With the focus on passing a school budget, some voters might have forgotten that Milton’s special June 3 ballot will also include an election.

Since former School Board Chairman Doug Stout resigned, his unexpired three-year term is up for grabs, and two candidates are vying for the seat: Cathy Vadnais, who ran for the seat on Town Meeting Day, and Clayton Forgan.

As with each election, the Milton Independent posed questions to the candidates. They were given 450 words to allot between three questions, plus a biography, the latter which was edited for length, style and format.

  1. Why are you running for a position on the Milton School Board?
    2. What do you see as the district’s biggest challenge, and what can be done to address it?
    3. How will you better connect the district with the Milton community?

Catharine Vadnais

Catharine Vadnais

Catharine Vadnais

  •     From Massachusetts but graduated from The Essex Educational Center in 1980 and from UVM in 1984 with a degree in elementary education with a specialty in special education and reading.
  •     Taught preschool – 3rd grade
  •    Lived in Milton for 16 years with husband, Rob, and three children. Oldest son graduated from Milton High School in 2007; son and daughter will be in 8th and 9th grade next year.
  •    Prepare taxes and do bookkeeping and am active in the Milton Farmers’ Market in my spare time.

1.Why does anyone run for an office like School Board? It is not for the money, fame, or because they are bored, or even to be popular. It is usually for something that is non tangible like a chance to give back or a chance to make a difference. Sometimes people run because they feel called to do so. I am running for School Board for all those intangible reasons. So even if I’m defeated, I will continue to pursue this endeavor because at this time it is the right thing for me to do.

2. The Milton School district’s biggest challenge is the challenge facing all districts and that is: How do we afford to educate our children and to maintain our buildings? Once upon a time Montpelier helped with the building needs with financial help, but right now there is no help coming and we are on our own. If school districts across the state could pressure Montpelier to go back to those good old days, things could improve. I would be interested in starting such a movement. Also, as education changes for the 21st Century, so must the way we pay for it change. As the challenge of paying for education mounts, then it is more crucial than ever before to have working, transparent communications with the taxpayers. For example, before we set a bond for projects, we could give the people a chance to pick basic, deluxe or extra deluxe plans. Given that choice we all may be surprised.

3. I personally see great opportunities to connect the district with the Milton community.  One such example is the town and the school are working together to solve the athletic field’s immediate problems. It is not a permanent solution, but one that buys some time.  We also have the community dinners that have been very successful. The Middle School students are working on a unit on how to be an entrepreneur and it would be great to see those students have the opportunity to be a part of the Farmer’s Market. I would love to see the school establish a literacy community that involves the whole town. These are just a few ideas, but the opportunities are endless. It is just a matter of making some connections, building relationships, and getting creative. I’m really good at that.

Clayton Forgan, Sr.

Clayton Forgan, Sr.

Clayton B. Forgan Sr.

  •     Married 48 years to Linda Bedard Forgan. Four children: Cheri, Michelle, Clayton Jr. and Nicole, all graduated from Milton High School.
  •     USNR Vietnam veteran
  •     Graduated from Taunton High School, Mass. and from RETS Electronic School in Boston. Studied refrigeration at New England Tech. Attended several building and sales seminars.
  •     Current member of Milton Development Review Board for several years.
  •     Work history: apartment complex manager, corrections officer, police officer, Home Depot manufacturer rep, food broker rep for 62 Price Chopper and Grand Union stores in the region, real estate broker. Own C&L Distributors.

1. Nothing today is more important than having a solid learning foundation, to excel in today’s world. This is the time I believe we as a town can excel with proper Trustees. Believing it’s the time to make a change.

2. By preparing our children for the adult ahead of them. Giving them substance and vision for the future. The biggest challenge we have today is to offer the best schooling experience at an affordable cost to the taxpayer. The seniors want the best for the students and will help pay for it, but living on SS and a fixed income is not easy. Some are trying to live on $900 per month.

3. The people of Milton need the school system to be more transparent. Bringing forth budget concerns as well as why the school department can’t stay within the yearly allotment. All major factors should be weighed before funds are requested. Would like to see a School newsletter sent out to all Milton voters every two months during the school year. This letter should include copies of all contracts signed by the School Trustees and voting record to keep the taxpayer informed.

Thank you, voters of Milton, for giving me this time with you. Please vote! I would like your vote on June 3, but no matter what, vote and have your say. Call me with questions or leave a message at 893-1774.

Editor’s note: The print version of this story incorrectly states that Clayton Forgan was a former DRB member; he is, in fact, still serving on the board. We apologize for the error.