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  1. #1
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    Default Shawn Kinney School Committee Q&A

    Note regarding Candidate Q&As: It is our policy, in order to be fair to all of the candidates, to keep all answers confidential until all are received so that no candidate has the advantage of viewing the others’ answers before taking a position. We gave candidates 11 days to respond to the Q&A, but Shawn Kinney did not meet our deadline, even after we offered extensions. Beth Butler’s answers were posted on our site Tuesday May 3. Mr. Kinney posted answers on his site Sunday, May 9.

    Because Mr. Kinney did not meet our deadline, we cannot post his Q&A to our elections page, but it is permissible to post his answers here. Please keep in mind that Shawn had the opportunity to view Beth's answers before responding. We apologize that the process did not work as intended and we are considering how to avoid this problem in the future. Please feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions.

    The link to Beth Butler's Q&A is available here: http://waylandenews.com/wordpress/wp...10/05/scqa.pdf

    The text of Shawn Kinney's Q&A is in the posts below, broken into two posts to comply with forum posting word limits.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 05-10-2010 at 10:04 AM. Reason: link doesn't appear to be working... if underlined link doesn't work, copy/paste the provided URL

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    Responses from Shawn Kinney:

    1. What do you bring to the table that makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

    KINNEY: With two children currently attending Wayland schools, I am passionate about education. Like many Wayland parents, my wife and I moved to Wayland for the great public schools. As a School Committee member, I would bring my experience as a former teacher, a successful businessman, and an experienced manager with extensive knowledge of budgets and staff direction. My communication and problem solving skills have been sharpened over the course of 10 years of hiring and working with some of the best in their field and have taught me the virtues of being a good listener. I will use my qualifications and skills to become a progressive member of the School Committee who will work to bring efficiency, transparency and inclusion to the board. I have been active in attending School Committee meetings and working closely with the Finance Committee to draft a resolution to review the school budget. I grew up on a family farm in southeastern Massachusetts and realized that a good education was the way to achieve better life than my parents experienced. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Southeastern Massachusetts University, I went to work for a start-up biotech company, before earning a Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Northeastern University during the evening while working full-time. At age 40, I completed a Doctorate in Chemistry while Vice President of Operations at health a care company. While in graduate school, I taught college courses, taught as a substitute in the public schools and presently teach college courses while managing my company. I am the CEO and founder of Hyaluron, providing manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry.

    I started my company over 10 years ago and am proud to say that we are now 100 employees strong and very successful. Because of my own education values, I support education initiatives at my company, offering tuition assistance to employees and supporting educational programs at local high schools, including Wayland. Through the experience of running my own company, I have learned how to develop a vision for an organization, how to recruit and develop a quality staff, how to set and achieve goals and how to manage a budget.

    School districts are complex corporations; they are often the largest employers in a community and the decisions they make are far-reaching, affecting our resources and most importantly, the education of our children. Strong decision-making requires analysis, the balancing of needs and concerns and the ability to see the long-term implications of an action. I am uniquely qualified and committed to meeting the challenges of maintaining excellence in the Wayland Public Schools.

    2. Do you support the Town Meeting petitioner’s article calling for an independent review of the Town budget focusing on the school budget and why/why not?

    KINNEY: The 2011 Wayland School Budget reflects a 1.7% decrease from the prior year and the layoff of seven teachers as recommended by the School Committee and Administration. I believe the layoff of teachers should be a last resort, only after all budget efficiencies have been exhausted. Teachers are central to excellence in our schools.

    As a town, we must strive to keep our teacher-to-student ratio at a level that will allow each and every student the personal intervention that will foster learning. One of the School Committee’s Budget Principles is to: “Place highest budgetary priority on personnel, budgeting for staff: pupil ratios in accordance with prevailing district policy, and on the supervision thereof, with an overall expectation that any budget reductions minimize the impact on student learning“.

    In order to minimize the impact of budget cuts on student learning we must understand where we spend our education dollars. I do not believe the elimination of 7 teachers from our schools will benefit our students. I believe cuts could have been made with far less impact to our students, however the data to support well-informed decisions is currently lacking. The School Committee admits in the text of Article 6 in the 2010 Annual Town Warrant that they have only now “begun the process of understanding administrative resource levels and expenses”.

