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Mailloux aims to bring fresh perspective on education

Date: 3/5/2012

March 5, 2012

By Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW — Deidre Mailloux is a newcomer to East Longmeadow politics, but it is for that reason that she believes she can bring a truly fresh perspective to the School Committee.

"I'm not originally from East Longmeadow. I grew up in New York City and I've been living here for six years," she said. "I don't have any past here, which means that my primary focus is on my children and their education."

Mailloux said she feels strongly about the value of public education and has been impressed with the level of expectations the East Longmeadow Public School District has set for itself.

"I totally believe in public education. Both myself and my husband are products of public schools," she said. "I have no problem with what they are doing in our schools right now. I think they have set a standard for excellence and I want to see that standard maintained."

While Mailloux has been impressed with the district in which two of her three children attend class — she has a sixth grader attending Birchland Park Middle School, a third grader at Mountain View Elementary School as well as a 4-year-old — she does see some hurdles the district has yet to overcome.

Increased residential development in town is something for which the School Committee and the district must monitor and develop a plan, she said.

"One of the challenges I see in the future is the amount of new development there is. In my opinion, these new homes are being bought by young families with children who could become students in the district," she said. "We have to determine how the buildings will be able to handle additional students. There are already a lot of students in some classrooms."

Mailloux also said the School Committee should strive for better communication with parents.

"The School Committee definitely needs to open up communication with the parents," she said. "With a lack of communication, messages can get misconstrued. I think the School Committee should ask more often what we as parents feel and want for the district."

Mailloux also thinks certain issues in terms of transportation need to be addressed.

"I think that some of our younger students are on buses for a long time, some of them as much as 40 minutes," she said. "I think we could add some more buses and possibly cut down on that time."

She also expressed concerns with the district running buses to transport children to and from half-day kindergarten programs.

"There are buses doing kindergarten pickups that are half full," she said. "I think the town would be better served to use smaller buses devoted to the kindergarten."

As a stay-at-home mother, Mailloux said she feels she will have adequate time to devote to all aspects of the School Committee.

"I have the opportunity to stay home and for that reason I feel it is my responsibility to give back to the community," she said. "I have the time to focus on everything that needs to be done. I know it's a lot of work, but I am very interested in helping this community and its schools."

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