Several Town and School Forums Coming Up in June

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6/3 and 6/4 – HPS Co-Teaching Forums

  • June 3 @ 7:00pm in the High School Library
  • June 4 @ 7:00pm in the Middle School Library
  • The Director of Student Services, Marijane Hackett and Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cathy MacLeod will present an overview to explain the philosophy behind co-teaching.   As you may be aware, one of the instructional interventions that will be offered for students next year involves placement in a co-taught classroom.  The forum is intended to provide an opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
  • The Co-Teaching model will be offered next year in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) in Kindergarten through Grade 8 for all students who need it.

6/5 – Common Core Informational Session sponsored by “Core Concerns in Hopkinton

  • June 5 @ 7:00pm at St John’s Church Community Center
  • Residents are invited to come and hear a presentation on Common Core State Standards and PARCC featuring special guests Sandra Stotsky, member of the Common Core Validation Committee and former Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jamie Gass, of the Pioneer Institute and Donna Colorio, an Adjunct Sociology & Psychology Faculty Quinsigamond Community College and a MTA member.   Bob Berlo, Hopkinton’s Director of Secondary Education Curriculum has also agreed to participate in Q & A portion.

6/17 and 6/19 – HPS Strategic Plan Forums

  • June 17 @ 12:30pm in the Fire Station Training Room (upstairs)
  • June 19 @ 6:30pm in the Middle School Library
  • The Hopkinton School Committee in conjunction with the Superintendent, Steering Committee and Administrative Team has developed a new 5-year Strategic Plan to guide the work of the district. We are thankful for all of the public input gathered through public forums and survey data and are ready to share the results. The following dates have been selected to provide opportunity for public comment prior to the School Committee’s vote to accept the plan. We encourage you to attend so that your voice can be heard.

6/18 – Hopkinton Community Visioning Workshop

  • June 18 @ 6:00pm at the Senior Center
  • RSVP online at https://hopkinton-visioning.eventbrite.com/
  • You are invited to participate in two interactive workshops sponsored by the Town of Hopkinton as part of a community visioning project. The project will develop a unified vision, guiding principles, and strategic goals to imagine the best future for Hopkinton. The results will inform town policies, budget priorities, be incorporated into the Town’s Master Plan and will be an important document to lead the community forward.

Apply for a Spot on a Town Committee – Deadline 6/9

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The Town of Hopkinton is encouraging all residents who are interested in helping govern Hopkinton to apply now to any board of committee. If you have been curious or interested in giving your time, expertise or perspective on behalf of your community, now is an excellent time to get involved!

Please visit the Town Website for a full listings of all Boards, Committees and Commissions. Each entity has a full membership listing, charge and a unique website link full of information and activities on relevant topics. Many board and committee memberships will expire very soon, so if you are interested in any committee now is the time to throw your hat in the ring!

In order to be considered for the annual June appointment cycle by the Selectmen, please apply no later than Monday, June 9.

We encourage all residents to also take note of a new committee, the Downtown Initiative Civic Advisory Group, that has been recently formed by the Selectmen. The Downtown Initiative Civic Advisory Group will host five (5) At-Large seats; please read linked committee charge for more information:

NEW! 2014 Downtown Initiative Civic Advisory Group

To apply for a any volunteer position on any Board or Committee, please visit the Town’s website and fill out the online volunteer form at: http://www.hopkintonma.gov/home/about/hug. Interested parties may also visit the Board of Selectmen’s Office to fill out an application in person or call the office to have staff assist in applying.

For more information or questions about a Board or Committee, please visit the committee website and contact the respective Board or Committee Chairperson, or call Jamie Hellen, Operation’s Assistant to the Town Manager’s Office, at 508-497-9700 who can assist in any interested volunteer get in touch with a committee representative. Continue reading Apply for a Spot on a Town Committee – Deadline 6/9

School Council Parent and Community Reps Needed

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As the school year is winding down, it is a great time to think about how your support your child and make a difference in your child’s education next year! Below are the School Council opportunities for the 2014-15 school year.

