A Seasoned School Committee

"It's difficult to say whether there were two minority seats there, or whether Robin Harris's was a CCA seat," O'Sullivan said.

Two other black candidates, Donald Harding and Alvin E. Thompson, ran and lost--perhaps in part due to the changing demographics of Cambridge, which is gaining more white residents.


Despite these changes, the school district faces many of the same issues it has grappled with in recent years.

And though members bring individual perspectives to the table, their main goals will likely coalesce.

Most have listed closing the achievement gap, halting declining enrollments, reworking the budget and strengthening after-school programs among their top goals.

While budgets are a perpetually contentious issue for all school systems, district dollars have been especially controversial in Cambridge because many schools ask parents to contribute to the classroom coffers--and parents in some neighborhoods of Cambridge are better able to pay up than others.

One of Simmons' pet issues was a district-wide audit, finally passed during her last term.

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