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Gene Marchand

Running for Board of Education

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 68

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Coventry

Current Job: Retired administrator for the State Dept of Children and Families

Previous Job: Director of East Hartford Youth Services

Previous Job: School Social Worker Windsor High Schoolindsor High School

Education: B.A. , Providence College; Masters in Social Work, Syracuse University

Why are you running for this office?
I have worked with children and youth for my entire career. I believe that educating our children is a critical responsibility for our town, our state and our country. As a long time children's advocate and professional in the field, I believe I can help and support the Coventry School system in providing cost effective and meaningful education for our children in a changing world.
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)?
I think one of the biggest problems for small towns where the majority of the budget goes to fund education is to get parents involved and knowledgeable about school funding. Receiving a quality education is absolutely critical for a child's future. Parents and residents that ultimately care about their property values need to support quality and cost effective education. I will continue to advocate locally in our town at PTO meetings, sporting events and other school activities for our school system. I will also support the superintendent of schools in all efforts to make the school budget transparent and understandable.
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?
Small towns especially depend on state funding to support education. The State Dept of Education sets standards that all school systems must follow and subsequently needs to provide financial support so that all children receive an "equal" and quality education that is not solely dependent upon the wealth of the town they live in. I will continue to encourage and support our school administration in applying for all grant funding that might relieve the burden on local tax payers.
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?
I don't think small towns like Coventry have the commercial interests or infrastructure to raise the significant funding needed to support a school system. Some cities or towns might have this ability but that would not lend itself to a system of quality and consistent education for all students across the state.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
I think we should regionalize schools, especially high schools, wherever and whenever possible. I think we can regionalize special services (i.e. Special education and services for gifted students) to cut costs as well. Sports and other extra curricular activies should also be examined to see if significant savings could be realized in these valuable learning activities.
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
It would depend on how much the enrollment is dropping. At some point a school system with a "significantly" declining enrollment should absolutely look to reduce costs by consolidating services. I think the State Dept. of Education could develop a formula to initiate such an examination and discussion that could lead to reduced state support.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I don't think most people know how committed I am to helping children and youth receive the quality education needed for them to be successful in life. I have spent my entire 43 year professional career working with children and youth. The most important thing we can do for our children as they transition to adulthood is provide them with a safe and nurturing environment as we educate them for the challenges they will face in their future.