Meet the School Committee


Elvira Garamy, Editor

We’ve all heard of the Sutton School Committee and how some of our parents are a part of it, but what do they actually do? How do they impact the Sutton Schools? Who is in charge of the budget?

Those questions now finally have answers

On October 6, I had the opportunity to meet with two members of the Sutton School Committee: Bruce Edwards, Chair of the School Committee, and Paul Brennan. Both of them have had children go through the school system and joined to find a solution to better our schools. 

While Bruce Edwards has been on the committee for over 7 years, Paul Brennan has been on the committee for 23 years, long enough to remember the old High School building and the reconstruction period of our new school. 

BRENNAN: “When I started, the portables for kindergarten existed. The Simonian center was the Elementary School, the Middle School, and the Memorial High School. The new Elementary school was built and the new Middle/High school. The campus has changed. 

“For the School Committee, it’s great to have someone who not only remembers the old building but has experienced it with their own children and knows how the old and the new school differ in a progressive way. My sister was in the old school and let me tell you, she complained about it a lot. I’m glad we were able to get rid of that and start with a fresh building that creates a better learning environment for students.”

My next question was what does it take to be on the School Committee? The first requirement was a no-brainer. 

EDWARDS: “You have to live in town.” 

No way, right? With all jokes aside from the committee, they got what it takes to be a member. 

BRENNAN: “There are requirements. You have to be a voting member in the community, so you have to be a resident, eligible to vote, and you have to get elected. There’s an appointment that takes place, Bruce and I both describe that right. If a member resigns from the committee, they’ll appoint a position and this is all based on town charter and bylaws. At the time it was appointed to finish the term, but now you’re appointed till the next election, and then you would have to be nominated, you need 50 signatures from voters in town, and that would put you on the ballot, and then you have to get elected. “

SUTTON HIGH NEWS: “How often is the election?”

EDWARDS: “Every three years. A term runs for three years. There are five members on the committee and there’s a rotation.”

BRENNAN: “There’s an opportunity to have one new person each year. 

“If you’re passionate about making change and wanting things to be different in the future, I recommend joining the School Committee (as long as you’re over 18) to see change happen. “

Next, I wanted to know what a typical meeting would look like. What topics are brought up? Is there a format? All the things one might want to know if attending the meeting or playing on being a member of the committee. 

SUTTON HIGH NEWS: “What does a typical meeting look like?”


EDWARDS: “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a typical meeting. There is a format; usually, the chair and the superintendent have a meeting the week prior to the meeting and we meet every other Monday starting just before school starts running through June. There are several times where the meetings might be altered because of holidays or we may not have one. Usually, later in the year, we’ll have an extra meeting in December because of the budget process. We usually start with the Pledge of Allegiance, and then citizens forum where folks can come and discuss just anything with us.

“We vote on the minutes from the previous meeting and the bill schedules so that the business manager can pay the bills for the school. And then we roll into various subjects based on what the superintendent and the chair have chosen.

“Usually, we try to get the school principals in a couple of times a year, we have Roger Raymond in for facilities, we have special education come in. Other business items with the school; how we purchase some supplies, approving field trips/special trips for schools, special purchases for the school system, the disposal of older goods, policies, procedures, and of course the most important thing we do is the budget.”

During their meeting, they frequently receive updates from all parts of the school: principals, students, athletics, Project 351, clubs, and many other staff members that update the School Committee on what happens inside the school. 

Their budget, however, is their main focus during the meetings. They have to look at the budget the town gives them and decide where this might go. Do they use it to have more teachers in the school? Do they use it to open French language classes? Where can the students go for field trips? All of the questions are brought to the committee in hopes of an opportunity to use the budget for the advantage of the students. 

I appreciate the time Bruce Edwards and Paul Brennan gave me for this interview and for helping me better understand the School Committee

Have any comments or concerns about the school? Want to know why certain things get top priority in the budget? Come to the School Committee meeting every other Monday. The agenda is always posted online. Although you have to be 18 to vote, you can still make your voice heard to the School Committee