J-R School Board candidates discuss election platforms

  • Three candidates for the contested Jaffrey-Rindge School Board seat were given an opportunity to talk about their platform and answer questions during a candidate's night in Jaffrey on Thursday. Candidates for other non-contested race were also given an opportunity to speak. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Three candidates for the contested Jaffrey-Rindge School Board seat were given an opportunity to talk about their platform and answer questions during a candidate's night in Jaffrey on Thursday. Candidates for other non-contested race were also given an opportunity to speak. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Three candidates for the contested Jaffrey-Rindge School Board seat were given an opportunity to talk about their platform and answer questions during a candidate's night in Jaffrey on Thursday. Candidates for other non-contested race were also given an opportunity to speak. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Three candidates for the contested Jaffrey-Rindge School Board seat were given an opportunity to talk about their platform and answer questions during a candidate's night in Jaffrey on Thursday. Candidates for other non-contested race were also given an opportunity to speak. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/25/2019 9:31:37 PM

Three candidates for the at-large Jaffrey-Rindge School Board race were given the opportunity Thursday to discuss their platform in front of area voters.

Jason Boyle, Marcea Gustafson-Belletete, and Michael DiPasquale are all competing for one three-year seat. Incumbent Alison Bergeron is not seeking re-election.

Each candidate spoke in front of a crowd of about 40 Jaffrey voters during Jaffrey’s Candidate’s Night on Thursday, which was held at the Cutler Memorial Building. 

Boyle, who taught at the Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School and Conant High School for three years, advocated for more community collaborations between the schools and local businesses and groups. 

“We have a strong industrial center that is essential to our local economy,” Boyle said. “We need to open up our arms as a school system to utilize this opportunity. There is no reason our children cannot graduate high school trained for entry-level industrial positions.”

DiPasquale said moving to Rindge in July 2006 was one of the best things he has done for his family, and he now wants to give back to the district his two kids attend. 

“I want to do what’s best for our kids,” Dipasquale said. “I don’t have any allegiances to anyone in the district, so I can make tough decisions.”

Gustafson-Belletete has over 30 years of education experience, including two stints with the district totaling almost two decades. 

“Our schools really need to look at what our community can offer,” Gustafson-Belletete said. “There’s a lot here.”

Each candidate said they were not in favor of a Rindge petition article that if passed, would ask the district to prepare a study of the feasibility and sustainability of dissolving the school district. 

“I understand what they are trying to do, but I don’t see the value in it,” DiPasquale said. 

Gustafson-Belletete, who used to live in Rindge and now lives in Jaffrey, said the issue had been looked at in the past and was not found to be feasible. 

Boyle said the article spoke to deeper issues in the community and discussed the homeschool community.

“I think everyone needs to look at what [homeschool students] have to offer,” Boyle said. 

Each candidate spent time discussing the need for the district to better integrate and communicate with the at-large community to increase educational opportunities for students. 

Gustafson-Belletete, said she spent time while working for the district trying to find the “hidden talents” in the community to pair with the interests of students. 

DiPasquale said there are many businesses in the Monadnock region that could partner with the district to provide learning opportunities. 

Boyle said there are many people who want to volunteer their time to the school but students are “locked in rooms.”

All three candidates also came out in favor of the district developing a master plan.

There are no other contested races in town this year, but each candidate running for office was given the chance to speak anyway.

Bill Raymond said during the event that he would be pursuing a write-in campaign to be re-elected to the Trustees of the Trust Fund.

No other candidates filed this period for the post. Raymond said he intended to run again this year, but forgot to file during the specified window. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. 




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