Race for City Hall: Paul Coletti on Education

By Morgan Seiler
Published: November 2008

The presidential race may be over, but the Newton mayor race has just started. Over the course of the race, Denebola will interview the candidates about their positions on issues important to schools such as education. Denebola recently interviewed the four current candidates for mayor about their views on education. Here is Alderman Paul Coletti:

Alderman Paul Coletti has served on the Newton Board of Aldermen for 30 years, working countless issues relating to the Newton Public Schools during his long tenure. Since he was as Aldermen, Newton has renovated Newton South, Oakhill, and Brown.

Coletti believes that the state of education in Newton is “extremely good and that the school system in its current form leaves students well prepared to go into a career or pursue a college education.

Coletti also feels, however, that Newton schools face a number of challenges.  The first challenge is filling positions vacated by retiring teachers and administrators with the best candidates possible.  While Coletti believes teachers should be paid competitively for their work, he also said that teacher salaries must not take too much money out of the budget. His main goal is to “make sure that the¦student who might not be in advanced placement continues to receive equal access to the quality teaching, he said.

Other issues that Colletti feels the Newton Public Schools must address include the need to identify and assist students with disabilities and the need to maintain facilities and infrastructure.

In order to maximize city revenue, Coletti outlined a number of proposals. First, he plans to continue to ensure that Newton provides 70 percent of property tax revenues to the school system. Coletti also wants to merge the administration of several departments shared by the schools and municipal government, such as human resources, purchasing and accounting.

Funding is likely to be an even more pressing issue as the current financial crisis is bound puts strains on city resources.  Coletti hopes to continue the current practice of increasing the City’s education and educational infrastructure budget 4.5 to 6 percent each year and that this increase in revenue will “fund work that needs to be done to maintain excellence.

“[Education is] not just a requirement but a commitment that the citizens and taxpayers believe our job is to provide the best, the very best, possible education we can provide to the children, our future leaders, Coletti said.

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