Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 20, 2014

Blumstein set to tackle school issues

Joel Blumstein, a first-time candidate for public office, considers himself a strong supporter of public education.

He has the background to show for it. He has served on the School Improvement Council and scheduling committee at Andover High School, and he has frequently been involved with issues in the town’s public schools.

But he has never been put there by a ballot. Come Tuesday, as the only declared candidate for School Committee, he stands to win the seat being vacated by Chairman Dennis Forgue, who is stepping down after two terms.

With two teenage daughters having spent about a decade in the school system so far, Blumstein said he recognizes that there are “a lot of difficult issues the school system faces, and the reason I’m running is to help address those challenges.”

The budget is one high-ranking priority he expects to face on the committee. Others include potential construction needs at the high school, possible adjustments to the school calendar and implementation of a new high school schedule.

Changes in science and technology education close out the list. The need to talk tech and science is evidenced by the recent debate surrounding a charter high school opening in Andover, even though it was eventually shot down by the state.

“The debate recently on whether to bring a charter school to Andover, whichever side was taken, certainly highlights the need to constantly keep up in science and technology,” he said. “It’s an area you should never feel satisfied in, because things are changing so quickly.”

Blumstein looks forward to facing those issues and more over the next three years.

“I’m a person who studies the facts, asks the hard questions, makes sure I understand the arguments pro and con, whatever the issue is, and tries to weigh the contributing factors in making a decision,” he said. “People may disagree, but at least everybody has the facts and can make their decisions with eyes wide open.”

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