Candidate Profiles: School Committee

Candidate Questions: School Committee Incumbent Candidate Christine Monaco

We asked the three candidates for School Committee the same five questions to give voters a look into why they are running and what they would hope to achieve if elected. 

Here we have the answers from incumbent candidate Christine Monaco:

1: Why are you seeking to be elected or re-elected to this position? 
A: I enjoy my work with the our schools. A School Committee works as a group, and no one member can accomplish anything without the support of others. I work with wonderfully committed people who want the very best for every student. We have made so many significant strides, including new buildings, outstanding core academics at every level, state of the art technology, award winning music and art departments, a science center that is envied by many, novel special education programs, and many more. Burlington has an excellent school system. However, there are always things that can be added or improved, and that is why I want to continue my work.

2: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate?
A: My experience covers every aspect of School Committee work. As a former educator, I joined the board with extensive knowledge of the inner workings of our schools. Over the years, my knowledge has only increased. I have experience with building and renovating schools, overseeing school budgets, writing and updating policies, and hiring. In addition to those specific responsibilities I have extensive knowledge of the curriculum, programs, athletics, before and after school programs, and special education, to name only a few.

3: What character traits/strengths do you possess that makes you a good candidate?
A: When I worked at BHS I gained insight into the daily issues that students face. Helping these students became a passion for me. I am on the committee to represent all students and their families. Every day I hear from parents about issues that need to be addressed and I am more than happy to help. I have strong working relationships with our administration and I am comfortable bringing student issues to them. Being willing to speak out and speak up, even on tough issues is my most helpful trait in this job. I really care about our students and families.

4: What issues do you think are the most pressing facing the board/committee you are running for and what do you think should be done to address them?
A: The obvious tasks are moving ahead with the new Fox Hill School, and rehabbing BHS. Fox Hill has been approved and is in the process. BHS is a large expensive project and needs to begin before we run into boiler failures or other major issues. I will continue to work with the town side of government to make this happen. We have a strong financial team and together we will find the best approach to finance the project without placing too much burden on our taxpayers. We will work to fit the costs into the existing bonding schedule in a reasonable, manageable way.

The most pressing educational issues for me are adding two specific special education programs to help our students. One involves various reading programs for our youngest students, and the other involves adding a program for neurodiverse students at our high school

Candidate’s Own Question and Answer: 
What is your opinion on three elementary schools vs four elementary schools?

A: There is no question in my mind, four neighborhood elementary schools are absolutely the best model. The option of combining Pine Glen School with Fox Hill School is not acceptable to me. Neighborhood schools have a purpose besides providing quality education; they serve as a neighborhood center where families get to know each other and young children make friends. Because the schools are smaller there is a more personal touch, and it is simply a better educational model. There are other reasons, like traffic, busses, large numbers of students, etc., but the most important reason for four schools is that educationally it is the best model for our community.