I’m Steve Wallerstein and I’m running for the Raymond School Board.
I have worked with special needs and at-risk children for nearly 30 years. I was a special education teacher in the Raymond School District for 15 years. I have served as a Raymond school board member and have been a three time member of the District’s Strategic Planning Committee. I’m currently on the Raymond Planning Board. My wife, our two sons and I have lived in Raymond for 17 years. Our two boys have been educated entirely in the Raymond schools.
I’m running for School Board because I’m concerned our District is moving in the wrong direction. For many years, our sons received a very good education. When our oldest graduated from RHS in 2009, RHS provided our children with a very broad, high quality education. Since then, however, the District has moved backwards. Due to School Board cuts, the opportunities that students enjoyed in 2009 are no longer there.
With our budget challenges, we have to make choices. My priority is to fund direct instruction and direct services before funding administration. Instead of cutting teachers, paraprofessionals, and psychologists, we should be cutting redundant administrators. We should also look at unfunded mandates, travel expenses, and the creation of a District Resource Foundation.
The other reason we’ve moved backwards as a District since 2009 is due to the way our staff has been treated. Staff morale throughout the District has often been poor. Since 2010, over a dozen staff members have left the high school, many of whom had been with our District for 10 or 20 years. Some of those felt the need to consult with lawyers which has led to legal actions against our District. While the current School Board has begun to address this issue, many teachers often feel disrespected and undervalued.
This lack of appreciation for our staff and the work they do, leading to less student-teacher contact time, poor morale, high turnover, and loss of expertise, has had a huge impact on our children’s education.
As a Board member, I will be very hands-on, seeking input from all taxpayers, parents, guardians, and students, and from all staff. Our current Board has begun the process of more openness and accountability, but we have further to go.
There are many good things happening in our schools every day. We still have a very dedicated and hard working staff. To make sure that all of our children get the very best opportunities to prepare for life after high school, we need to take better care of our staff, and we need to make better common sense decisions about how we spend our limited resources.
I’ve written a more detailed letter, which you can access on this newspaper’s website, or by contacting me at Greensky@comcast.net. Please write to me with any comments or questions you may have. And please vote for me for the Raymond School Board on March 12th.