Duties include: working with the principal to adopt goals for the school, identify educational needs for the student body, review the school’s budget, and formulate a school improvement plan. Each School Council includes a parent and teacher from each grade level and a community representative who does not have a child at the school. The term is two years unless otherwise noted. The dates and times of the meetings are set by the principal. For more information, please see the HPTA website.

If you’re interested in learning more about the School Council and the open positions and/or submitting your name as a candidate, please contact Lee Burns at schoolcouncil@hptaonline.com by August 29, 2014.

The current open positions are:

  • Center School
    • Parent Representative – Kindergarten (2 openings)
    • Community Representative
  • Elmwood School
    • Parent Representative – Grade 2 (2 openings)
    • Parent Representative – Grade 3 (1 year term)
    • Community Representative
  • Hopkins School
    • Parent Representative – Grade 4 (2 openings)
  • Middle School
    • Parent Representative – Grade 6
    • Community Representative
  • High School
    • Parent Representative – Grade 9

 

Library and Underride Pass; Knight and Nickerson Elected to School Committee

Article 15 - Library Construction - $6,255,000 - Exterior View

Congratulations to all the participants in the May 19 town election and thank you for your willingness to volunteer for our town. This year 2,132 voters participated, which is more than a 50% increase from last May’s Town Election. The ballot questions for the library expansion funding and the underride both passed. Kelly Knight and Lori Nickerson won the two open seats on the School Committee. All other races were uncontested.

After the election, at the May 20 Board of Selectmen meeting Todd Cestari was unanimously elected Chair and John Mosher was unanimously elected Vice-Chair.

SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 1

Blanks 614
John M Coutinho 1487
Scattered 31

BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 579
John L Palmer 1545
Scattered 8

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 622
Jennifer Belesi 1499
Scattered 11

BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES, For 3 years, Vote for 2
Blanks 1456
June A Harris 1470
Stanley D Pulnik 1320
Scattered 18

CEMETERY COMMISSIONER, For 3 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 611
Claire B Wright 1512
Scattered 9

COMMISSIONER OF TRUST FUND, For 3 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 637
Muriel E Kramer 1478
Scattered 17

HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 738
Warren E Johnson 1388
Scattered 6

PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, For 3 years, Vote for 2
Blanks 1327
Timothy Kilduff 1459
Amy Markovich 1461
Scattered 17

PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 1
Blanks 705
Francis J DeYoung 1415
Scattered 12

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2
Blanks 820
Kelly J Knight 1230
Lori M Nickerson 1173
Frank E Sivo 1028
Scattered 13

Ballot Question #1 – Underride
Blanks 183
Yes 1421
No 528

Ballot Question #2 – Library Renovation and Expansion Funding
Blanks 33
Yes 1363
No 736

Click to read full results by precinct on the town website.

Vote Tomorrow on Library, Underride and School Committee

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All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Middle School. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm on Monday, May 19. The only contested race is for School Committee, so we are listing those candidates first, in alphabetical order as they appear on the ballot. There are also two ballot questions: a $1.25M Underride and the Library Expansion Project. Click here to view a Specimen Ballot.

List Candidates & Questions

  • SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2 – Contested Race
  • SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 1
    • John M Coutinho, Republican
  • BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1
    • John L Palmer
  • BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1
    • Jennifer Belesi, Republican
  • BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES, For 3 years, Vote for 2
    • June A Harris, Republican
    • Stanley D Pulnik
  • CEMETERY COMMISSIONER, For 3 years, Vote for 1
    • Claire B Wright, Republican
  • COMMISSIONER OF TRUST FUND, For 3 years, Vote for 1
    • Muriel E Kramer, Democrat
  • HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1
    • Warren E Johnson
  • PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, For 3 years, Vote for 2
    • Timothy W Kilduff
    • Amy K Markovich
  • PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 1
    •  Francis J DeYoung, Republican