    As the lead petitioner of Article 6: “Resolution Seeking Independent Review of Town and School Budget Process”, I believe we must strive to reverse the detrimental effect of the FY’11 school budget reduction recommendations. Article 6 was initiated to ensure that Wayland’s school budgeting process conforms to best practices, is transparent and is compared with other high performing peer towns. These benchmarks are imperative to analyze when seeking to maintain excellence in our schools.

    A thorough review of expenses in the 2011 school budget by an independent auditor will provide a professional analysis and report of present non-education inefficiencies in areas of the school budget such as payroll, accounting, IT, custodial services, maintenance and buildings and grounds with specific recommendations for cost-savings strategies such as consolidations of non-education functions with Town departments, collaboration with other school districts or outsourcing. The savings realized through the implementation of recommendations would enable our School Committee to allocate appropriations to areas in the school budget that will provide a greater educational return and further improve excellence in education for our schools.

    Article 6 was developed over months of hard work between the Finance Committee, concerned Wayland residents seeking to maintain a superior public education in our town, a representative of the School Committee and myself, as lead petitioner. Article 6 will aid us in the ability to free up dollars previously allocated to non-education functions so we may apply this money toward the important drivers of educational excellence. Successful budget deliberations will depend on our ability to streamline operations which are not directly related to education in our school budget first. Our School Committee has also supported an effort to find shared services in areas of like functions with the town.

    In recent years, operational overrides have been deemed necessary to preserve the quality of education in the Wayland Public Schools. I would only support a future budget override with the confidence that our schools are as efficient as possible which is why I drafted and proposed this article. Please join me in voting yes on Article 6 at our Annual Town Meeting at the Field House on May 13th to support excellence in education for Wayland.

    3. Did you vote for the high school project, and why/why not?

    KINNEY: I have long been a supporter of our high school. My company donated a spectrophotometer to the high school science department as well as scholarship money. I have personally given a presentation to the Business Club about entrepreneurship and I extended an invitation to our chemistry and biology students to visit my company and see how chemistry and biology are applied in a pharmaceutical manufacturing setting.

    Our high school buildings, facilities and infrastructure clearly need to be addressed. There were many options investigated to address the issues concerning the aging buildings and I attended meetings where considerations were discussed. I supported the need to address the high school, however I did not support the financing plan. The plan did not include a contingency to address a potential loss of $25 million in state funding. As we are all painfully aware, the country was in the midst of the worst economic crisis in since the Great Depression. With the news about hugely declining state revenues pouring in daily, I worried that without a contingency plan, the tax burden could become unsustainable for the residents of our town.

    Since the town’s acceptance of the plan to build a new high school, I have worked hard to identify areas for cost savings in our school budget to ensure that we as a town can afford this new high school without laying off our teachers. The high school building, although important, is not itself the school. The single most important resource we have in our schools is our teachers. We must strive to maintain a high ratio of teachers in Wayland because the teachers are more crucial to our children’s education than the four walls that make up the buildings. I was disappointed to see that the Administration recommended the layoff of 7 teachers from the 2011 budget with a recommendation to exceed our policy guidelines on class sizes in order to meet the budget reduction number. I lobbied to save those teachers' positions and recommended cuts in at least some of the Central Office administrative positions to maintain the quality of our education. We will have a beautiful new high school soon and I will continue to work to ensure that we can afford the new high school while avoiding any further cuts to teachers or teaching staff that will result in increased class sizes. I will also strive to avoid future cuts to curricular and co-curricular activities.

    4. What are the three most important qualities you would like to see in the next Superintendent? (Feel free to add more if you like.)

    KINNEY: The three most important qualities that we need in a new superintendent are educational vision, leadership and communication.

    Educational Vision

    The superintendent of our schools is analogous to the CEO of a corporation. As such, he or she must develop and lay out a vision for our school in collaboration with our educators, our residents and our school committee. A vision should entail a clear and compelling description of what we want our schools to be and what they can be. The vision should address our values, the type of learning that we desire, our hopes for the future. The vision should also evolve as learning evolves to strive for continuous improvement.

