Meet Tara: Belmont’s Newest School Committee Member Speaks on Topping the Ticket and Her Agenda [VIDEO]

Photo: The Donner clan celebrating; (from left, top) Steven Rotman, Susan Donner Rotman, Audra, Tara, Hazel and Abigail Donner.

It’s 9 p.m. on a school night but Hazel and Audra are bouncing around the Donner house, running ragged all sorts of adults who had gathered at the Payson Road abode to celebrate a newcomers entry into town-wide elected office.

So the kids got to stay up a late as it was a special night as their mom, Tara Donner, topped the ticket for the Belmont School Committee in the 2018 Belmont Town Election held on Tuesday, April 3. The educator who teaches at Winchester’s McCall Middle School, secured 38 percent of the votes beating out incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox and fellow newbie Jill Souza Norton in a surprisingly close election with just 400 votes seperating the three candidates.

For Donner, who lives with her wife, Abigail, and their two kids in Precinct 6, the victory was a bit of a surprise for the Town Meeting member. She told the Belmontonian [view the video below] that she will work on the committee to create a district-wide anti-bias agenda and use her experience as a long-time classroom teacher – the first on the committee in several years – to bring a practical expertice to the board.


Town Election ’18: Donner, Burgess-Cox Heading To School Board As Few Voters Venture Out To The Polls

Photo: Asst. Town Clerk Meg Piccione reading the results of the Belmont Town Election on April 3.

In a town election that saw one of the lowest turnouts in the past decade, a teacher topped the ballot in the race to run the Belmont’s schools. 

In the only competitive town-wide race, newcomer Tara Donner outpaced incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox, 1,767 to 1,517, to fill the two three year seats on the school committee as fellow newbie Jill Souza Norton just missing out finishing third with 1,349 votes. School Committee Chair Lisa Fiore ran unopposed for a one-year term on the committee.

Read all the unofficial results of the town-wide and Town Meeting races here.

A last-minute write-in candidacy by well-known resident Tomi Olsen was swept aside by the vote for current School Committee member Tom Caputo who ran as the only official candidate for the Board of Selectman, garnering 2,106 votes, or 94 percent of those who cast ballots.

Over on the Town Meeting side of the ballot, some interesting results were noted including two longtime ballot toppers who just barely held onto their seats; both Lydia Ogilby (Precinct 1) and Donald Mercier (Precinct 8) both came in 12th with Mercier taking the last slot by a mere nine votes over Mark Smith.

In the race of town-wide candidates battling it out on the Town Meeting ballot, Burgess-Cox topped Caputo, 214 to 203, to “win” Precinct 2’s top spot while Precinct 1’s Peter Dizikes garnered the most votes of all the precincts with 324. In the closest race, Linda Levin-Scherz defeated Elizabeth Khan by three votes, 125-122, to take the one-year seat in Precinct 2. 

Stopping by a crowded Town Clerk’s Office to pick up the unofficial results, first-time candidate Dovie Yoana King learned she tied for second receiving 164 votes. The newly-elected Precinct 7 member said she was “very excited” to become heading to Town Meeting in a month as her presence will add much-needed diversity in Belmont’s legislative body. With her son by her side, King said she hopes to give a voice to survivors of domestic violence but also represent all people in the precinct which she noted is populated by the most varied groups in Belmont.

A cold, wet miserable afternoon and the lack of competitive races appeared to have kept residents from the polls as participation was an anemic 16.5 percent as 2,816 residents voted at Belmont’s eight precincts. This election’s number is well below the 28 percent seen last year and 22 percent in 2016. The 2015 town election which included a $3.5 million override on the ballot brought out 51 percent.

Belmont isn’t a stranger to unenthusiastic participation on election day; in 2009, only 1,438 voters or 5.89 percent of total registered voters came out. 

Belmont Votes: 2018 Town Election


The annual Belmont Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

And below is information that will make the process of casting your ballot all that much easier.

