Steve Colarossi is bidding for his second term on Norwalk's Board of Education.
During the last four years, Colarossi says he is most proud of his work as chairperson of the board's policy committee. Colarossi points to a scandal involving two teachers engaging in improper contact with students.
"I wanted to find out why, when principals were making requests investigation requests to central office, nothing was being done," he says. "I had the sense there was a real breakdown in ways to safeguard our students -- particularly to identify child abuse and child neglect."
Colarossi says he undertook a re-evaluation of the district's abuse and neglect reporting policy. He says he results helped avoid "greater woes" the district may have had afterward.
Colarossi is also proud of the expansions he oversaw in the schools' bullying policies. In May, the board approved new policy rules that included adult-on-adult and adult-on-student bullying (in addition to the existing student-on-student policies).
"We had the support of students, teachers and the teachers' union on that," he says.
In 2009, Colarossi won running on the Republican party ballot. This year, he is running with one other Board of Education candidate -- Andres Roman -- on behalf of the newly-formed Norwalk Community Values party.
Colarossi says his decision to run on a different ballot stems from budget discussions in 2012. In short, he says he did not agree with suggested cuts by then-Superintendent Susan Marks.
"[The cuts] were bad for kids," Colarossi says. "And I got a lot of push back from Republican leadership that I was daring to come up with an alternative budget plan: a plan that wasn't going to cost tax payers more, but it was going to help kids more."
Colarossi says it boiled down to him being admonished for not "towing the party line."
The Norwalk Community Values party, he says, was formed to "change the direction of the Board of Education."
"It was formed with the express intent of running two or three candidates maximum and bring that message to each voter," he says.
Colarossi has ideas to ease labor talks.
"Our superintendent needs to be directly involved in the negotiation of all staff contracts," he says. "We can't have a subgroup of the board following their own political agenda and then bringing matters to arbitration, which binds the Board of Education."
Colarossi suggests longer school days and school years: "Those two things can help improve education," he says.
He also says the city's budget process should be based more upon community input, like it was in building the 2013-14 budget.
"Having a frank discussions about spending limitations, what are the things what are lacking in schools and working well, then building the budget based upon that input," he says. "That worked."