To the Editor-
July 3, 2017
I would like to express my disappointment with Lowell school committee member (and city council candidate) Robert Gignac's recent decision to abstain from voting on a location for a new high school in our city.
While there are differing opinions as to the legal role of the school committee in the siting process, I can think of few more important functions for a school committee member than to advocate for the future of education in our city.
By refusing to take a position on this critical issue, Mr. Gignac is purposefully avoiding an important responsibility given to him by the voters. He also is diluting the voice residents have in the process through and by virtue of his representation.
As a candidate for Lowell city council, I am running specifically to give residents throughout our neighborhoods a voice when important decisions like this one are made. I will take my responsibility as an elected official very seriously and I will have the courage to take a position on important issues when called upon.
Case in point: I personally believe that having a high school downtown is in the best interests of Lowell's residents and that keeping a downtown location would make the best financial sense. I also believe submitting the question to the voters by way of a referendum vote would be the best and most equitable way for our city to resolve this contentious decision.
Candidate for Lowell City Council
June 22, 2017
My Fellow Neighbors,
I am very disappointed by the vote of the city Council Tuesday night to build a new high school at the Cawley Stadium site. Tuesday’s vote was too hasty, too political, and too costly.
Once again, we've witnessed first-hand how politics and the special interests of councilors hailing from the Belvidere neighborhood have led to a decision that isn't in the best interests of everyone in Lowell.I'm running for city council to change that and to give everyone in our city – everyone from all different neighborhoods – a seat at the table when important decisions like this one are made.
Had I been a member of the city council last night, I most likely would have voted to renovate the existing high school downtown. The information I have seen tends to indicate that a high school downtown is in the long-term best financial interest of our city, and that it also makes sense to have a central location to which students can walk.
However, more importantly, had I been a member of the city council last night I would have urged my colleagues to delay a vote on this important issue until the city had answers to more questions surrounding this plan, most notably the amount of state reimbursement we can expect to receive.
I also would have given more consideration to the citizens' petition to place this question before the voters. I believe a referendum is appropriate. Unlike our current city councilors, I trust the people of Lowell to make a decision that's best for them.
I urge the members of the city council to reconsider their vote and to postpone further action on this project until there is more solid information and until the question can be submitted to the voters.