Editor’s note: Under the Framingham Source election policy, each candidate can submit an election announcement. Don Taggart is seeking re-election to the Framingham School Committee. He is one of five individuals running for three seats. Below is his statement, as submitted.
FRAMINGHAM – I am Don Taggart and I am running for re-election to the Framingham School Committee.
For the past four years, my career as a teacher, at all school levels, has guided much of my thought and decision making efforts on the committee. In addition, my role as a union activist in the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Weston Education Association has provided experience in the areas of finance, communication, contract negotiations and leadership.
During the past year, I have served as vice chair of the School Committee. I have worked closely with Acting Superintendent Dr. Edward Gotgart, his administrative team, and Human Resources Director, Ms. Inna London. They have done an outstanding job of providing a solid foundation for the school system. I will continue to promote this positive environment. We are well prepared to welcome a new superintendent.
As a member of the Barbieri and Walsh School Councils, I will continue to be involved in the issues and programs surrounding student attendance and new academic initiatives. In addition, my appointment to the School Building Committee allows me to be part of the planning and execution of a new school facility in Framingham.
Contracts for many school employees expire in 2018. As an original member of the Interest Based Bargaining team, I will continue to collaborate with teachers, nurses and other units to keep conversations positive and proactive as the time for contract renewal approaches.
The School Committee oversees budget and policy. As a former town meeting member, I am well aware of the need for cooperation and mutual respect between the town and the schools. I support fiscal responsibility. In addition, the School Committee policies are in constant need of evaluation and updating to meet the needs of the schools, as well as adhere to state and federal guidelines. Much has been done in the past year under the leadership of Ms. Michelle Brosnahan, the policy subcommittee chair. I am honored to contribute to this important work.
The Framingham Public Schools play a vital role in proving social and emotional support to students and staff. School programs I support include the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and Senator Karen Spilka’s MetroWest Kids initiative. In addition, I encourage Ms. Judy Styer, our Director of Health and Wellness, to continue her efforts to examine the impact that attendance issues have on individual student academic success.
My son, Andrew, in seventh grade, and my son Zach, in tenth grade, as well as all students in the Framingham Public Schools are members of a community that will usher in great changes in our country. I look forward to being a part of a school system that is not only known for academic excellence but also recognized as one that promotes diversity, empathy, and integrity. I will be proud to support this work as a member of the Framingham School Committee.