Dr. Eric Conti, Superintendent of Schools, school committee members Martha Simon and Kristin Russo, and the town moderator Bill Beyer were featured speakers on a panel organized by the Indian Americans for Burlington on April 9, 2017 at the Burlington Public Library.
Indra Deb, who coordinated the panel welcomed the audience and invited the panelists to present a few opening remarks that was followed by a Q & A Session. “A significant portion of the town budget goes to support the schools. We work closely with the town committee and the school committee to create the budget. We have a good relationship with the town” said Conti. “Burlington is lucky to have several businesses in town and thus a large portion of the tax revenue comes from that.”
The audience had a large number of questions. They ranged from logistical questions like the availability of after school programs in middle school to philosophical ones that discussed the issue of diversity. “It is not easy to find candidates from diverse backgrounds to fill the teaching positions. There are not too many Indian American teachers. If you want to see diversity please encourage your children to become teachers,” said Martha Simon. Teaching is also an excellent option for a second career.
The audience asked what school system Burlington looks to as a model. “We do not look at any system as a model but rather look to model programs that we would like to adopt” said Russo. “We also constantly are talking to businesses and employers to understand what would be the best training to provide our youngsters,” said Dr. Conti.
Town Moderator Bill Beyer outlined the town’s processes and encouraged people to get engaged.
It was a great event and one got a clear sense of how the Burlington school system works.