Ballot Questions

#1 Underride – YES or NO

  • “Shall the Town of Hopkinton be required to reduce the amount of real estate and personal property taxes to be assessed for the fiscal year beginning July first, two thousand and fourteen by an amount equal to $1,250,000?”
  • Read more about the Underride…

#2 Library Renovation and Expansion Funding – YES or NO

  • “Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the limitations imposed by Chapter 59, Section 21C of the Massachusetts General Laws (Proposition 2 1/2, so-called), the amounts required to pay for the bond issued for costs related to the renovation, restoration, expansion, construction and reconstruction of the Hopkinton Public Library?”
  • Read more about the Library project…
Question 1 - Underride - Reduce Excess Tax Levy Capacity by $1.25M
Question 1 – Underride – Reduce Excess Tax Levy Capacity by $1.25M
Article 15 - Library Construction - $6,255,000 - Exterior View
Question 2 – Library Renovation and Expansion Funding – Exterior View
Official Specimen Ballot Annual Town Election May 19, 2014
Official Specimen Ballot Annual Town Election May 19, 2014

School Committee Candidate Q and A

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Educate Hopkinton posed the following ten questions to our School Committee Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton. Educate Hopkinton as an organization does not specifically endorse any of the candidates, click to read our policy for more infoIn addition we recommend voters watch the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, which is available on the hcam.tv website.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2


QUESTION 1: Describe how your background and career skills will translate to the role of a School Committee member?

Kelly J Knight: A School Committee member must be organized, thoughtful, open-minded and dedicated. Personally I am all of these things, and professionally I have over 15 years as a high tech professional in roles that have ranged from financial analyst to business analyst and now project and program manager. Every day I interact and collaborate with all levels of organizations to reach consensus. I’m a research-driven problem solver. I manage tight timelines, oversee vendor contracts and budgets, coordinate critical initiatives, and create and continually improve processes.

Lori M Nickerson: I am a corporate attorney with over twelve years of experience working directly with business partners at multiple public companies. The skills I have gained during my career include negotiating contracts, evaluating complicated issues, analyzing budgets, reviewing resource constraints and sustainability of projects as well as experience in policy drafting, which makes me uniquely qualified to serve as a School Committee member. Each of these skills easily translates to the School Committee role where members often negotiate with the other members of the Committee, the Superintendent and other town departments. Similarly, the evaluation of complicated issues requires a member to ask tough questions to extrapolate the facts, analyze the school budget and make informed decisions regarding resource constraints and a program’s sustainability. Furthermore, the School Committee is responsible for policy making and interpreting such policies; all of which are skills I use on a daily basis.

Frank E Sivo: Throughout my career as an engineer, general manager, management consultant, and continuous improvement executive, I have accumulated many skills that will help me be effective as a School Committee member. In particular I believe, my skills in strategic planning, executive coaching, operational/financial analysis, problem solving, team facilitation, and communication planning, will serve me well. I do also feel it is important for the School Committee to have members with different backgrounds. If elected, I will be the only person on the committee who has an engineering background. I believe my background will help us to make better decisions about the role of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in our children’s education.


QUESTION 2: Describe one activity, committee or volunteer organization you’ve been involved with. How did it help prepare you for the role of School Committee member?

Kelly J Knight: I have served on Hopkinton’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) since September, 2010. In this time I have gained first-hand knowledge of what it means to serve on a town board that must weigh the needs of landowners against the zoning bylaws that govern our town’s best interests. The decisions we make are not always clear cut. They require research, careful analysis and attention to detail. On the School Committee this foundation will serve me well when considering the needs of the school district while keeping in mind our taxpayers.

