by Terry Rogers
Milford School District has two openings on the Board of Education after Hunter Emory and Sharon Kirby both decided not to run for re-election. Last week, there were three candidates for the At-Large seat vacated by Mr. Emory. However, both Michael McKain and David Markowitz decided to withdraw their candidacy, leaving David Vezmar as the only candidate running. Although Mr. McKain’s name still appears as a filed candidate, he has informed MilfordLIVE that he will not be running. Despite the fact that this means there will not be a school board election in 2018, Mr. Vezmar provided answers to the following questions in order for parents and members of the community to get to know him, learn how he plans to serve students and the community as a member of the Board of Education and what he sees as the future of the District.
Q: What is your background?
I am a native Milfordian, born in Milford Memorial Hospital; I graduated from Milford High School in 1991. My wife, Heather, is a Special Education Self-Contained teacher at Banneker Elementary. We have three children, Morgan, Reed, and Kai. We also have a granddaughter, Charlie. I am a project manager for Dentsply Sirona (L.D. Caulk) here in Milford. I am also privileged to be a Board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milford, or as I like to say it, The Boys and Girls Club creating a greater Milford.
Q: What made you decide to run for school board?
Several years ago, there was talk that some of the schools were reducing the amount of recess the younger children were going to have in their day. Myself, along with other parents, met with the principals of Morris Early Childhood Center to discuss and found that the children were getting what we though was adequate time for physical activity throughout the day. From there, this group of parents worked hard to try to get a much needed, however failed, referendum to pass to build the school district a new high school. Being part of this group, which became known as Buccaneer Tomorrow, really got me to understand how the district worked, and what kind of challenges they have. A couple years ago, I was invited to join the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC.) I learned the challenges the District has trying to balance the needs of the kids in the district and doing what they can to also do right by the taxpayers. I knew that I wanted to get more involved, when the opportunity came up for me to join the Board, I knew that this was a logical next step to really try to make a difference; also, it will give me a chance to further serve the most important part of our community, the kids.
Q: What are you hoping to change as a member of the board?
We have a growing and thriving community, the district has been doing great creating local partnerships like the one with Abbotts Mill. I’d like to see more of our local businesses partner with the schools. We have a lot of great minds in Milford; doctors, entrepreneurs, small business and large global corporations. There are already some partnerships happening, but there can be more. Imagine what it would feel like for a high school student to sit in a leather chair in a beautiful board room at a local business. If they can see the opportunities they could have here at home, maybe they will consider remaining in Milford to raise their families.
I also believe that in the next few years we, as a community, will need to revisit the conversation around a new school. A referendum failed, but the need doesn’t go away. Our community is a growing community, we have a beautiful new hospital being built which will attract many people to Milford. More people means more students and we need to be sure we are preparing for this reality. It’s not fair for the kids to have increased class sizes and/or modular class rooms. If or when this conversation happens, we need to be sure that we make the decision first and foremost for the benefit of the children. Gregg Garn said it right when he said, “Invest in a future you might not benefit from.”
Also, I have only made one campaign promise; for years, in the MHS courtyard, there was a Buccaneer statue. I’m hearing that it is no longer being displayed. I’d like to find out the location of the statue and if it is in storage, is there a place for it to be displayed at any of the district properties. Preferably a secure location.
Q: What challenges do you see facing the school district in the next few years?
Finances for the District are always going to be a challenge; when a portion of funding comes from the State, changes in leadership and priorities at the State level can put the Districts in tough spots financially. This is an ongoing battle that needs to be constantly watched. Trying to balance limited funds while always keeping the needs of the kids first will always be challenging, but necessary.
Q: What are some of the positive aspects of MSD?
We have awesome teachers! Also, there is a lot of pride in our schools. When I go to school events I always see board members and administrators roaming the halls, greeting the kids and the parents. The people running the District truly have the needs of the kids as their first priority. You see a lot of Alumni walking the halls with their kids that we walked as kids, passing on stories that in some cases have been passed down for generations. It’s part of what makes Milford such a great community. Did I mention that we have awesome teachers?
Mr. Vezmar will be sworn in as a new member of the Milford School District Board of Education on July 9, 2018 during the Board’s Reorganization Meeting.
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