Whose running for town wide and Town Meeting 

Click here for the Belmont League of Women Voters Guide for candidates and their campaign message.

Polling Places

For voting purposes, Belmont is divided into eight voting precincts, located as follows:

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Please adhere to the posted parking restrictions and use caution to ensure the safety of pedestrians around the voting precincts.

Are You Registered to Vote in Belmont and Eligible to Vote April 3? 

If you are wondering if you are a registered voter and your voting precinct, go to the Town Clerk’s web page or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600.

Arrive early, consider traffic and limited parking 

Belmont Police will designate some voter parking at each of the polling locations however with a  busy election, parking close to the polling places is often a challenge.

Plan ahead: consider walking, carpooling with a friend or voting “off peak” during the middle of the day. Only voters who arrive at the precinct and are in line for the Voter Check-In before the close of polls at 8 p.m. can be permitted to vote; those who arrive too late will miss out.

Election Day campaigning

The Town Clerk and the Board of Registrars of Voters remind all residents that campaign signs, stickers, buttons or materials may NOT be displayed within 150 feet of each polling place. This prohibition, per Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 54, §65, even extends to a candidate whose name is on the ballot, when the candidate is not actively voting.  The Town Clerk’s website posts a map displaying the 150-foot radius under Campaigning: Running for Elected Office and Town Meeting.

Election Results – How Do I Find Out the Results?

Election results for each precinct are announced by the Warden of each precinct after the close of the polls. The unofficial town-wide results will be announced at Town Hall and posted on the home page of the Town website as soon as they are available Tuesday evening or phone the  Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600 on Wednesday morning. Campaign representatives are welcome to wait at Town Hall for the printed results.

Sold In Belmont: Colonial, Cape and Townhouse All Top Seven Figures


A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

• 51 Prentiss Ln., Colonial (1926). Sold: $1,700,000. Listed at $1,799,000. Living area: 2,718 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 147 days. Last sold: Aug. 2004, $1,556,000.

• 39 Gilmore Rd., Cape (1941). Sold: $1,150,000. Listed at $1,050,000. Living area: 2,775 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 29 days. Last sold: Aug. 2017. $765,000

• 30 Holden Rd., Condominium (1926). Sold: $627,000. Listed at $600,000. Living area: 1,761 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 66 days. Last sold: May, 2012, $590,000.

• 52 White St., Townhouse (2017). Sold: $1,060,000. Listed at $999,999. Living area: 3,060 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 44 days. Last sold: First sale.

Belmont World Series Presents ‘All the Dreams in the World’ on Monday, April 2

Photo: Pamela Ramos stars in “All the Dreams in the World”

The North American premiere of the France/Portugal film “All the Dreams in the World” (“Tous les rêves du monde”) will be screened on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Belmont’s Studio Cinema376 Trapelo Rd., as part of the Belmont World Film 17th annual International Film Series.

Loosely inspired by renowned Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s poem, “I am nothing. I’ll never be anything. I couldn’t want to be something. Apart from that, I have in me all the dreams in the world,” the film portrays a teen living with her first-generation Portuguese parents in France is caught up in her contradictions, failures, and unconditional love for her family. After reconnecting with a childhood friend during her annual summer holiday in Portugal, she finds the courage to choose the path of freedom and the unknown.

Speakers include the film’s director Laurence Ferreira Barbosa and José Rui Velez Caroço, Consul General of Portugal in Boston.

The night is sponsored by the Boston Portuguese Festival and the Camoes Institute.

Big Street Closures/Delays Monday, April 2 in Belmont

Photo: Upper Concord Avenue between Winter and Marsh streets.

The Belmont Police Department has issued a pair of street advisories that will impact traffic in and through Belmont on Monday, April 2.

On Monday and Tuesday, FE French Construction will close the outbound (heading towards Lexington) upper Concord Avenue between Winter and Marsh streets starting at 7 a.m. The detour will impact westbound traffic on Concord.

Also on Monday, Grove Street road construction resumes.

Expect delays and detours on these important Belmont thoroughfares.