Issues

A message from Paula: 

Why am I driven to serve on the Somerville School Committee? First and foremost, I want every student, in every classroom, in every Somerville public school to have an excellent learning experience. In short, I want for all kids what I want for my own kids.

I support the Somerville Public Schools’ (SPS’s) focus on the whole child, knowing that students learn best in environments that are safe, supportive and inspiring. In order to meet this standard, we need to support our staff, especially our classroom teachers, and continue to make SPS a great place to work.

SPS has made incredible strides in recent years. As a member of the School Committee, I take pride in serving our schools and our students in a meaningful way and supporting the great work already in progress. I welcome the opportunity to meet more parents, students and community members in Ward 6 and across the city to better understand their experiences, successes and concerns.

Below is a summary of stances I took on two ballot questions in 2016: 

Massachusetts Ballot Question 2: Charter Schools

I opposed Question 2, which sought to allow the addition of up to 12 new charter schools or expansion of existing charters each year.

I am not against charter schools in general. They can serve as test sites for alternative approaches and structures in K-12 schools while also offering a choice for families. However, if we do not limit the number of charters, we risk destabilizing Massachusetts communities.

Each city and town is charged with educating all school-age children who reside there. These communities need financial stability in order to meet this enormous responsibility. I feared that passage of Question 2 would have had devastating financial implications (particularly for those communities serving our most vulnerable populations) and other negative consequences.

Somerville Ballot Question 5: New High School Debt Exclusion

I supported Question 5, which sought to allow the city to raise taxes to fund the construction of a new Somerville High School.

Somerville High School has the dubious distinction of being the oldest unrenovated high school in New England. Due to its outdated facilities, it had been at serious risk of losing its accreditation, which would have been devastating to our students’ futures.

Our city desperately needed to address this situation, and renovating the existing structure wouldn't have cut it. After more than two years of study and public hearings, and consideration of all viable options, Somerville has a plan to provide our students and staff with the facilities they need and deserve.