Like most of us, I moved to Belmont to provide my daughter the best I could. I want her to thrive in school, be safe walking on our streets, and have her grow up with a strong sense of community. I believe we all share these values. We want leaders that will bring us together to overcome our challenges, not to divide us. We need to prepare our children for the future keeping in mind our shared values of community, education, family, and most importantly inclusion.
I am running for school committee because the current committee has unfortunately lost the trust of our community. Although I am running as an individual, I will lead as a member of a team and work hard to regain the communities trust while providing a fresh perspective and a new voice to the problems Belmont faces.
I will work tirelessly, thoughtfully and collaboratively to represent our entire educational community. I will listen to your concerns, provide transparency, and most importantly, take action.
We need diverse leadership experiences on the School Committee to safely and fully reopen our schools. I differentiate myself as a military veteran, a small business owner, and most importantly, an outspoken advocate for providing necessary resources to support our special needs students. If elected, our students with the most needs will finally have a voice at the table. I will make lines of communication with all parents my priority. My experiences are built on teamwork and are the foundation for the good decision making we need on the School Committee for all Belmont students and families.
Since last March the pandemic impacted teaching & learning in Belmont and we have worked through a Joint-Labor Management process to re-open schools. And have failed in this process for families. The decision of elected town leaders will continue to negatively impact 2020/21 and sadly, the 2021/21 school year.
I am reminded of what my dad used to say, “Plan the work, work the plan.”
I support every effort to safely return to in-person learning NOW, with the proper investments in both equipment and technology to keep students, families, and teachers safe.
The current school committee argues they have been planning for the reopening for months now and yet our kids are still not learning in person. We need to finalize this plan incorporating Belmont specific guidelines for each school which need to be clear, consistent, and transparent. These safety measures, like personal protective equipment, must be based upon CDC and health professionals’ recommendations, including current social distancing guidelines of 3ft and mandatory mask wearing which is proven to work. When fully reopen, we can work the plan to prevent and, if necessary, respond to future COVID-19 cases in school buildings utilizing contract tracing.
Lastly, we also need ensure equal access to one-to-one technology (including equipment, broadband, and technology platforms) for students and staff to ensure learning is continuous, whether schools are fully open in a new normal or must close to keep our community safe and healthy.
Those who govern and administer the Belmont public schools must share a vision, a clear purpose, and the ability and courage to lead. Communication is the centerpiece of effective school committee-superintendent relationships and is the foundation that will nurture a climate conducive to growth. When roles are clear and relationships are sound, communities feel a sense of confidence in their school leadership which in turn enhances the education of all students in the community.
Further, a strong collaborative relationship from school committee and the community must be a driving force in dealing with the direct and indirect challenges facing the community and our schools. A school committee must be responsive in governance, sensitive to the diverse needs of all learners, an advocate for students and learning and, as such, a vigorous ambassador for equitable public education.
Procedures, determined for the Belmont school system, should be reviewed annually to assure compliance with current policy. Productive relationships between school committees, superintendents and the community will flourish if two-way communication is established and maintained. Such teamwork will work to enhance and improve Belmont Schools, enriching the lives of all students.
“Money alone does not guarantee success any more than a lack of it guarantees failure, often, the difference is how you spent the extra money.” Paul Reville
I support a NO Vote. Amidst a pandemic is not the right time to put this question on the ballot and I am surprised that our town manager and selectman would move forward with this now. Belmont is not thriving financially. Mismanagement has led us effectively to millions in deficit where the apparent plan is to raise taxes every every 3 years, if you use the average override seen on ballots for the last twenty years. I support a no vote to force our leaders to understand that how we spend matters even more than how much we Spend.
I do feel compelled to acknowledge that the fault does not specifically lie with our current leaders. They were elected after mis-spending 30 years in the making. Unfortunately, these same leaders came in with campaigns discussing structural change and needing to curb spending but fell short on these promises.
We need a new way of thinking in our town leadership. We need leaders that are not afraid to make decisions that will benefit the towns long term sustainability even if it means you won't get re-elected.
