NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

October 29, 2013

Mullins advocates for open waterfront and plans to fund it

(Continued)

“Additionally, even the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s own consultant said that there are grants available totaling between $500K and $750K for the park’s creation,” Mullins said.

How can schools be improved? “First, I wish to say congratulations to Port Pride for getting the schools and senior center passed. The schools are presently on time and on budget. But what is going on inside the schools? We have had three superintendents in four years, and many vice principals and principals. What we have is a systemic failure of leadership and constantly changing priorities.

“I have spoken to members of the School Committee and have been informed that, with some of the changes they have made, that a cost savings of $100K can be made this year whereby the money can go back into the classrooms. We are also not taking advantage of two virtually free programs to help our kids. First is the distance learning lab. The second is partnering with our local community colleges so our students can receive credit for both their high school and college level classes.”

What is an area of special interest that you would want to work on? “In the new charter, we ensured that the city would have to create a five-year capital improvement plan. That list is presently a wish list. We need to set real priorities and start funding them in a predictable and fiscally sustainable way. For example, let’s say that 20 streets are on the repair list but we receive Chapter 90 funds (road improvements) for 16.

“Instead of the last four that were on this year’s list being on the top of next year’s list, they go back into the bag for a new priority list,” she said. “We all know that those four streets didn’t get better. Why are they not on the top of the priority list for the next year? I don’t know, but they should be.”

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