Longtime 119th State Representative Richard Roy is not going to see another term, leaving an open seat to represent Milford and Orange up in Hartford.
, currently the majority leader on the Milford Board of Education, is also the Democratic candidate running for that 119th District State Representative position.
Milford Patch recently spoke with Maroney. Since part of Orange is now included in this district thanks to redistricting, Patch is sharing this interview for voters in Orange who may live in the district.
Milford Patch: What kind of work have you done on the Board of Education? What's the process been like?
James Maroney: A lot of it is really policy. On this board, Tracy Casey has done a great job of helping us to look long-term and instituting policy reviews for a lot of policies that needed to be updated.
Also, with the budget. That was really the first thing we did. You're just elected and you're thrown in to vote on this $88 million budget. The first thing I did was I toured all of the fourteen schools. Because if I'm going to vote on that much money, I want to know where the money's going and where it's needed.
As I tell people, if I'm going to spend $20 my wife wants me to have three different reviews on it to make sure I'm getting the best thing and I'm going to treat the money like it's my own money and going on and looking and seeing where it's being spent.
Patch: Does the Board of Education have a lot of wiggle room with the budget? Last year, with what happened in Wisconsin, it seems like there's been some struggle recently in America with Unions. Does the Board of Ed have a lot of room with what they can spend? Or do Union contracts require, 'This is how much you're going to spend, regardless'?
Maroney: The largest portion of the budget is human capital. It is salaries. We're very lucky in Milford. We are in good shape. In Norwalk, they had a large cut. I think they were looking to lay off almost fifty teacher. Fiscally, we're in good shape. The administration has done a great job of managing the budget. There is leeway at the end of the year. You have to kind of wait until then after you see how things are going during the year.
You budget for it, but then you want to make sure there aren't any unusual expenses, like last year, the October snow storm then the rest of the year was mild, there was a lot more money spent clearing snow. You budget but you're not sure what's going to happen.
Patch: Do schools have to pay for that? When they clear out the snow and everything?
Maroney: I think that some of it's the school, some of it's the city. But it is paid for, either way.
Patch: The one thing I've found really interesting going to Board of Education meetings is that I think Milford is doing a lot with the coaching programs at the schools and also the increase in AP classes. You just look at the CAPT scores from 2011 to 2012, it went up almost everywhere.
I was wondering, what's that process been like for you as far as trying to come up with new programs while avoiding spending too much money?
Maroney: As a Board of Education member, we can't take too much credit for that. That's the administration, that's the teachers doing a great job in there. They are coming up with a lot of creative programs. In the summer, they did an AP success academy.
We want to get more students involved in the AP because the studies have shown that a student that takes at least one AP class in high school has a much greater percentage chance of graduating college. And so, we want to get them ready for that rigor in high school.
Our goal is that we're investing in the future of Milford and Orange. And we want to give students the best chance to succeed. I think there has been a shift from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of remedial, going more to the coaching model.
That's in the Math and they're going with the Literacy coaching model to ensure that every student gets the best education and we keep every student up to date. We'll see, long-term, how that's working, but it is more of a national trend.
Tomorrow Orange Patch will spotlight an interview with 119th District State Representative Republican Nominee .