Five months ago, I threw my hat in the ring for a seat on the School Committee. Since then I have spent many hours researching trends in the line items of the school budgets. I have also talked to scores of people about both the positive things they see happening in our district and the trends they are worried about. All of this new information has served to convince me that a voice is needed on the School Committee that will provide a new perspective of where we are and how our district needs to move forward.
We do not hear the current School Committee advocating for all our children, but only for saving us money. My opponent in this election wants to raise the Special Education students’ MCAS scores (but how?) and focus on the gifted children (but who are they?). These are worthy goals, but what should we do about meeting the needs of the other 85 percent of our students? They are all our children and they all need the best education we can provide. Yet class sizes are large and increasing, half of the aides have disappeared in the past four years, financially burdensome athletic fees have been established, maintenance of our facilities is being deferred year after year, our guidance counselors each have twice as many students to assist as in neighboring districts, and the school operating budgets (per pupil) have stagnated since 2000. Are these “savings” all we really want?
As a community we should also ask ourselves: What level of quality do we want for the education of our children? To answer this difficult question, we must increase community dialogue. We must also increase our understanding of the relative values of educational services we are providing to our children. Dialogue means differences of opinion are discussed. Understanding means we have the information we need to assess educational quality. Are we hearing any such dialogue and do we feel we understand what is happening to educational quality in our schools?
Please vote on May 16. Get more involved. Ask questions. Advocate for your vision of education in the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District. Elect School Committee members who will move the district forward towards your vision.