Lori M Nickerson: As a Boston College alum, volunteerism is not a line item on a resume, but truly a mission known as “Men and Women for Others.” I continuously live my life by this mission in my volunteer work for organizations such as the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the Juvenile Justice Center and locally through the HPTA. Each of these volunteer programs presented many opportunities to serve others for the betterment of the whole group rather than my individual interests. The ability to remove my interests from the evaluation of a problem while working towards a solution has certainly prepared me for tackling complex issues within the School Committee. In addition, my campaign activity has absolutely prepared me for the School Committee role in terms of effectively communicating to the citizens my message, building consensus and working collaboratively within a team towards a common goal.

Frank E Sivo: I am currently the Appropriations Committee liaison for the School Committee. In this role, I have been in every budget review conversation for our schools and town departments. This has given me deep knowledge of our school and town department budgets and priorities. This experience has also given me many ideas to improve the budgeting process, and the manner in which the School Committee interacts with other committees and town-level leadership on both financial and non-financial matters.


QUESTION 3:  Most prospective School Committee members have several areas in which they are particularly interested and for which they have some ideas for improvement. What are yours?

Kelly J Knight: I have a few specific areas of interest around budgeting. I want us to have a public, transparent, long-range plan so that surprises are minimized in the community. Specifically we need to do a better job of reporting back to the public on past budget initiatives that were instituted based on a promised return on investment and not be afraid to make changes if necessary. I also feel we need a Revolving Accounts policy and would push for one to be created. When I wanted to learn about how we operate those accounts I made an appointment to go in and speak to our Finance Director. Having a published policy would allow anyone to get the same information I did in my 1:1 meeting while ensuring that operating those accounts was always done in a consistent way.

Lori M Nickerson: An area of particular interest to me is improving and expanding communication methods in order to improve relations between the School Committee and the citizens, the students and other town departments. I also would like to see the budget process become more transparent to the taxpayer with the addition of descriptive explanations of the assumptions behind the numbers, as well as direct correlation to the approved Strategic Plan. Furthermore, I would like to see the School Committee work closely with the School Administration on succession planning for the leadership positions within the district to enable more stability and strength in the depth of experience housed within the district.

Frank E Sivo: The biggest area for improvement in the district is better planning; making the right investments, at the right time, to produce the desired result, with a budget we can afford. We urgently need a long-range planning process that is focused on educational outcomes, financial sustainability, and effective communication with the community.


QUESTION 4: The School Committee has various defined roles and liaison duties. What School Committee roles are you most interested in and why?

Kelly J Knight: I am interested in the Elementary School Building Committee because the process is very programmatic in nature and I believe my skills are directly applicable to following the required timelines and processes. This is a key initiative ahead of us and I want to be directly involved. I would also like to engage with the Budget Sub-committee because one of my key areas of interest is around how we craft the budget. I’d like to see a zero-based budget next year with an emphasis on multi-year planning and to be most effective I would want to engage with that committee directly.

Lori M Nickerson: I believe the policy and strategic plan roles would be the most interesting and the areas where I would add the most value. My desire to be involved in policy drafting, revising and implementation is something I’m passionate about in my career and it would be an easy transition for School Committee purposes. I would also like to improve the communication policy to ensure citizens are being provided transparent and effective information regarding School Committee activities and decisions. In addition, I see a robust Strategic Plan as the foundation to a sound and value-driven budget. I would like the opportunity to be involved in finalizing the Strategic Plan and ensuring it is updated and shared with the community on a regular basis.

Frank E Sivo: As a new School Committee member, I would be eager to work with all committees and sub-committees across Hopkinton. That said, there are a few committees I feel I can add unique value. As a member of the Strategic Planning sub-committee, I would be in a position to bring best practices from the corporate section and help create long-range plans that best serve our children and our town. As a member of the Budget sub-committee, I would bring my deep experience with our budgets, our budget process, and corporate best practices for zero-based budgeting, trade-off analysis, and cost management. As a member of the ESBC, I would bring deep experience of the Center School project (as a member of the Criteria Working Group) as well as experience in engineering, capital project analysis, and construction management. As a liaison to the Planning Board, I would be able to gain unique perspective on our town’s growth projections and help drive better student population forecasts to feed the long-range operating and capital planning processes.


