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School Committee to Choose New Member by Feb. 4, Seeks Candidates

Prospective candidates from East Somerville must submit their names for consideration by Jan. 10.

The Somerville School Committee is seeking candidates to represent Ward 1—East Somerville—on the committee, and it will make a final decision by Feb. 4.

This is according to a vote taken by the School Committee at a meeting Monday night.

If you're interested in serving on the School Committee, see more information about how to apply below.

The seat on the committee became vacant on Dec. 13 when former Ward 1 representative Maureen Bastardi was appointed to the Somerville Board of Aldermen and, therefore, resigned from her position on the School Committee. Bastardi was appointed to replace former Ward 1 Alderman William Roche, who resigned to spend more time with his family.

Ward 1 encompasses most of East Somerville, a diverse neighborhood with a large immigrant population.

School Committee members are elected by the public, but because Bastardi resigned with less than a year before the next election, in November of 2013, the city charter calls for the committee to appoint a replacement (as opposed to holding a special election).

Seeking candidates

At the meeting Monday night, the School Committee outlined a process for selecting, interviewing and voting for Bastardi's replacement.

There is an open call for people who are interested in joining the School Committee. Anyone interested needs to submit a statement of intent by Jan. 10. Applicants must be registered voters in Ward 1.

After Jan. 10, the School Committee will review submissions, select a handful of candidates to interview, and vote for Bastardi's replacement by Feb. 4.

"The goal is … to have a process, an open process, an inclusive process," said Paul Bockelman, chair of the School Committee.

Adam Sweeting, who represents Ward 3, said the process laid out "balances speed with deliberation."

'A tough vote'

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who sits on the School Committee, said he supported the process. "We'll probably get to meet some exciting candidates," he said.

"This is going to be a tough vote," he said, and he predicted there will be "many" qualified people who express interested in joining the committee. The mayor said he would ultimately vote for the candidate who best represents the city's "core values."

Even though School Committee members are elected every two years, the nature of local politics is such that committee members often serve several terms.

"From experience, this person could be on the School Committee for five, 10, 20 years," said Mark Niedergang, who represents Ward 5.

Mary Jo Rossettii, who represents Ward 7 and who will oversee most of the process as chair of the School Committee in 2013, said it was important to appoint a new member before the committee reviews school improvement plans at the beginning of next year.

Notice and information from the Somerville School Committee

If you're interested in serving as the Ward 1 representative on the School Committee, here's the official notice from the committee with information about how to apply:

Somerville School Committee Seeks Applicants for School Committee Ward 1 Vacancy

Somerville, MA - The Somerville School Committee is seeking applicants for the Ward 1 Representative to fill the recent vacancy created by the appointment of previous Ward 1 Representative Maureen Bastardi to the Somerville Board of Aldermen. If you are interested in serving on the School Committee and serving the remainder of the unexpired term, please submit: (1) a statement of interest and (2) a summary of experience or a resume to the School Committee Secretary, Superintendent of Schools, Tony Pierantozzi.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.  Complete applications must be received at 42 Cross Street; Somerville, MA 02145 by 5:00 p.m. on January 10, 2013 in order to be considered by the School Committee.  Applications may also be submitted via email to tpierantozzi@k12.somerville.ma.us.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following two requirements:

1)    Applicant must be a resident of Ward 1, Somerville; and

2)    Applicant must be registered to vote in Ward 1, City of Somerville.

The School Committee, by majority vote, will select the representative who will serve the unexpired term. There will be a general election for this and all school committee seats in November of 2013.

Correction: The original version of this article said the Somerville School Committee meeting took place Tuesday night. In fact, the meeting was Monday night. The mistake was due to wishful thinking on the part of the author that the weekend was coming sooner. The correction has been made above.

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