Saturday, June 11, 2022

Why I’m Running For The Longmeadow Select Board- Dan Zwirko

This information was submitted to the LongmeadowBuzz blog by Dan Zwirko who is running for Select Board on June 14.


My name is Dan Zwirko. I am running for the Longmeadow Select Board and I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 14th. I grew up in Longmeadow and I am a product of the school system from first grade at Center School to graduating LHS in 2003. I went on to the University of Vermont where I was captain of the D1 lacrosse team. I came back to Longmeadow to serve my community as Representative Brian Ashe’s first legislative aide for nearly 5 years. This position allowed me to fight for local aid, assist with constituent issues, and build relationships with our local and state officials. Since then, I’ve been working in software security sales.


I am running for Select Board because I care about helping people and I want to give back to the community that has given so much to me. The challenges we face in the years ahead will impact the next generation of residents. We know that what has been tried, hasn’t always worked. Bringing new ideas and a new voice, and working with all stakeholders, will be my approach.


Over the past 3 months, I have knocked on over 1,000 doors to hear concerns and ideas from our residents. Our elected officials need to engage more with our residents, be visible, and approachable. With many working families in town, we should also leverage technology and social media to interact. Residents have appreciated the positive campaign I’ve run. 


Longmeadow provides many quality services and beautiful green spaces for everyone to enjoy. We need to maintain these through sound fiscal management. We must identify creative ways to increase our revenue outside of residential property taxes. By engaging with the Massachusetts Municipal Association, councilors outside of Longmeadow, and our own residents, we will identify innovative ideas to implement here.


My relationships in our region, as well as on Beacon Hill, are deep. Like it or hate it, we are dependent on state funding. Because many of our challenges will require assistance from the state, I will use my knowledge and relationships to shine a light on our needs and aggressively advocate for funding. Whether it is the looming tax ceiling, local aid, or infrastructure, I can lead in this area.


As our community grows, so does its make-up. For Longmeadow to be a community open to all, we must recruit a more diverse set of candidates to fill our current vacancies on various boards and committees. Our current demographic make-up isn’t well represented and we can do better. Longmeadow can be the community that brings people together, not pulls us apart.


Finally, I would like to see Longmeadow do more community-wide events to connect all of us, such as a winter carnival, outdoor concerts, art displays, fishing derbies, and summer porchfests that highlight local musicians and our unique neighborhoods. These are ways we can showcase ourselves and build our community together. 


Please join me in moving Longmeadow forward. I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, June 14th!


Thank You,


Dan Zwirko

Candidate for the Longmeadow Select Board

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Elect Scott Bombardier for Longmeadow School Committee

Scott Bombardier submitted this letter to the LongmeadowBuzz about his candidacy for a seat on the Longmeadow School Committee.


My background in education began over 20 years ago when I had the pleasure of teaching music to elementary age students.  That grew to working with children of all ages, including instructing a high school music program and coaching a high school varsity track team.  This past winter, I began coaching one of our in-town third and fourth grade girls basketball teams. 

Professionally, I have over 15 years of business and leadership experience.  As a district sales leader for PepsiCo, I lead a diverse group of individuals and maintain positive working relationships with our clients.  One of my greatest strengths is listening and working with people that have differing opinions and views. 

In addition to my professional experience and my experiences working with children, I am also married to a Longmeadow educator.  This has given me a much greater understanding of curriculum, policy, and the day to day roles of our educators. 

Lastly, I’m a proud parent of two LPS students.  My daughter Adysson is heading to LHS in the fall and my daughter Tessa is wrapping up her 3rd grade year at Center. 

All of these experiences have inspired me to run for a seat on the Longmeadow School Committee.  I am uniquely qualified, and feel strongly that in order to effectively take on this role, it is important to make sure all opinions are heard and considered in order to make informed decisions regarding our schools. 

Please consider voting for me, Scott Bombardier
for Longmeadow School Committee on June 14th.

Scott Bombardier 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Why I'm running for School Committee- Carissa Rosenblum

This letter was submitted to LongmeadowBuzz by Carissa Rosenblum- a candidate for Longmeadow School Committee. 

My name is Carissa Rosenblum, and I wanted to take a moment to explain why I am running for Longmeadow School Committee. Blending ten years of a diverse, education-focused pedigree has prepared me to speak to the issues from multiple viewpoints: as a classroom teacher, an educational coach, a college instructor, a statewide curriculum and instruction consultant, and most importantly as a parent. I have worked with a diverse set of schools in some of the poorest and some of the most affluent, high-achieving regions of our country. My comprehensive experience in education will be an asset to solving the issues facing Longmeadow Public Schools.

During this campaign, I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with many families who have children attending our schools and have been made aware of some of the issues we are facing. As a proactive problem solver, I’m excited to address the challenges and partner with the community to come up with long term solutions that will ultimately benefit everyone.

