Sara Stoutland for School Committee Vote May 8, 2018
My thoughts on a few issues--in no particular order with more to come: If you'd like more information on a particular issue--please let me know: saraforschoolcommittee.com; 617 834 1458.
K-8 Students Needs for More Classroom and Common Spaces. Having lived the over-crowding and search-for-space process as parent and parent leader, I understand everyone’s frustrations. Yet we are close now--to a 9th school site and MSBA renovations/expansions. I bring historical knowledge yet fresh energy to these challenges. I will listen, work across schools and town and find workable solutions for all. Brookline school enrollment has grown 30% to 7,500+ students in the past 12 years. Our children need more space to learn and grow. The School Committee must aggressively pursue options: 1) To address North Brookline over-crowding, the school committee has submitted proposals to MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) for renovation and expansion of both Pierce and Driscoll. MSBA partially reimburses towns for approved school projects. 2) In South Brookline, the town must continue to study four sites for a 9th K-8 school -- new construction costs roughly half the price of renovation. 3) The School Committee, with input from families, should explore ways to redistrict students that are equitable but not based solely on geography. 4) Finally, the town should explore a town-wide state-of-the-art athletic field house funded by a capital campaign. Brookline residents of all ages need more fitness facilities. Note on Driscoll Expansion: Driscoll is now a 3+ section school. Roam the halls at any time of day and it is over-crowded. IF it includes a full renovation, IF it is part of a comprehensive plan that solves all of Brookline'sK-8 space needs. I would support a Driscoll expansion.
Reducing Principal Turnover The district office should be organized to support principals. So the principals can support teachers, and the teachers support students. Principals need resources that address both their school’s needs and district goals. We must develop an in-district principal pipeline for vice principals and curriculum coordinators. Finally, we need to solve our need for more classrooms and common spaces. School leaders want to lead schools where they focus on student learning, not space finding.
Transparency in government has become a common concern among Brookline residents. What is one thing that you will push for to address the problem? I will ensure stakeholders--families, teachers, staff, school and town administrators, elected officials and Brookline residents--have ample opportunity to give input in decision making. I will ensure School Committee communicates its processes and decisions in a timely and accessible manner. Straightforward summaries of School Committee proceedings could be in the Tab.