Mayor candidate Q&A: How will you improve city schools?

Reminder Publishing sent both Westfield mayoral candidates identical questionnaires covering several topics of interest to voters. Answers are in the candidates’ own words and have not been edited, except for spelling and punctuation. Responses are listed in the order that candidates will be listed in the ballot: incumbent first, then challenger.

Today’s question: What’s the biggest challenge facing Westfield’s schools, and what would you do as School Committee chair to address it?

Donald Humason: As School Committee chair I am constantly voting on policies that make sure our children have the best education possible. It also needs to be safe, accessible, and meet current best practice standards. My son Quinn is a fifth grader attending the Westfield Intermediate School, so this goal is personal to me. I chair the New School Building Committee and we are currently building a new Franklin Avenue Elementary School with assistance from the Massachusetts School Building Assistance Bureau. MSBA allows only one project at a time, but a new high school has to be next on our list.

Michael McCabe: The mission of the school, for me, would be to provide students with the ability to compete in the academic world and job market beyond high school. I would like to set a goal of figuring out a pathway towards increasing SAT and ACT scores. Additionally, I would look to create a new comprehensive school with shared facilities and educational opportunities by advocating for a-la-carte options. Our athletic programs currently have to find alternate locations and compete in substandard conditions. Not all students respond to academics and many depend on extracurriculars to get through a successful high school journey.

Pick up the newspaper every day from now until Saturday, Oct. 30, for more questions and answers with the mayoral, Ward 1 City Council and School Committee candidates. For previous questions and answers, visit thewestfieldnews.com/tag/election-2021. To add your thoughts to our coverage, send your letter to the editor to [email protected], or 181 Root Road, Westfield, MA 01085.

Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting is also available today at City Hall, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and daily Oct. 25-29.

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