Tuesday, April 23, 2024

It’s an election year in Cambridge, and residents’ mailboxes are filled with candidate flyers for seats on the City Council and School Committee.

This year there are nine candidates for six committee seats. The five incumbents vying for a seat are Ayesha Wilson, Rachel Weinstein, David Weinstein (no relation), Jose Luis Rojas and Fred Fantini. There are four newcomers: Christopher Lim, Daria Johnson, Caroline Hunter and Akriti Bhambi.

Vice chair Manikka Bowman, who has served on the committee since 2015, chose not to run for reelection. The decision leaves Fred Fantini, first elected in 1981, as the committee’s elder statesman as he runs for his 20th term.

Profiles of the candidates can be found below. Click on an image or candidate name to see a profile with a Q&A and additional online resources.

The committee was handed a tumultuous term; the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, and members were called upon to make recommendations regarding the health and safety of the community, an abrupt switch to remote learning and the gradual reopening of the schools to in-person classes. The resignation of superintendent Kenneth Salim was a new year’s surprise.

The district continues to confront difficult issues, some around how to protect the community from Covid-19 and the effects of the pandemic. Issues include vaccine mandates for students; ensuring that academic and social emotional health goals are met; deciding how federal and state funds are allocated; how to implement programs that address racial equity and diversity; and selecting a permanent superintendent.

The newly elected committee will start its term in January, with the city’s mayor – elected from within the City Council by its members – serving as chair. Members are paid $42,829 annually, said Sujata Wycoff, director of communications for Cambridge Public Schools.


The challengers

In alphabetical order

Akriti Bhambi

Caroline Hunter

Daria Johnson 

Christopher Lim


The incumbents

In alphabetical order

Fred Fantini

Jose Luis Rojas

David Weinstein

Rachel Weinstein

Ayesha Wilson