NORWICH – The public was formally introduced to four candidates running for two vacancies on the Norwich School Board last night, May 9, at a 'Meet and Greet' event in the Norwich High School auditorium.
Candidates Don Chirlin, Roz DeRensis, Brian Reid, and incumbent TJ Grady each took part in the panel where they delivered opening statements before fielding prepared questions that served to give the public insight on what each candidate might bring to the board should they be elected.
Though of varying backgrounds and levels of experience, the consensus among the candidates was that a successful board member will listen to their constituents as well as contrive ways to get more people in the community involved and aware in the happenings in Norwich City School District.
Chirlin was the evening's first speaker introducing himself as a former teacher for 24 years, as well as a former Norwich School Board member. He was the first candidate to respond to the opening question: “How will you be fiscally responsible?"
“I put a great deal of trust and faith in the person who is putting the budget together,” said Chirlin, who cited his past attendance at each month's Board of Education meeting as his means to assure transparency in the budget process.
“So how would I deal with fiscal responsibility? I don't really deal with it, except for the fact that I hold those accountable who do deal with it – that's my job,” said Chirlin.
DeRensis was next to respond to the question, prefacing her answer by providing background details regarding her history as a grant writer.
“Budget, budget, budget – always refer back to the budget,” said DeRensis, adding that a proper vision is necessary in the process of crafting the budget, and subsequently should be followed accordingly.
She went on to reiterate one of Chirlin's points, which was that only two community members attended the district's budget hearing on Monday, May 8.