Education

Supporting Stamford schools has been and will continue to be one of my top priorities and, as mayor, I will continue working tirelessly to ensure that all of our students have access to a quality education. As a State Representative, I’ve worked with my fellow Stamford delegation members to secure funding for a wide range of education initiatives, including $65 million in funding for the new Strawberry Hill School and increases in ECS funding. As mayor, I will work closely with Superintendent Lucero, the Board of Education, School Administrators, parents, teachers, and students to enact policies that help all of our students receive the best education possible. This includes the following priorities: 

  • Helping our schools recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19 and supporting students and teachers with additional resources to make up for the time that was lost in the classroom.

  • Ridding our schools of mold that is not only a serious health hazard but simply does not do our students justice; they are our future and they deserve better. 

  • Expanding affordable child care options that guarantee universal early childhood education for all Stamford students. 

  • Working with state and federal partners to secure substantial funding to support Stamford public schools’ infrastructure. 

  • Providing additional mental health resources for our students, and expanding social and emotional learning curriculum across all of our schools.

  • Expanding after school and summer learning opportunities for all students.

 

Rebuild Our School Buildings

Watch Caroline's speech detailing her plan for rebuilding our school buildings.

Our school buildings have been neglected for many years, but if we had taken up the challenge eight years ago the schools would be fixed today. As Mayor, I will take responsibility for our education facilities and finally rebuild our schools.

 

This will be a huge undertaking and as Mayor I will immediately take the following actions:

  • First, I will tell the Board of Education to immediately provide a schedule of the schools they believe must be combined, relocated, or replaced, and which must be worked on first at what cost. Our Board of Education and Department of Engineering should have most of the answers already from years of studies. With a specific plan in hand to show the public we can have honest public discussions about whether we are prepared to take on this fiscal challenge.

  • Second, I will encourage and insist the Board of Education to present creative ideas that improve the quality of education in our district.We should have new schools with their own personalities, specializing in things like the arts, or Hispanic language and cultures. Our district should have schools that are experimental enough to attract federal and state support far greater than the usual formulas. Additionally, it is important that our schools are community based. Parents want sons and daughters to feel at home in schools. For too long, there are children who feel at home in schools far away from their residence. My Administration will encourage the BOE to emphasize similarities and not differences in students.

  • Third, I will invite the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and other key state officials to visit Stamford’s schools. I know if we present an original plan, the state will be more likely to support our potential to be the best schools in Connecticut. As Mayor, I will be adamant about advocating for more assistance through state bonding dollars for school construction. Strawberry Hill is an example of what we can achieve.

 

As we approach this school plan, here are some specifics we should consider:

 

  • Our schools must have better air quality. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that clean air is essential to our health. If we do nothing else, we must rebuild our schools to assure adequate ventilation and air conditioning in all classrooms.

  • Revisit the Westhill Proposal. The City and Board of Education have offered a proposal to build a four-story Westhill High School on a small part of its current campus. This approach is intended to avoid dislocating student during the years of constructions, but I believe we can consider alternatives, such as finding an entirely new site and moving all students and faculty once the work is done.

  • Listening to all our communities, let’s consider out-of-the-box ideas. I know Stamford has many creative and talented leaders who want to help our community. As Mayor, I will encourage our city to embrace new ideas. Let’s embrace specializations for our schools. Let’s consider Viking and Black Knight talent and program budgets to create the kind of teams that once made Stamford feared. Let us unleash the creativity of our community for big ideas.

  • Our schools must finally remove all portable classrooms. When I was pregnant with my first child, I toured a portable at Newfield Elementary and was told not to enter the classroom because there was too much mold. If portables were too dangerous for me and my family, they’re too dangerous for our students and faculty. We should adjust school populations to put every child in a real classroom. Let’s make portables a thing of the past and take them to the dump.

 

School reconstruction will be a huge undertaking. It will require a leader who can listen to our teachers, parents, students, and school administrators to make sure we have a plan supported by the people who are in these buildings every day. It will require a leader who can speak honestly about the financing needed to be done. No one wants to pay more taxes, even for things we know we have to do, but today I believe there is an opportunity to act without overly relying on local property taxes.

 

With President Biden’s infrastructure package — and various COVID-19 recovery bills — Stamford is projected to get as much as $48 million in relief aid and our schools will be getting $55 million in direct federal aid. For infrastructure assistance, Connecticut is expected to receive up to $1.3 billion for infrastructure projects. This is a once-in-a-lifetime infusion of federal money and Stamford’s Board of Finance has said this money is best suited for one-time projects such as rebuilding schools.

 

There is no greater issue for our next mayor then successfully steering as much funding as possible into capital projects that address our biggest needs. As the only candidate in this race with state and federal experience, I am the most qualified to take advantage of the funding coming our way and finally rebuild our schools.

new magnet ribbon cutting 1st grade clas