SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 29, 2013

Salem School Committee candidates have final face-off

SALEM — Close to 100 people opted to miss the first few innings of last night’s World Series game to hear insights and opinions from the city’s six School Committee candidates.

Last night was the second School Committee candidate forum organized this fall by the Salem Education Foundation.

Six names will be on the Nov. 5 ballot for three spots on Salem School Committee: incumbents Janet Crane, Lisa Lavoie, Brendan Walsh and challengers Patrick Schultz, Rachel Hunt and Richard Johnson.

Candidates fielded questions ranging from hiring principals to improving report cards from organizers and the audience for close to two hours. Salem News Editor David Olson served as moderator.

When asked about extending the school day or year — a much-discussed issue in Salem — all the candidates said they were in favor of it, in one form or another.

Incumbents Walsh and Crane said they would only be in favor of extended time “for those who need it,” not districtwide.

“It’s hard to answer in one minute what I could talk about all night,” Walsh said, referencing the forum’s time limits.

Schultz said expanded time is “worth considering,” but it must be spent usefully.

“It cannot be more of the same,” he said.

Candidates shot from the hip for the second half of the forum, when questions from the audience were pulled out of a bowl and they had little more than a minute to respond.

Crane was given a direct question from a Salem family with a 2-year-old child and means to move out of the city: Why should we stay?

“I don’t believe the schools are broken,” Crane answered.

Crane encouraged the family to visit Salem elementary schools, where she’s seen teachers doing a good job with “students enthusiastic and learning.”

Johnson, when asked to name the district’s strengths and weaknesses, answered readily. Salem Public Schools’ greatest strengths are its teachers and parents, and its weaknesses are lack of management controls and lack of oversight, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Comments Tracker