Recently I stated I am open to exploring possibly moving to an elected school board echoing the same sentiments expressed by Mayor Glatt last year. Overall, I think we have an excellent Board of Education, but I agree school governance should be the subject of public discussion. We should always welcome new ideas that could lead to improvement. Community input is a critical step in maintaining, and increasing, the excellence of our schools.
Just a few days ago, A. Dennis White, my opponent in the race for Common Council in Ward 2 published an article criticizing my position based on his opinions summarized as follows: Our schools are good enough. Diversity is somehow a handicap from which we need to be protected by an appointed school board. Summit residents wouldn’t even really care as evidenced by low voter turnouts in school board elections of other communities and, even worse, a discussion of school governance and the expenditure of more than $60 million of our tax dollars is a distraction that doesn’t warrant time and attention from our elected leaders. Further, he indicated his discomfort with the political process that would be essential to ensuring accountability and, although it may be distasteful for him, would also help to establish a political consensus that would move Summit forward.
I disagree. Along with the safety and security of our town I can’t think of anything more important on which to spend my time if elected to council. I want our schools to be the best, not just good enough. I consider diversity a strength to be encouraged and promoted, not a problem that needs to be overcome. I want the city to be directly accountable to the taxpayers for the largest part (more than 50%) of our tax burden. I think Summit residents do care and care very much. I want residents to feel they are empowered to speak up, have input and can make a difference. And, I am not uncomfortable with politics nor am I afraid of the complex debate on making our schools the best they can be.
Our world and community have changed dramatically over the past few years. As we look to a better future it’s clear we need leaders to move us ahead and not settle for going back to the way things were. As a member of council I will always be open to discuss, and lead the implementation of, innovative ideas the residents of Summit decide are best for our children’s education - including an appointed school board, an elected school board or, perhaps, something in between.
Candidate for Summit Common Council Ward 2