Tom Enright, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board candidate

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

Name: Tom Enright

Age: 66

Address: Main Street, Hollis.

Contact information: 465-7455.

Years of residency: In Hollis since 1975, in New Hampshire for 56 years.

Family: Married with two daughters who graduated from Hollis schools.

Occupation: Practiced law in New Hampshire for more than 25 years.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Dartmouth College; law degree, Boston College.

Political history: More than 20 years on the School Board and Budget Committee.

Affiliations: Served as a flight officer in the United States Navy for four years.

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

The most pressing issue facing the coop district is managing the budget with a slowly declining enrollment. Hollis and Brookline have mostly four-bedroom homes, not attractive to retirees, so Coop school population will likely not decline substantially, but it is declining today. Our general education budget is managed efficiently. Two areas that could be improved are benefit costs and out of district student costs. Health insurance costs are crushing everywhere. Our experience rating (use of the health care system) is way above average, driving up our annual premiums. We need to improve our experience rating by helping employees become more involved with and invested in the cost of decisions they make. Higher co-pays make you pay attention. Higher co-pays will cause you to consider a generic drug over a brand drug. We also need to engage in health awareness programs offered by our provider. Changing unhealthy habits to better habits improves health and saves money. Special education costs in district are in line or lower than our peers. However, the district is striving to have a broader offering of in district programs that might accommodate some students who are now out of district. That would be a win/win, better for the students if we do the job well and less expensive for the district.

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.

Our district does an excellent job educating students who naturally thrive in a classroom environment. We could do better with students who have different learning styles and who struggle to succeed in the classroom environment. I have already mentioned broader programming in the special education area that could help some students succeed. For example, the middle school recently added a program that helps a small number of students. This program is budget friendly because it offers services that otherwise might occur out of district. I would promote some additional vocational opportunities in our high school. A small foods program might be run out of the existing kitchen that already provides lunch for 900 people. Robotics is run out of school space that might be available for broader technology training. It would be nice to look at possibly one other area of student demand, possibly in a manufacturing area like woodworking, machining or even mechanics. We currently send students to other high schools with similar programs, spending transportation and tuition money that might be spent more efficiently in district.