Seven or five?
North Kingstown voters will be faced with that question this November in the general election as they determine whether the town's school committee should remain a seven-member body or be reduced to five. Last week, the .
The three members of the council who supported the measure (Michael Bestwick, Chuck Brennan and Charlie Stamm) argued that the reduction would help school committee members reach a consensus more easily. In recent years, behavior of school committee members has come under scrutiny from residents, teachers and parents. Current school committee member and is considering resigning from his post after this coming election.
Opponents of the measure – including school committee members, most members of the ) and town councilors – argue that reducing the number of members may not necessarily result in a consensus. Others, including School Committee Member John Boscardin, argue that the reduction would make the already difficult task of filling spots on the committee's several subcommittees even more trying. Vice Chair Richard Welch argued that the school committee needs diversity.
According to the Charter Review Commission’s research of other municipalities across the state, 16 communities have seven members (including South Kingstown, East Greenwich and Portsmouth) while 14 have five (including Barrington, Narragansett and Coventry). The majority of the commission favored the current configuration and recommended against reducing the number of members.
How do you plan to vote in November? Do you think the reduction will be a good thing or make matters worse?