Name: Michael Birnberg
Years lived in town: 15
Family: Wife-Jill; three children (Marlee-freshman, Jonah-freshman, Lila-5th)
Educational background: Brandeis undergraduate (economics and general science), Boston University Law school, MBA from MIT Sloan School
Community/political background: Current member of the Board of Education, past president of the Daughters of Miriam (elder care), active coach in recreation leagues
What are your thoughts on the proposed 2010-11 school budget?
Prefer a zero based budget. The infrastructure is being ignored. Spending does not address the true needs. The administration has taken the easy way out and wants to throw money at problems instead of addressing problems. (e.g. we still have numerous classes that have 14 or less students; we cannot afford to educate in this way).
What is your stance on redistricting for the elementary schools?
Redistricting is a last resort, but it appears to be a necessary evil. The health, education and welfare of our students is paramount. Administration is gravely concerned about student safety, thus the BOE has to address. Want to maintain neighborhood school.
How do you think the school district should tackle hazing/bullying issues?
Problem has been around for a long time. I want a zero tolerance, but administration is afraid. They have taken the attitude, that "kids will be kids."
What other issue do you think is a big one the school board needs to tackle? What is your stance?
Accountability has been my mantra. We failed QSAC and that is not acceptable. Administration and staff have to be accountable to the students, the community and the law.
What skills would you bring to the school board?
Same skills I have brought to the table the past three years. Independent thinker who approaches each issue with intellectual honesty. I am not a rubber stamp and will provide the appropriate "checks and balances" as established by law.
Why are you running?
Have enjoyed my tenure on the board and want to continue. Still a lot of work to be done, and we have started to turn the corner. With the new CSA (superintendent), we are on the verge of a new dawn.