The Westfield School Board is currently a non-partisan governing body of our very high performing school district. We all were very happy to have served on this board. One of the great characteristics of the current structure is that the members are not Republicans or Democrats; they are simply Westfield residents who want to give back to their community.  

We are very concerned by the rumors that we have been hearing that both political parties are contemplating putting up a slate of candidates for the school board openings available in November 2018.  We are absolutely against allowing the school board to become politicized.  

Until 2012, school board elections were held in April. They were then moved to November. The concern at the time of the change is that the elections would become political since they would be happening at the same time as the more traditional political offices were being voted on. We were very lucky that this did not happen, perhaps until now.

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Why do we need “Republicans” or “Democrats” on the school board? During our time on the board, never once did the work of the school board, of setting policy for the district and representing the community in the administration of the schools, involve politics. Many board members serve because they want to contribute to the community without getting involved in partisan debates. To politicize the school board would detract from the good work that is being done and potentially discourage good candidates from running simply because they are “tied in” to the local political parties.  

Our school district is one of the highest performing in the state. Could we do better? Of course we could and we believe that the current administration, teachers, board and our students are committed to continuing to improve on what is already a very strong district. The school district and the town administrators and elected officials have worked well together in the recent past and we would like to see them find even more ways to leverage all of the assets of the town for the betterment of our students but we do not need to make this political. 

We should focus on putting the best people available in office, not putting three Republicans or three Democrats in office.  

If you have a point of view, please let your elected officials know your position.  

Sincerely,

Mark Friedman
Mitch Slater
Brendan Galligan