MANCHESTER — Five candidates believe they have what it takes to help Manchester Essex Regional School District meet its current financial challenges.
Only two will be elected to the Manchester Essex Regional School Board in municipal elections this year. The candidates are Nadia Wetzler, Kristen McLaughlin, Eric Bradford, Anna Lin Mitchell and Erica Spencer.
Polls will be open Tuesday, May 17 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Memorial Elementary School, 43 Lincoln St.
The school district’s fiscal year 2023 budget, set at $24,987,369, presents a funding shortfall of $1.1 million that will be partially covered by $460,000 in cuts to programs and services. These cuts include two full-time teaching positions and the K-6 Exploratory Foreign Languages program. To balance the budget and possibly regain some cut programs, the district will propose a waiver to the 2 1/2 proposal at next year’s town meetings.
The Manchester Town Meeting approved the city’s share of the budget, $15,909,698, last Monday. Essex voters will have their say on the remaining $8,695,830 at their annual town hall meeting on Monday, May 2.
McLaughlin sat on Manchester Memorial School Council from 2017 to 2019. She works as a criminal defense barrister at Bowser Law in Chelmsford and her twin children are in year three this year.
“While my core beliefs are strongly in favor of low student-teacher ratios and basic foreign language programs, I am committed to exhausting all options and seeking other ways to conserve as much as possible,” he said. she said about the recent budget cuts. “I think there are always creative solutions to every problem, and my negotiating skills as a lawyer can be put to good use here. I’m good at seeing all sides and can be creative in my problem solving. »
spencer served on elementary and middle school councils. His three sons have attended regional schools in Manchester Essex since kindergarten. Two are now in high school and one in college.
“I believe a seat on the school board would allow me to serve my community, while utilizing the skills I have developed as a lawyer, accountant and lifelong parent in this district,” she said. . “I have been actively involved in our school system: I have co-chaired a successful auction, served several terms on the school council, co-chaired fifth-grade events and activities, and participated in various school task forces . I’ve always believed in digging in and participating, especially when the going gets tough – and the past two years have certainly been tough.
Lin Mitchell is Chief Financial Officer of Splash International, a non-profit organization that strives to bring clean water to communities in need around the world. She has a sixth, fourth, and kindergarten student enrolled in the school district.
“As for the planned budget cuts to math, art and foreign language programs, that’s disappointing to say the least,” she said. “Budget cuts are never easy, but I believe that with my experience in financial and budget management, I will be able to provide the school administration and the community with financial insight and support to enable us to make the best decisions together for our children.”
Bradford has worked as a software architect for most of his professional life. Her son studies at Manchester Essex Regional Middle School.
“The specific convergence of factors that led to this waiver proposal is unlikely to be repeated, but as a general rule I recognize that maintaining MERSD’s level of quality provides an exceptional return on investment for Manchester residents and of Essex,” he said. the proposed waiver request. “I fully recognize that these trade-offs can pose a challenge in our current economic environment, and I look forward to exploring mechanisms to do all we can to maintain MERSD’s high standards while being mindful of the impact on taxpayers.”
Wetzler is a barrister and a member of the Manchester Sustainable Development Committee with three children registered in the district. She declined to comment on the district’s budget issues.
“I prefer not to respond without more information about what drives these decisions,” she explained. “But I would like to carefully consider any decision to cut foreign language and other programs.”
In Essex, Jacob Foster is running unchallenged for an Essex seat at the regional school board headquarters. He could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Michael Cronin can be reached at 978-675-2708, or firstname.lastname@example.org.