The school committee candidates tonight were the first up at the annual Candidates Night, but it was their closing statements that were the main “hit” of the night.
First of all, they all said that they would Vote YES for Dracut, with two of them (Murphy and Volpe) saying they would vote for both questions, and Woods saying he would vote for the one for safety.. but not for education. (This from the guy running for school committee? I thought that strange.)
First, Volpe has earned a great reputation by getting involved voluntarily over the last year.. attending every Finance task force and school committee meeting to learn everything she could.. and it showed. I’ve seen other first time candidates in the past who just didn’t know their stuff. She seems on the ball here. She spoke to her private sector experience in oversight and auditing, her experience with the special education system, and that she is pushing for an outside review to be done of the district.
Woods came in showing some good experience having been on the school committee and later a key administrator as athletic director. He could speak well to using data, and the impact of change on student activities. His main focus was on what he believes is a lack of quality on the school committee, which he indicates by pointing out the recent 8% raise for Superintendent Stone and its improperly being voted in executive session.
Murphy, as the incumbent, had to respond by defending the current school committee. She talked about her own experience as a teacher, and the successes the current board is having after completing the redistricting and achieving some stability of leadership over the last few years, and now a few years ahead.
It was during their closing statements where the major point was made though. In her last remark, she pointed out that Woods was the member of the school committee in the past that started Elaine Espindle at $88,000 a year.. and by the time he had left the board she was at $134,000 based on raises Woods had proposed.
You could see he wanted to respond, but had already had his chance to give his closing statement.
I’m holding off on writing about the Selectmen, because we still have two candidates coming on the radio this Saturday morning.
I’ll also be rewatching the program tomorrow (I have it recorded), to look for more interesting points.
I definitely recommend you look for the rerun on channel 99, DATV Government Channel.