QUESTION 5: As a School Committee member, you will have to make some budgetary decisions. How do you define your priorities knowing that next year’s budget will likely be very conservative?

Kelly J Knight: We need to always look for efficiencies in any budget. I don’t think next year’s is any different in that regard. On the heels of this year’s 4.91% increase the public will be paying even closer attention next year, which is why a long-range plan is so important. Also a zero-based budgeting approach should provide an greater level of transparency into how the budget is crafted, so that the community can appreciate what a large percentage of the increase is non-discretionary. Priorities will be set in the updated Strategic Plan, which was crafted this year by the Strategic Plan sub-committee, school administration, and public forum input. Once finalized, the School Committee’s role throughout the budgeting process is to ensure that every initiative, technologies spend, or budget item can be directly tied back and eventually reported on.

Lori M Nickerson: My decision-making will always remain objective and focused on facts such as the justification for the proposed spend on the initiative and the value to the students and the district as a whole. In addition, the response of ‘We’ve always done it this way” will not be a sufficient justification for budget spend.

Frank E Sivo: The spending decisions must be informed by the School Strategic Plan and the town financial model. The town financial model assumes school operating school budget increases of 4% annually for the next several years. This is a much lower increase than we have had in the past two years (4.4% and 4.9%). This will be a classic management challenge for our next School Committee. Given we do not yet have a Strategic Plan that will serve us next year, at this point, I would (currently) prioritize spending in the following manner: safety, early grade literacy/numeracy, RTI in Grades 1-12 (remediation and enrichment), building maintenance, STEM… When we have a new strategic plan, the district-wide priorities will be self-evident.


QUESTION 6: Two upcoming forums have been announced on the new HPS Strategic Plan. What are some priority items you would like to see included in the new plan? How will you help facilitate the success of the revised plan once it is voted on by the School Committee? How will you get increased public buy-in and awareness of the new Strategic Plan?

Kelly J Knight: In general we need to be sure that the plan is detailed enough to provide distinct measurements. It cannot be so high level that the interpretation is always called into question. Public input is crucial, and while the two sessions currently on the calendar for June are a good start, I don’t believe they will be enough to truly gather the input required. The last time this plan was presented at a School Committee meeting was in March so by June it will have undergone significant re-work. Over the next few months I would like to see a message board set up similar to the town-wide Mind Mixer so that people can submit their feedback or questions online. Frequent FAQs based on submitted feedback would benefit the whole community and cut down on duplicate questions and provide first-hand answers. Above all else, pushing the information out the community is key, because relying on people to find it within the district website is not effective and those without children are probably not subscribed to the district’s web content update email list.

Lori M Nickerson: If the district is to continue to grow, thrive and provide forward-thinking educational opportunities that will prepare our students for the future, we need to ensure that we continue to provide challenging opportunities for all students, including those who may be struggling, in addition to those students with accelerated learning. It is imperative we continue to look at how we are differentiating and enriching students at all grade levels and abilities. Similarly, I believe we need to take a closer look at our foreign language offerings and pursue programs that will bring foreign language opportunities to more grade levels. Multi-lingual candidates are in high demand no matter the profession and we would provide our students a considerable advantage during their college years and future careers if we were to prioritize foreign language.
I will help facilitate the success of the Strategic Plan by referencing the Plan during the budget process as well as during evaluations of new educational initiatives and maintain a regular interval of review of the Plan to ensure it remains current with the district’s needs. 
It is absolutely imperative to build awareness and participation by the citizens of Hopkinton in the Strategic Plan discussion and one method would be to send out a survey to taxpayers asking for feedback on what initiatives they deem to be most important. Also, the public forums must be advertised on multiple media types by the School Committee, the School Administration and other relevant groups, such as Educate Hopkinton. I would strongly suggest that the current draft of the Strategic Plan be made accessible prior to the forums for a more in depth and fruitful community discussion

