Photo: Jack Weis
It was hard for Jack Weis always to be on the losing side of the drawn out Minuteman Tech school debate.
On Monday, Nov. 14, Weis told the Board of Selectmen that with the recent Town Meeting vote in which Belmont decided to leave the Minuteman district, “this would be an appropriate time for Belmont to find another representative for school committee.”
One of the main reasons for his decision was that his fellow committee members weren’t listening to Weis.
“I think it has tuned me out,” said Weis of his fellow members.
“It’s not what I say but who says it,” said Weis, having been on the losing side of 13-3 or 14-2 votes for a better part of three years.
“So to have any influence [on the committee now] is hard,” said Weis.
But if there was one constant that people remember from Belmont’s protracted battle with and ultimate rejection of a new Minuteman Career and Technical High School, it is the calm, and thorough manner Weis represented the town on the vocational tech’s school committee.
Numerous times whether it was in front of small groups or a packed Town Meeting, Weis would carefully explain the almost Byzantine workings of the 16 member school district attempting to negotiate with a leadership aiming to proceed with a building project Belmont believed was too big.
In a role that at times made him a target of scorn during the years of negotiations, Weis always brought a collegial approach to the discussions, whether with Minuteman officials or town residents who were trying to make rhyme or reason of votes that would end a 40-year relationship with the vocational school.
The selectmen responded to the news by praising Weis dedication to the job and a fair review of the building project and its
“I want to commend you publically for the courage that you’ve shown for carrying the torch for Belmont and representing our point of view,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo, who with Weis and Warrant Committee member Jack McLaughlin made up the team which challenged the Minuteman officials on the future of the school.
Paolillo said the board wanted to thank Weis for “your outstanding service … during very difficult times when you were a lone voice.”
Selectman Jim Williams said Weis’ lonely mission was like that of Leonardo DiCaprio in the Academy Award-winning role in the film “The Revenant” for his service in the “cold wilderness” of the Minuteman school committee.
“It does take courage and perseverance” to battle for what is right, said Williams.
Weis said the next three years during which Belmont transfer to a nonmember town will be necessary and has written out a detailed job description for the next committee appointee.
The position of school committee member will be posted and will be selected by the board and moderator on Dec. 12, the final board meeting of the calendar year.