Newbie View on the Committee
Posted by Bill Glynn on December 13, 2009
I’d like to share a few thoughts with the community and provide a bit of insight from the perspective of a new School Committee member. First of all, thank you for voting me in as a School Committee member. I have a strong desire to work for the betterment of Franklin’s schools and I’m glad to be working toward that goal with my fellow Committee members. Before becoming a member, I had no idea how the School Committee worked. Now with a month’s worth of experience behind me, I can honestly say that I don’t know much more than I did back in October and there is a lot to learn!!
When the voting results were posted, Cynthia Douglas (our Committee’s other new member) got the highest number of votes and I received the second highest number of votes. There were 7 candidates for 7 seats and there were widely varying vote totals for the 7 of us. I wondered why that was. I’m thinking that the two new members got the highest vote totals because politics is, well, politics and many times the view that “new” is “better” rules the day. Well, change can be good but continuity can also be good.
Case in Point: I read a comment posted to a Milford Daily News article about the election where someone took offense at the fact that the top vote getter didn’t become the Committee Chair and that the Committee should be ashamed of itself. Well, extending that viewpoint, I guess I should have become the Vice Chair because I was the 2nd highest vote getter. It doesn’t work that way. The public voting is to elect candidates to the Committee and the Committee as a whole determines the Chair and Vice Chair, which is appropriate. The Committee should get to decide how to organize itself and who should lead the Committee. I for one am glad that we have retained the same Committee leadership. It may not look like it on the surface, but the Committee has a lot of work to do and the Chairs have even more on their plate. I wouldn’t have wanted to take on a Committee Chair position and I wouldn’t have wanted election results to have imposed that position upon me. The fact that the Committee voting on that issue was unanimous is an indication that Committee leadership was not a contentious issue within the Committee itself. However, based upon the number of questions I have already asked him, our Committee Chair Jeff Roy may be rethinking this issue J In this situation, continuity has enabled the Committee to keep its eye on the ball and continue to focus its efforts on issues that benefit Franklin’s schools.
Moving forward, I will share my thoughts as a new School Committee member and try to provide some insight on Committee activities. In the first month “on the job”, I (along with other Committee members) visited the Jefferson School with Governor Patrick, attended a meeting of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (on Saturday 12/12/09) to review and discuss the upcoming education reform bill, will attend a meeting with State Representative Jim Vallee at the State House next Tuesday, have our 3rd regularly scheduled Committee meeting that night, and take an all-day tour of the Franklin Schools the following day. While we realize that people are especially busy during holiday season, it would be great to see more people at the Committee meetings. Please try to attend a meeting sometime soon and it would also be great to hear your thoughts during the public comment section.