    Leadership

    We need a strong leader who will consider the perspective of all residents of the Town and the impact of all decisions as they relate to residents including parents, students, educators, administrators and the School Committee. He or she must be able to set goals that are consistent with the vision as well as inspire, motivate and develop staff and hold staff members accountable for taking the necessary action to achieve our established goals. The candidate must also lead by example and understand that his or her words and actions will be carefully scrutinized by the public and must always exemplify the utmost integrity.

    Communication

    The superintendent must be able to communicate the vision. Excellent communication leads to transparency and a sense of inclusion for all.

    One other important quality I would consider is experience in regionalization and collaboration. Our Finance Committee is committed to addressing the challenges of the economy in their Long Range Plan and following the framework they have outlined in order to achieve a fiscally responsible budget is an imperative objective for our future school leader to embrace. An outstanding leader must be able to utilize the resources available to him or her in the most efficient and effective manner. Every dollar spent on education should prioritize student learning first.

    5. What is your opinion on how high school-related user fees should be?

    KINNEY: This is a very difficult question. In a time when budgets are tight, 7 teachers were recently laid off and costs continue to increase, it is difficult not to evaluate user fees as a means to save co-curricular programs. Many towns have eliminated some activities and sports entirely due to cost. I believe that we should try to avoid any future increases in user fees by first cutting costs in the co-curricular programs.

    6. Do you agree with the current School Committee’s educational priorities, and is there anything you would change?

    KINNEY: The School Committee recently had their Budget Hearing and answered the question "What have we done to manage the school's operating budget drivers?" with:

    Reconfiguration of elementary schools

    Consolidation of Middle School clusters

    Maximized Class Sizes:

    • Managed classes to meet or slightly exceed policy guidelines


    Raised Revenue:

    • Elementary instrumental music fee

    • Athletic fee at Middle and High Schools

    • Transportation fee

    KINNEY: The School Committee endorsed cutting teachers, teacher aides, the guidance secretary at the high school who helps our students apply to college, reduced hours for the art teacher at the high school, increasing class sizes, and imposing steeper fees on parents. Yes, we needed to make budget reductions, but the pressing question that remains for me is why not consider other areas for better efficiency instead of targeting the students when cuts are made?

    Again, we need a careful review of how money is being spent. We must fight to preserve the quality of education and place a high value on maintaining appropriate class sizes and programs that could be targeted for future reductions, as art was at the high school this year. The same old formula is not working anymore due to increases in fixed costs such as health benefits and step and lane changes in teacher salaries. To quote Dr. Burton... when he introduced this year's budget cut list... "Many in the community should be concerned.”

    7. Do you agree with the current School Committee’s co-curricular priorities, and is there anything you would change?

    KINNEY: Our schools have rich and diverse co-curricular programs which are exceptional given the size of our school system. These programs are valuable and enriching and must be strongly supported. I agree with the School Committee’s co-curricular priorities and would suggest just one improvement - to list the priorities in detail on the School Committee website.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure which is more troubling--the fact that WaylandeNews published Mr. Kinney's Q&A after he had a chance to review his opponent's answers (I'm not saying that he did) and so late in the game, with little chance for people to think about and respond to his answers, or that his answers reveal serious concerns about his thinking on such important aspects of the Wayland Public Schools as the High School project, teacher salaries, and class sizes.

    As an aside, I am NOT making any sort of public endorsement in favor of either School Committee candidate, as I haven't thought that doing so in a race for an open seat is appropriate for a sitting Committee member. I have in the past, however, supported incumbents who were facing challenges for their seats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Responses from Shawn Kinney:

    3. Did you vote for the high school project, and why/why not?

    KINNEY: I have long been a supporter of our high school. My company donated a spectrophotometer to the high school science department as well as scholarship money. I have personally given a presentation to the Business Club about entrepreneurship and I extended an invitation to our chemistry and biology students to visit my company and see how chemistry and biology are applied in a pharmaceutical manufacturing setting.

    Our high school buildings, facilities and infrastructure clearly need to be addressed. There were many options investigated to address the issues concerning the aging buildings and I attended meetings where considerations were discussed. I supported the need to address the high school, however I did not support the financing plan. The plan did not include a contingency to address a potential loss of $25 million in state funding. As we are all painfully aware, the country was in the midst of the worst economic crisis in since the Great Depression. With the news about hugely declining state revenues pouring in daily, I worried that without a contingency plan, the tax burden could become unsustainable for the residents of our town.

