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Sam Adlerstein

Running for Board of Education

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 56

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Tolland

Current Job: School Director of Finance and Operations

Previous Job: Business Process Improvement Consultant

Previous Job: Business Controller / CPA

Education: UCONN Accounting and MBA

Why are you running for this office?
These are by far the most difficult and challenging times I have seen in Tolland government in my decade of participation, and that tops many challenges! We have the State fiscal crisis, crumbling foundations and local school district challenges. It doesn't feel to me like the time to walk away. I feel most grateful to the other candidates who are stepping forward to be part of the solution. It's WE not ME, focused on our best future, Tolland Together.
What is the most pressing local issue facing your community and how would you solve it (within the capacity of the office for which you are running)?
Understanding together the future financial impact on Tolland from the State fiscal crisis. That's the pressing part of the long term issue. It's too easy to be driven by fears into extremes. Fortunately, Tolland has arrived here sooner than most. Many surrounding towns actually increased their 2017-18 budgets. Through our public assessment of the situation, we will bring together many perspectives. Towns who fail at this will only react shortsightedly and suffer self inflicted wounds. Several months ago, most agreed on how frugal we have been with our education system. Now, that perspective has changed. Even our State Representative this year called for cutting every group of four employees down to three. That is an extreme example of reacting without a plan. No one wants their taxes to go up, nor their schools to fall apart.
With the state's ongoing budget crisis looming over the election, what are your plans for your community's budget? Is there anything you can do make your town less dependent on revenue from the state?
Of course, and we need enough time. We are on track to reduce our school district by ~$1,000,000 in 2017-2018. That is an incredible strain on the system, but short term, it is what must be done.
The legislature has been debating various ideas to allow towns to raise revenue locally through something other than property taxes. If you could ease your residents' property tax burden by adding another method of taxation, is there anything you might consider for your town?
We won't solve our problems by raising tax and calling it something else. Nor by just passing the problem onto someone else. The State legislature is misguided in "solving" their problems on the backs of local communities. Until this crisis, the State rhetoric was, "end the overreliance on regressive local property tax to fund education." Now, in light of a long-term failure to pay bills (under both parties), the State's conventional wisdom has changed. Locally, we have worked hard to balance cost and quality. We look forward and work together. We achieve the support of seniors on fixed income and parents of preschoolers alike. I wish our methods were modeled at the State level.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
es, municipal government will not be business as usual. We already participate with other Eastern CT towns to reduce costs and need to build upon that. As a precursor, Tolland is making our school district as attractive as possible. We are re-positioning while at the same time reducing costs. One draw will be specific curriculum that would not otherwise be available to students in nearby communities. Couple that with a great location, high student results, inviting & strong community identity, great infrastructure and a relatively low cost per student.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
On the surface, of course not. And, there are far better questions to ask if we truly want to provide quality education within our means. What is spent per student? Where are the organizational efficiencies and how can they be scaled? What is our process for improvement? Residents want us to have a better future in mind rather than a chainsaw in hand. It is far too easy to be driven by fear.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
As a corporate process improvement expert (Six Sigma Blackbelt), I have been responsible for bringing millions of dollars to the bottom line, simultaneously improving service and reducing cost. It starts with a way of thinking.