As three parents who help lead the effort to solve the air quality crisis at Kings Highway Elementary School, we are disturbed that Republican first selectman candidate Jim Marpe publicly claims credit for helping resolve the problem.
In fact, Jim Marpe was not helpful. As the senior member of the Board of Education during the crisis, Jim was often dismissive of our concerns and the documented pattern of operational incompetence and poor maintenance that allowed toxic mold to contaminate the school. Jim had access to a 2002 study stating that there was no working ventilation in the school. Yet he did not address the problem until 2009, despite repeated reports to him and the Board of Education that teachers and children were sick in the school.
It was the Democratic candidate for first selectman, Helen Garten, who played the important role in making the school safe. Helen and her colleagues on the Board of Finance put politics aside and voted without hesitation to fund the ventilation system that was finally completed last year.
The fight to clean up Kings Highway was long and bruising. We remain grateful to the members of our town government -- Gordon Joseloff and Shelley Kassen, Jeffrey Mayer, Helen Garten and other members of finance board -- who acted with boldness, responsibility and compassion.
And it's hard to forget how others, like Jim Marpe, failed to safeguard our town's children and teachers.