Meet the candidate: Gerald Capra (K-8 School Committee)

[Ed note: What follows is a statement authored by Gerald Capra who is running for a seat on the K-8 School Committee. If you’re running for a town office this year and would like to post a statement on My Southborough, drop me a line at mysouthborough@gmail.com. Town elections are on Monday, May 14. You can find a list of candidates here.]

My name is Gerald Capra and I’m running for K-8 School Committee. I’m running for this position because I care deeply about our children’s future, and I believe that a quality education is the key to their hopes and dreams.

I’ve lived on Strawberry Hill Road for almost 16 years. I have two children in the Southborough schools. One is a student at Neary, and the other at Trottier. Since I’ve lived in Southborough, I’ve volunteered as a Cub Scout Den leader, soccer coach, and basketball coach. For many years I served on the Board of Directors for the Southborough Extended Day Program. I spent three of those years as its Treasurer.

I grew up in a family that prized education. My father would speak to me as a child about education, coming from the perspective of physician and veteran. He said “there is nothing more important than education. You can have your money and possessions taken away. But they can never take away your education”. Those words have stayed with me all of my life.

The residents of Southborough should be proud of our excellent schools. We have high achievement, strong leadership, and modern facilities. In every excellent system, however, there are areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement. Let’s work together to identify areas for improvement, and do this in a productive and responsible way.

We are a prosperous town. We need to recognize, however, that there are many families and senior citizens who are struggling. Job losses and low income growth have taken their toll. For many people, these are some of the most difficult times of their lives. We must take measures to be certain that we remain a cost effective school system in the future.

I will work with members of the school committee, the school administration, as well as other town departments and officials in a results oriented, respectful manner. I will attempt to resolve any issues or disagreements in a way that speaks positively of our town.

I will be an advocate for the town of Southborough and its schools. We have a high achieving, cost effective school system with excellent leadership. We should be proud of our system, and grateful for what we have.

If you think that I’m worthy for this position, I hope you will vote for me. You can be certain that I will be a strong proponent for our high achieving school system, and our residents, who deserve the best for their hard earned dollars.

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Al Hamilton
10 years ago

Jerry

In March I asked you a set of questions which you committed to answer before the election. I realize that you are for all intents and purposes unopposed but I would appreciate it if you could reply:

Al Hamilton March 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Jerry

Thank you for deciding to run. From your comments here you seem to be open minded and willing to challenging the status quo so let me ask the candidate some questions:

1. Will you work to promptly provide information requested by other boards and citizens without attempt to control the flow of public information?

2. Will you commit to working for a public, transparent, review of school population forecasts and full analysis of a 3 vs 4 school format?

3. Will you work to place all documents provided to the school committee in public meetings on the web in a fashion similar the Advisory Committee?

4. Will you work to change the format of the School Committee meetings so that citizens and public officials can engage in discussions with the School Committee at public meetings?

5. Given that the K-8 School Committee is responsible for a budget nearly 3 times larger than the Board of Selectmen, will you work to holding more that 1 public meeting a month?

6. Will you work to have a comprehensive review of Math Education in our K-8 system? Will you insist on measurable metrics of improvement?

7. Will you work to insist that public officials represent contracted pay raises as the raise that an average teacher receives? Will you work to end the practice of referring to only part of the contracted raises as the amount of increase?

I am certainly interested in supporting a candidate with the right answers to these questions.

Reply

13 Jerry C March 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Al,

You have good questions, and I appreciate that you’ve given me a list that I can think about.

In the near future there will be a candidates night. I would like to meet you, and others. I promise you direct answers to all of these questions. I hope others will also come with their questions.

I spent many years in financial management and feel comfortable working on the financial issues that concern you, and me, and others in the town.

If I’m fortunate enough to be elected to the school committee, I will proudly represent the taxpayers of Southborough.

Regards,

Jerry

Jerry C
10 years ago

Al,

I’m happy to answer them for you.

1: Yes. Assuming there are no legal or confidentiality issues.

2: Yes.

3: Yes. Assuming there are no legal or confidentiality issues.

4: Not certain. I’ve spoken at a few school committee meetings and never had a problem. I need a better understanding of this issue.

5: Not certain. If there are urgent issues I would recommend additional meetings to resolve the issue(s).

6: Yes. All areas of academic weakness need to be reviewed. This should be done as a normal course of business. All goals should be measureable.

7: Yes. Information should be stated accurately.

Hopefully I’ll get to meet you tomorrow night.

Regards,

Jerry

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  Jerry C

Jerry

Thank you.

Re 4. There is no problem speaking, the problem is carrying on a discussion. Did a board member ever discuss anything with you at a public meeting? They refused to speak with members of Advisory and the BOS. Is that open govt.

Unfortunately, work takes me out of town tomorrow.

Jerry C
10 years ago

Al,

Dr. Gabron answered my questions.

I will do everything possible to improve communications. That’s one of my main goals.

Jerry

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  Jerry C

Jerry

This is not an issue for the Superintendent. He will work for you not the other way around. The strange format where there is no discussion with citizens or public officials and the board at School Committee meetings cannot be changed by the Superintendent. It is a policy issue. This policy was instituted by the School Committee and can only be changed by the School Committee.

So, I will ask you again. Will you as a School Committee member offer a motion to change the format that will permit actual discussion between citizens and public officials at School Committee meetings?

JC
10 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al,

I mentioned this last night (briefly) in Candidates night as one way I would try to improve communications. The residents of Southborough should be able to ask elected officials questions. My answer is Yes.

Jerry

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