Shrewsbury candidates sound off at voters’ event

Shrewsbury – Candidates running for local offices in Shrewsbury had a chance to make their case for election April 22 at an event hosted by the Shrewsbury League of Women Voters. The annual candidates’ night was held in the Town Hall and featured statements from six of the nine people seeking seats on the School Committee, Board of Selectmen, Housing Authority and as a Library Trustee.

The first candidates to speak represented the only contested race in the upcoming May 4 election – the race for two School-Committee seats. Three candidates, Bob Olson, Erin Canzano and Dale Magee are in the running for the two open spots. Canzano was unable to attend the event. Magee and Olson made statements about their qualifications and answered questions from audience members. When asked for their ideas for efficiencies in the school budget, Olson pointed to the estimated $9 million going out of district to educate and transport students who require certain special education services not available in Shrewsbury. He also mentioned the town children who choose charter schools. Olson suggested that these two student groups might represent a possible place to recoup funds.

“We need to find ways to keep more students in district,” said Olson, a program manager at Intel with two children in Shrewsbury schools. “Budgets for this school district are as tight as you can get.”

When asked about their specifi c qualifications for School Committee, Magee, an area physician who also has a master’s degree from Dartmouth in Health Policy and Performance Measurement, noted that his experience in the health care industry gave him the necessary skills to deal with education issues.

“When you compare health care issues and school budgets, they aren’t that far apart,” he said.

The uncontested race for two Selectman seats includes incumbent Board of Selectmen members Moira Miller and John Lebeaux. The candidates were asked for their thoughts on a Proposition 2-1/2 override to cover budget gaps, which would force residents to take on a property tax increase that goes beyond the limits allowed to municipalities under Massachusetts law.

“I would think it’s a tool of last resort,” Lebeaux said. “I think they [Proposition 2-1/2 overrides] are a very bitter pill for a town to swallow.”

Miller echoed Lebeaux’s sentiments, stating that the answer is never a simple one and that overrides should be undertaken “sparingly and with careful consideration of factors.”

Miller also noted, however, that shrinking revenue sources from the state make it increasingly difficul t fo r a municipality to work within the limits of Proposition 2-1/2.

The evening wrapped up with brief appearances by Mary Jordalen, a candidate for Housing Authority, and Frances Whitney, a candidate for Library Trustee. Both candidates are incumbents in their seats and are running uncontested.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=6973

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