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Simon says school board can still work together

June 20, 2012
LITTLETON — After being censured by his fellow school board members on June 4, John Simon said last week that he is confident the board can work together. He believes that the board has a united emphasis on helping citizens and students build a better school district.

The censure vote occurred based on the board's concern over Simon's involvement in a student discipline issue. Simon expressed his concerns to Principal Sikander Rashid at the high school. The board did not approve of Simon's action outside of the chain of command. Concern also existed about Simon's access to student information.

Simon did issue an apology after the June 4 meeting. In his statement, Simon declared, "It was never my wish to target any individual or individuals." He continued by noting, "I wish to apologize to my fellow board members as well as any community members that I may have angered."

Jeff and Nancy Brammer, the parents of the child involved in the school discipline incident, accepted Simon's apology in a written statement provided after the June 18 school board meeting. The censure issue was not discussed in the public session of that meeting.

In the apology and a later interview, Simon expressed continued interest in the future. "I don't want to sound like sour grapes," Simon said. He continued by declaring, "I didn't run for school board because I wanted to target anybody."

Simon believes that the board can still work effectively for the benefit of the district. "I don't think we're fractured as a board," Simon said. "We work together pretty well."

How best to implement policy may sometimes lead to disagreements with board members, Simon said. He did not view this as always a problem. Debate can help produce the best policy for the district, he believes. "You can disagree, and there's no malice," he said, as a complement to his fellow board members. "We're still respectful to one another."

At the June 4 meeting, the board expressed a belief that district policy should be revised regarding board members' contact with schools. It is this type of policy making that Simon believes can help unite the board as it focuses on what is best for the community.

Simon said that each board member is devoted to helping kids learn. The board can focus, Simon suggested, on "the lives of young people who need us. We have to be there for them."

He also noted the importance of the town's support in this mission. "The community of Littleton has been very generous to the school system."

Subcommittee work is another way that Simon believes he can help the board build a better future. He said he enjoys the work with members Jim Anan and Rodney Edwards on two different subcommittees.

With Anan, Simon is working to improve communication between schools and parents. On the buildings committee with Edwards, Simon hopes to oversee the district's $40 million in buildings in a manner that is best for the town and its students.

Simon said that he appreciates getting input from people, even when they disagree with him. "I'm not right all the time," he said.

Simon did not seem worried about the future. "The community of Littleton knows me. I will let them be my judge . . . I respect my community."

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