Letter: Violette balances students' needs, taxpayers' concerns

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I am writing in support of Jim Violette who is seeking re-election to the Westbrook School Board from Ward 5. Jim has served many years as a School Board member, most of the as chair. Prior to his longtime service on the board, Jim was an active member of the City Council. It remains obvious that Jim has a long history of service to the citizens of Westbrook.

As a retired teacher in Westbrook with over 33 years of service, I have remained informed and interested in how our schools continue to be run and, quite honestly, how their budgets might affect my taxes moving forward. In my conversations with Jim over the years, it is extremely obvious that he supports education in this city while still being very cognizant of the mil rate and its impact on taxes. I watch the majority of monthly School Board meetings and it is apparent that Jim and his constituents are always more than willing to add staff where needed, approve new programs and remodeling, or at times, rebuild schools so every student in Westbrook has the same opportunity to learn and prosper. He also holds security in our schools as a high priority as evidenced by the security upgrade at the high school.

There is no question that education and its numerous offerings have changed dramatically since my retirement in 1995. There were never any real security issues, computers and technology were just getting their start, you never saw guidance counselors at the elementary school level, new programs like STEAM didn’t exist, and we never had much diversity in the city as we do now with a large increase of our ELL population.

Knowing and understanding that all these changes come at a price, while still remaining an invested supporter of education in Westbrook, I truly respect Jim’s efforts to support our schools and its initiatives while remaining sensitive of the affect it will have on those of us now living on fixed incomes. He definitely has Westbrook students’ opportunities to succeed in the forefront when making financial decisions that will or may impact all taxpayers in Westbrook.

Does Jim Violette truly believe in the city’s motto of “The Best Education for All for Life?” He certainly does, and that is why I am strongly recommending all the voters in Ward 5 to support Jim in his quest to continue his terrific service to our educational facilities, its teachers and the citizens of Westbrook.

Richard Goan
Westbrook