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The Danbury Citwide PTO has hosted a Meet the Candidates Forum.  Democratic City Councilman Roberto Alves and Republican mayoral Chief of Staff Dean Esposito are each seeking to lead the City and fielded questions along side 8 Board of Ed candidates. 

The pair agree that HVAC and air quality improvements are needed in the school buildings.  When asked if they would support metal detectors at the high school, if there's community support for such an idea, each said they would. 

The mayoral candidates differed on how to address overcrowding and budgeting.  Esposito supports a proposed Charter School.  Alves called for using $2.5 million Danbury is receiving from the state through a retooled PILOT calculation.   The funding pool isn't designated by the state for a particular use, but the City is getting the additional money because Danbury is an Alliance District. 

Esposito drew a negative reaction from the audience when he said the City has never cut the budget, and increased it every year.  He noted that the number the Board of Education asks for is one thing, but under state law municipalities can't cut the school budget.  They have to allocate at least the same amount as the year before.  As a Councilman, Alves voted against the budget saying it wasn't enough.  He acknowledged that the City has increased the dollar amount, but noted that the value of a dollar is not the same as even five years ago.  ALves says Danbury hasn't kept up with inflation.

All of the candidates were given the option to answer the questions, including one about masks mandates in schools.  Alves answered that he supports masks, citing them as a reason for low COVID-19 infection rates.  Esposito chose not to answer the question.  Several Board of Ed members also opted not to weigh in.

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