UPDATED: Freudberg Elected School Committee Chair; Pascual Vice Chair

FRAMINGHAM – The newly-elected 9-member City of Framingham School Committee picked up where the 7-member Town of Framingham School Commttee left off – fighting amongst themselves.

In split votes, the new City of Framingham School Committee elected District 4 member Adam Freudberg chair and District 8 member Gloria Pascual vice chair.

“I am ready for this critical task, as collectively we all begin our work to support our students, educators, and community. Yet this vote is not about me. It is not about us. It is about them. Together we can and we must work thoughtfully and collaboratively with Mayor Spicer, the City Council, Dr. Tremblay, and other partners to support everyone who comes through the Framingham Public Schools,” said Freudberg, a father of three young children, who served on the screening committee that recommended Tremblay as a finalist for Superintendent.

“I am again thankful, as well as hopeful, very hopeful, that this group, a group with such diverse backgrounds and experiences will step up and do all we can to support our public school system. I ask that we all strive to always be respectful, responsible, ready to learn, and ready to act for the good of the City of Framingham,” said Freudberg, who previously served as President of Framingham Center Nursery School board.

Freudberg, the youngest member of the School Committee, was elected chair in a 6-3 vote.

School Committee member Freudberg, Pascual, Beverly Hugo, Geoffrey Epstein, Tiffanie Maskell, and Tracey Bryant voted for Freudberg. School Committee members Ricky Finlay, Noval Alexander, and Scott Wadland voted for Wadland for chair.

Finlay nominated Wadland.

Maskell nominated Freudberg, with Epstein seconding it.

Maskell said Freudberg, a former senior aide to Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Governor Tim Murray, is a “great listener” and “very approachable.”

Maskell, said she and Freudberg, both have children at Dunning Elementary, and in a short amount of time he has shown leadership. She added Freudberg has being getting caught up on School Committee business by listening to recordings of past meetings in his car.

“He is respectful of other’s ideas and opinion,” said Maskell, who added he has already built “strong relationship with many, if not all of us.”

 Finlay said both candidates for chair are “excellent,” but that Wadland deserves the chair post as he “started at the bottom and worked his way up.”
 He said it was “unjust” and “unfair” to put someone to the wayside because they have experience.

Pascual, the first School Committee leader from south of Route 135 in decades, was elected vice chair in a 5-4 vote.

School Committee members Pascual, District 1 member Hugo, District 6 member Epstein, District 7 member Maskell, and District 9 member Bryant voted for the District 8 School Committee member.

Freudberg, District 2 member Finlay, District 3 member Wadland, and District 5 member Alexander voted for Alexander.

The Framingham School Committee, under the Town of Framingham, had seven members elected town-wide, and only its newest member Cheryl Gordon (elected in April 2017) was south of Route 9 and none lived south of Route 135. The Commttee also lacked ethnical diversity.

The new City of Framingham School Committee includes 9 members elected by district, and mirrors the Framingham Public Schools in its ethnical diversity.

The Mayor of Framingham is an ex-officio member of the City School Committee, and can only vote to break a tie.

Only three of the seven Town of Framingham School Committee members were elected to the City of Framingham School Committee. They were Hugo, Finlay, and Wadland.

The six individuals new to a School Committee position have met a couple of times prior to being sworn in on January 1.

Once they were sworn in, a meeting of at least five members would be a violation of the state’s open meeting law.

When it came time to name a new Clerk for the School Committee, Finlay, who has been serving as clerk was nominated as was Bryant, from District 9, for the leadership position.

Wadland in nominating Finlay said he deserved to remain in the clerk role as he brings a “wealth of experience to this Committee.”
Wadland said there was an undercurrent tonight of “draining the sawmp,” and he said it was an “unfortunate tone” to start the first-ever City of Framingham School Committee meeting.
Wadland said Finlay “speaks his mind.” he said he is “not the polished politician,” but added it was “important to have someone who has sat in this seat for more than 30 minutes to guide the ship going forward.”

Maskell, a former Hemenway PTO President and a former Walsh PTO VP,  said she was supporting Bryant as we “need a fresh look on the School Committee.”

She said the former School Committee members come with a “lot of baggage,” and the the City School Committee needs a “fresh start. We need to set a new standard. We need to set a new focus.”

In the same 6-3 vote, that elected Freudberg as chair, Bryant won the clerk post.

Finlay said it was clear that the veterans on the School Committee were being pushed aside, and because of that he considered resigning from his position as a School Committee member in District 2.

Mayor Spicer, who attended the meeting tonight, administered the oath to Freudberg, Pascual, and Bryant after they were elected.

Public comment was held at the end of the meeting tonoght, instead of at the beginning.

Former Town Meeting Member Gerry Bloomfield spoke.  Afterwards for Dunning Elementary parent Andrea Adrian spoke.

She said she hoped what seemed like a riff at the very first meeting, doesn’t continue at future meetings.

“It is really discouraging,” said Adrian.

She said she hoped in the future the Committee looked more like “one,” and acting like one focus on the children in the district.




Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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