Friday, May 1, 1998
The following statements from candidates for the May 11 town election were not available for last week's issue. Suzanne Whitney Smith was out of the country. Dan Holzman just announced his candidacy, creating a four-way race for two planning board seats.
Suzanne Whitney Smith
Candidate for School Committee
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the mother of a fourth-grader at the Carlisle School and an 18-year resident of Carlisle. I am a teacher at a private cooperative nursery school in Weston and am active in the Carlisle School Association, having served as president in 1996-1997.
Experience, knowledge or special interests:
Experience as a taxpayer and involved member of the community will, I know, prove useful in carrying out the responsibilities of school committee member. My professional and personal interest in education as well as my experience working in a cooperative school will also contribute to my ability to serve as school committee member.
The biggest challenges:
Maintaining and enhancing communication with the community regarding the impact of the current budget proposals is always a challenge. The results of the first round of the new state testing will become available in the 1998-1999 school year. Interpretation of these results and what it means for Carlisle are likely to be of great interest to the community and the school committee can serve its constituents well by putting this information in context and in balance with statewide results.
Other brief comments:
We are blessed in Carlisle with a community in which education is valued and demanded for our children. It is exciting to realize that we can do things in Carlisle that can set standards for education at state and national levels and I think that this is what we should continue to do.
On the operating budget override:
I do support the proposed operating budget override as it serves to keep our school running at almost its current program level. I do understand that the extended day for kindergarten is lost even with the override.
The worst case scenario at the school is always the loss of staff because that immediately impacts our children. It translates into loss of programs and/or the potential for increased class size.
On special education costs:
Special education costs have increased. The school committee and FinCom already work closely with the school to monitor these expenditures. This will continue to be essential while simultaneously we must work with our state and federal representatives to increase their contribution to the mandated services to maintain a balance of funding for all students. The constraints of Proposition 2-1/2, together with the state and federal mandates for special education, force our town to make difficult choices and these seem often to be choices which shortchange programs and staffing levels we have previously endorsed.
On the seventh grade play, choral music and the arts:
Given the existing school budget, I feel the school does allocate proportionately sufficient resources for the seventh-grade play, music and the arts. There is no choral program at the school and it is something that would add balance to the superb instrumental program. I would like to see a larger program in the arts at the school, but this is only possible if the community as a whole wants this and is willing to fund it through higher taxes and a proportionately larger school budget.