    Since the town’s acceptance of the plan to build a new high school, I have worked hard to identify areas for cost savings in our school budget to ensure that we as a town can afford this new high school without laying off our teachers. The high school building, although important, is not itself the school. The single most important resource we have in our schools is our teachers. We must strive to maintain a high ratio of teachers in Wayland because the teachers are more crucial to our children’s education than the four walls that make up the buildings. I was disappointed to see that the Administration recommended the layoff of 7 teachers from the 2011 budget with a recommendation to exceed our policy guidelines on class sizes in order to meet the budget reduction number. I lobbied to save those teachers' positions and recommended cuts in at least some of the Central Office administrative positions to maintain the quality of our education. We will have a beautiful new high school soon and I will continue to work to ensure that we can afford the new high school while avoiding any further cuts to teachers or teaching staff that will result in increased class sizes. I will also strive to avoid future cuts to curricular and co-curricular activities.
    Mr. Kinney's answer to this question is unclear. My inference based on his statement, "I supported the need to address the high school, however I did not support the financing plan" suggests that he did NOT support the High School project. If I'm in error in making this inference, I'd like to be corrected.

    If Mr. Kinney did in fact vote against the High School project for this reason, I'd be most interested to hear what his alternative would have been. To be sure, there's no absolute guarantee that the state will pay until the money's in the bank (although the state has already started making payments, and no expert associated with the project has any reason to expect anything except full payment), but voting against the project would certainly have guaranteed that we would NOT have received any money from the state. I certainly hope that I'm incorrect and that Mr. Kinney did in fact vote in favor of the High School project; a vote against on the part of a current or future School Committee member would give me serious cause for concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    8. Do you believe that the pay scale for Wayland teachers and administrators is appropriate, and why/ why not?

    KINNEY: Our teachers are our most precious resource and we have demonstrated our value for their crucial contribution by rewarding them with one of the highest average teacher salary’s in Massachusetts. The average salary for Massachusetts teachers has risen faster than the national average however, setting off concerns that local school committees have expended extremely limited budget appropriations on generous salary increases, even during the worst economic time since the Great Depression. Salary increases will further deplete budgets and lead to layoffs of the newest and lowest-paid teachers, therefore I support the School Committee’s efforts to provide no increases this year in their negotiations with the teachers’ union.

    9. Do you support the current class size guidelines? Do you believe that class size matters?

    KINNEY: It's hard to find research and parents that don't support the idea of smaller classes. Class size is the main concern cited by those who send their children to private schools. Even the simple act of creating more physical space around individual desks reduces distractions and discipline problems. Class size is important. I believe that we should keep our class sizes small which means we must avoid teacher layoffs. Future budget reductions, if necessary, should be made far away from the students.
    In a recent Town Crier article, Mr. Kinney did a nice job of summarizing where Wayland stands relative to its peers with respect to numerous areas of the school budget. At at least one School Committee meeting (and perhaps in his article), he pointed out that Wayland could save on the order of $10M (out of a roughly $30M school budget) if our per pupil expenditures were on par with other towns that he cited. He did not, however, outline a path to achieving such savings.

    The gist of many of his comments is that administrative cuts are in order. Setting aside the validity of that claim, administrative cuts don't begin to allow the kind of reduction that he seems to be contemplating. Teacher salaries alone constitute more than 2/3 of the budget, and fixed costs such as Special Education, utilities, and transportation add considerably to that amount. The only way to make the kinds of cuts he's suggesting is some combination of signficant teacher salary cuts and/or significant class size increases. Yet, in his answers above, he proposes no such changes.

    In short, it appears to me that Mr. Kinney is trying to have his cake and eat it too--significant budget cuts without salary cuts or class size increases.

    With respect to his comment above that, "I support the School Committee’s efforts to provide no increases this year in their negotiations with the teachers’ union," I'm not sure where he gets his information. The Wayland School Committee is in negotiation with the Wayland Teachers Association. To my knowledge, the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy.

