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Chamber of Commerce hosts breakfast with candidates for office

Candidates for town elections were at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast on March 13. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/PETER CASEY

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Winchester Chamber of Commerce served up nine candidates for public office at a candidates’ breakfast Wednesday morning, March 13.  he event was held in the All-Season Barn at Wright Locke Farm and was attended by about 50 residents.

Those candidates on the panel were Select Board hopefuls Dorothy Simboli, Mike Bettencourt, and Vince Dixon. Candidate Bill McGonigle was not able to attend and the moderator WinCan host Allan Eyden read a statement from McGonigle.  

School Committee candidates were Carey Sue Barney, Tom Hopcroft, Tim Matthews, and My Linh Truong.

Also in attendance were Board of Health candidate Shannon Scott Vernaglia (running unopposed), and Planning Board candidate Brian Vernaglia (running uncontested). 

The moderator presented the panel of candidates with two questions, and each were given a limited amount of time to answer. 

Select Board candidates were asked what about their position on “classification with respect to property value assessments,” and what was their “vision for downtown Winchester for the next five years.”

School Committee questions addressed the front burner issue that has lately frustrated many parents, the School Department’s literacy program. Candidates were asked if they felt “if there needs to be a change and if so, what is your plan to improve upon/change the current program?” The other School Committee question asked the candidates how they would address the issue of declining enrollment.

Following the pre-planned questions the moderator fielded questions from the audience. 

The School Committee candidates seem to have some agreement among themselves to the pilot program currently in place for grading students in sixth -grade at McCall Middle School, mentioning the communications failure in notifying parents about the program and that it’s only a pilot program. Most of the School Committee candidates agreed there needed to be some changes with the program.

The other two candidates for Planning Board and Board of Health read statements about their backgrounds and qualifications. There were no questions presented to them.

In the audience were also a few Town Meeting candidates.

The annual town election in Winchester will take place on March 26, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All precincts will vote at the Winchester High School Gymnasium, located at 80 Skillings Road.

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CORRECTION: This article was updated to correct that a School Committee question about grading was at the middle school and that not every candidate was in agreement about suggested changes to the program.

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