Johannis caring, dedicated

Johannis caring, dedicated

For 14 years, I served as chairperson of the North Smithfield Special Education Local Advisory Committee. In that capacity, I have attended more School Committee meetings than the average resident. Second only to parenting, education is one of the most important influences in a child's life. School Committee members regularly make decisions that have significant, even life-altering consequences for our children. That is why I am supporting Fran Johannis for School Committee. In her previous term in this role, she stood out as one of the most dedicated individuals. Ms. Johannis put an enormous amount of time and effort into researching the issues that came before the committee. She was tireless in her efforts to understand the state Department of Education mandates, including the Basic Education Program and how these can be translated to meet the needs of students, in a manner that is reasonable given this community's resources.

Much has been said and written about Ms. Johannis that, in my own opinion, is purely fictional. There has been considerable attention paid to the single issue, albeit an important one, about the future of Halliwell. In my estimation, the vilification of Ms. Johannis has been fueled by political interest. It would be negligent for anyone to develop an assessment of a district's facility needs without including all options, especially those that are in the best interest of quality education, even if there might be barriers to that option in the short-term. Based upon a recent letter to the editor, one would think that Ms. Johannis has been single-handedly responsible for determining the future of the district's buildings. In fact, this issue has been reviewed by several committees made up of various multi-disciplinary teams for more than a decade.

The School Committee faces a wide variety of educational decisions. Of the candidates running for this office, Ms. Johannis stands out as the most qualified individual, who has the integrity, intellect and determination to make responsible choices that will promote continued improvements in the quality of education provided to this town's children. Just as important, she will do so in a fiscally responsible manner. She has my vote and I hope she will have yours, too.

Michelle P. Taylor

North Smithfield