Meet the Candidates: Links to letters from candidates for contested office

Right: Don’t worry, I’m not running for office. But each of the candidates listed below hopes you will vote for him/her next Tuesday.

A week from tomorrow, residents will vote to appoint candidates to five contested seats on three important boards. To help you make that decision, I have invited each of them to submit a letter to readers.

I just posted all of those letters today. Below are the links.

But first – a quick reminder. You can meet and hear from the candidates in person this Wednesday evening at the Library. The annual Candidates’ Night is 6:00 pm on May 2nd. For details, click here.

Now here’s the list of candidates with links to each of their letters*:

Board of Selectmen – vote for one – 3 year term

School Committee – vote for two – 3 year term

Board of Trustees Southborough Library – vote for two – 3 year term

*[Editor’s Note: I have notified the candidates that I will allow them to post an additional note to their letters after Candidates’ Night in case issues raised that night prompts a need for that. So, check back at the end of the week to see if there are any updates.]

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Carl Guyer
4 years ago

With 78 % of the commerical property in Massachucetts taxed under split tax rates, Southborough continues to use a single real estate tax rate policy. This deviation from the norm increases the average annual real estate bill from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars each year.

Can one of the candidates for the BOS explain why this policy continues ?

Louise Barron
4 years ago

After listening to the School Committee candidates, I couldn’t disagree with them more regarding MCAS testing. The three candidates mentioned that their children were stressed from taking these tests. Whether the tests measure a students proficiency level, or not, stress is a natural emotional response that follow us, at times, all our lives. The tests may even prepare them for the SAT’s that will follow in a few years, during their junior year in high school. I would encourage students to take as many tests as they could, to acclimate them with the greater pressure of college entrance exams. You as parents are not doing these kids a service by minimizing the tests importance.

Jennifer Primack
4 years ago
Reply to  Louise Barron

First of, I want to clarify that my child has not started taking the test so my response to the question raised at town meeting wasn’t about my personal experience or my family’s personal experience with testing but rather grounded in what I have read and researched on the issue.

There are many reasons why I don’t think MCAS is ideal, although I agree that we need a way to assess performance of both students and schools. So I’m not against testing, I just don’t think the MCAS is necessarily the way to go. MCAS is largely about rote memorization and a snapshot in time that doesn’t adequately demonstrate a student’s true ability or progress over the year. This is why there has been a statewide push to change it (e.g., switch to PARCC which is supposed to do a better job of assessing college readiness and critical thinking skills – although the recently published studies haven’t found differences between the two tests in terms of predicting college success).

In terms of stress/anxiety, you raise an interesting counterargument. I’m hesitant to believe that we need to be preparing our 3rd, 4th, 5th, graders to take the SATs, but I agree that there is value to preparing our children for tasks that will help them in college/career. I also would argue that if what we really care about is collegiate success, SAT scores are not highly predictive either. High school GPA is a much better predictor and doesn’t rely on how a student does in one moment in time, but rather on teacher evaluations (in my opinion, a much better metric for assessing progress and achievement). Further, many colleges are moving away from relying on the SAT (many even abandoning it all together as a criterion) because they recognized standardize test results as flawed.

There is no question that rates of anxiety and depression are skyrocketing in our children. In fact, Mr. Ryan (Finn principal) just posted some interesting facts on rates of mental health issues in children through our parent-school communication app. I think the cause for the increase is complex — a combination of multiple factors including harder curriculum at earlier ages, overscheduling of kids (both by parents and schools), sleep deprivation (in older kids). I think MCAS is one of those factors and if it’s not accurately assessing performance, then it’s problematic.

4 years ago
Reply to  Louise Barron

Even colleges are becoming test optional!

Kate Noke
4 years ago
Reply to  Jojama

Excellent response, Jen. If folks have not done so already, I would urge them to watch the documentary, “Race to Nowhere,” which came out in 2010 and had a screening at ARHS at that time. This film does a good job documenting the pressures on children and families because of the emphasis on academic achievement. It is thought-provoking stuff.

I do feel that MCAS has a role to play, however, in that students with disabilities get an independent assessment which can be used to inform the IEP process. People may not know that a lot of care is taken to make sure that as many students as possible pass the test at the high school level. If proficiency is not reached, an EPP (Educational Proficiency Plan) is put in place so that a student with a disability can still pass MCAS, which is a graduation requirement.

Louise Barron
4 years ago

Dumbing down of America is a common phrase for a good reason. Children are expected to do less and be less. Lower standards, equals a country of low achievers. That’s where we are. A more challenging curriculum won’t hurt kids. Kids must learn, that they need to do their best, work hard, and not expect that things will be dropped on a platter for them.The overwhelming schedules could be harmful to kids and the parents are certainly responsible for that.

Southborough Town Clerk
4 years ago

I’m writing to let voters know that they will have a slightly different check-in experience at Tuesday’s Annual Town Election at the Trottier School from 6:30am until 8:00pm.

We are still required to use the old fashioned paper check-in system, but we will also be using the much faster electronic check-in system we use at Town Meetings.

Why are we using two check-in systems side-by side?
The state has told us that once they finish writing the new regulations, we will be allowed to eliminate using paper check-in for elections. In anticipation of the change to electronic check-in, I’m using this opportunity to test how the new system will work, give our election workers and the voters a chance to ‘test drive’ the system, and give us an opportunity to identify and fix any issues before we officially move to the new system. For this election, the paper check-in will remain the legal standard.

We will continue to use paper ballots regardless of how we check-in.

Check-in by precinct
If you voted at this school, your precinct is:
Woodward 1
Trottier band room 2
Finn 3

Election Workers
Several Algonquin High School students have volunteered to work at this election.

There will be additional handicapped parking spaces in front of the gym entrance.
ONLY people actively voting can park in front of the gym.
All candidates and their supporter must park in front of the Trottier school.

Although I sent postcards to every household in Southborough advising people of the election date and time and reminding them that all voting will be held at Trottier, I will also post signs at the Senior Center, Woodward, Finn and the Trottier band room in case people go to the old location. Those signs will be posted on Sunday night in case people show up on Monday instead of Tuesday.

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve how we manage elections, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Jim Hegarty
Southborough Town Clerk
(508) 485-0710 x 3007

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