Paul Schlichtman is ready to lead
By Brooke Leister/ Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2003

School Committee member head of state organization

Arlington School Committee member Paul Schlichtman plans to use his new position as president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to give a statewide voice to problems plaguing the district.

"It amplifies our voice. That's the most important thing. Our committee has taken some pretty hard stands on a number of issues," Schlichtman said. "Arlington is regarded around the state as being a very good committee."

Last year, Schlichtman was elected president-elect of the MASC. He will serve one year as the president, followed by a year serving as past president.

He has been involved with the MASC since he joined the Minuteman Regional High School Committee seven years ago. He served four years Minuteman before his election to the Arlington committee nearly three years ago.

"I would be totally frustrated if I was just sitting on the Arlington School Committee and not trying to address the revenue problems," Schlichtman said. "You question your sanity if you're just going to sit there and not do everything you can do to turn the situation around."

MASC is governed by a 14-member board of directors consisting of a five-member executive committee and nine division chairs who represent the association's geographical, vocational and technical and urban divisions.

The organization is member-driven and it aims to support Massachusetts school leaders. The group offers a range of services including training workshops, policy development and legal and advocacy support.

Schlichtman, 50, brings a wealth of experience to the position. The 1983 Brooklyn College graduate works as the coordinator for research, testing and assessment for the Lowell Public Schools. He earned a master's in education from Harvard University in 1989 and has worked on his doctoral thesis.

One of the biggest issues facing schools, including Arlington, is funding.

"We're very concerned with adequacy and equitable school funding. We don't have sufficient funding and we're not alone. This is happening across the state," Schlichtman said. "This give me a chance to amplify our voice and articulate our position in terms of adequate funding... to have a lobbying effort to say something."

Schlichtman also chairs the MASC policy subcommittee and serves as a member of the legislative and regional school subcommittees. He is also a 10-year member of Arlington's Town Meeting and served as Webmaster and precinct coordinator of Arlington's Rebuild Neighborhood Schools debt exclusion campaigns in 1998 and 2000.

With a busy schedule stacked with meetings, does the 12-year Arlington resident have time for anything else?

"I can't imagine that doing a hobby would be more fun than trying to make a difference and going out to meet people," he said. "Even if you're carving away little bits of time that's important, even if it's taking the long way home driving past the horse farms in Carlisle."