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Local leaders attend Gitelson campaign kickoff

Jill Krajewski, 2023

Providing this summary is Susan Ryan-Vollmar, who is helping the campaign.

Close to 50 people tuned in via Zoom to School Committee candidate Laura Gitelson’s campaign kick-off event Sunday, Feb. 12.

Attendees included School Committee Chair Liz Exton and committee members Jane Morgan and Kirsi Allison-Ampe, along with Select Board Chair Len Diggins and member Eric Helmuth.

Helmuth introduced Gitelson, recalling that he had first met her in the course of her work as co-chair of Arlington’s Civilian Police Advisory Board Study Committee.

“As co-chair, she listened hard and engaged stakeholders in the community,” Helmuth said. “She learned from listening to other people. That’s the type of person that I want to see on our School Committee.”

Gitelson said she was running for the committee “because of my passion for education.”

She continued, “Arlington schools are well positioned for success. We have a relatively new superintendent and a new high school, and we are poised to launch a five-year strategic plan. That said, there's a lot of hard work ahead of us.

“We are likely to face challenging budget conditions, and we'll need to confront those with Arlington's longstanding commitment to fiscal responsibility, all the while maintaining our commitment to providing our kids with the best education possible. 

“We're also still emerging from the ravages of Covid-19 and must confront the inequities in access to learning laid bare by the pandemic."

She added that, as did many other parents, she watched School Committee meetings online during summer 2020.

“Amid that uncertainty, I was so impressed at the collaborative nature of the School Committee's work, and I believe I have the experience and skills to be a productive part of that work.”

She has been a member of Arlington Town Meeting since 2018. 

She believes she learned valuable lessons from leading the Civilian Police Advisory Board Study Committee.

“That experience gave me insight into how important it is for the town to have volunteer leaders who understand how the systems of town government work in practice -- and also understand what needs to be done to improve those systems for the people who work within them and the residents they serve."

In answer to a parent’s question about the roles and responsibilities of the School Committee, Gitelson summarized its three basic functions — to hire and fire the superintendent, to vote on and approve the budget, and to set and make policy.  

She noted that committee members also act as a liaison between members of the community and the administration by participating in community outreach and fielding questions and feedback from community members.

More details are on her campaign website.  

Feb. 2, 2023: School candidate cites love for town, seeks equity


This political summary, which includes opinion, was published Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.

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