SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Our view: Cheers, jeers for local newsmakers

CHEERS to the large crowd of parents and other city residents who filled the gymnasium of the Boys & Girls Club on a sweltering Tuesday evening to hear from candidates for the Salem School Committee.

The full house was a good sign. There is important work to be done over the next few years in the Salem schools, which are deep into their Accelerated Improvement Plan, the turnaround plan put into place after the state designated Salem a low-performing, Level 4 district in 2011.

Salem has been given three years to turn around student performance on the state MCAS exam and to improve in other areas, and the next iteration of the School Committee will play a key role in those efforts.

Fortunately, there is an exceptionally deep field of candidates this year, including incumbents Janet Crane, Lisa Lavoie and Brendan Walsh and challengers Katie Casiglia, Rachel Hunt, Rick Johnson and Patrick Schultz. Cheers to them, too, for stepping up at a difficult time.

Tuesday night’s event, put on by the Salem Education Foundation, did a fine job of drawing out candidates’ views on everything from standardized testing and communication with parents to after-school programming and bus routes.

If you missed The Salem News coverage of the event, there’s still time to review it before next Tuesday’s preliminary election, which will narrow the field to six candidates (there are also runoff elections for mayor and wards 4 and 6 on the ballot). You can also watch the forum in its entirety tonight at 7 on Salem’s cable access television. Then vote Tuesday.

CHEERS to the Marblehead Harbors and Waters Board for finding a compromise to allow fishing to resume from town docks.

Earlier this summer the docks were swamped (nearly literally) with fishermen looking to take advantage of a historic squid run. Debates about out-of-town vs. Header anglers aside, it was clear there were too many people in too small of a space, especially at the Commercial Street pier. The board had little choice but to enact a temporary ban.

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