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School Committee Braces for Changes

LONGMEADOW, MA – The School Committee is preparing for the departure of some key members.

At its May 23 meeting, School Committee Chair Michelle Grodsky noted replacements for positions on subcommittees would be needed when she and Vice Chair Russell Dupere leave the board and new members are elected as part of the Annual Town Election on June 12.

“Our term is officially up on the 13th or when new members are sworn in on the 14th,” Grodsky said.

Bronwyn Monahan, Janet Robinson, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Kelly are vying for two seats on the School Committee, representing the town’s only contested race.

In addition to the roles of chair and vice chair being vacated, the Finance Subcommittee and the special Tax Ceiling Task Force would have no members. Dupere was also assigned as the sole member of the Pension Task Force, and Grodsky is the sole member currently assigned to food service, according to the School Committee’s webpage. Dupere and Grodsky are also two of the three members of the Middle School Working Group.

Grodsky stressed the need to fill these appointments at the meeting following the election on June 14. As an example, Dupere noted there would be a Tax Ceiling Task Force meeting on June 26. He also volunteered to continue to be a part of that task force after his term ends, but Grodsky said the Select Board wished to have two current School Committee members.

When asked to explain the work of the Tax Ceiling Task Force, Dupere said members had been discussing special legislation that would allow the town to exceed the $25 per $1,000 property tax limit currently required by law. He also said the task force is attempting to identify new ways to raise revenue and reduce the tax rate.

“Out of all of the committees, it’s probably the most important one because if we hit the $25, we have a huge problem in town,” Dupere said. “So, even though it’s not totally – a lot of it isn’t directly related to the schools, it is going to be because it would kill our budget.”

Grodsky also offered to meet with anyone interested in serving as chair in order to assist them with creating an agenda for the June 14 meeting.

In addition to selecting new School Committee members on June 12, voters will decide whether to pass a Proposition 2 ½ override to finance the construction of a new Adult Community Center at Greenwood Park. Town Moderator Rebecca Townsend, Selectmen Richard Foster and Thomas Lachiusa,

Housing Authority member Ronald Manseau, and Planning Board member Donald Holland are all running uncontested campaigns for re-election.

– By Chris Maza