Sarah Goff: Incumbents are the best way to move schools forward

Thursday, October 31, 2019
Incumbents are the best way to move schools forward

As the Nov. 5 election in Amherst approaches, residents have the opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations for our town and our public institutions.

My partner and I chose to move to Amherst almost 14 years ago, in no small part because of Amherst’s reputation for excellence in K-12 public education. We are deeply committed to non-privatized public education and have been delighted with our children’s social and academic education at Crocker Farm elementary school. We are grateful to the dedicated and caring teachers, staff, and leadership.

At the district level, I have found the current School Committee remarkable in its accessibility and its efforts to listen to the many different opinions and perspectives regarding educational questions big and small, short- and long-term the town is facing. My sense is that the committee believes that debate is necessary in a healthy democracy, but that debate can only effectively move issues forward when it is civil and respectful, an approach they have embodied.

The incumbents up for reelection — Allison McDonald, Eric Nakajima, Peter Demeling and Kerry Spitzer — have been diligent in their efforts to address big issues such as replacing the crumbling Wildwood and Fort River schools. There is no solution that will please all residents, but they have worked hard to find a compromise that will position the town to procure the state funds needed to ensure an equitable solution that will maintain and possibly advance the high quality of education the community aspires to.

They have also shown leadership in shining a light negative effects charter schools can have on the rest of the public education system. I believe that reelecting these four incumbents and electing Ben Herrington as a new member will maintain the excellent progress and momentum towards meeting the needs of all students in the Amherst public schools.

Sarah Goff