Westborough – The town of Westborough will be holding its Annual Town Election Tuesday, March 4. There are no contested races this year.
The Community Advocate has invited candidates for the School Committee to state their opinions on several issues in their own words. Ilyse Levine-Kanji is an incumbent, running for a three-year term.
Ilyse Levine-Kanji – A Chicago native, Ilyse graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988 and from UCLA School of Law in 1991. She represented individuals in employment discrimination cases in San Francisco and Boston before having children.? Ilyse has enjoyed living in Westborough for the past fifteen years with her husband, Shamez, and their two sons, Sam (15) and Troy (13).? She has served on the Westborough School Committee for the previous six years, including three as Chair.? For more information about Ilyse, including articles she's written about her personal experiences with autism and gun violence, visit http://ilyselevinekanji.com
1.? What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
My previous six years on the School Committee are particularly important right now as we look to hire a new superintendent from outside the district.? I am knowledgeable about many different facets of Westborough's six schools and diverse student population, the intricacies of our budgeting process, and the way our state and municipal governments work.? I have developed positive working relationships with state/local officials and with school/town employees.? School Committee has been my “job.”? I am deeply committed, hardworking, open-minded, and a problem-solver.? Other assets include my legal background and having two children in the Westborough Schools.
2.? If you could eliminate Proposition 2-1/2 would you? Why or why not???
I would not eliminate Proposition 2-1/2 because I think it strikes an appropriate balance between fiscal responsibility and a community's ability to control its own spending.? Proposition 2.5 ensures that elected officials and town administrators focus on providing services in the most cost-efficient manner possible.? However, if a majority of a community's taxpayers wish to receive a greater level of services, that community can vote to raise additional taxes by overriding Proposition 2-1/2.
3.? 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?
The biggest challenge facing the Westborough Public Schools is how to maintain the excellent quality of our programs in a time of financial hardship.? Over the past six years we'se closely reviewed many aspects of our system searching for ways to save money without impacting students” learning.? We'se lessened our energy and transportation expenses and kept our supplies budget at a zero percent increase for the past seven years.? We'se also diligently searched for additional revenue sources, like partnerships with local businesses, grant writing, and meeting with legislators to advocate for Westborough's equitable share of state aid. ?This work should continue.
4.? What person in your life has had the most impact on you and why?
The person who has impacted me the most is my son Sam, who was diagnosed with autism at 26 months.? Sam has to work incredibly hard to learn things that us “neurotypicals” take for granted, but he approaches life with a sunny can-do attitude that inspires and brings joy to others.? Sam is currently a Westborough High School freshman and we are constantly amazed at his capacity to learn, grow and succeed.? We are also awed by the way Sam's high school peers (and younger brother) accept and embrace Sam's differences.? Sam faces extra challenges, but he has so much to offer.