Candidate Profile – Southborough School Committee
Southborough – Southborough will be holding its Annual Town Election Monday, May 12. Incumbents Paul Desmond and Kathleen Harragan and a third candidate, Timothy Martel, are running for two spots on the School Committee. The Community Advocate has asked the candidates to share, in their own words, a short bio and answers to three questions. Desmond and Harragan chose not to participate.
I was born in Providence and have lived in New England most of my life. My family includes three school-age children, and we moved to Southborough in 2008. My wife and I set our roots here in part because of the financial sacrifices its residents are willing to make for those values it holds dear, among which is the importance placed on education. Our choice to dedicate time to town government, and the School Committee in particular, is one way we can give back to our community.
What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
Since coming to town, I have been active in our town government as a member of the Ad Hoc Town Manager committee, in Town Meeting, and also continue to have the privilege of serving as a coach in SYBA. Additionally, I hold three graduate degrees and am a PMP-certified project manager, regularly managing projects between 500k and 5mil. My experience has made me effective at negotiation and communication, while requiring that I remain efficient in terms of cost and deliverables.
If you could eliminate Proposition 2- ½ would you? Why or why not?
I would not eliminate Proposition 2-1/2. I am a strong believer in a balanced perspective, and a system with checks and balances. Significant financial challenges face us as we strive to invest further in our school system, and yet we must especially remember those who are most vulnerable to rising taxes. Consistent increases beyond 2.5 percent represent a moral threat as they force seniors on fixed incomes to choose between basic needs and eventually drive them from town. Our citizens should have control over their taxation, and if a sacrifice is necessary, it is the citizens who should make that choice.
What do you think is the most significant problem facing your community? What do you think should be done short-term and long-term to change it?
A threat continues to build to Southborough’s school system. It is a culmination of a decade of unchecked expenses, crumbling town facilities that require near-future solutions, and massive unfunded liabilities. Funding for necessary school investments will compete directly with incontestable public safety needs and other critical services. The current School Committee is a silo that has only a single solution – raise taxes. That short-term mentality has run out of road. Practical solutions need to be found to ensure our schools are fully supported, and they will only result from a collaborative effort between the School Committee and other Town boards.
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