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Kate Howard-Bender

Running for Board of Education

4 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 42

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Tolland

Current Job: Assistant Principal

Previous Job: High School English Teacher

Previous Job:

Education: BA, English from Siena College; MS in Reading & English Language Arts from CCSU; 6th Year in Education Leadership from UConn

Why are you running for this office?
While I do not have any previous political experience, I have recently become far more engaged and concerned with local and national politics. My twenty years in the field of education and my unwavering dedication to ensuring a free and appropriate education for all children, will prove valuable in the role of Board of Education member. I am thorough in my approach to any issue, and I research all that I do not fully understand. As a professional educator, I do not shy away from hard work.
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)?
The two most pressing issues right now in Tolland are the state budget crisis and its impact on the municipalities (specifically, the Educational Cost Sharing), and the crumbling foundations. It seems that we do not have enough of a commercial tax base to depend upon to subsidize our educational and municipal needs. The conservative fiscal approach of the Town Manager has yielded a substantial General Fund-Fund Balance, but that is not the answer. We have to be more innovative in terms of seeking out alternative revenues as we cannot simply continue to tax the residents to “make up the difference.” I certainly applaud and would embrace Dr. Willett’s Lighthouse Programs. It is this type of innovative thinking that will help to ease the “burden” on tax payers. Based on my experience technology in Tolland Schools is lagging behind other districts, and this is something that I would be interested in investigating. Finally, based on anecdotal evidence, and the general climate within the United States, I believe it is imperative that we promote equity in our schools, across socioeconomic, gender, and racial divides. I would be interested in broadening my understanding of the Tolland schools with regard to attitudes toward minority groups, particularly at the middle and high school levels, with the end goal of celebrating diversity and promoting tolerance.
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 could explore other revenue-raising ideas, but I am hesitant to offer a specific idea as parents are currently under a great deal of financial obligations with regard to education.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
I think it is worthy of consideration, given the fact that the state's tax-based funding structure is proving to be untenable. As the majority of my experience is in education, I will frame my response in terms of regionalizing education. I imagine that a lot of people would be nervous about working with other towns, but with the substantial cadre of intelligent and long-term thinkers and leaders in Tolland, I think that Tolland can pave the road for successful and cost-effective regionalization.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
Funding should be student-based, and should take into account the individual students' educational needs. Special education and 504 services should not be an afterthought, or a "we'll reimburse you later" prospect.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
After many years of staying under the radar working as an urban educator, based on the recent turbulent political climate, I have felt a moral imperative to become involved with local politics.
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?
I believe we need to revisit the TVA initiatives from a few years back. I don't believe that this would "solve" the issue, but broadening the tax base would certainly ease the potential tax burden on the residents.