Video: At-Large School Committee Candidates Forum, 10/27/09

Here is a complete video of the 10/27/09 forum for At-Large School Committee candidates sponsored by Ward 6 City Councilor Marianne LaBarge, the Ward Six Association and Water Not Waste. The forum took place at the R.K. Finn Ryan Rd. Elementary School. This video was recorded by Lachlan Ziegler and is 59 minutes long.

The At-Large School Committee Candidates are Blue DuVal, Michael Flynn, Robert Schroeder, and James Young.

See also:

Gazette: “4 with varied experience stump for 2 school board seats” (10/26/09)
Schroeder says he would rely on his business acumen to seek out new revenue for the school system. Flynn said his experience as a teacher, Ward 7 School Committee member and appointed member on state education boards would be a valuable contribution to the board in myriad ways. Young, a self-described problem solver, said he seeks a chance to be creative in finding revenue sources for city schools. A regular volunteer in the schools, DuVal said her understanding of individual schools and passion for communication will open a dialogue so residents will feel part of budget discussions.

Video: Mayoral Debate Sponsored by Gazette, 10/26/09; “Would You Close a School?”

Yes! Northampton Press Release: “At-Large School Committee Candidates Aim for Keeping All Elementary Schools Open”
All four at-large candidates for Northampton School Committee have expressed skepticism about the idea of closing an elementary school to address an ongoing school budget gap, according to responses from a recent survey conducted by Yes! Northampton, a local citizen group.  Candidate Mike Flynn said he does not believe “filling three schools to capacity will improve the quality of education,”, Blue DuVal said she will “will not vote for closure,” Jim Young said he would only consider closing a school “as a last resort,” and Rob Schroeder said that closing a school “has far reaching implications for our children and community” that need further study.

Video: October 14 Forum with At-Large City Council and School Committee Candidates

Gazette: “Northampton school board candidates address voters” (10/17/09)
One candidate, Michael B. Flynn, already has School Committee experience, representing Ward 7 before seeking election to one of the at-large seats. Blue Marie DuVal, of 38 Sandy Hill Road, said she would launch an interactive blog as a way to stay in touch with residents. Robert A. Schroeder said his experience as a part-time manager would inform his service on the board. James J. Young said he would look for new revenue streams for city schools.

Gazette: “Push for school mergers ‘fizzles'” (10/28/09)
The commonwealth has long believed that merging financially strapped school districts would be an effective way to cut costs, but districts have remained skeptical about the tangible benefits…

…Beacon Hill stopped budgeting for regionalization in 1990 – and the efficiency of larger districts remains unproven.

Gazette: “The future of one small school: Pelham Elementary among many with larger choice levels” (10/28/09)
…Pelham has proved a magnet for school-choice families exactly because it is a small-town school. Parents said they were attracted to the school by its small class sizes, a sense of community and the school’s high educational standards…

[School choice] has not only kept the school open, but also allowed Pelham to maintain one of the highest educational standards in the area, which in turn encourages more school choice students. In the 2009 MCAS, the school scored first in sixth-grade math, second in fifth-grade science and fourth in sixth-grade English. School choice has also allowed the school to main precious programs.

“Dollars & Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools”
(KnowledgeWorks Foundation, 2002)
School size is arguably more important than either racial makeup or class size, according to at least one analysis. The Report Card on American Education (2001) noted that higher outcomes on standardized tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, as well as higher rates of graduation, may be connected more with school size than with race (LeFevre & Hederman, 2001, p. 3). The study also found that school size, not classroom size, was the key to student performance. Children performed better in schools where the principal knew their names. Schools with fewer than 300 students showed the best performance, even though class size in these schools was higher than the national average (RCAE, 1994). Similarly, Bickel and Howley show that the effects of class size and school size are different and to some extent separate. It is true that smaller schools tend to have smaller class sizes. But even when the influence of class size is included in studies, the influence of school size remains strong. District size also generally exerts a distinct influence (Bickel & Howley, 2000)…

“Back to School for Planners”; “Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School”; “The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools”