Josh Amaral for School Committee

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We did it!

We did it! 


Hi all,

Thanks to you, our campaign for re-election to the School Committee met success as the polls closed and results poured in last night. I am humbled to have been a decisive winner. This vote of confidence means the world to me and validates a lot of time and effort put in over the last four years.

Elections simply cannot be won without a strong team and base of support. I'm fortunate to have some of the best, most loyal, and creative supporters around. I am extremely grateful for all those who contributed in some way, shape, or form from March through yesterday. We have a small but effective team, and together reached thousands of voters. My mom, my most dedicated volunteer, flyered well over a thousand houses alone! Reaching voters, spreading our message, and getting the valuable feedback that keeps this operation running is critical and no small feat in a city of this size. I committed to never taking a vote for granted and I think we were rewarded for that last night. I also think I owe my mom a new pair of sneakers.

While I didn't have a strong opinion either way on the mayoral term ballot question, I followed former Mayor Scott Lang's comments closely, and while I was running around the city these last few weeks, one point he made was especially salient: those seeking elected office shouldn't see campaigning as an inconvenience. Don't get me wrong - maybe I didn't quite feel this way when I was fixing a faulty yard sign for the fifth time or when Sharon and I were squeezing into the Election Commission office with forty other people waiting for results last night, but what we think of as "campaigning" is not only part of the gig, but it's practically the whole job. Being visible, listening to the people, and turning their feedback into policy is the whole point of this adventure. 

Congratulations are in store for all candidates elected and re-elected last night. I will be reaching out to our new City Councillors, many of whom are already friends, to start working collaboratively on school issues. I'm particularly excited to start working with my new colleagues on the School Committee, Colleen Dawicki and John Oliveira, who, despite very different styles substantively agree with me on the major issues facing our schools. Together I'm confident we can stem the tide of educators leaving our district and build upon the foundation of progress that has been laid over the last four years. It's time to get away from the short-term day-to-day thinking that was necessary for a while in the department - we're beyond that. It's time to chart the course for the next decade, and make NBPS everything our community wants it to be. I'll also mention I am heartbroken for Rick Porter, who I thought was a truly tremendous candidate. I got to know him and his family over these last few months, and I couldn't think more highly of them all. I sincerely hope he stays involved because I think he has a lot to offer. I know that I'll be reaching out to him to get his perspective as issues arise over the next few years.

I've been saying that I can't believe four years have already gone by. It feels like just yesterday I was learning the ropes. With some introspection though, I can see all that has changed - some for the better, some for the worse. The first time around, my grandmother was my biggest supporter and I was so happy to make her proud. I miss talking with her about the happenings of local government, but was pleased to see so many people at the polls yesterday who mentioned that they knew her. Some voted for me based on that fact alone. This time around, I'm fortunate to share the experience with Sharon, who dutifully stood by me yesterday holding a sign in the bitter wind. Her support and tolerance of the demands on a public official's time and accessibility make it possible for me to do the job the way it should be done. 

Again - thanks for everything. I am humbled by your support and eager to continue working for our students with my new (and old) colleagues in city government. New Bedford has a good group here.

THANK YOU!

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Josh Amaral
Fighting for School Funding Reform
      Testifying at the State House before the Joint Committee on Education on July 25, 2017.

      Testifying at the State House before the Joint Committee on Education on July 25, 2017.

One of the most effective ways to make an impact as a School Committee member is through advocacy. State and federal officials are often very interested in hearing from those most familiar with the impacts of their policy choices, and our state legislators are especially receptive to School Committee members. Many of them were School Committee members themselves, or have served in another municipal government role where they gained an understanding of the work SCs do. Organizations like the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) have strived to unite committee members across the state to amplify their advocacy for solutions that work for public schools. It was in my role as vice-chair of MASC's Urban Division that I was invited to provide my testimony at the State House on Tuesday at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. Alice Peisch.

The purpose of my testimony was to explain how New Bedford is impacted by a flawed system the state uses to distribute education funding. In 2015, the Foundation Budget Review Commission released a report that estimated the state is underfunding education by 1-2 billion dollars. While this gap is spread throughout the Commonwealth, the impacts of underfunding are especially drastic in communities like New Bedford and other similar cities, where gaps in funding are not easily made up by the local tax base. Our School Committee has been wise to make investments and provide resources whenever possible, but our schools are still very much underresourced. If Sen. Chang-Diaz's bill, S. 223, passes, the state would begin planning to implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, and in time New Bedford would receive the resources our students need and deserve. The Boston Herald has an article on the hearing here.

Check out my full written testimony to the Joint Committee below (or here), and help out by contacting your local legislators to advocate for the implementation of the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations.

As I said on Tuesday, New Bedford's students can't afford to wait.

Thank you,

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My Testimony

 

 

Josh Amaral