Haven't you ever wondered why Belmont runs override requests in “off year” special election cycles? They choose to run them when voter turnout is typically low. The Board anticipates that most voters will not exercise their civic duty which allows for easier passage of the override.
Whether you vote for or against the override, voting itself, is what matters. Remind your neighbors and friends to vote!
We are all stressed these days. We are working from home, learning from home, socialize online and managing many emotions. We transform every room in the house from dining room to classroom to board room and beyond. Everyone is tired and we yearn for how things used to be.
But do we really want things to go back to “normal”? Regardless of how you interpret this question, I hope we do not return to how things used to be. If we have learned anything through this pandemic, how it used to be doesn’t work. Blindly throwing more money at a problem does not solve the problem.
Since the day we closed schools down over a year ago, our administration and school committee have failed our students and families. The School Committee was not and still is not up to the task at hand. Their primary role is to negotiate with the Belmont Education Association (BEA) which they have utterly failed to do over and over this year.
Teachers must also take part of this blame. Although many teachers have worked hard to transition to remote learning, others have chosen politics, toed the line and committed a grave disservice to the students they are supposed to serve. Shame on them.
Our families are left in dismay and frustrated; the ones who are able are running for the hills, searching for solutions outside the district in any way they can. Those remaining are engaged in arguments of spending more money because they do not see a better way forward, despite the negative impacts on many of our families that are barely making ends meet. We are a year into a pandemic, which is by no means near its end. Our parents and students are understandably dissatisfied and have a right to be upset, but where should this frustration be focused? - The leadership, “lack of funding”, or should it be something else that is goes below the surface?
I have run twice for town office in two years. Both times with the position of reducing our overall town spending. No one wants to run on a platform to reduce spending which is admittedly an uphill battle, but one I believe must be undertaken. Even those who are in favor of the proposed override, agree that we lack fiscal oversight and management in town. Everyone agrees that we spend more than our revenue. Everyone agrees the town deficit is an inherited from generations of the past. What we cannot agree on is how we fix the problem. There are many ways we can come together to solve this problem. However, this ridiculous push to continuing to spend our way out of a deficit is not sustainable. This approach will never force change upon our leadership and will forever be a financial burden on families.
I agree with Jeff Liberty’s Letter to the Editor published in the Belmontonian on March 21, 2021. Everyone is exhausted with the same conversations and arguments every single election. What I do not agree with; however, is electing the same people again and again or replacing leaders with their cronies that prevent to town from moving forward to create meaningful change for the betterment of our town and our educational system.
I understand and agree someone like me who is outspoken and takes unpopular opinions can be a scary decision at the ballot box. After years of ineffective meetings, committees, communication, and lack of good decision making, it is time to demand change. It’s time to hold our current leaders and their mistakes accountable with your vote.
Voting either yes or no for the override will have real consequences. Ask yourself, will your family, friends, and neighbors still be able to live here after you cast your vote? Will you be able to look them in the eye and tell them you voted yes or no? Will your vote truly create fiscal control? A No vote gives us a real opportunity for change. A yes vote ensures the status quo.
The town argues that current services are unsustainable in the current environment. I disagree. We are delaying hard but inevitable choices, structural changes that must be made. These changes must be made despite the outcome of the vote. Our community relies on us, collectively, to work together for the greater good. We want great teachers (we have many), we want to support our seniors to age in place (some are), and we want to have inclusive community (we are definitely not there yet).
Years of ineffective leadership and mismanagement have gotten us to where we are today. This is a simple and undeniable fact, and one we talk about during every election cycle. We have historically underfunded our schools and town departments because of, not despite of, the mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, which has caused division within our community.
Challenges can also bring a community together, and because of this I am hopeful. The challenges we face are clear and defined, and therefore resolvable. This will require trust in each other and accepting new ways of thinking.
The conclusion should be simple. Vote NO against the override on April 6th. Demonstrate your anger and dissatisfaction with our town’s leaders. Show you want real accountability and demand a clear, actionable plan for our collective future. Show you want a School Committee that will strongly negotiate for all our children and get them back in school. Show you want Town Meeting members that will put your precincts interest before their own. Show the Select Board that fiscally responsibility is a priority. And show you matter………Demand this now.
Coming Soon !