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Mount Alum Appointed to Local Office

7/9/2019

Joseph Britton ’18 Appointed to Fill Vacancy on the Danbury Board of Education

As a senior, Joseph Britton ’18 ran for office to be councilman at-large in his hometown of Danbury, Connecticut. Nearly two years after graduating from the Mount as a sociology major with a concentration in criminology and justice, with minors in business and political science, he is still involved in Danbury politics.

Joe became a member of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee in March 2018; he was selected to be a delegate at the 2018 Connecticut Democratic Convention in May 2018; and shortly after, he served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the 2018 re-election campaign for Connecticut State Representative David Arconti. In his latest political endeavor, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Danbury Board of Education for a term that expires this December, becoming the youngest member of the Board.

“The process for the appointment was both an exciting time and an anxious time,” Joe said. “Once l learned about the vacancy and decided I wanted to throw my hat in the ring, I had to submit a letter of interest to the Danbury Democratic Town Committee seeking the party’s endorsement. I made calls and spoke to town committee members, explaining why I was the best choice to fill the vacancy.”

The Committee voted, and by a large majority, endorsed Joe as the candidate to fill the vacancy. Once he received the Party’s endorsement, he submitted his formal letter to the Board of Education seeking consideration to be appointed to fill the vacancy. Joe and another individual submitted letters and interviewed with its members. After the Board’s deliberation and vote, Joe was confirmed and sworn into office.

“In Danbury, our school district is one of the largest in the state—if not the largest—because we continue to grow every year,” Joe said. “But it is also one of the most underfunded districts in the state. In fact, Danbury’s per pupil spending is dead last in the state of Connecticut at 169 out of 169.”

This year, Danbury’s Board of Education approved a $7.7 million dollar budget increase but the Mayor’s budget only approved a $2.2 million dollar increase in the funds the City allocated for education.

“Year after year, our school district doesn’t get the support it needs from City Hall and I want to build the relationship between our City Council and Board of Education,” Joe said.

He believes the reason why the Council never approves the Board of Education’s budget is because they don’t understand the scale of issues going on in the school system and how crucial the funding is.

“Our schools are bursting at the seams with the enrollment growth and the disintegrating classroom space,” Joe said. “There needs to be a more hands-on approach when it comes to finding solutions for our district’s problems and sometimes you need to just throw the playbook out and get creative.”

Joe is joining Danbury’s Board of Education in the middle of budget season, so he’s planning to make the most of his appointment and contribute as much as he can right away.

“This time of year, there is always a lot of back and forth between the public and the City Council, and I want to make sure the Board’s message is being relayed correctly,” Joe said. “I also want to streamline the communication of the Board to the public and increase the participation of the teachers, students, and parents of the district. I feel it’s important the Board reflects the views, values, and ideas of the public because after all, this is a public office and the Board works for the people of Danbury.”

While Joe’s current term ends in December, he is spending his summer focusing on his reelection campaign. “I think if I am honored enough to be elected to a full term, I will be able to get a lot done for the students and teachers of Danbury over the next four years.”

Having recently experienced the Danbury Public School system himself and equipped with a Mount education, which teaches students to engage in service to not only pursue knowledge, but to prepare themselves to meet the challenges facing our communities, Joe wants to address his school district’s problems head-on. “I am in this for the long haul and I want to dedicate all I can to a district that gave me so much when I was a student in the Danbury Public School system years ago.”

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.