Photo: Laurie Graham at the Friends of Belmont Education Spelling Bee in Nov. 2015.
Long-time Belmont School Committee member Laurie Graham has resigned after serving nearly eight years on the board, three of those as chair leading the committee during some of the most financially challenging times in recent history.
Graham’s resignation, announced at last week’s school committee meeting, is effective Jan. 20, 2016.
“I hope that I have added in some measure to a more cordial and respectful working relationship with other committees but one that is not only less tense but which also produces positive results and outcomes for our students,” Graham told the Belmontonian.
Her departure will likely result in three seats being filled at the 2016 Town Election on Tuesday, April 5. While traditionally, the seat of someone who resigns is occupied by a nominee selected by a joint meeting of the School Committee and Board of Selectmen, with the resignation coming within four months of Town Election, it is likely the two bodies will allow the one-year position to be picked by the voters.
The other two seats are three-year appointments currently held by incumbents Laurie Slap, the current committee chair, and Elyse Shuster. Both have told the Belmontonian they would wait until the New Year before announcing if they will run for re-election.
Graham, who won three town-wide elections starting in 2008 while, topped the school committee ticket in 2014 with 3,640 votes.
For the past six years, Graham worked out of her home as a contractor with a group of independent publishers reps and that has given her the flexibility to attend day-time sub-committee meetings as well as participate as a school committee liaison or appointed to other committees in town for both day and evening meetings.
That changed when she started a new job, as an office manager in a tax office, in downtown Boston. It has become clear to me that with a commute, no real time to attend meetings back in Belmont as well as the busy time coming these next few months that it made sense for me to step down now and not wait until the upcoming April election.
“It has become clear to me that with a commute, no real time to attend meetings back in Belmont as well as the busy time coming these next few months that it made sense for me to step down now and not wait until the upcoming April election,” she said.