Board of Education Candidate Lopez: I believe that our schools belong to the entire community.

Letter to the editor submitted by Anthony Lopez, Oct. 29, 2015:

This campaign has made it crystal clear to me that giving a voice to every constituency in our school system is of the utmost importance. There has been much talk about the role of the board as it pertains to setting policy and hiring the superintendent. However, we must not lose sight of the entire group of people whose needs the board must consider. Parents happen to be one of the most important among this group. Like our students, teachers, staff members, and taxpayers, parents need a consistent voice at the board of education table.

We all agree that students are our most important constituency. Their needs must always take precedence. Nevertheless, parents are the primary advocates for students. We have to encourage our parents to participate in their local PTA’s and to be active in the PTA Council. However, neither of these are policy making bodies. This is why the voice of parents must be present at the policy making level. While keeping the needs of our students first, I will always give a voice to all GPS parents.

Some may believe that running to represent people is an elementary understanding of how the board works. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that it is the only way that the board of education works. It is the only way that any board, elected or appointed, works. I want our board of education to work for all of Greenwich. Providing the best educational outcomes for students can happen in conjunction with providing the best outcomes for all of Greenwich. To some that may be a bit too optimistic. But, I just believe that our schools belong to the entire community, and that the entire community should be heard.

Throughout this campaign, students and parents continue to tell me that they want to be heard. They tell me that they don’t know their board members and feel left out of the conversation.

Taxpayers are concerned that their money is spent in the smartest, most effective and efficient ways. Teachers and staff want to be partners with the board of education in more than just words.

Every one of these groups deserves a person who is going to consider every policy decision with them in mind. They deserve board members who are accessible to them, always present, and always ready to listen. I am running in this election to be that person. I humbly ask that on November 3rd, you elect me to represent all of our students and parents, and to bring your voice to the conversation.