Tewksbury School Committee Member To Run For Shawsheen Tech School Committee
Feb 07, 2015 04:14PM ● Published by Bill Gilman
(EDITOR'S NOTE: In an earlier version of this article, it was incorrectly reported that the date for returning nomination papers had been changed. This error was due to sloppy reporting. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We regret the error.)
A member of the Tewksbury School Committee has created a bit of a stir in local political circles and through two school districts.
Committee member Lisa Puccia, who has one year remaining on her first term, has taken out nomination papers for the one available Tewksbury seat on the Shawsheen Tech Regional School Committee.
Reached by phone, Puccia said she has no intention of stepping down from the Tewksbury School Committee and is already declaring her intent to seek re-election in 2016. Puccia said her intent is to serve on both school committees, some thing that has never been done in the history of Shawsheen Tech.
"There is nothing in the bylaws against serving on both committees," said Puccia. "It would be different if I served on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen or (Finance Committee), then I would need to step down."
Tewksbury holds two seats on the 10-member Shawsheen Tech School Committee, presently held by Patricia Meuse and Michael Kelley. Kelley's term expires in April and he has already indicated he won't seek re-election.
Puccia said she has spoken to both Kelley and Meuse, as well as well as other Shawsheen officials and has received positive feedback about a run.
Over the past several years, friction has developed between the Tewksbury and Shawsheen School Districts. More than 400 Tewksbury students attend Shawsheen and the school has been accused of recruiting the town's best and brightest, rather than focusing on those students who might be best helped by a vocational education.
Town and school department administrators point out that the more students from Tewksbury who attend Shawsheen, the less money is available for Tewksbury schools and students.
Puccia sees no conflict of interest in serving on two different school committees. Rather, she believes that by serving on both committees, she can help heal the schism.
"I think it can be a very good thing. I think there is a lot that each district can learn from the other," said Puccia. "And I think we can find some common ground in areas like legislative issues and state funding."
Puccia is the only candidate to take out nomination papers for the Shawsheen Tech seat.
As of Feb. 7, George Ferdinand is the only potential candidate to take out papers for the one five-year seat up for grabs on the Planning Board. Dave Plunkett has announced he will not seek re-election and Ferdinand is the only person, so far, to step forward. The next several years promise to be critical for Tewksbury development, especial with the plans for revitalizing the Route 38 corridor.
As of Feb. 7, the Board of Selectmen's race remains uncontested. Incumbent David Gay and challenger Mark Kratman have returned their nomination papers and had them certified. Incumbent Scott Wilson, on the fence about running again, has taken out nomination papers but has not yet returned them.
Candidates have until Feb. 23 to return their completed nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s office with valid signatures of at least 50 registered voters.
Here is the list of elected positions up for grabs in the April 11 Tewksbury Municipal Election, along with the incumbents for each position and the status of the potential candidates:
Board of Selectmen (2 Seats)
I -- David H. Gay --- Nomination papers have been returned and certified.
I-- Scott D. Wilson --- Has taken out nomination paper but has not decided if he will run
Mark Kratman -- Nomination papers have been returned and certified.
School Committee (2 Seats)
I-- James Cutelis -- Has taken out nomination papers.
I --Dennis Francis -- Has taken out nomination papers.
Planning Board (1 Seat)
I -- David J. Plunkett --Announced he will not be seeking re-election.
Library Trustee (3 Seats, two three-year terms and one two-year term)
I -- Paige Ferry Impink -- Nomination papers have been returned and certified.
I -- Patricia A. Pino -- Has taken out nomination papers.
I -- Robert Homeyer -- Resigned from the board
Lorraine H. Carriere -- Nomination papers have been returned and certified.
Board of Health (2 Seats)
I -- Raymond Barry -- Has taken out nomination papers.
I -- Kathleen M. Brothers -- Nomination papers have been returned and certified.
Housing Authority (1 Seat)
I -- Linda Ricardo-Brabant -- Has taken out nomination papers.
Shawsheen Regional Technical High School Committee (1 Seat)
I -- Michael P. Kelley -- Has announced he is not seeking re-election.