My name is Karen O’Toole and I’m running for School Committee in Monson. I’m retired and raising a grandchild. The majority of my work history was in the banking/finance sector which included customer service as well as operations and management. My grandchild has been enrolled in our district since beginning preschool in 2014 and I’ve been a resident of Monson since 2001.

I grew up in Springfield and attended school in a large district and I understand what that feels like. I lived in Salt Lake City and raised my kids in another large district there. I don’t want that for our kids in Monson and will continue to advocate for our small and flexible, local district at a time when many services seem to be regionalizing. I believe in equity for all, acceptance, inclusion, fairness and respect for others, in short, The Golden Rule.

I further believe that public schools have the most important role in education and because of the laws that guarantee all children the right to a free appropriate public education regardless of economic or any other kind of challenge, the school committee has to be proactive. The School Committee is responsible for oversight and it falls to them to take precautions to ensure no student is overlooked.

Like others I have spoken with, I have concerns about the future of our district, specifically related to funding and what appears to me to be reduced opportunities for a well rounded education. I have always believed that “perception is reality,” and we have work to do here. I feel that I can be an effective influence as a member of the School Committee by pushing for positive change, supporting and advocating for additional resources for our students, increasing transparency between the schools and home, and helping others to understand the importance and the roles of educators. We owe it to our kids to create and foster an environment of collaboration and cohesiveness between home, family, school and the community at large. I believe that change is important and necessary for growth and that our students are deserving of a well rounded education that isn’t just about textbooks, but is also about making connections and having great memories of our youth.

Because of my life experience, I feel I would bring a new perspective to the School Committee that could have a meaningful impact on our schools. Please vote for me on June 11th. Thank you for your consideration.

Letters to the Editor
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