Under Mayor Driscoll, the Salem Public School District went from one of the best in the state to one of the worst performing districts. Floundering schools have many adverse effects on Salem beyond the lack of a first-class education for all of our students.
Many homebuyers are no longer choosing Salem because of our failing schools. Salem residents with young children are deciding to move to other communities with better schools or enrolling their children in charter or private schools or homeschooling. From 2012 to 2016, enrollment at Salem High School dropped 23%, yet the school department spending continued to soar to cover the salaries and expenditures of school administrators.
Before counting state and federal funding, the Salem School System is the highest city expense at $57,946,227. There is simply no excuse for our underperforming schools. It’s abundantly clear that the current administration does not possess either the wherewithal or the political will to resolve the education shortcomings that have developed under Driscoll’s tenure.
Here is my plan:
- Value our teachers and ensure that our experienced teachers are in the classrooms where they belong.
- Listen to our teachers, paraprofessionals and education experts in making crucial assessments and improvements to programs and classroom learning.
- Ensure that the school district is utilizing every dollar toward the direct education of each child.
- Evaluate central office administration positions to determine their direct impact on classroom learning.
The most important thing we can change about Salem Schools is to better value our hardworking teachers and paraprofessionals. We need to support them, we need to listen to them and we need to keep them in our classrooms to ensure that our students are getting the best experience possible. Teachers and paraprofessionals are the cornerstone of our educational system and deserve to be recognized as such.
In Paul Prevey’s administration, education will be a top priority. Paul knows our schools have an impact on everything from housing to taxes and that our schools are essential to Salem’s success. Paul will work daily with educational experts and our school’s professionals to redirect the culture and performance of the Salem Public Schools for the success of all our students.