    With respect to his comment above that, "It's hard to find research and parents that don't support the idea of smaller classes," I would argue the opposite. Back in the late 1990s, I served on the Class Size Task Force. The research on class size was decidedly inconclusive. The most frequently cited research, the Tennessee STAR study on class size, concluded that reducing class sizes to 15 had a strong effect in economically disadvantaged schools, although the effect didn't persist as students moved to higher grades. For districts like Wayland contemplating class sizes at the elementary level on the order of 20 (a significant drop from where we are now), gains would have been even less likely. If new research showing class size gains is available, I would be grateful to Mr. Kinney if he would pass it along.

  4. #4
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    Default A clear choice

    We are very fortunate indeed to have two people of such high degrees of intelligence, as well as academic & professional accomplishment willing to volunteer their time to help make the schools and the town all that it can be. In addition, they are both courteous, respectful and polite – and that is something we should be grateful for as well.

    However, there is one clear difference between them – Dr. Kinney's answers to these questions and on the Peter Gossel’s Meet the Candidates Live call in show (scroll down near bottom of page) and on the League of Women Voter’s Night (The section about the School Committee Candidates begins at 01:08:00) are very substantive, thoughtful, informed and specific.

    In a way this makes sense because Dr. Kinney has been going to SC meeting quite regularly for several months, and has conducted much of his own research comparing us to peer towns and trying to understand our mysterious budget and figure out why we spend so much more in Wayland than our peer towns with similar academic achievement. But he's not all about dollars and cents. He lobbied the School Committee to not lay off 7 teachers in their latest budget, and to look instead for savings in other areas farther away from our students, such as administration, where we have a higher Administrator-to-Student ratio than any of our peer towns. With two of his children still attending Wayland schools, he is passionate about maintaining and improving our quality of education.

    I would encourage anyone who seriously wants to make an informed decision of their own, to read the answers that both Ms. Butler and Dr. Kinney provide, side-by-side and determine for yourself who is the more qualified candidate. I would also encourage people to take the time to view the two video links provided.

    It's easy to just ask our friends who the best candidate is and go with that, rather than take the time to research it ourselves. But I think it is worth the effort to read each of the candidates' answers and watch the videos and each of us make an informed decision of our own.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Default Serious Concerns Indeed

    Hmmm, Jeff. Your questions serve to raise important others....

    1. Jeff D. says: I'm not sure which is more troubling--the fact that WaylandeNews published Mr. Kinney's Q&A after he had a chance to review his opponent's answers (I'm not saying that he did) and so late in the game, with little chance for people to think about and respond to his answers:

    I'm more concerned about your concerns! Shawn didn't need to read what Beth Butler was going to say before taking positions on issues. In fact, he took his positions on the issues long before she did because he attended all the School Committee meetings and familiarized himself with the issues before deciding to run. I don't think the same can be said for Mrs. Butler given her response to said question during the Call-In show. He was motivated to run BECAUSE of his positions on the issues! Wayland eNews' "deadline" for printing answers to questions is not something he is bound by. Now, I can hear someone saying posting his answers to his own website after the deadline is not fair. Believe me, as usual, the opposition has done more than their share of things even in this election one could deem equally as unfair. As a government major in college, a respected Professor once told me that politics is like making sausages, the end product may turn out OK, but you don't want to see 'em being made. Net net -- there's no crying in campaigning.

    2. Jeff D. says: If Mr. Kinney did in fact vote against the High School project for this reason, I'd be most interested to hear what his alternative would have been. To be sure, there's no absolute guarantee that the state will pay until the money's in the bank…

    Jeff, I'm quite interested in hearing what your alternative plan is if the state doesn't pay? I think most people in this town are under the impression that the state's money was locked in. What do you know that we don't?

    3. Jeff D. says: With respect to his comment above that, "I support the School Committee’s efforts to provide no increases this year in their negotiations with the teachers’ union," I'm not sure where he gets his information. The Wayland School Committee is in negotiation with the Wayland Teachers Association. To my knowledge, the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy.

    So you are saying that the WSC is plotting a strategy that awards raises to the teachers… while continuing to lay them off, too, thereby increasing class sizes? While also keeping all of Gary's secretaries? While also paying top $$ for a new business manager without interviewing even one additional candidate? Are these good alternatives that should not raise "serious concerns"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Hmmm, Jeff. Your questions serve to raise important others....

