Eric Pauer. Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board candidate

Office sought: Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board – one seat, three-year Brookline seat

Name: Eric Pauer

Age: 46

Address: 12 Westview Drive, Brookline.

Contact information:

Years of residency: Brookline resident for 18 years, N.H. resident for 37 years.

Family: Married, son and daughter are students at Hollis-Brookline High School.

Occupation: Senior Principal System Engineer II (ITT Exelis) and Military Civil Engineering Officer (Air National Guard).

Education: Milford AREA Senior High School Class of 1984 Salutatorian; Worcester Polytechnic Institute B.S. in electrical engineering with high distinction; Northeastern University, M.S. in electrical engineering; professional military education, including Air War College and Advanced Joint PME.

Political history: Appointed Co-chairman of Hollis Brookline Cooperative School District Education/Planning Committee 2003-04, examined facility and space options for Hollis Brookline Middle School.

Affiliations: Military – currently serving in the Air National Guard (since 1988); Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (Senior Member), Air Force Association, National Guard Association, Association of Old Crows, Mensa, Brookline/Mason GOP Committee, Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston.

Question 1: What is the most pressing issue facing the Hollis Brookline Coop School District and how would you address it?

The biggest challenge is maintaining and even improving the high quality of education for our district’s children, while keeping the tax burden manageable to Coop taxpayers. The biggest cost drivers are retirement contributions, health care, and special education. At the school district level, we have little control over how much we must pay in mandatory contributions to the N.H. retirement system. Our state legislators need to make necessary reforms to state’s public pension plan to manage these costs. In the area of health care, we have not yet taken advantage of efficiencies possible by combining all employees of SAU 41 and its three school districts into a single benefits group – the power of a larger group can then be utilized to negotiate lower costs for both employees and taxpayers. Lastly, it is imperative that the district wisely manages and controls the skyrocketing costs of special education. Being the parent of a special education student for nearly two decades, I am very familiar and experienced with special education and its related processes. There are efficiencies to be gained in how we select, negotiate, and manage special education services – controlling costs without sacrificing educational effectiveness for our special education students is critical.

Q. 2: If you could make one change to improve education in the HB Coop School District, what would it be, and how would you achieve this within budget? Please explain.

To improve education, the district must ensure the effectiveness of the curriculum, and more importantly the success of our teachers. Foremost, we need to encourage and emphasize the professional development and continued education of our teachers to enable student success. Working with our school and SAU administrators, the school board must identify, establish, measure, and monitor metrics related to student achievement. Using this quantitative data, high performing teachers would be rewarded with monetary bonuses or higher than average raises. Less effective teachers would receive smaller raises – a budget neutral approach. Similarly, administrators would be evaluated by metrics measuring the overall effectiveness of their schools. ncentivizing highly qualified and dedicated teachers in utilizing effective teaching practices will result in higher student competency and learning. Moreover, improved student proficiency at both the middle school and high school levels would also inevitably reduce critical skill gaps – driving down the need for remediation and related educational costs. A small percentage savings in these costs would more than pay for this incentivized approach, with the extra savings going to the taxpayers. By empowering, evaluating, and rewarding our teachers and administrators for educational efficacy and excellence, everyone benefits – taxpayers, parents, teachers, and most importantly students.