Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

November 14, 2013

Charter school proponent a detraction on School Committee

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

As a parent of school-age children in Andover, it is my opinion that David Birnbach should step down from the School Committee. I do not know Mr. Birnbach, and I am sure that he is a good friend to many in this community, so I do not wish to offend anyone by saying so. I feel that he has every right to pursue the opening of a charter school. I also know that a charter school would be detrimental to the health of Andover Public Schools — but that is beside the point. That is a discussion for Nov. 21, when the state will hold a hearing in Andover on the charter school application, and I encourage all to attend.

Mr. Birnbach would be intimately involved in the workings of the business of a charter school, possibly as executive director (a paid position); as a School Committee member, he has access to a great deal of budgetary information, not to mention budgetary decision-making power, including teacher contracts. This is, in my opinion, a major conflict of interest. Therefore, his remaining on the committee is, in my opinion, unethical, not to mention a detraction from proper working conditions of the School Committee. Once Mr. Birnbach has stepped down, then the School Committee can properly focus on, among their many other duties, the complicated issue of the impact of a possible charter school in Andover.

Rosalie Toubes

3 Woodcliff Road