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Greenwich School Candidate Blasts 'Voting Block'

GREENWICH, Conn. – Anna Saras Povinelli, a Republican hopeful for the Board of Education, is speaking out against a group actively campaigning for a bipartisan voting block of candidates.

“Like you, I have heard the rumors and read the emails that some of the candidates have formed teams and alliances. Again, I want to assure you that I have not confused the election process with the TV show ‘Survivor,’” Povinelli said in a news conference this week. “The only ‘immunity charm’ I can see to be granted is when each and every child, whether they be special ed or academically gifted or somewhere in between, is optimizing their education potential.”

A group of voters is promoting Republican candidates Peter von Braun and Barbara O’Neill along with Democrats Jennifer Dayton and Adriana Ospina. The proponents, who refer to themselves as a Bipartisan Advocacy Group, formed a Facebook group in October called “Greenwich Residents for a Better Board of Education” to tout the block.

Dayton and Ospina are running unopposed and will both be elected to fill the two Democratic spots on the board. “No matter what happens on Election Day, both will be elected. We urge our Democratic friends to use two of their four votes to support our endorsed Republican nominees: Peter von Braun and Barbara O’Neill,” the group’s first post read.

Republican incumbent Marianna Ponns Cohen expressed her feelings in a recent Op-Ed. “I believe that a BOE member’s first priority should be improving our schools,” said Ponns Cohen. “No member should be bullied into ‘go along, get along’ unanimous votes.  Unanimous votes have the effect of lulling the public into a false sense that all is well.”

Povinelli said she asked von Braun and O’Neill about the issue and that Von Braun had no comment, and O’Neill said she couldn’t control what private citizens were doing.

Povinelli also stressed that she is her own candidate. “I have full faith in the voters and am convinced that they will exercise their right of democracy and decide who they feel are the best candidates to represent all stakeholders on the board of education. In my opinion, the board, the schools, the students and the community will benefit when ‘backroom’ deal-making is abolished and a transparent process is established and upheld.”

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