New Fairfield finance board to address member’s controversial remarks about special education

NEW FAIRFIELD – The Board of Finance has scheduled a special meeting Monday to discuss remarks made by David Coleman that residents found insensitive and demeaning.

Residents are not only demanding the Republican finance board alternate publicly apologize for comments he made about the special needs community during the Board of Finance’s April 20 meeting, but calling for him to either be censured or resign.

Coleman – who was elected to the Board of Finance as an alternate back in November – has not been able to be reached for comment.

While talking about rising special education costs, Coleman said he felt sorry for “any family who winds up in a situation with a child like that” – referring to families of special education students who go to residential facilities. He also made a remark that seemed to insinuate that special education students aren’t likely to graduate.

Several residents spoke out against Coleman’s comments during and after the April 20 meeting – including parent and school board chair Dominic Cipollone, who called the remarks “abhorrent” and “troubling.”

Since the April 20 meeting, Board of Finance Chair Wes Marsh told Hearst Connecticut Media that the board has received “at least one or two” requests from residents asking for Coleman to make a public apology, and that he either be censured or resign.

Although Marsh said the finance board would discuss the remarks during the board’s next regular meeting later on this month, a May 9 special meeting has been scheduled to discuss the comments Coleman made, as well as “actions to take,” according to the agenda.

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