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For School Committee, vote for Coury and Sheehan

May 31, 2012

In this year’s town election, there are three seats available on the School Committee, with no incumbents running. One seat is available for a one-year term while the other two are three-year terms.

For one of the three-year term seats, 180 proudly endorses Christine Coury for the second year in a row.

Coury is the only candidate for School Committee this year who is opposed to the override. In her campaign for this board last year, she was the only candidate with the guts to publicly question the notion that higher class sizes hurt our students – a myth that is rapidly being discredited as more studies and research come out on the topic. On this issue, Coury has shown a strong willingness to look at facts and research when making big financial decisions that will affect our school district, rather than making decisions based on gut emotion. She is in favor of implementing merit-based pay raises for teachers, and is in favor of seeking more concessions from our teachers union that go beyond the modest concessions made in the past few years.

Coury is one of only two candidates in the race for School Committee who has attended the Walpole Public Schools. She graduated from Bridgewater State University with degrees in Elementary Education and Political Science with a focus in Public Administration. She is currently a teacher, meaning she has the insight to understand what it truly takes to be in a classroom full of students. She knows what goes on both inside the classroom and outside the classroom, where the rest of us are trying to pay our bills and pay skyrocketing fees and taxes.

Coury’s refreshing opposition to unsustainable spending and unsustainable union contracts is precisely what the town of Walpole needs on its School Committee right now. 180 proudly supports Coury in her campaign this year.

180 endorses John C. Sheehan for the one-year seat on the School Committee.

Though Sheehan and 180 disagree on the override, Sheehan’s other positions on the issues seem superb. Sheehan supports seeking major concessions from the teachers’ union, which he has specifically said may include reductions or the elimination of cost-of-living raises, step raises, and health insurance costs. He supports imposing merit-based pay for teachers, as is done “in most private sector jobs.” He also supports privatization of some school services when the costs and benefits to students make sense. He is the only candidate for School Committee other than Coury to publicly express concern that three of our legislators voted against increasing special education circuit breaker funding in the FY 2013 state budget. Even override supporters have pointed out that one of Walpole’s biggest fiscal problems is with its burdensome unfunded and underfunded mandates, and addressing those mandates starts with dealing with the very same legislators who are responsible for continuing to not properly fund those mandates.

Despite his support for this year’s override, Sheehan stands with the taxpayers on most issues. The other candidates have expressed little interest in reining in our spending and union contracts. The other candidates offer more of the same. 180 is confident that Sheehan will be an excellent addition to the School Committee, and urges voters to support him on Saturday.

(Editor’s Note: Like the endorsement for Selectmen, you will note that 180 is only publicly endorsing two candidates despite there being three available seats.)

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