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Local News

October 3, 2013

Mayoral hopefuls discuss education

Editor’s note: As part of The Daily News election coverage, we asked candidates for mayor of Newburyport to talk about their views on the city’s schools and education issues.

The candidates — Mayor Donna Holaday and City Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr. — will face off in the Nov. 5 general election. The newly elected mayor will serve a four-year term and receive an annual salary of $98,000.

In this community, the mayor serves as chairperson of the School Committee.

Donna Holaday

The two-term mayor has been proactive when it comes to school construction projects.

She has championed the funding and creation of a new Bresnahan Elementary School and major updates to the Nock/Molin school complex on Low Street.

“I’m impressed with the improvements at the Nock, and that it was ready for the opening of school,” said Holaday, whose work with education officials resulted in the state funding the cost of almost half for each of these school projects.

“The Bresnahan (construction) is moving forward,” she said. “These projects had to be done.”

Holaday said that she favors expanding the curriculum to include more opportunities to study foreign language. She added that she would like the schools to provide more for students with special needs.

She added that she is studying the possibility of moving administrative offices from the Nock/Molin complex to the Brown School, which will be closed in June. Such a move would free up space for more classrooms and perhaps additional classes.

The mayor said she would consider selling the Kelley School building, and transfer the youth activities centered there to the Brown School.

Dick Sullivan Jr.

Dick Sullivan Jr., who served on the School Committee from 2002 to 2006, said that the two school construction projects were necessary.

But, he said, more money should be going into the school system.

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