|Board Member, New Bedford School Committee, At-large|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 3, 2009|
|High school||B.M.C. Durfee High School|
John Fletcher resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts with his wife. He is a current at-large member of the School Committee, and he has served as the Vice Chairman of the board for three consecutive terms. Fletcher attended B.M.C. Durfee High School and received his Ph.D. from Boston University. During his career as an educator, he served as a teacher, principal, and Title I director in the Dartmouth Public Schools, which is in the Greater Bedford Area but is not part of New Bedford Public Schools. Fletcher has volunteered in and led a variety of community service projects over the course of decades, including founding the Crossroads Preschool for low-income children and serving as a trustee on the New Bedford Free Public Library board.
John Fletcher announced his intentions to run against fellow incumbents Jack Nobrega and Lawrence J. Finnerty and challengers Brian Pastori, Josh Amaral, Christopher A. Cotter and Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea in order to win one of four at-large seats in the general election on November 5, 2013. However, he failed to file his nomination papers and did not appear on the primary ballot on October 8.
Fletcher reported no contributions or expenditures to the City of New Bedford.
John Fletcher did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.
|New Bedford Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2009|
|Nonpartisan||John J. Fletcher Incumbent||23.9%||6,268|
|Nonpartisan||Lawrence John Finnerty||22.5%||5,922|
|Nonpartisan||Joaquim "Jack" Nobrega Incumbent||19.4%||5,088|
|Nonpartisan||Joaquim Jack Livramento||18.3%||4,806|
|Nonpartisan||Ramona "Mona" C. Silva||15.7%||4,114|
|Source: New Bedford Election Commission, "Municipal Final Results - November 3, 2009 Summary," accessed August 19, 2013|
What was at stake?
Incumbents Jack Nobrega, John Fletcher and Bruce Oliveira announced that they would file for re-election. Oliveira ran unopposed for a two-year term, all other candidates were competing for three seats with three-year terms. On August 13, incumbent Lawrence J. Finnerty announced that he would seek municipal office rather than re-election to the School Committee, which left one board seat vacant. South Coast Today journalist Natalie Sherman noted that Finnerty was an independent voice on the board and that, "...his retirement could shift the internal dynamics of the board." However, Fletcher and Finnerty both ultimately decided to reverse their decisions. Five challengers, Brian Pastori, Josh Amaral, Christopher A. Cotter, Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea and Michael Janson also filed for the four available School Committee seats.
In August, 2013, Superintendent Pia Durkin announced that the school district would be laying off more than 200 employees, including 150 teachers. These cuts came in response to significant budgetary problems within the district, and Superintendent Durkin has confirmed that these cuts are final and will not be reversed, unlike layoffs in previous years. Following the announcement of the cuts, Superintendent Durkin admitted that the cuts "created a great deal of angst" in the community. The school district also has "one of the worst records in the state in terms of student test scores and graduation rates." The school board has voted to open an "innovation school" to address academic performance issues in the district, which resulted in a backlash from challenger Josh Amaral and the local teachers union, the New Bedford Educators Association.
Fletcher did not vote to appoint Superintendent Durkin to her position, but he cited her work as his inspiration for running for re-election in 2013, stating, "I was not planning to run, however, I've changed my mind because I've gotten excited about the new superintendent and all the plans she has. I think the school system is going in the right direction and I want to be there with it. I feel as if my job would be unfinished if I left right now."
About the districtBristol County, Massachusetts. The county seat of Bristol County is Taunton. According to the 2010 US Census, Bristol County is home to 551,082 residents.
Bristol County underperformed the rest of Massachusetts in terms of its poverty rate, median rates of average household income and higher education achievement in 2011. The poverty rate in Bristol County was 11.3% compared to 10.7% for the entire state. The median household income in Bristol County was $55,813 compared to $65,981 for the state of Massachusetts. The US Census also found that 25.1% of Bristol County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 38.7% in Massachusetts.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "John + Fletcher + New + Bedford + Public + School"
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- Durfee Chimes, "Dr. John J. Fletcher Biography," Vol. 33, No. 1, Season 2013
- New Bedford 360, "City of New Bedford and Trustees of the New Bedford Free Public Library to Honor Dr. John Fletcher," March 29, 2008
- Natalie Sherman, South Coast Today, "Observers point to possibility of turnover in New Bedford School Committee election," July 13, 2013
- City of New Bedford, "Campaign Disclosures," accessed February 11, 2014
- New Bedford Guide, "2013 New Bedford Elections," accessed November 5, 2013
- Natalie Sherman, South Coast Today, "Municipal elections housekeeping," August 13, 2013
- Jim Phillips, WBSM, "Durkin: 2013 Will Be Challenging School Year," August 8, 2013
- Natalie Sherman, South Coast Today, "Pia Durkin wastes no time tackling New Bedford's school problems," August 4, 2013
- Natalie Sherman, South Coast Today, "Durkin wins superintendent job," March 12, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Bristol County, Massachusetts," accessed August 16, 2013
- Massachusetts Secretary of State, “Enrollment Breakdown as of 2/15/2012,” accessed August 7, 2013