Frank E Sivo: I would like to see multi-year goals and plans for the following areas: Buildings/Roads, RTI (continuous improvement), High-Needs-Learners performance improvement, STEM initiatives, Technology, Foreign Language, cost reduction efforts, district/building performance management, and planning/budget process improvement. Getting public buy-in is the most critical step. A five-year plan needs to be actively vetted with all stakeholders including parents, senior citizens, local business, etc. through a series on interactive forums, surveys, and 1:1 discussions. In the vetting process, the School Committee must play a leadership role to make sure people understand the costs and the benefits associated with the execution of the plan. All steps in the process must be proactively communicated. I would encourage the use of all communication modes to keep stakeholders informed, including HCAM productions, websites, listserv updates, Web 2.0 (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).


QUESTION 7: It is often stated that our schools are nationally ranked.  How will we maintain this high level of education?

Kelly J Knight: While I’m a huge fan of US News & World Reports, and carried a copy around during my college searching, we need to be careful that we don’t view the high school equivalent of these rankings as the end-all-be-all of our district. When we were ‘unranked’ this year many people feared that meant something was really wrong with our district. From speaking with Dr. MacLeod, the calculation around these metrics is complex and requires that a district show continuous improvement across their entire school district. We need to do a better job of ensuring that the entire student population is having their needs met and the way we do that is to have buy-in for the Strategic Plan and hold all parties accountable to meet their measurable goals.

Lori M Nickerson: I believe that a School Committee member’s role in helping to maintain our district’s high level of education is to ensure that the Strategic Plan is specific enough to address the current areas needing improvement within the district, as well as continuing to support those programs that contribute to the strength and success of our schools. Although the various ranking systems tend to be tied directly to the performance of our high school students, we as a Committee cannot forget the elementary and middle school foundation our high school students rely on as part of their success. Moreover, a great school district does not exist without strong leadership and teachers. As a member of the School Committee, it would be imperative to maintain a strong relationship with the district’s administration, leadership team, as well as staying in touch with teacher evaluation and development plans.

Frank E Sivo: Hard work. Our schools are very good and have been ranked nationally in years past at the High School level. Unfortunately, our performance on some keys measures of success (SAT, MCAS, and AP scores) have recently declined. Further, the Commonwealth DESE has placed Elmwood, Hopkins, and HMS at a Level II (at risk). As best as I can tell, we have neither curriculum nor personnel challenges. What I think we need is better execution in the classroom using the programs we have already introduced: curriculum-based assessments, differentiated instruction, targeted interventions, professional leaning communities, and performance transparency. The School Committee must also establish ambitious goals for the district and support these critical continuous improvement programs; driving achievement higher.


QUESTION 8: All candidates stress the importance of improved communication and greater transparency on the part of the School Committee. Please give one specific example of something new you would do to improve communication or increase transparency.

Kelly J Knight: As I alluded to in a previous question, we need a greater Social Media presence to keep the community engaged in this digital age. This could take the form of an online public forum (similar to the town-wide Mind Mixer), a running list of FAQs around anything out for review with the public (such as the Strategic Plan), or perhaps similar to “Meet the Candidates Night” or “Know Your Vote” the public could be given the option of submiting questions beforehand that could be answered during School Committee Public Comment on given days. I also feel there is real value in the School Committee office hours and a commitment to open dialogue by our School Committee members by concerned citizens.

