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Curran pulls papers for selectman, Starks for School Committee

Joseph Curran

Joseph E. Curran, who came up short in a bid to be a selectman in April, took out papers Monday, Dec. 19, for another try. School Committee Chair Cindy Starks took out papers Thursday, Dec. 15, for a potential run for reelection to the School Committee.

The selectmen's race is expected to pit two who had differing views on some issues when both served on the School Committee. Joseph Curro Jr., still on the committee, has taken out nomination papers for selectman. Clarissa Rowe, the selectmen chair, who is an incumbent, has not yet taken out papers. The other incumbent, Annie LaCourt, has said she will not seek reelection.

Curran, who served on the School Committee from 2007 until last spring, received 3,152 votes in the April town election after vying for a one-year seat on the Board of Selectman. LaCourt received 3,956 votes.

Curran was first elected to the School Committee in 2007. Running unopposed for a one-year seat after Marty Thrope resigned, he received 3,612 votes. 

He was elected to a three-year term on the committee in 2008, getting 3,202 votes, second to Curro, who received 3,915. 

On the School Committee, two seats are up for grabs in the April 10 town election -- that of Starks and Jeffrey Thielman, who was elected in 2003 and has said he plans to seek reelection.

Starks was elected to a three-year term in 2009 and topped the ticket with 3,454 votes.

Others who have taken out papers for School Committee are Sean HarringtonJames J. Flanagan  and Gregory D. Brogan.

Those who take out nominating papers must get the signatures of 50 registered voters. Once the signatures are certified, in February, the person officially becomes a candidate. Once potential candidates take out papers, the unofficial campaign has begins, but most don't become active until after Jan. 1.

Curran and Starks were asked to respond to some questions, and Starks provided her answers Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Starks responds to questions

Starks, 46, has lived in Arlington 12 years, going on 13.

Asked why she wants to run again for the School Committee, she wrote in an email Wednesday, Dec. 21: "Because I have a strong commitment to education and because we have a great committee and there are many things I want to see us accomplish."

Asked what qualifies her to serve, she wrote:

"I am a parent of 2 children who have been K-12 and K-9 in the Arlington public schools.

"I am a 6th grade math teacher.

"I have a passion for education.

"I have served 3 years on the SC already and so have background and a history that is useful to have on the committee."

As to challenges she sees ahead for the board, she listed these:

"Finishing the Thompson rebuild.

"Hiring a new special education director.

"Working to continue to improve our schools within the confines of the budget.

"Figuring out how to rebuild or fix up Arlington High School in the next 2-3 years.

"Dealing with the growth in the number of children in our town and fitting them into our schools.

"Moving the board to focus more on student achievement and what we can do to help move that forward.

"Dealing with changes coming to education from the state and federal government.

"Improving relations with the teachers' union."

Asked what high points she sees during her current tenure, she wrote, "Working more closely with the other boards and elected officials in town. Coming together as a cohesive team (the School committee, that is). Making everything we do more open and transparent to the community."

Asked about low points in the last three years and how they have been addressed, she cited the $1.5 million shortfall discovered in August 2010 from the preceding fiscal year and added, "Yes, it has been addressed."

Curran responds to Patch

Curran has not responded to a telephone message left at his home or to emailed questions from YourArlington. He granted an interview to Arlington Patch, published Dec. 22.

This story was first published Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, and updated the next day.

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