    2. Jeff D. says: If Mr. Kinney did in fact vote against the High School project for this reason, I'd be most interested to hear what his alternative would have been. To be sure, there's no absolute guarantee that the state will pay until the money's in the bank…

    Jeff [D], I'm quite interested in hearing what your alternative plan is if the state doesn't pay? I think most people in this town are under the impression that the state's money was locked in. What do you know that we don't?
    I have no reason to expect that the state will do anything other than pay in full. They have a contract with the Town. They pay as the project goes, not years after the fact under the old system. Reimbursement is far more certain this time around than with past projects.

    The fact remains (apparently--Mr. Kinney didn't really answer the question): he voted against the High School project, guaranteeing that we would not benefit from $25M in state aid, and with no apparent backup plan in place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    3. Jeff D. says: With respect to his comment above that, "I support the School Committee’s efforts to provide no increases this year in their negotiations with the teachers’ union," I'm not sure where he gets his information. The Wayland School Committee is in negotiation with the Wayland Teachers Association. To my knowledge, the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy.

    So you are saying that the WSC is plotting a strategy that awards raises to the teachers… while continuing to lay them off, too, thereby increasing class sizes?
    Jeff B., how could you possibly twist, "the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy" into "So you are saying that the WSC is plotting a strategy that awards raises to the teachers ... while continuing to lay them off, too, thereby increasing class sizes?" There's so much spin in your statement that John Flaherty probably threw up a little bit in his mouth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Jeff B., how could you possibly twist, "the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy" into "So you are saying that the WSC is plotting a strategy that awards raises to the teachers ... while continuing to lay them off, too, thereby increasing class sizes?" There's so much spin in your statement that John Flaherty probably threw up a little bit in his mouth.
    Well, it appears that you take issue with Shawn's statement supporting a no-raise position. I therefore made the leap that you must support something different -- like raises. Admitted, you said no public statement. I just can't imagine why you'd have an issue unless you disagreed....

    As for everything else, where was I wrong? You (WSC) are laying off teachers, keeping Gary's secreatries, and hiring a new business manager at top $$ without interviewing even a single other candidate. No spin there, Jeff. Just facts, sad facts, but facts indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Jeff B., how could you possibly twist, "the Committee has made absolutely NO public statements with respect to its negotiating strategy" into "So you are saying that the WSC is plotting a strategy that awards raises to the teachers ... while continuing to lay them off, too, thereby increasing class sizes?" There's so much spin in your statement that John Flaherty probably threw up a little bit in his mouth.
    Given that I've answered your questions, any chance you'll weigh in on your curious behavior above?

    Hey, quoting oneself may be a DF first! [grin]

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    Responses from Shawn Kinney, continued

    8. Do you believe that the pay scale for Wayland teachers and administrators is appropriate, and why/ why not?

    KINNEY: Our teachers are our most precious resource and we have demonstrated our value for their crucial contribution by rewarding them with one of the highest average teacher salary’s in Massachusetts. The average salary for Massachusetts teachers has risen faster than the national average however, setting off concerns that local school committees have expended extremely limited budget appropriations on generous salary increases, even during the worst economic time since the Great Depression. Salary increases will further deplete budgets and lead to layoffs of the newest and lowest-paid teachers, therefore I support the School Committee’s efforts to provide no increases this year in their negotiations with the teachers’ union.

    9. Do you support the current class size guidelines? Do you believe that class size matters?

    KINNEY: It's hard to find research and parents that don't support the idea of smaller classes. Class size is the main concern cited by those who send their children to private schools. Even the simple act of creating more physical space around individual desks reduces distractions and discipline problems. Class size is important. I believe that we should keep our class sizes small which means we must avoid teacher layoffs. Future budget reductions, if necessary, should be made far away from the students.

    10. Are there any changes that you believe are necessary in order for the schools to remain highly-rated?

    KINNEY: We must strive to improve our schools constantly and we should embrace an effort to continually reevaluate recommendations for improvement as a way of doing business. Currently, I see the greatest opportunity for improvement in our schools to be the implementation and utilization of technology. We lag behind many schools in this area. We need strong leadership with a clear vision to provide Wayland with a sound initiative that will be widely embraced and supported. I also believe that we will not remain a highly-rated school system without identifying and defining our education priorities and deliberating the impact of each and every future decision based on a review of the impact of to our priorities.

