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Jay Sarzen

Running for Board of Education

1 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status:


Age: 44

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: West Hartford

Current Job: Senior Analyst, Aite Group

Previous Job: Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Hartford

Previous Job: Senior Manager, Business Consulting, Mass Mutual

Education: BA - Trinity College, MBA - University of Notre Dame

Why are you running for this office?
I am running to ensure that West Hartford's educational system remains among the top districts in the State of Connecticut, if not the United States of America.
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 most pressing issue we are facing is our educational funding. Unfortunately, the BOE is not in a position to reverse the reckless policies foisted on localities by the Malloy Administration. All we can do is ensure that we are spending smartly by allocating our dwindling resources to the areas with the largest impact on the broadest segment of our student population as possible.
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?
Please see above. Simply put, we have to be smarter about how we deploy our education funds. While most taxpayers are happy to contribute, if the District is not going to get its ECS funding (or gets a severely reduced level of ECS funding), these taxpayers will not be willing to continue to shoulder the burden of closing any funding gap. People's wages simply are not rising enough to keep up with year-over-year property tax increases of 3% - 4%. We as a District have to assess the impact and scope of each of our programs and tailor accordingly to what the District can afford.
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?
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
West Hartford, as a school district, is already at scale and already receives most of the financial benefits from that scale. We would not realize many advantages, if any at all, on the educational front, by entering into a regional agreement with surrounding towns.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
Given that West Hartford has fallen below its targeted ECS funding for the better part of the last two decades, it would be tough to agree with this statement. If we had been receiving the targeted level over this timeframe, I would agree with this statement. As it stands, we have been receiving funding that would be more appropriate for a district with lower enrollment than ours. So as our enrollment continues to drop, I would say that leaving the funding in place would only bring us back in line where we should have been that last two decades or so.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead and am even a fan of the new iteration, Dead & Co. (have seen three shows and am contemplating at least two shows for their upcoming Fall tour). I am also an avid squash player and am working with other West Hartford parents to develop a public squash program to be embedded within our school district.