Candidate profiles: Mascenic School Board, New Ipswich

Chad Gibson

Time in town: 36 years 

Occupation: Estimator

Previous elected offices held: Mascenic School Board, two terms

Other qualifications: Served on the MRSD negotiating committee for four years, Mason withdrawal committee, New Hampshire School Boards Association board of directors, presenter at NSBA national conference.

What are two issues you feel are important and how do you plan to address them?

I think the most important issue on most taxpayers’ minds is how we are going to fund our schools during this tough economy. We need to continue to look at ways to provide a quality education, at an affordable price.

The board has continued to find ways to reduce our costs, mostly by providing programs in our own district that we had previously sent kids out of district for. The greatest savings has been noticed in our special education department where we have seen savings in excess of $1 million over the past 3 years, all while the students are receiving higher quality programs. The board is also looking at using the district’s learning center in Greenville as a means to generate income to the district. I believe that we need to continue to seek out alternative funding resources that do not come directly from the local taxpayers.

The second pressing issue is the improvement of the quality of education delivered. I think we need to get all of our stakeholders involved; students, teachers, parents, community leaders, etc. and come up with a consensus on how we do this as a team.

I personally think that we need to re-look at our daily schedule at the high school. I am not convinced that the five block schedule is giving our students the best chance to succeed. I believe that we need to continue to have differentiated instruction for all students at all levels, as we have begun to do. I believe we have hardworking teachers and paraprofessionals who want nothing but the best for our students. Our job as a school board is to give them all the tools they need so that our children can excel at the highest level.

Jim Kingston

Occupation: Sr. Principal Systems Engineer, BAE Systems

Time Living in Town: 15 years

Previously Elected Office: None

Other qualifications: 10 Years USMC Officer; Math and Physics Tutor; 3 Children Graduated from Mascenic ‘05, ‘08,’ 12.

What are two issues you feel are important and how do you plan to address them?

I believe the two biggest issues facing our schools are the lowering of academic standards and the wasteful expenditure of limited tax dollars.

Over the past four years we lowered graduation requirements to 20 credits, six fewer than our previous standard. Even with these lowered standards we continue making accommodation for failing students to maintain an artificial zero percent dropout rate. I believe that we can both raise our standards, returning to a 26 credit diploma, and better serve students by: supporting teachers when they hold students accountable; restoring programs like building trades that respect the heritage of our community and provide both academic and technical interest for our non-college bound students; listening to teachers when they offer supplements to curriculum and course offerings with topics that are relevant and exciting to students; and expanding opportunities available for top students.

Anyone that promises they can greatly reduce taxes is lying, there are too many state and federal laws that prevent large cuts. What I pledge is maximum value for your dollar – I know the difference between inexpensive and cheap. We must honor the lowest cost bid when contracting goods and services, both for immediate cost and the long term impact of reduced competition. We must stop excess taxation, taking over $3.1 million out of circulation in our community over the past four years. We must focus discretionary spending to directly promote student achievement in the classroom, athletic arena, or other co-curricular activities. Finally we must restore the trust of our teachers and aides, supporting reasonable pay increases and common decency in their contract language.

I have seen the full K-12 experience at Mascenic, and with my children now graduated I look forward to serving you without bias, with the honor and integrity to make the best choices for our entire school community.

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