To the editor:
I am a parent with a child who will be entering the Haverhill public schools and am concerned about the quality of education in Haverhill. I am also a Haverhill taxpayer and equally concerned about how my tax dollars are spent. It is because of these two concerns that I am supporting Gail Sullivan in the Haverhill School Committee race.
I’ve looked at Haverhill’s scores in last year’s MCAS testing and find them disheartening. As a district, 45 percent of our children fall into the needs improvement or failing category in English, 53 percent of them fall into those categories in math, and 62 percent in science and technology. Those are test score numbers, but they translate into real life numbers when the opportunities a child will have in life are diminished because he or she lacks the right skills. Our children deserve, not just a good, but an excellent education that will expand rather than limit their opportunities. Having a School Committee member with the breadth of educational experience that Ms. Sullivan has will help our schools become excellent. She knows education. She’s been there as a teacher in the classroom and an administrator in the office. She’s helped facilitate changes in curriculum and teaching strategies. She knows what it takes to offer students the best.
As a taxpayer, I appreciate the opportunity to vote for someone who has educational budget experience. Ms. Sullivan has been a teacher wanting to be fairly compensated for her work, but she’s also been the administrator negotiating that compensation with an understanding of the constraints of a district’s finances. She’s had to plan for the maintenance and upgrade of buildings and equipment, and find a balance between all the educational tools she might want to give her teachers and realities of a budget. She’s had to make budgetary choices and understands the consequences of those choices. I think that’s invaluable experience for a School Committee member.
I believe Gail Sullivan will make an ideal school committeewoman who will work to address my concerns as both a Haverhill parent and a taxpayer. I urge you to join me in voting for her in the Nov. 5 election.