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Mark Gundersen

Running for Board of Education

6 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status:


Age: 55

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Manchester

Current Job: Consultant to Crossroads Community Cathedral

Previous Job: Director Data Sales Group, Valassis Inc.

Previous Job:

Education: BS Computer Science

Why are you running for this office?
I’ve lived in Manchester for 32 years and guided my 3 children through our public schools. Two of my eight grandchildren are now in Manchester’s Public School system and I’m very concerned. The concerns stem from discussions with my grandchildren and from frustrated and upset residents. Our test scores remain well below State average. The State of CT declares Manchester one of the “30 lowest-performing districts” (WWW.CT.GOV/SDE/AlLIANCEDISTRICTS ). For years we’ve remained at this level. It doesn't need to be this way.
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)?
My grandson wore headphones to high school one day and I asked, “Shouldn’t you leave those in the car?” “No Grampa, many teachers let us use headphones and cell phones, even when they are teaching,” he replied. Manchester High School Policy 5131.81 doesn’t prohibit use during classroom time. Is it any wonder our scores are so low? And then there's the poorly conceived approved idea to install at the Waddell school a $20,000 INDOOR slide while they eliminated the snack budget for children that can’t afford snacks. These problems and others discovered are fixable with policy changes and proper Board oversight. I care deeply about our School system and the use of funds. If elected to majority I will be able to fix these problems.
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?
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?
Adding additional taxes to ease property taxes merely shifts the burden to other people and solves nothing. In fact it will exacerbate the problem. Nothing changes the root problem (too much spending) and now there's one more tax that could be increased as spending increases The problem is rooted in the inability of our legislatures to not live within our means. We've seen what raising taxes does, they just spend more money and now we are billions of dollars in debt. A change of leadership is needed. Vote Republican so we have the opportunity to do the right things.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
No, and in all honesty what town would want to regionalize with a town that's one of the poorest performing in the state. We need to learn how to solve our problems through proper governance.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
Who doesn't want to keep money provided by the State. Yet, if our enrollment is dropping it isn't fair to growing communities for us to receive an unfair share of those funds since our enrollment is dropping. Yes, funding should be tied to enrollment figures. Sounds like an incentive for us to improve our school system and get it back on track.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I'm very passionate about Education. For over 20 years I've taught children at the church I attend, Crossroads Community Cathedral. I'm looking forward to bringing my extensive business experience , over 30 years) to bear to help resolve the problems within Manchester's education system.