This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Candidate Statements

The Beverly Citizen has posted statements from the candidates in all contested School Committee and City Council Races. Below we link to each, and, for the citywide races, include an excerpt that is relevant to each candidates view on the schools. There don't appear to be any statements from the Mayoral candidates posted.

The previous two posts detail the Salem News endorsements, our analysis of the views of the majority of school advocates, and coverage of the Mayor's race.

School Committee Ward 4
Karen Fogarty (SBS pick)
The important work dedicated to the betterment of Beverly Public Schools is ongoing, including: curriculum review; selection of the next Superintendent; transition into the new High School facility; continued integration of technology to enhance learning; and support for initiatives and practices which will keep improving our students’ proficiency in the core content areas. However, these critical responsibilities will take place in the coming months before a back drop of fiscal uncertainty at the State level. The most urgent work will be to contain the impact that any reduction in local aid will have on our School District....

Gail Burke
...Children need critical thinking skills to understand 21st century propaganda, and “politically correct” ideas. Are global warming and the extinction of polar bears facts beyond dispute? Classroom discussions of both sides of these and other controversial issues are essential. Spell check has replaced spelling lessons. Cursive writing is out. Learning multiplication tables is discouraged, and calculators substitute for mastering arithmetic...

City Councilor At-Large
You may vote for three candidates. Top vote getter becomes Council President; next two win seats on the Council. As we stated previously, the majority of the school support seems to be with Grimes and Cahill, although Guanci and Coughlin also have support. Coughlin, however, seems to be playing to the override opponents in this election, and although we have come to accept his views that it is unlikely an override would ever be successful in the future, we are still troubled by his blanket statement that he would NEVER support one, given the ever decreasing amount of state aid the city receives. Because of this and Guanci's positive role in developing the high school project, we believe most support Guanci over Coughlin.

Patricia Grimes (SBS pick)
...There is much that needs to be done, such as completing and paying for the new high school, renovating our middle school, building a new public safety facility, and repairing and maintaining our infrastructure. ...Beverly faces some serious challenges ahead, made worse by a predicted shortfall of $900 million in the state budget, and the already significant cuts in local aid. Our community needs long range financial planning rather than short-term fixes...As a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, I attend frequent meetings in Boston and at the statehouse with elected officials from all over the state, gathering important information that will help us plan Beverly’s future.....

Mike Cahill (SBS pick)
...We need to act. We need leadership from our elected officials, and we need an engaged citizenry that will actively help shape our city’s future direction. With federal and state aid shrinking, and Beverly’s taxpayers already paying what we can, core city services are harder than ever to provide. We need new solutions. As your City Councilor At-Large, I will work to create new revenues by maximizing business investment, whenever this is achievable consistent with the public interest in both our near and long-term quality of life. These new revenues can fund our schools, senior center, veterans’ programs, public safety, and other services...

Paul Guanci
The biggest challenge facing the City of Beverly is how can local elected officials continue to provide adequate services and attend to citizen’s needs while staying within the boundaries of Proposition Two and a Half. State Aid to Beverly this year is over two million dollars less than what the City received in 2001. Our locally elected officials need to connect with our state government and voice our concerns about what we need back in state aid in order to survive. While we all wait for much needed reform to happen, there are things here in Beverly that we can do to help move things slowly forward....

Bill Coughlin

...We cannot even conjecture any 2-1/2 override as I have in public stated “Beverly will never vote in favor of any override and I will never vote for any override”. These words spoken before the special election defeat. Thus we must find other solutions to pare the budget. My political literature is stressing that I lead all candidates by far in innovative ideas which has saved the city multi-millions of dollars. If reelected, my fiscal acumen will be there to continue to find new ways to reduce costs....

Elliott Margolis
Without question, the most important issue facing Beverly is how to pay for the new high school while maintaining the current standard of living. Kathy Griffin, the City Council’s financial advisor has forecasted that by the fiscal year 2013 the deficit between the revenue taken in by the City and the expenses will be well over 7 million dollars. I have proposed a number of solutions to close this gap and will work very hard to accomplish this goal on the council without losing services or employees...

City Councilor Ward 3
James Latter (SBS pick)
James Modugno

City Councilor Ward 4
Kevin Hobin (SBS pick)
George Binns

City Councilor Ward 6
Judith Cronin (SBS pick)
Robert Hames

11/2 UPDATE:

The Citizen has finally decided, at 5:30 the night before the election, and after they already endorsed Mayor Scanlon, to finally post the statements for the Mayoral candidates. They are linked below:

Bill Scanlon (SBS Pick)
John Burke