Name: Donna Lane
Occupation: Stay At Home Mom/Current Vice-Chairperson – Board of Education
Political party: Republican
Running for: Board of Education
Why are you running?
I am running to continue the work we have started on the Board of Education. Over the past four years, the Board of Education has made great strides in improving the quality of Education in Monroe while keeping the annual budget increases low or at zero.
The Board of Education has implemented Full Day Kindergarten and established a nationally recognized STEM Academy. I want to continue improving the STEM model at the High School. I also want to fully implement the Common Core Standards.
What are the three biggest issues facing Monroe?
The three biggest issues facing Monroe are taxes, economic development and population shifts in the coming decade. Taxes and Economic Development go hand and hand. We need to continue to smartly develop Monroe to shift the tax burden from residential to commercial. Monroe faces many infrastructure needs: roads, town buildings and equipment.
The Honeywell Business Solution Project addressed many capital needs in our school buildings and provides guaranteed energy savings.
Another area we need to carefully look at is population shift. Monroe Public Schools have been faced with declining enrollment over the past few years. The district recognizing this has established an Ad Hoc committee to study each school building in town and working on the future needs of the school district.
We also need to predict the effect future housing sales will have on enrollment.
What can the Board of Education do to keep the town in the right direction?
The Board of Education has been working very hard over the past four years to be transparent to the citizens of Monroe regarding educating our students and the budgeting process.
We have established a policy to set parameters for funding our Medical Reserve. The Board has been successful during contract negotiations to keep increases reasonable, moved all employees to a High Deductible Insurance Plan thus reducing our insurance costs and sunset retirement benefits significantly reducing the Town’s Pension liability.
The Board started the process with engaging Honeywell Business Solutions to provide Monroe Public Schools energy savings.
As a member of the Board of Education, I will continue to fulfill my fiduciary responsibilities in allocating taxpayer resources.
What skills and attributes make you a good fit for the Board of Education?
Having served the past four years on the Board of Education, it has educated me on the process of making decisions for the betterment of the District. Previous to serving on the Board of Education, I served on the Board of Finance. I have a background in Accounting and hold a BBA in Accounting from Iona College. Prior to leaving the workforce to stay home to raise my three daughters, I worked as a Controller in Stamford, Connecticut. I have an extensive background in budgeting and capital planning.
What do you think of the new Common Core Standards school districts are adopting?
Common Core is the new standard that the State of Connecticut along with 48 other States adopted as the new teaching standards. This is exciting that almost all of the States will be following one set of standards regardless where you are located and will allow Monroe to measure itself against other towns across the country.
The current system allows individual states to set their own teaching standards. Our Administration has done a sensational job working to implement these standards. That being said, I have been reading many articles and stories from various sources with criticism of the new standards especially in the area of Mathematics.
Like with all new implementations, not everything thing is going to work perfectly. There are bugs that need to be worked out and just because something looks good on paper doesn’t mean when put into practice is going to work.
I believe that is where we along with other districts find ourselves with Common Core. This is the first year that the standards are being fully implemented in all the school districts across the country. I am sure best practices will be shared and if necessary teaching strategies will be adjusted. We are in a learning process with both the teachers and the students.