    11. Is lower academic performance by the schools acceptable if necessary to reduce the tax burden?

    KINNEY: Lower academic performance is not acceptable. We must find ways to maintain and improve the quality of education while minimizing the financial impact on our residents. Quality education and efficiency are not mutually exclusive. We must become more efficient with education appropriations or we will reach the point when taxpayers will no longer vote to support overrides to fund rising educational costs. I have identified several areas where our schools can become more efficient and if elected to School Committee, I will work with the other members of the School Committee and our Town boards and Committees to implement efficiencies.

    12. List the factors that you would require in order to support a budgetary override to fund the schools.

    KINNEY: The most important factor that I would require to support a budgetary override to fund the schools is the completion of an independent review of the town and school budgets proposed in Article 6 in the 2010 Annual Town Meeting. Article 6 was unanimously supported by the Finance Committee and seeks an independent review that will include recommendations for improvements in Wayland’s budgeting and expenditure reporting, a restatement of FY2011 school budget according to best practices, and a review of the non-educational operational and administrative functions identifying efficiencies within the School Department and like areas within the Town. This review will include recommendations for areas of potential alternative service delivery methods and cost-savings strategies such as consolidation with Town Departments, collaboration with other school districts, or outsourcing.

    13. What is your opinion about the recent proposal to assign district-owned laptops to ninth graders?

    KINNEY: I strongly support the idea to bring our school district forward through the use of technology but we must consider that an effective initiative is not simply about providing the technology tools, but providing the inspiration for the use of the tools, too. This area of the technology plan is too abstract currently to allow the funding to flow freely. The idea to provide lap tops to all ninth graders was not supported with any applicable fact-based research and therefore I support the Finance Committee’s decision to reduce funding for the initiative that was proposed by the School Committee to purchase laptops for every ninth grader.

    My idea to solve the debate over how to effectively implement the use of technology involves a pilot that would be initiated by our teachers. I would ask for any teacher who is progressive in the use of technology, perhaps those who may feel hampered by the old fashioned way of doing things, to lead the infusion of technology in the schools. I would ask that these teachers first collaborate with their peers and students to brainstorm about ways to infuse the classroom with technology that will enhance learning. I would also encourage teachers to investigate technology vehicles, software, etc, based on their identified needs and collect data and information as to how the introduction of "x" would enhance learning in their classrooms. I would then ask individual teachers to make technology presentations to the School Committee, Administration and the general public. The School Committee and Administration could then review and consider the presentations and determine the initiatives that are worth our investment. This process would be more like a teacher applying for a grant, seeking capital to sponsor an idea that will lead to improvements in education. I would also support a consultation with an expert in the implementation of proven technology as these initiatives are expensive and we cannot afford to experiment with ideas that may prove to be unsuccessful.

    14. Are there any other issues or proposals in the Town Meeting warrant or elsewhere that you would like to address?

    KINNEY: As mentioned in my answers to some of the other questions, one of the most important articles in the Town Meeting warrant is Article 6. Article 6; “Resolution Seeking and Independent Review of Town and School Budget Process”, will save the Town a considerable amount of money, help to avoid future overrides, and ensure that we maintain the quality of education for our students with the same or even fewer tax dollars.

    15. If you can, then please name anyone of prominence that you admire in Wayland, either inside or outside of town or school government, and state why.

    KINNEY: I have attended and participated in many, many meetings during the school budget deliberations and while composing Article 6 for the 2010 Annual Town Meeting. I also appeared before the Finance Committee, Board of Selectmen and School Committee and after having done so, I can honestly say that I most admire the many people of the Town of Wayland who have served or who presently serve in town government. I was previously unaware of the time commitment involved in serving on a town board or committee. These people have an unsurpassed passion for the Wayland community and have dedicated their free time to helping make this town a terrific place to live and raise a family. Whether I agree or disagree with some of their positions politically, I have the utmost respect for their service and devotion to the Town.

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