By MADELINE CLARK and AMANDA BROOKS
Colchester School Board members Craig Kieny and Curt Taylor will seek re-election on Town Meeting Day in March, they told the Colchester Sun.
Two spots are also up for re-election on the selectboard side. The three-year position, currently held by vice-chairman Tom Mulcahy, and Jacki Murphy’s two-year seat will be up for grabs.
Both Mulcahy and Murphy declined to confirm whether they’re running or not, preferring to wait to speak publicly until after election petitions are due on Monday, Jan. 28.
Kieny, a six-year Colchester School Board member, wants to ensure continuity during upcoming teacher contract negotiations, he said.
Kieny was first drawn to the board by his desire to decrease taxes.
“At the time costs were going up, and I wasn’t really sure why,” he said. “I figured I’d get on the board and try to help.”
Kieny soon learned how difficult managing the district’s budget proved since local trustees have little control over many budget items and the education tax rate: “Where we can cut is limited because of the state laws,” he said.
But Kieny was also pleasantly surprised to find Colchester was more efficient with its per pupil spending and achieved greater results than many schools around the state. During his time on the board, he’s been proud of the transparency the trustees have created. He hopes to continue this work in another two-year term.
As for Taylor, another term would help him continue to shape local learning.
“I’m still and have always been committed to education,” he said. “It’s one of the keys to a lot of the problems we have in society. The more educated people are, the more likely they are to make smart health decisions, the more likely they are to be employed.”
Taylor said he hopes to help continue work like installing solar panels on district property and increasing opportunities for skills-based learning: “We’re trying to get away from the idea that every student needs to go to college and run up tremendous debts,” he said.
As for accomplishments during his tenure, Taylor was proud of the board’s decision to hire superintendent Amy Minor. He’s also enjoyed working with his fellow trustees.
“I really like the school board members that we have right now. I think they do a great job, and they work hard,” he said. “We have been able to, in the past, deliver fairly fiscally responsible budgets and still maintain a quality education.”
Colchester residents who are interested in running for public office must gather signatures of at least 30 registered voters. Completed petitions are due at the town clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28.