Friday, April 27, 2007
Late candidate runs as write-in Questions for candidates
The following questions were sent to all candidates for office and the majority of their responses appeared in last week's issue. The statement of write-in candidate Kevin T. Smith (not to be confused with Kevin C. Smith of East Street) which appears below was accidently omitted.
• Tell us a little about yourself. What educational background, experience, or special interests do you have that are relevant to the position you are seeking?
• What are the biggest challenges that will face the incumbent during the next term in office? How will you contribute to meeting these challenges?
• Given the competing needs for tax dollars, should the town set spending priorities? If so, what should those priorities be?
Kevin T. Smith
My family has lived in Carlisle for seven years. We have two boys currently in the Carlisle School and have two girls who will start soon. Therefore, what happens at the school and the quality of the education offered to my children and to every student is of paramount importance.
I grew up in Acton and went through the Acton-Boxborough school system. I graduated from Boston College and Catholic University Law School and am now a partner with the law firm of Masterman, Culbert & Tully in Boston. I specialize in eminent domain, land use and commercial litigation. Much of my work involves disagreements arising out of real estate development projects, including construction disputes, which requires a working knowledge of design, engineering and project management issues. My professional experience and the skills that I have developed to navigate the many issues faced by my clients every day translate well to the issues that I would face as a member of the School Committee.
I decided to run for School Committee when I started to appreciate the enduring conflict between what is best for the teachers and students of the Carlisle Public School and the cost to provide it. Whether it is a budget issue that pits the costs of supplies or a faculty member's salary against other necessary municipal costs, or plans to improve or replace school facilities, the priority of providing the best educational experience always competes with a limited supply of money. But throwing money at every problem that arises or every educational goal to be achieved is not the answer as the Town has other important expenses that do not involve the school.
I believe that the School Committee has played an integral role in maintaining the high quality educational experience for students at the school within this difficult budgetary environment. It is difficult for me to specify the costs I would try to reduce or the areas where I would try to increase funding if I were a School Committee member, as I have not been privy to all of the details necessary to make those decisions. Perhaps general operating costs, such as the costs for the wastewater treatment facility (vastly over budget this year), could be cut. However, in addition to providing the resources necessary for the faculty to do their best job, I believe that it is important to preserve the extracurricular or special activities such as art, music and sports that other school systems have had to eliminate. As someone who played sports all of his life and played the violin and the trombone for almost as long, these kinds of activities are an important part of the students' experiences. It is also important that the school continue to forge relationships with the Concord schools so that the transition of our students to Concord-Carlisle is smooth and allows for the best opportunity for the students to excel at the high school. I would endeavor to preserve and improve these areas as a member of the School Committee.
It would also be nice to accomplish these goals without having to seek an override every year.
© 2007 The