Hopeful offers school reforms
By MARY ELLEN O'SHEA Staff writer
SPRINGFIELD - Reducing the upper-level administrative staff and boosting the
teacher and classroom aide force will be a major focus for Brenden J.
Hammerle if he wins a seat on the School Committee.
The 32-year-old youth counselor said this week that he believes too much School
Department money is spent on professionals who are not working directly with
children in classrooms.
"The superintendent makes a ton of money, and teacher aides hardly make
anything," said Hammerle, who has lived in the city all his life.
If elected during his first try at winning votes, he promises to be a watchdog
for school safety.
He said he started thinking about running for city office following the
classroom slaying of the Rev. Theodore N. Brown, a counselor at Springfield High
School, in December 2001. A student has been convicted of the stabbing death.
"You should never have to feel like you're not safe in a school," said Hammerle.
"This kid pulled a knife and killed someone. I thought maybe I should get
involved, see if there is something I can do."
Besides strict enforcement of the discipline code, he would support the use of
school uniforms for all students and an increase in the Quebec unit of police
officers working in the schools.
He would work to reduce class sizes and to monitor teachers more closely, both
moves aimed at boosting student performance, particularly on the Massachusetts
Comprehensive Assessment System tests.
"A lot of kids are slipping through the system," he noted. "We've got
ninth-graders who can't read. It's sad."
Hammerle supports the statewide voter initiative passed last year that limits
the amount of time non-English-speaking children may receive special bilingual
"These kids are going to school here; they should learn English," he said.
Hammerle is one of 10 candidates seeking three school board seats up for voter
choice. The field will be narrowed to six in the Sept. 16 preliminary, and to
the final three at the Nov. 4 municipal elections.
He is a 1989 graduate of the High School of Commerce, and a current student at
Western New England College.
He belongs to the Mount Carmel Society.