If not apparent, I have a deep passion for education. I earned my bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees all in the field, and I love working with students, teachers, and administrators to ensure that students are exposed to the best educational opportunities possible. I have two young children who will attend the public schools here–for them, and the rest of the children in Longmeadow, I will work to make sure the educational opportunities here are positive and memorable experiences.

When the voters cast their ballots on June 14th, they will have the opportunity to bring in a new voice with the training, experience, and a unique position to address our issues. I’m excited at the chance to get to work for Longmeadow!

Carissa Rosenblum

Zach Verriden for Longmeadow School Committee

This letter was submitted to LongmeadowBuzz by Zach Verriden- a candidate for Longmeadow School Committee on June 14.

My name is Zach Verriden and I am running for Longmeadow School Committee. I am running because I care deeply about civil service and serving our community. I am a lifelong educator who currently serves as the Chair of the Longmeadow Select Board’s Coalition for Racial Justice Task Force Chair, as a member of the Blueberry Hill Elementary School Council, a parent in the Special Education Alliance of Longmeadow (SEAL) and as a leader with the Longmeadow Anti-Racism Coalition (LARC). Through these experiences in Longmeadow, I have repeatedly heard a desire to create a more equitable and inclusive Longmeadow. I am also, most importantly, a Longmeadow parent. I hope to bring these experiences and insights to the Longmeadow School Committee in order to build on excellence with an eye toward equity and inclusion for all learners.


I have taught in classrooms across the country and am passionate about education.  I have also served as a building principal and district superintendent while navigating facility renovation and construction projects very similar to the middle school(s) decision facing Longmeadow at this time. I am a career educator who received my master’s degree in Education Policy and Management in 2008 from Harvard University and am currently completing my Ph.D. in K-12 Education and Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I also hold a business certificate in Educational Entrepreneurship from Rice University.


I am a proud father of four children and our family moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts specifically for the educational opportunities offered to my children, but in particular for my oldest son Henry who requires a complex Individualized Education Program (IEP). As a parent, educator and neighbor, I hold the unique perspective of being on both sides of the table for children in Longmeadow.  I have worked as an independent educational consultant offering innovative solutions to educators and currently serve as the Senior Director of Youth & Family Programs at the Springfield JCC. 


I look forward to working in partnership with a wide range of community members and colleagues on the Longmeadow School Committee and throughout the school community to realize the district’s vision of seeing all students engaged in rigorous, introspective, and culturally responsive learning with a commitment to anti-racism, equity and social justice. 


I need your vote on Tuesday, June 14th to help Longmeadow Public Schools realize the promise of excellence with equity for all learners.


Zach Verriden, Candidate for Longmeadow School Committee


Andrew Berke Unofficially Withdraws from Select Board Election


Monday, June 6, 2022

Why I'm Running for School Committee- Julie Morgan

This letter to the LongmeadowBuzz blog was submitted by Julie Morgan, candidate for election to the Longmeadow School Committee.


Longmeadow’s public schools are a critical part of our town. We entrust them with our children’s future. We support them with our tax dollars. For many of us, they serve as our closest connection to the rest of our community. When our schools flourish, our town does too. That’s why it’s so important to have leaders on the Longmeadow School Committee who know how to sustain and improve our public schools, building a school system that provides a great education for all our kids.

I’m running for Longmeadow School Committee because I have the experience and expertise to help our town navigate the challenges it faces and to make sure our schools are the best that they can be. I have been working in education policy for over a decade, helping shape policies that improve educational quality and access at both the k-12 and higher education level. I have taught education law and public policy at Boston College, researched education policy at think tanks, and served as a senior education counsel in the U.S. Senate helping write some of the very laws that govern our schools today. I currently work on higher education issues at the U.S. Department of Education.

These experiences have given me a strong background in many of the issues facing our schools. I understand the kinds of choices school systems need to make to improve educational quality and to create a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students. I have also worked on school funding and managed organizational budgets, and I’ll be ready to help Longmeadow navigate tough choices about how to invest in our schools. Most of all, my experiences have taught me how to bring together people who have opposing views to find common ground and move forward together, and how to engage in inclusive decision making so that we can all be confident that our views are represented.

I’m also a parent. I have two children in Longmeadow schools, and being an LPS parent helps me better understand the strengths and the challenges of our school system. My kids have had great experiences in our schools, with caring and supportive teachers who have fostered their love of learning. Through my kids, I spend time with other LPS parents and get to hear about their experiences too. Many parents are happy with their childrens’ experiences, but they have real concerns. Parents worry about the impact of the last two years on their childrens’ mental health and academics. They worry about the intense pressure kids face, particularly in the upper grades. They worry that our schools are not adequately preparing Longmeadow’s students to participate in an increasingly diverse society. And they worry about the big changes that may be coming our way, like the future of our middle schools.

