Newburyport, One Issue Elections Make About as Much Sense as “Easy on the Eyes”

This is from Forbes.com.

I can take no credit. No, the editor of the Newburyport Blog, moi, does not peruse Forbes Magazine. I was given the heads-up by the ever faithful Yahoo.com.

The article, By Christina Settimi, Forbes.com, July 5, 2007, “Best And Worst School Districts For The Buck,” can be found, on you guessed it, Forbes.com.

“More spending doesn’t necessarily buy you better schools. With property taxes rising across the country, we took a look at per-pupil spending in public schools and weighed it against student performance–college entrance exam scores (SAT or ACT, depending on which is more common in the state), exam participation rates and graduation rates.

Winners in this rating system are counties whose schools deliver high performance at low cost. The losers spend a lot of money and have little to show for it.

Marin County, Calif., provides the best bang for the buck. In 2004 Marin spent an average of $9,356 ($6,579 adjusted for the cost of living relative to other metro areas in the U.S.)” ( Forbes.com, July 5, 2007)

You get the idea, we weren’t in the top 10. We also weren’t in the bottom 10, which is a good thing.

But it made me think, that yes, it might actually be possible to get more bang for our school buck in Newburyport, MA. If Forbes Magazine says it’s possible, it’s got to be possible. I mean, for goodness sakes, it’s Forbes.

And it’s the old override thing for the Newburyport schools that the Newburyport School Committee is contemplating putting on the November ballot (I don’t know if they’ve made up their minds yet).

On the one hand, I talk to and look into the eyes of mucho worried young parents. We do have a reality here, there have now been 5 years of cuts for the Newburyport, Schools.

On the other hand, the concerns of some members of the Newburyport City Council that this could be a “one issue” election are quite right. I mean people are already deciding on who they would vote for only in relationship to how a candidate would have or has stood on the spring override for our schools.

I mean, good grief, people are actually considering voting for Al Lavender, because he would vote against an override.

A friend of mine had this to say about Al Lavender (who is running for Newburyport City Councilor At Large), “Al made Mary Carrier look absolutely brilliant.” (Just as a btw, I’ve always thought, Mary Carrier was a much better mayor than many folks give her credit for.)

But, no offense, and I really try my darnedest on the Newburyport Blog not to give offense, my own opinion is that Al Lavender was one of Newburyport’s least effective mayors.

I think that judging a candidate on only one issue is a BIG mistake. Why not have the voting criteria be “easy on the eyes?” Makes about as much sense to moi.

And buried deep in the Sunday’s, Globe North, July 22, 2007, Kay Lazar has uncovered the fact that we actually have 3, count ‘em, 3, (thank goodness) people running for Newburyport School Committee. (I was beginning to despair that no one was going to run for School Committee, since everyone in the world seems to be running for mayor of Newburyport, MA.)

Along with Bruce Menin, there is now a father daughter duo, William Deans and Barbara McDonough. I know nada about these last 2 names. However, I’m sure in due course, we will all learn more.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport