The Republican slate for board of directors includes two Main Street business owners who also are longtime local volunteers.
Newcomers Clare Miller-Burti and Danita Collins Sulick join incumbent directors Cheri Eckbreth, Matthew Galligan, Tim Devanney and Jennifer Nye on the fall ticket. The six GOP candidates will run against six Democrats, and the nine highest vote-getters will be elected.
Miller-Burti, who could not be reached for comment, heads Anne Miller Real Estate, the business her mother founded in 1984. Sulick, an owner of Mulberry Street Pizza, said she is running to encourage more businesses downtown, particularly retail.
“Downtown has become a lot more lively over the past eight years, but we could do more,” Sulick said.
For the board of education’s 2017-20 term, the GOP’s candidates are incumbent Ranon Caldwell, who filled a vacancy last year when Mary-Jane Pazda resigned, and newcomer Peter Meggers, an attorney with Hartford-based Halloran & Sage.
Meggers noted that statewide, Manchester students’ academic performance has lingered near the bottom, “and it’s time that people are held accountable and the scoring starts to improve.”
“Being born and raised in Manchester, I’ve watched the school system flounder for too long,” Meggers said. “Manchester has the resources and people to make the improvements that are necessary for the children to leave town and go on to secondary education on the same level playing field as (students) in surrounding towns.”
For the 2018-21 school board term, incumbent Susan Jacobsen and newcomer Mark Gundersen are running. Gundersen said he is currently working as a volunteer at his church. He said he has a background in computer systems design and engineering and looks forward to lending his technical expertise to the board.
Also, Gundersen said, his three adult children went through the public school system and two of his eight grandchildren are current Manchester students. He also noted that the district’s academic scores have been relatively low.
“I want to be able to serve and improve the situation,” Gundersen said. “I think the school system works hard with the resources they have, but there’s always room for improvement.”