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Thread: Tone and tenor of the 2009 School Committee campaign

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  1. #1
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    Default Tone and tenor of the 2009 School Committee campaign

    Well, I see that Jeff Baron has fired the first public shots in the 2009 School Committee campaign in his WaylandeNews.com candidate statement (emphasis added).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron
    ... Too often, decisions are made by our current School Committee absent fact-based decision making processes and without the best interests of our children in mind. I do not agree that the role of the School Committee is to blindly follow the advice of the Superintendent. ...
    Mr. Baron, feel free to disagree with Committee decisions or the process the Committee follows. Resorting to your language above goes beyond such disagreement and crosses a line leaving civility and respect behind.

    I'll address Mr. Baron's three inflammatory and untrue charges.

    1. No board gets it all right, all the time. That said, the current School Committee categorically does follow a fact-based decision-making process. To say otherwise is a blatant mischaracterization.

    2. "Without the best interests of our children in mind?" Please. My service, and that of every Committee member with whom I've worked, has been focused on exactly that objective. Again, Mr. Baron, your writing makes for interesting reading ... in the fiction aisle.

    3. As for "blindly following" the advice of the Superintendent, I haven't seen Mr. Baron at a recent Committee meeting to judge first-hand. He may recall a year ago, however, when the Committee made the unpopular decision to reconfigure the elementary schools *despite* the counsel of the Superintendent. Just last week, the Committee opted to forgo asking for capital funds to supply much-needed temporary modular classrooms at the High School, again in the face of the Superintendent's recommendation.

    It would do the children of the Wayland Public Schools no good to recount item-by-item where the Committee and the Superintendent have disagreed, nor is it worth my time to dig through my notes to create such a list. Regardless, the examples above are not the only exceptions to Mr. Baron's "blind" charge. Residents should not be surprised by such disagreement, of course, as the two parties by design and practice look at the policies and politics of public education through different lenses.

    Paul Grasso, whom I suspect would not describe himself as the Committee's or Superintendent's biggest fan, saw no need to go negative in his candidate statement. Certainly I didn't, nor did Malcolm Astley.

    Steve Glovsky almost escaped the negative trap, then at the end accused the Committee of lying when he wrote as follows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Glovsky
    ... Long years of observation have convinced me that our present School Committee will manufacture whatever negative evidence they need to discourage consideration of repair, while glossing over what might be the final costs of new construction. ...
    The Committee does not "manufacture evidence," nor has it in any way "glossed over" final costs.

    Mr. Baron and Mr. Glovsky, Wayland deserves better than this sort of behavior. I pledge not to engage in it and urge you to apologize and do the same. Thank you for your attention.

  2. #2
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    Default

    The purpose of this thread is not to debate substance, so I'm ignoring here the empty charges and fumbled facts lobbed by Steve Glovsky in his Town Crier candidate announcement and focusing instead on his despicable and equally empty attacks.

    One might be tempted to think that I'm angered by his boorish behavior, but I'm not. Those who know me or who have observed me over my nine years as a School Committee member and five years before that as a Finance Committee member know that anger isn't in my style or personality. Rather, I'm simply calling attention to campaign ugliness (emphasis added) so that Wayland residents might better judge worthiness to hold elected office.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Glovsky
    Incompetence, misrepresentation and outright lies all characterize the administration of our current School Committee. ... For years the voting majority of Wayland has permitted this miscreant operation in an almost resigned sense that such societal abuse was necessary to at least preserve the quality of our schools for our children. ... Faced with impossibility in these times of large state aid reductions, our School Committee’s economic abuses have been forced into the light, no matter the tremendous ongoing effort to distract the public’s attention. ... We need to join as a town and show those who serve Wayland, both volunteer and employed, that we will no longer accept the dregs of incompetence, misrepresentation and lies.
    Mr. Glovsky is of course entitled to his opinion about "incompetence," although how he has formed that opinion without attending to my memory any regular meetings of the School Committee remains a curiosity. As to his other childish taunts, well, I submit that they say far more about the source than the target.

  3. #3
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    My response to a reprehensible Town Crier guest column by Jeff Baron is here.

  4. #4
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    Mr. Dieffenbach,

    I thought I would join you on this discussion as you seem to be the only one! I want to let you know that you have my vote for School Committee. You were described to me as one of the sharpest candidates, with the most relevant experience.. I have had the opportunity to observe you at the recent budget meeting and at Candidate's night. I agree with that assessment.

    I was struggling with my second vote. Steve Glovsky is a non-candidate. You should not even waste your time with him. However, I was impressed with the other three for different reasons. Frankly, while I think the School Committee has done a fine job there were issues with how the school consolidate was implemented, which negatively impacted our children and parents (I am thankful my child is in middle school this year and not affected). These was poor planning and I am not sure why. So, maybe you guys need to be held responsible for that and some new members added to the committee who represent the parents in Wayland most impacted by these issues. Mr. Baron is a logical choice and I originally was thinking of that vote. However, the domain name issue really bothers me so he will not get my vote.

    So - I am down to Mr. Grasso and Mr. Astley. One has excellent education experience, the other has excellent financial and planning experience. I look forward to more opportunities, in this forum and other venues, to learn more about these candidates.

    Thanks to all of you for stepping forward, and taking a lot of abuse, to serve our town.

    Liz Burns

  5. #5
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    Default Thank you Liz

    I don't know you, but really appreciated your post. I think you are in the majority of people who may not have been directly impacted by the ES reconfiguration, and are struggling to make that 2nd SC choice.

    I agree with your thought process and just wanted to add a couple of points which may (or may not) be helpful to you in your consideration of your second SC vote.

    I've heard some people under that assumption that our current SC does not have enough or needs more financial experience. In spite of what you may hear, the sitting SC has a great deal of financial expertise. Jeff Dieffenbach served on the Wayland FinCom for 5 years before his nearly 9year tenure on the SC -- 14 years of municipal finance experience putting together budgets under great constraints. He is an MIT graduate and works in education technology. Barb Fletcher has an MBA from Tuck (Dartmouth) and has worked in investment banking. Louis Jurist is an MD (hand surgeon) who has an independent practice which is a small business and therefore involves financial management especially given the complexities of our health care system. Similarly, Deb Cohen is a lawyer with her own practice -- another small business.

    Mr. Astley comes to the table with a lifetime of education and administration experience in neighboring communities such as ours. His efforts with the Suburban Coalition demonstrate his understanding that we need to address our issues locally, but also at the state and federal level. Listening to Mr. Astley at various venues and Q&A's, I have been impressed by his warm, calm, thoughtful, knowledgeable, intellectual, consensus-building manor. I think this a huge asset during such a divisive time in our town. I don't think change for the sake of change is good, but this change seems like a great fit for us.

    Mr. Grasso seems like a nice person, but has not demonstrated his commitment to our students, k-12, in my opinion. He has plenty of time to do so (doesn't have kids in the system yet), so I will look forward to seeing more involvement from him in larger global issues facing all our students. For example, Futures Team, HSBC, Suburban Coalition, PTO, WPSF, or many of the other local committees, which can serve as a springboard into elected office. Not a requirement, but given his inexperience and the reason he states for running for SC in his video:
    "I am running for School Committee to learn from the Loker decision",
    I think we need to see more from him.

    Anyway, good luck with your gathering of info and thank you for a post that is civil and about the issues!

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