-weekly pay.

Relevant experience

  • My 14 years serving on this board gives me the advantage of being effective from day one of the new term.
  • I have background knowledge of how we have approached new initiatives and what worked well, the challenges we faced, what could have been done better or maybe not at all.
  • I know the history of why things are the way they are, or know who to go to for answers.
  • This knowledge will serve me, and the Board well as we decide future endeavors academically, socially, emotionally, and structurally.
  • I have an excellent rapport with many administrators and departments.

  • As I have done for the past 14 years, I will sit on many subcommittees to get the work done

  • Subcommittee involvement allows me to better understand the direction we wish to take this school district and why, as well as the many constraints placed upon the district from town, state and federal statutes.

  • My experience in union negotiations and my belief in balancing the need to grow and keep talented teachers and staff, with the impact to taxpayers has assisted in successful negotiations of all 9 BOE unions and has avoided arbitration costs.

  • I will always ensure every decision I make is in the best interest of our students

Issues

Schools

We need to continue investigating the best approach for our aging buildings and whether we should maintain two high schools or combine into one. More analysis is needed before any decision can be reached.

Community Pool

While I don't personally use the pool, I fully support the renovation and expansion plans outlined and then put on hold due to the pandemic. This community amenity is a wonderful service to many of our residents and is an asset to the town and its future families.

Wireless in Town Hall

Having WiFi at Town Hall would negate the need for some board members to rely on paper copies of multiple documents that are literally tossed in the trash after each meeting. This small investment would pay for itself with the reduction in paper and ink costs alone.




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