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Candidates Call 2 1/2 Key Issue

By George P. Bayliss

Several candidates for seats on the Cambridge School Committee agreed last week that dealing with the fiscal restraints imposed by the passage of Proposition 2 1/2 will be the school system's most difficult task in the months ahead.

Glenn S. Koocher '72, one of the two incumbents who addressed parents and teachers in a forum at the King Open School, said that there would be $5 million in cuts unless voters in the city override the spending limit imposed by Proposition 2 1/2.

Unless a school committee majority fights hard for good staff and teachers, Koocher added, the system's "standards of expertise" in teaching would be in jeopardy, a reference to the School Committee's ongoing dispute with the Cambridge Teachers Association (CTA) over which teachers to keep and which teachers to dismiss because of cuts in the budget.

Override

Mary Bessington, who retired as master of Cambridge's Fletcher School last year and is making her first run for the school committee, agreed that it was important for the city to press for the right to exceed the spending limits imposed by Prop. 2 1/2.

Bessington said she disagreed with the CTA's notion that all teachers are qualified and with the idea that simply because a teacher has been in the system for "10 or 12 years" he is qualified. What matters, Bessington said, is "what gets the job done for the children."

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