I believe it is critical for the Longmeadow School Committee to address these concerns and more over the next few years. In doing so, I can promise that I will approach every decision by thinking about three factors.

First, what will best meet our kids’ needs? This may seem trivial, but when facing complicated issues that involve funding, logistics, and other big considerations, the impact of School Committee decisions on students’ learning and wellbeing can get lost in the shuffle. I won’t let that happen.

Second, how will a decision impact our community more broadly? The decisions that affect our schools affect the rest of the town as well, and vice versa. To me, it’s critically important that we consider the broader impact on the town and surrounding community when we make decisions about our schools, including the overall effect on the town’s budget, the environmental impact, and the downstream effects on the town over the coming years. I’ll work closely with the Select Board and other town boards and commissions to make sure we are working together toward our broader goals.

Finally, I will make sure to look closely at how our decisions support Longmeadow’s educators. The teachers, school leaders, support staff, and other school personnel in Longmeadow have made it through unthinkable challenges in the last few years, and I continue to be in awe of their commitment. I will make sure that we take their needs and opinions into consideration, and I will ensure that they continue to get the support they need so that they can deliver the best possible educational experience for our students.

The School Committee election will take place on June 14. I hope that you will consider voting for me when you go to the polls. If elected, I will work hard for you and for all our residents to make sure we have high quality, safe public schools that we can all be proud of.

Julie Morgan

Top 10 GOLD Accomplishments

Mark Gold who is currently running for re-election to the Longmeadow Select Board submitted the following letter for consideration by Longmeadow voters where he outlines his Top 10 Accomplishments as a Select Board member since 2009.


Top 10 GOLD Accomplishments

  1. Gold has participated in the development of 13 annual town budgets, all developed to provide level services to town residents WITHIN (and for the last two years below) the 2.5% allowable increase in tax rates.
  2. Gold spearheaded the project that resulted in the purchase of Longmeadow’s streetlights from Eversource.  The town purchased the streetlights in the fall of 2019 and converted them to high efficiency LED lights during 2020.  This purchase and conversion project is saving the Town over $420,000 per year in lease and electrical expense, a savings that increases each time electrical rates increase.   This savings worked out to $80 per household per year in 2020.
  3. Gold participated in the negotiation of three trash hauling contracts.  In each instance, his experience has brought significant contributions in the form of reduced costs to the town.
  4. Gold participated in formulating the MGM Surrounding Community Agreement that resulted in the Town of Longmeadow having the second highest impact payment of any community in Western Mass.  Gold also was able to get a 2.5% annual impact fee escalator inserted into the agreement- something that will provide Longmeadow hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional revenue during the 19-year life of the agreement.
  5. Gold implemented installation of remote-read water meters.  This project has saved the town hundreds of thousands of dollars by allowing for the reassignment of water department employees who formerly read meters full time to tasks that had previously been outsourced.
  6. Gold formulated and secured passage of the 0.75% supplemental local meals tax.  This tax originally estimated at $60,000 per year has resulted in annual revenue that exceeds $100,000 in most years and was $120,000 in FY2019.
  7. Gold is considered the Select Board member who understands the process by which water (and sewer) rates are set.
    a.) He yearly reviews the recommendations of the town’s CFO and has on several occasions convinced other Select Board members to reduce the proposed water rate below what was recommended by the CFO, without disruption to the finances of those enterprise funds.

    b.) Secured passage of a by-law change and subsequent water billing system that includes a connection fee to assure that zero water users contribute to capital requirements.  This parallels the sewer connection fee and reduces the cost per unit of water for all water customers.

    c.) In 2021 Gold completed a study of water use patterns that resulted in the Select Board adopting sewer rates that are more equitable for residents with lawn irrigation system.

  8. Along with former CFO Paul Pasterczyk, Gold led the effort for structuring and securing bonding (funds) for the Longmeadow High School construction project. The bonding structure optimized the principle vs. interest structure of the bonds to minimize the impact on tax rates over the life of the bonds.
  9. Gold initiated the purchase of a fiber optics line that had been leased by the town for intra-town data and voice communications.  This purchase has saved the town over $50,000 per year in lease costs.
  10. Gold intervened with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority to retain bus service to Longmeadow (Bay Path University route) when that service was scheduled to be eliminated.  This intervention was part of Gold’s activities representing Longmeadow on the PVTA Advisory Board.  As part of this responsibility, Gold also helped integrate Longmeadow to the expanded 3-Town trolley that provides “dial-a-ride” services to seniors within Longmeadow, East Longmeadow and Hampden at reduced fares relative to the more traditional para-transit (dial-a-ride) service.
 Vote Mark Gold for Select Board on Tuesday, June 14