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Murphy Sewall

Running for Board of Education

1 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 75

Marital Status: married

Current Residence: Windham

Current Job: retired

Previous Job: college professor

Previous Job:

Education: PhD in Business Admin

Why are you running for this office?
I want to support our community by doing what I can to provide the best education possible for all of Windham's children.
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)?
Windham Public Schools is one of the town's largest employers. Improving student learning is critical to the community's progress. I intend to continue to work toward improving the curriculum, supporting the teaching staff, and renovating the too long neglected school buildings.
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?
Windham is an economically depressed community with a seriously underfunded school system. Much has been accomplished in recent years by improving the management and delivery of the school curriculum, but substantial support from the State continues to be essential for Windham's Public School. The State itself should cease wasting enormous sums on 200 school districts and 169 towns and regionalize both into governance for the 21st century rather than the 18th.
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?
Regionalization to reduce enormous redundant administrative expense makes more sense than seeking alternative ways to raise tax revenues.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
Absolutely. In Windham's case consolidation with Chaplin, Hampton, Scotland, Franklin, and Columbia (at least) would do wonders. Connecticut's municipal governance currently is defined by how far one can ride a horse in half a day. It's time to give that up. County government for both municipalities and school systems is the most sensible long-term solution.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
The appropriate amount of school funding must be based on more than simple body count. The numbers of special education students, English language learners, and children from deprived economic backgrounds makes a great deal of difference.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I was raised in the middle of the country (born in Arkansas) where the approach to state and local government is quite different--and apparently less expensive per capita--than Connecticut.