Thursday, October 22, 2009

School Committee candidate - Jeff Roy

Preparing for the November 3rd election, much focus has been on the Town Council as they have final say over the full budget for the Town's services. However, fully half of the budget details are under the control of the School Committee. While there are seven candidates for seven positions, we still should know something about what their plans are.

I sat recently with the current Chairman, Jeff Roy, to review his campaign for re-election. You'll notice the first three questions are the same as that asked of the Town Council candidates. I felt those were equally applicable to both sets of candidates. The Open Space question is less applicable to the School Committee so we punted on the fourth.

According to the new FTC blogger disclosure rules, you should be aware that when Jeff and I got together at Cafe Dolce, he did pay for my sandwich and drink. Such action is very much appreciated but it does not change my approach to the interview. As I have done with all the other candidate postings, this is a collaborative effort. The sole purpose is to provide information to the Franklin voters so they can make an informed decision on November 3rd. You should also be aware that while the new FTC rules are scheduled to take effect on 12/1/2009, I have a disclosure statement that dates back to January 2005.

Franklin Matters

1. What is Franklin's big issue? What steps should we take to resolve it?

Jeff Roy

Attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers to work in the Franklin School system is my top priority.  We have some great teachers in our district already and we continuously look for ways to improve the quality of our educational workforce, understanding that the human capital of our teachers will determine the quality of our schools.  In February, I posted a blog entry (click here to read it) including a presentation by Bill Gates on great teachers.  Gates first recognizes that the economy is only providing opportunities to people who have a better education, and having great teachers is the key thing to providing these opportunities.   As such, it should be our goal to get top teachers in front of our students.  Having strong and vital schools is important for every community.  More education is also linked to better physical and mental health, longer lives, fewer crimes, less incarceration, more voting, greater tolerance, and brighter prospects for the next generation.

Preserving sports programs, the arts, music and other extra-curriculars is another priority.  Education is important to the development of young citizens, and that education is important not only for the mind, but also the body.  Sports and other extracurricular activities certainly contribute to well-roundedness, and other attributes that are important for success. Music and the arts help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues.  If we all went about our business the way musicians do – where your actions complement your fellow musician – then the world would be a totally different place.

Franklin Matters

2. What is your position on the Financial Planning Committee report?

Jeff Roy
It was a good first step.  As the report points out, to maintain services, the district needs to increase revenues or continue to cut costs.  Our choices speak to the type of community we want.  Cutting costs moves us in the wrong direction and our community already spends far less than the state average in all 11 categories monitored by DESE.  I want a community that provides the best education for its children, a safe environment for all, and a welcome home for seniors who made the town what it is today.  That kind of commitment, however, requires us to collectively invest in our educational system and maintain the infrastructure for everyone.

Franklin has always been a community with high expectations for its schools – in academics, in athletics, in the arts and in community service. Our focus on the classroom delivers a consistently high-performing school district. Students and parents have enjoyed a high return with minimal investment.  We must continue to invest in their future.  

Franklin Matters
3. What is your position on the proposed Charter revisions?

Jeff Roy
The only aspect of the Charter revisions which directly affect the schools are the terms of office.  In that regard, I think they should be staggered.  I attended the Charter Commission meeting on April 3, 2007 and made it known that I favor staggered terms, with two or three members being elected at the same time.  This would lead to increased participation in government and would likely encourage more people to run for office.   The notion that we cannot change to staggered terms because of problems with the logistics of implementing the plan is not a solution.

Franklin Matters

4. What have been some of the accomplishments in the Franklin school system over last eight years?

Jeff Roy

There have been many highlights over the last eight years.  We are particularly pleased that we are able to maintain Franklin as a high performing school district despite budget challenges.  This is a tribute to the talent and dedication of the employees in this system.   I have had the opportunity to work with many dedicated and hard-working individuals who are committed to public education and the Franklin community.  It is particularly meaningful to do this work in the birthplace of Horace Mann, the father of public education.  Some of the most notable items that come to mind are the following:

  • The opening of five new schools including Sullivan Middle, Keller Elementary, Horace Mann Middle, Oak Street Elementary & the O'Regan Early Childhood Development Center
  • Increased communications between the School Committee and community
  • Web access to School Committee and schools (click here)
  • Having Franklin recognized as one of the top 10 communities to raise a family according to Family Circle magazine
  • Having many of our staff members recognized for their accomplishments including Massachusetts teacher of the year, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Math, a Milkin Award winner, and so many others
  • Increased use of technology in the school system
  • Advancement of leaders from within district (Superintendent & Principals)
  • Numerous commendations to our schools including the 2007-08 report from the Office of Educational Quality Assurance (EQA) that directly affect and speak to student performance:  High MCAS scores, curricular alignment with state frameworks, the district professional development program, and the mentoring program.

I am looking forward to continuing to serve on the School Committee in Franklin and committed to keeping us on the path of greatness.

Jeff, on behalf of the Franklin voters, thank you for taking the time to share these thoughts with us. Good luck on November 3rd.

No comments:

Post a Comment