Resident wages primary for second district school board seat

There will be a primary in Milford this year. Resident Gary Tobin has submitted papers to wage a Democratic primary to run for the Board of Education in the second district.

The two second district seats are currently held by incumbents Susan Glennon and Board Chairman Tracy Casey.

Tobin said he decided to wage a primary about two months ago because he has been dissatisfied with what he described as administrative efforts to curb parent involvement with the Jonathan Law High School band.

The band and color guard parents group has existed 14 years and was once very active at the school. In the last few years, the parents have “been pushed away,” Tobin said, though he didn’t want to be specific about the allegations.

As a board member, he would try to make sure parents who want to be involved could be involved, he said.

Tobin needed to collect 86 signatures to wage a primary. He said he collected 159 and spent many hours walking around his district.

“There’s no place for politics in education,” Tobin said.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Richard Smith said Tobin did not seek the party endorsement when the Democrats were choosing candidates for the November election.

Tobin said he tried to contact the Democratic Party, but no one called him back. Smith said he tried to contact Tobin before the convention, hoping to prevent a primary, and said Tobin didn’t call him back.

“I think it should be OK for us,” Smith said, meaning that he thinks Glennon and Casey will prevail.

“Susan and Tracy have been tireless public servants,” Smith said. “They are focused on one thing — Milford’s children and their education. He should be calling them and thanking them for their hard work.”

Glennon has been involved in education for many years, first through the PTA and then as a PTA leader in the city, Smith said. Casey puts in countless hours as board chairman, he added.

Smith said Tobin’s allegations about the band parents group are “nonsense.”

“Gary has his own personal issues,” Smith said. “He doesn’t understand what the Board of Education can and cannot do. They don’t have authority over how coaches, for example, manage practice.”

The Democratic Registrar of Voters will hold a primary enrollment session on Tuesday, Aug. 27, between 5 and 7 p.m. for registration and/or enrollment of electors entitled to vote in the municipal primary.

The primary will be Sept. 10 at the two second district polling places: John F. Kennedy School at 404 West Avenue and Meadowside School at 80 Seemans Lane.

A primary costs several thousand dollars. Kerri Rowland, who works in the Registrar of Voters office, said the office is working hard to hold costs down.

The city has to pay for poll workers, memory card programming and ballots, plus notices, mandatory training for poll workers and police coverage.

The City Clerk’s office already has absentee ballots ready for the primary.