Brodner's vote gives many options

Anne Leary

February 20, 2014

I’m getting the feeling that the upcoming School Committee election is a referendum on Superintendent Paul Ash. Voters who want him replaced think that the composition of the School Committee must change. They point to Bonnie Brodner’s School Committee vote to enter into contract negotiations with Dr. Ash as evidence that she supports his continued tenure.

Bonnie’s vote, as she has repeatedly said in public, does not guarantee Dr. Ash a new contract. What it did was provide the Town, through the School Committee, an opportunity to look closely at the facts surrounding Dr. Ash's performance and to hear all sides of the public debate.

For those who claim that the School Committee lacks transparency on the question of Dr. Ash’s contract, imagine the opposite. Had Bonnie and the majority of her colleagues not voted to enter into negotiations, all conversation about Dr. Ash’s contract would have abruptly ended, and his contract would have automatically renewed. Community input would have been rendered moot. Thanks to Bonnie’s vote, all community members now have equal ability to inform the School Committee of their stances on the question of Dr. Ash’s contract by speaking at School Committee meetings, by writing to the School Committee, and by calling School Committee members.

I understand that Bonnie and her colleagues are prohibited by law to disclose the content of their executive session deliberations, including the question of whether they wish to extend his contract. But let’s be clear. In supporting negotiations, Bonnie has fulfilled her deepest promise to Lexington: to open dialogue among all of us on highly important issues, to study all sides of a question, and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. That’s respectful. That’s responsible. That&rsquos why she’s my candidate. Please join me in reelecting Bonnie Brodner on Monday, March 3.

Anne Leary

North Hancock Street

This letter originally appeared in the Lexington Minuteman in print on February 20, 2014.

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