Lori M Nickerson: Communication methods need to be updated and expanded in order for any information provided by the School Committee to be viewed as strong and transparent. I believe there needs to be allotted time in periodic School Committee meetings for both questions and answers for the citizens. The public comment portion of School Committee meetings does not afford the citizens a dialogue and therefore is ineffective as a communication tool. One way to easily expand the communication methods utilized by the School Committee would be through social media. Social media instantaneously informs its audience and neither the School Committee nor the School Administration takes advantage of this inexpensive communication tool. Although social media presents its own risks, those risks are not insurmountable and I have extensive experience in mitigating those risks through responsible social media policies.
In terms of transparency, I believe bridging the communication gaps outlined above will certainly address many transparency issues of the past, but there also needs to be a concerted effort to provide as much detail as possible when dealing with controversial issues and budget decisions. In addition, I believe audit results should be given more time and in depth discussion in order for the citizens to understand the various checks and balances that are currently in place to protect how their tax dollars are allocated by the School Committee and spent by the School Administration.

Frank E Sivo: The School Committee needs to change its behavior on information disclosure. Current practice seems focused on the question, “Do we need to share this?”. I would encourage this government body to instead ask the following question, “What do we need to do in order to share this?”. As a member for the School Committee, I would first work to change this behavior. Next, I would make sure that communications happen in a timely manner (e.g. SC Meeting Minutes to be published within one week). The modes of communications will and should include 1:1, office-hours, HCAM, listserv, website, and Facebook/Twitter (… other Web 2.0 programs?).


QUESTION 9: All candidates claim they will be “fiscally responsible” if elected. Please explain what fiscal responsibility by the School Committee means to you.

Kelly J Knight: There have been quite a few budget-related questions so I won’t re-state everything, but in general I want to focus on zero-based, long-range budgeting. The entire school district should be constantly looking for budget efficiencies, and it is the School Committee’s job to ask the tough questions and push hard to be sure this is being done every year.

Lori M Nickerson: Fiscal responsibility is one of, if not the most important responsibility, a School Committee member has as a fiduciary to the taxpayers. This great responsibility requires in depth analysis of spend and the supporting justification, understanding of past successes and failures, clear initiatives and implementation plans, as well as sustainability and succession planning.

Frank E Sivo: Fiscally responsible means spending our taxpayer money wisely. In education, this means getting best educational outcomes for best cost. As a School Committee member, I will scrutinize every aspect of spending and always assess the practicality of lower cost alternatives as well as exhaustively explore funding supplements. In short, I will constantly assess the value created by any action, project, or initiative to guide my decision-making process.


QUESTION 10: Typically a few controversial issues come before the School Committee every year. How will you balance listening to the concerns of all of your constituents, yet still having to make a decision that may not please everyone?

Kelly J Knight: I pride myself on being an open-minded person. I am always willing to hear all sides of an issue, but I also rely on my own research before coming to a decision. A School Committee member cannot be swayed by allegiances. They must each make up their mind through honest dialogue and do what they believe is best. This will not always directly line up with what every person in the community wants, because once elected I would say that every taxpayer qualifies as a constituent, so they must also have a thick skin and be able to explain their decisions so their thought process is clearly understood. I can only say I take this very seriously and will do my best in this regard.

Lori M Nickerson: My training and experience as an attorney provides me daily opportunities to manage the delicate balance of listening and understanding all sides of an issue while also making sound decisions despite potentially competing interests. My ability to evaluate the potential value, associated risks and predict unexpected outcomes would provide me the confidence and certainty that my decision-making is sound despite the disappointment and often critical opinions of those who do not share my opinion.

Frank E Sivo: Controversy comes from change. In my role of Vice President of Operational Excellence, I lead many projects that require disruptive change. With change comes anxiety, resistance, and a host of other challenges to overcome. Leading change means often means creating a “case for change” which includes trade-off analysis, communication plans, training plans, transition plans, etc. When these activities are done proactively and communicated frequently and openly, anxiety and resistance often dissipates quickly. As a School Committee member, I would work very hard to create and communicate the case for change and the rationale for any decision we make. I will also make myself available to constituents to discuss my perspectives and the committee’s decisions in groups and on a 1:1 basis.

