Jama Mohamed and Richard White are running   for Lewiston School Committee Ward 5 on Nov. 3, 2015. Learn about more candidates and issues in our Election 2015 guide.

Incumbent Ward 5 School Committee candidate Jama Mohamed declined to submit answers to the Sun Journal’s questions.

Name:

Richard L. White

Email address:

[email protected]

Occupation or primary source of income:

Flagger certifier

Education:

Some college

Family information:

I am a single dad of two 8 1/2-year-old twins.

Public offices sought or held:

Currently seeking School Committee for Ward 5. Ran for City Council previous election. Was appointed to the CDBG Committee.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

Number one, I take my responsibilities seriously. I will do what research I need to in order to make informed decisions. I will represent Ward 5 with integrity and honor. I will be at the School Committee meetings and workshops, I will ask the tough questions and my decisions will be made based on facts.

I will also be meeting with teachers, students, and parents regularly to discuss what is working and what is not working. I will encourage by example parent involvement in the schools. I will respond to all emails, phone calls and letters on a timely basis.

This is not about politics. This is about providing the best education for our children and to do that, we need the feedback from our teachers, students and parents.

Was the last $64.7 million school budget passed too low, too high or just right? And would you support a school budget that boosts program spending, maintains or cuts program spending and why?

I am pretty sure there is a lot of room for improvement. I would support a budget that funds programs that work, cut programs that don’t, and maintain a curriculum that will provide our children for the future. I want to work with teachers and students to find out what works and what doesn’t. That way, we can make decisions based on real life experience and not what looks good on paper.

After rolling out Proficiency Based Learning and new diplomas for the Class of 2018, the administrators changed direction and have now delayed the new diplomas until 2021, while other parts of PBL are being implemented now. Is that a good idea or not? Why?

PBL does have some merits. How it was implemented has broken trust and set the students and faculty up for failure.

Any time we implement major changes to our school system, we as committee members need to flesh out all of the details and take as much feedback from those involved (parents, teachers and students) before implementing any massive changes. We owe it to our community to do our due diligence and get it right the first time.

Classroom overcrowding has been a concern. Do you favor hiring more teachers to reduce classroom sizes? If yes, where should the money come from?

This is an issue that does need to be addressed at all levels, K-12. We need to create a budget that reflects our top priorities. Our top priorities should be effectively educating our students, preparing them for the future.

I believe that by carefully researching the budget, we can not eliminate waste, but take those funds and use them for improving the teacher/student ratio as well.

The school committee recently voted to build a new elementary school near Lewiston High School that combines and replaces the Martel and Longley schools and gives the city improved athletic fields. Do you favor this plan?

Actually, I argued on behalf of that plan. The original plan would have been more costly, and deprive the schools of their most valuable resource — parent involvement. I believe in community schools, and by keeping the schools in their respective communities, allow for all of us to play vital roles in the education of our children.


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