Editorial: Our endorsements

Lexington Minuteman, February 26, 2015, page B3

 

Lexington residents will face a difficult decision on Monday when they head to the polls to select two School Committee members.

 

On the ballot are five town-wide races – the School Committee race is the only contested one – and the election of Town Meeting members.

 

Voters choose two of three candidates to fill two three-year terms on the Lexington School Committee.  Incumbents Bill Hurley and Jessie Steigerwald are seeking re-election and challenger Tom Diaz is seeking a return to the board after a five-year absence.

 

The editors of the Lexington Minuteman sat down with each candidate to hear directly from them how they would approach the role on the School Committee and what stance they take on issues that group will face in the coming months and years.

 

Diaz, Hurley and Steigerwald all have extensive experience and qualifications to represent you on the Lexington School Committee for the next three years, and often arrive at the same or similar conclusions although they approach the process and the presentation differently.

 

Diaz brings a strong passion for advocating for children and education (especially technology) to his work.  If elected, we know he would bring his recent experience as a teacher as well as his financial background from running a company to the School Committee.  Both of these would add great strengths to the committee.

 

We are concerned, though, about his desire to draw a line in the sand for some of the master plan projects.  Everyone knows the projects are needed, but a softer hand and some compromise might be needed to get the money to address the space issues in the schools.

 

When voters elected Hurley in November, they knew how he worked as a superintendent but were waiting to see how he would come to the table as an elected official.  He has brought a calm presence to the committee and has not overstepped his new role.  As an educator, a taxpayer and as a former member of the town’s Capital Planning Committee he uses his knowledge to ask questions and present information others in town will want to know.

 

Over the last few months, he has made himself available by establishing regular office hours and has kept other the campaign promises he made in the fall.  We believe he can use a full term to create a strong bond with the town officials who will have great say as the requests for money to complete the master plan building projects go before voters.

 

During the last few years, Steigerwald has often been viewed as the voice of opposition.  She has advocated publically against the status quo of the committee’s actions and does not accept the answer of “well, that’s how it is done.”  Her push to bring the School Committee back into the policy review process and the push for the public process of the superintendent’s evaluation is critical for a successful school district. 

 

Steigerwald is also one of two sitting School Committee members with a child (or children) in the schools.  The casual connection with parents at social gatherings, youth activities and open houses is in important connection for a School Committee member.

 

With these points in mind, we are pleased to endorse Hurley and Steigerwald for School Committee.

 

How to vote:

 

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 2.  For specimen ballots visit http://lexingtonma.gov/townclerk/electioncalendar.cfm. The Town Clerk’s website also has information on voting locations.

 

For more information on any of the candidates check out the Lexington League of Women Voters’ Election Guide at lexington.wickedlocal.com.  [Note: This resource did not yet appear online at the time of this post.]