Once again, my town has shown admirable common sense in the face of a media onslaught urging us to do otherwise.
Longtime Salisbury Board of Education member Jennifer Weigel soundly defeated radio host Marshall Miles to win a seat on the Region One Board of Education as the town’s representative. Her 682-442 margin of victory corresponds roughly with the three budget votes Salisbury approved, even as most of the other towns were voting them down. Salisbury was not fertile ground for her opponent, who continuously urged voters to reject the budget for non-budgetary reasons.
I’ve known Jennifer for ten years. She is whip-smart, has sent all three of her children to our public schools and has a track record of building relationships with board members and other stakeholders to move Salisbury Central forward and solve problems. Plus, she actually knows something about education and can speak and act knowledgeably on the subject.
With Andrea Downs’ apparent victory in Falls Village, perhaps the board will be able to move beyond the quarreling over procedure that has marked the last few years. Maybe we can focus on making Housatonic the best high school it can be, and not on spending tens of thousands of dollars on meaningless budget referenda to intimidate board members and administration.
Of course, we do have the task of finding a new principal after the abrupt resignation of Matt Harnett in August. Harnett’s departure came after the equally abrupt exit of the principal and her assistant only three years earlier.
My guess is the pool of strong candidates to assume the helm at Housatonic will be thin, given the school’s reputation in the wake of the recent strife. This is, however, one case where I hope I’m dead wrong.