Town Meeting Day 3 Results (unofficial)

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All of the remaining nine articles passed at Day 3 of Town Meeting last night and the meeting was adjourned shortly after 9:00pm.

  1. Neighborhood Mixed Use District – Lumber Street PASSED (Yes 137 / No 19)
  2. Sidewalk Easement – East Main Street PASSED
  3. Gift of Land – Hunters Ridge Open Space PASSED
  4. Gift of Land – 294 Hayden Rowe Street PASSED
  5. Acceptance of Easement – Upper Charles Trail PASSED
  6. Acquisition of Property at 25 Ash Street PADDED (Yes 81 / No 41)
  7. Street Acceptances PASSED
  8. Scenic Road Designation – Chamberlain Street PASSED
  9. Commissioner of School Trust Funds PASSED

Town Election is coming up in just 11 days on Monday, May 19.  Click here to read the list of candidates and ballot questions. Stay tuned for more info coming soon.

Town Meeting Day 2 Results (unofficial)

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  1. Sidewalk Construction and Rehabilitation Program $1,519,000 PASSED
  2. Hayden Rowe Traffic Calming – Near the Schools $400,000 FAILED (Yes 67 / No 82)
  3. Fire Station Roof Repair $400,000 PASSED
  4. International Horton Ambulance $270,000 PASSED
  5. Vactor Truck $395,000 PASSED
  6. Evaluation Studies of School Roof Repairs – Hopkins and the High School $30,000  from Free Cash PASSED as amended by Dr Duffy.
  7. School Safety and Security $152,400 from Free Cash PASSED as amended by Dr Duffy.
  8. Board of Assessors Consultant $21,300 PASSED
  9. Community Preservation Recommendations $208,000 ALL PASSED
    1. $80,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation and $34,000 from the Discretionary/Budgeted reserves to increase classroom space in the barn at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, located at 98 Hayden Rowe Street; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Hopkinton Community Endowment and the Community Preservation Committee.
    2. $15,000 from the Discretionary/Budgeted Reserves for the preservation of Town records; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Town Clerk and the Community Preservation Committee.
    3. $45,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation for plumbing, electrical and aesthetic repairs to the Claflin Fountain on the Town Common; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Parks and Recreation Department and the Community Preservation Committee.
    4. $15,000 from funds reserved for Passive Recreation to fund the placement of Conservation Restrictions on the open space properties known as Cameron Woods and Whisper Way; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Hopkinton Area Land Trust and the Community Preservation Committee.
    5. $7,500 from funds reserved for Passive Recreation to install signage to identify trailheads at the Town-owned parcels on Fruit Street, Phipps Woods, Braden Woods, Cameron Woods and Whisper Way; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Hopkinton Area Land Trust and the Community Preservation Committee.
    6. $6,500 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to restore and reset granite curbing on Town Common memorials; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Parks and Recreation Department and the Community Preservation Committee.
    7. $5,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to digitize and catalogue historic Hopkinton documents; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Hopkinton Public Library and the Community Preservation Committee.
  10. Farmer’s Market Wine Sampling on Town Common PASSED
  11. Downtown Business/Residence A District Boundary Modifications PASSED
  12. Downtown Business District Lot Area FAILED to get the required 2/3 vote (Yes 87 / No 78)
  13. Industrial A and Industrial B Districts – frontage PASSED
  14. Floodplain District PASSED
  15. Repeal Subdivision Phasing Bylaw PASSED
  16. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries PASSED
  17. Open Space Mixed Use Development (OSMUD) Overlay District – Hockey Rink PASSED
  18. Open Space Mixed Use Development (OSMUD) Overlay District – More dwelling units; senior housing development definition – Legacy Farms FAILED (Yes 61 / No 107)

Town Meeting adjourned shortly after 11:00pm and will reconvene Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00pm in the Middle School Auditorium.