School Committee Debate: All For a New Galvin

The three candidates for the school committee went head to head on Wednesday night in a live televised debate.

Talk of the proposed new Galvin Middle school most heavily dominated the conversation at the School Committee live debate on Wednesday night.

All three candidates stated again and again that a new Galvin Middle School is desparately needed.

"If [the school] fails, the town fails," said candidate John Bengtson. "We have to get this done."

"The current Galvin Middle School is not fair to students," said candidate Janine Iengo-Cook.. "There's mold, odor -- it's not a healthy environment. It needs to be fixed."

Candidate Kate Morgan agreed.

"We owe it to the the students to repair the school," she said. "It's the only option."

Another area of agreement was in the area of fostering 21st Century learning. All three candidates said that the schools are moving in the right direction to promote the right type of learning for all students in the district.

"We're somewhat on the right track," said Iengo-Cook. "We have to look to the future, and technology is where it's at. Wakefield is no where up to par with other towns, and it's something that will affect students for the rest of their lives," she said.

Morgan said it's an issue that will have to be continually addressed.

"We're on the right track," she said. "I understand the frustration and the growing pains, but I believe we're on the right path."

Bengtson said he was still hearing from students earlier this week that they couldn't access the websites they needed for research.

"It's a work in progress, but students need these tools, and web filtering has been an issue," he said.

The three candidates also agreed that extracurricular activites, which include sports, drama, music and other educational activities enrich students lives and should be maintained despite budget issues.

None of the candidates were strongly in favor of charging higher fees to students who participate in more expensive activities, but each candidate recognized the money has to come from somewhere.

"It's a no-win situation," said Iengo-Cook. "We don't want to pit one sport against another, but the reality is the money either has to come from the schools or the parents."

Bengston said that certain sports like football benefit more because the school already owns the fields or facilities, or there's an active booster club that helps to defray costs.

"You don't want to have a student who can't come back next year beacuse the fees are too great to handle," he said. "We should work with families who need a lower rate."

Morgan seemed to come out the strongest in favor of keeping the fees assessed to students and their families low.

"These activities are part of a well-rounded student, and so maybe we can look at other ways to save money such as busing costs," said Morgan.

To catch the full debate, visit 's website: www.wcatwakefield.org for the schedule of when the debate will be replayed. To see the .


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