Candidate Statement - Budget

When I ran for School Committee three years ago, one of my goals was to ensure that the School District’s budget delivered the best value for our taxpayer dollars.  I believe that this value is best realized when our programs have direct impact on student learning.  It’s a metric that I use throughout the budget process and I couldn’t be more pleased with the initial results.  

Last year, we asked the community to support a budget that brought significant changes to our educational model.  We sought expansions to foundational programs and were pleased to have the support of the community.  At our last School Committee meeting, Dr. MacLeod reported first year results from these programs which already show tremendous individual student progress in math and reading including 93% of kindergartners reaching their reading benchmark by the end of February.  I strongly believe that the budget we proposed this year will continue this trend and lead broader student progress improvements at all grade levels.

I also believe that, for the budget process to be effective, we must proceed in an open and transparent manner.  In my first term, we adopted financial policies that govern how we manage not only our annual budget process, but the overall fiscal practices of the districts. These policies help us more clearly communicate with the community about how the budget is created and how those funds are managed.  They also support greater community dialogue throughout the process.

Creating and managing a value-driven budget is one of the most important responsibilities of the School Committee. I believe the results and the process by which they were achieved in my first term show that my skills and approach make me the right candidate to continue to serve in this role, and I respectfully ask for your vote on May 18th.

Candidate Statement - Intent to run for Re-Election

Dear Hopkinton Residents:

I am pleased to announce that I am seeking re-election to the Hopkinton School Committee this May.  I’m extremely proud of the work that the School Committee has done in my first term. I believe that my experience and my approach to problem-solving have proven effective. These will continue to be essential while collaborating with other town boards and departments to face the challenges that our district will confront in the coming years.

During my three years on the Committee so far, I have helped bring about vital and exciting improvements. We have stabilized the leadership of the district with the hiring of Dr. Cathy MacLeod as Superintendent and supported her decisions around her leadership team.  In collaboration with the Administration and citizens of the town, we created and adopted a strategic plan that sets the priorities of our district for the future.  We have improved programs and services to reflect the changing needs of our students, including Full Day Kindergarten, expansion of curricular and extracurricular opportunities at the middle and high schools and improvements to the core academic programs that meet the increased expectations for our students.  

We have increased the transparency of our budget process and fiscal management practices. We adopted extensive finance policies that guide all fiscal activities in the district while providing clear explanations for how issues such as end of year balances and revolving accounts are handled.  

I'm particularly proud of the accomplishments of the Elementary School Building Committee, on which I serve as the School Committee representative.  We have advanced through the MSBA process while keeping the town well informed of the project's progress to ensure we reach a solution the town can support.  We have partnered with town stakeholders and state agencies to ensure that we are able to propose the most responsible and cost-conscious option to deliver the educational model for our youngest learners.  Our communication and outreach process will help ensure that the community can support the final option when it is presented to Town Meeting.

I'm running for re-election because I believe there is more work to be done.  The needs of our district are rapidly changing.  The growth in our town is both a credit to and a challenge for our school district.  We will need to be creative and forward thinking to ensure that we can meet not only the needs caused by our growth as a town but the increased expectations being placed on students.  I believe that, in my three years on the committee, I have proven that my approach to understanding and solving problems and my willingness to consider all sides of the issue before making a decision make me the right candidate for the challenges we will face over the next three years.  I respectfully ask for your vote on May 18th for the privilege of serving the town as a School Committee member for three more years.

Sincerely,

Jon Graziano
8 Kimball Road
(617) 291-6734