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School Committee Ward 8

The Newton School Committee consists of nine voting members: one person is elected (citywide) from each of Newton's eight wards, and the Mayor serves as an ex-officio member.
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    Matthew Miller Owner, Executive Recruiting Firm

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    Gail Spector Writer

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Biographical Information

Do you support the proposed new City Charter? Why or why not?

Do you support privatizing any part of school operations? Why or why not?

If you were to write a school transportation policy, what would be your key components?

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I do support the proposed charter. While the councilor configuration is not exactly what I would have proposed, when considering all of the other positive changes the charter proposal includes I am supporting the proposal. Newton government would be improved by having a smaller City Council, generous term limits for all elected officials, and a requirement for long-term financial planning.
While outsourcing could save money theoretically, it would likely end up costing more and strain the bonds of our community. Privatized workers do not have knowledge of our schools, strong relations with parents and faculty, and they are less likely to work outside of their job description. Privatizing could lower morale among remaining union staff and concerns about safety in the buildings have already been aired by teachers.
Enhance Safety - Reduce the high traffic volume around school areas

Prioritize Health - Promote alternative transportation methods such as biking and walking

Engage community - Partner with neighbors to create school designs that work for everyone

Lower emissions - Establish rules regarding idling that are environmentally friendly and increase bus ridership

Promote neighborhood awareness - Streamline and integrate school communication
I have not yet made a decision on the Charter proposal. The key issues I am considering are the optimal size to enable the City Council to be effective and accessible, the split--if any--between at-large and ward-only Councilors, the cost of running for office for new candidates, and the balance between Newton being one city or an array of many neighborhoods.
I have great respect for the collective bargaining process and I’d prefer to avoid privatizing if valued employees would lose their jobs. There may be circumstances, though, when financial challenges force difficult decisions. In making such a decision, I’d want to understand the benefits to the school system and the views of all stakeholders. I’d also want to ensure that NPS stays focused on its primary mission of educating, preparing and inspiring all students to achieve their full potential.
The primary objective of a school transportation policy should be getting students to school safely. I would fully support efforts that facilitate ways for students and staff to safely travel to and from school independent of cars. I support the work of Safe Routes to Schools and I’d encourage walking, biking, carpooling, traveling by bus, teaching bike safety to all ages, installing usable bike racks at all schools, and working with the city to ensure sidewalks are clear of snow and debris. logo


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