Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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Schools!  Yay Team!


The schools are an important asset for our town...and of our society. We MUST protect and enhance the quality of our schools; the future of our society depends on good schools
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The quality of our education system is directly related to our fiscal and environmental sustainability.  If either becomes compromised, our schools will will be impacted.

The way that we treat children, especially those most vulnerable is a mark for how civil our society is. SPED programs are especially important to me, because of close community members who I know personally and love deeply who struggle with special needs.

Because we want to do the right things, we must plan carefully. I am running for Board of Selectmen. The Board's authority does not extend to making decisions for the schools. There is already a majority of votes on the Board to support the schools. And so my vote is, I believe, best used to limit unnecessary growth and its impact on water and road safety that would negatively impact schools. Most large land use permit approvals require a "super majority" (5 votes) within the Board of Selectmen. I am a solid "no vote" on these applications, unless the public believes that the project is good for Acton. To decide which projects to support and which to deny, requires careful strategic planning for land use and development policies.  Strategic planning is becoming more critical as our school capacity becomes more precious, as costs rise out of our control, and as our taxpayers demand that we keep Acton affordable
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The Board of Selectmen do not have "budget oversight" for school appropriations. That responsibility falls within the School Committee's purview

BUT the Board of Selectmen set important land use policy direction which impacts road/traffic safety and volume, water quality, and enrollment.

The Board of Selectmen also oversee important safety and administration organizations, including street, fire, police, and finance operations.  If these operations become overburdened by unfunded liabilities, it can operate in a way that causes budget pressure on the schools.

I have advocated taking a hard stance on growth which does not "pay for itself".  I believe that we can achieve our social goals by using existing assets to better our lives. But we must take care to plan carefully to utilize existing resources so as to avoid adding costs that are not sustainable.

Let's take affordable housing, for example. We have a social obligation to publicly support a certain number of low and moderate income housing units. I believe that we have enough housing units in Acton to support the need. I believe that if we continue to build more housing units that do not bring in enough tax dollars to support the increase in costs, that our quality of life and the quality of our schools will not be sustainable, while also keeping Acton affordable. So I advocate for "condo-buydown" and other strategies to more effectively "re-use" existing assets.

I want to continue to keep these issues "on the table" to make sure that they do not negatively impact the schools, and so that we can manage them cost effectively so that we can afford to invest in and enhance our schools. I want to continue to advocate for sustainability of our schools, of our affordability, and of our environment.

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