League of Women Voters Questionnaire

School Committee candidates were invited to submit a 50-word biographical summary and answers to the following questions (75 words maximum each):
1. School start times are a big issue from the elementary schools to the high schools. What are the key elements of a successful solution?
2. What is your vision of the relationship among the School Committee, the community and the School Superintendent?
3. What policies would you suggest to reduce the impact of schools on traffic?

Q0 (Biographical Summary)
I seek reelection to continue to help shape the positive direction of our schools. Since 2011 I’ve played a key role in planning elementary school rebuilding, negotiating a fair, affordable contract with our teachers, and engaging with the community on school overcrowding relief. With your backing I’ll continue this effort.

Q1 (Start Times)
Later school start times, especially for high-schoolers, is shown to improve academic performance and reduce stress by working better with the unique biological clock of adolescents.

The successful solution balances later start time with impacts on after-school athletics, jobs, clubs, religious school, childcare, traffic, and bussing.

Our new working group focuses on the complicated logistics of start time change — though seemingly simple, start time change can significantly impact students, parents, siblings, employees, and residents.

Q2 (Relationships)
My vision of our relationship is a circular feedback loop in which community, SC, and Superintendent continuously communicate, plan, develop, deliver and receive a school education that reflects Newton’s values.

The structure of our relationship is this: The community expresses educational values via School Committee (SC) elections. The SC builds policy from these values and hires the Superintendent for execution. Our superintendent and teachers deliver education to our students, ideally consistent with the community values.

Q3 (Traffic)
We have multiple objectives regarding traffic: school travel must be safe, traffic near schools should be minimal, and ideally, school travel enhances student health.

These multiple objectives can be met as more students walk and bike to school, and fewer students travel in cars as single passengers.

The School Committee and I are working hard to identify and enhance walking routes, teach bike safety, and encourage walking, biking, carpooling, and bussing as preferred travel methods.