"Good people serving all of Westerly."
The Westerly Democratic Town Council Candidates are Suzanne Giorno, Brian McCuin and Chris Duhamel. These incumbents are seeking a second consecutive term on the Westerly Town Council.
Prioritize Maintenance of Town Facilities
Preserve Open Space
Keep our Tax Rate Low with a Fiscally Conservative Budget
Support our Police and Emergency Services
Support a Responsible School Building Plan that Prioritizes Maintenance
Encourage Increased Public Participation with Town Government
Value Effective Teachers
“Education is not the filling of a pail; it is the lighting of a fire.” The poet Yeats uttered this phrase many years ago yet it couldn’t be any truer today. As candidates for the Westerly School Committee, we believe that our schools need to ignite a desire to question, to investigate, to seek answers, and to share that knowledge with others. This is the heart of teaching and learning and can only be accomplished by hiring and retaining the most talented staff, and ensuring the curriculum they put forth is of the highest quality and caliber paired with expert instruction for the students of Westerly.
We believe Westerly needs to hire the best and the brightest staff. It is essential that the staff feels supported and receives the necessary professional development in order to be constantly up to date on best practices for teaching. It is also important that we retain this staff and allow for growth within our own school district. We need the curriculum being implemented at all levels and subject areas to be coherent, concise, challenging, and relevant. We understand that our children will be competing for jobs in a global market within which many of the careers they will apply for do not even exist yet. It is imperative our schools are 21st century ready and that our students acquire the skills necessary to be life-long learners.
We understand that high stakes testing helps to gauge the success of our school system, but we also know that not everything that counts can be counted. While we expect our schools to outperform others in our state, we also feel it is important to look at individual cohorts of students to see growth from previous years; each year, every year. Also, we strongly believe that we need to educate the whole child including their social and emotional well-being. We MUST ensure that our children are developing into caring and contributing members of society.
Ineffective communication is characterized by lack of facts, focus and transparency. In local government, this is the “fault” of no one but, rather, the end result of unclear policies and procedures combined with turnover in key positions over the years.
If elected, our team will strive to clearly understand the history, facts and circumstances that shape decisions of both elected and appointed governmental bodies in the Town of Westerly. As members of the School Committee, we need to be transparent while initiating effective communications and relationships with the Town Council. We will initiate more joint meetings where we, as leaders, will discuss the challenges faced by each body and work in synergy to develop solutions to those challenges. We will also foster clear and timely communication to ensure that our intentions are understood and well vetted. This will be a critical factor in moving Westerly Public Schools forward in the next four years.
The effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our community, both on the municipal side and the school side, has brought to light additional issues that need to be addressed. Developing solutions to these issues will require effective collaboration between the Town Council and the School Committee.
Vote for all four members of our team; we understand our accountability to all Westerly Public Schools’ students and to all constituents of the Town of Westerly.
Building for the Future
With regard to the ongoing School Building project, many if not most community members don’t fully understand how we arrived where we are today. In 2016, the $38M elementary building plan involved renovating Bradford, Dunn’s Corners and Springbrook Schools. At that time we had excess building capacity which would have allowed us to move staff and students among buildings that were not under renovation. The "We Can Do Better” group actively campaigned against this plan and helped to narrowly defeat it. Two months later, in January 2017, the newly seated School Committee closed Bradford School. As part of the 2019 proposal, all four options presented by the Building Subcommittee to the School Committee and public included a new build. The final plan, at $74M, included a new upper elementary (grades 3-5) school on the State Street site and renovations to other buildings in the district. A group, “People for Responsible Planning,” formed in opposition. On October 10, 2019, this referendum was also narrowly defeated.
The current Building Subcommittee and School Committee realize that scenarios that do not include a new build are also warranted. All viable options will be examined using defined criteria endorsed by the School Committee. After delays due to COVID, this task is now imminent.
If elected, our team will work to gain unanimous support within the School Committee and Town Council for the selected project. We realize that, without that unanimity, it is unlikely that the project will garner enough support to be approved at the polls. At this point it is absolutely critical that we bring forth a plan that will be successfully executed for the benefit of all students of Westerly Public Schools. Our children deserve schools that are 21st century ready with state of the art technology. As part of the school committee, we will redefine and redesign schools for 21st century learning. With this in mind, please support the Democratic Team for the Westerly School Committee. We will bring the third and final phase of the Vision 2020 Project to fruition and implement a plan that is responsive to students’ needs and financially sound for the community.