Editor's Note: The following press release was submitted by the campaign for Marc Patten.
Marc Patten, current District 7 Representative of Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM), has announced his candidacy for the Fairfield Board of Education for one of the four seats up for election on November 5.
Patten, a professional writer and local retail business owner, has been an active community volunteer and public service advocate in Fairfield for the last ten years. In addition to his seat on the RTM, he has served on the PTA Executive Board at North Stratfield School since 2008 in various roles including Vice President of Ways and Means and VP, NSS PTA Board of Education Liaison, attending dozens of BOE meetings over the years.
“One Town. That’s what Fairfield needs to get back to and that's the theme of my campaign,” said Patten when he announced his candidacy this week. “Community is about helping one another. It’s about working together and making compromises and sacrifices for the overall, long-term good.”
Patten is a big-picture kind of thinker. He has a strong track record of working collaboratively with people of differing opinions from all walks of life to achieve common goals. In 2005 he made a casual inquiry to the BOE regarding the creation of a much needed Before and After Care program his children’s North Stratfield elementary school, and was told that this fell under the purview of a school’s PTA. He spent the next year working with a dedicated team of parents to create an exemplary program that now assists over 70 working parents with childcare.
As Vice Chair of the Senior and Disabled Tax Relief Subcommittee on the RTM, Patten worked with members of both parties to bring about a major overhaul of the town’s Tax Relief program, which has helped over 1700 seniors and disabled citizens in need to remain in Fairfield this year.
He wants to see a Board of Education that isn’t adversarial—one that involves teachers, parents and the administration working together to provide students with a complete, well-rounded educational experience that best prepares them for their next stages of life. He believes that this can all be achieved by listening to one another to reach consensus and make rational, fiscally responsible decisions that put the needs of students first.
“The days of teaching to the test have to go, so we can let teachers teach. Every year, a teacher gets a completely new group of students who will have entirely different abilities. It’s up to the teachers to take the curriculum and fine-tune it for their students each year to keep them engaged. Board of Education members need to support this notion.”
Patten believes that as a BOE member, approving new policies—from the upcoming changes in the English curriculum for grade 6-12 to future Capital Improvement school building projects—isn’t something that should be taken lightly. “You have to do your homework and understand what’s in front of you,” he said. “Asking questions of the administration and Superintendent, and talking to parents, teachers and students are all part of the job.”
He vows to find new ways to keep the BOE budget lean without sacrificing programs that will affect the town’s still-growing student population. On the RTM, he has consistently supported fiscal responsibility, lowering debt levels, and finding savings where the town and the BOE can work together to eliminate redundancies—without sacrificing services or programs. “Our tax dollars may be limited, he says, “but our desire to achieve excellence is limitless.”