Joseph Gray

Biography & Background Experience

  • Biography: Born in Trinidad; naturalized American citizen
  • EducationGraduated Boston Latin; then “spent four years in the United States Army as a crypto technician and a short time in the National Guard unit out of Quincy” (Patch 5/3/15).
  • Current Employment: technology professional managing computers and network repair at Massachusetts State law School. Owner of Hemingways Consultants.
  • ChildrenFather of 3 kids in public schools.
  • Community: “I’ve been known around town to be championing a lot of causes for the schools, for the city, for parks … the Fellsmere Hospital Project … I’m helping out on High Rock, helping out on trash pickup in Maplewood Square … I’ve been on The Parent Council at Malden High. My wife’s on the Governing Board at Linden School and we do a lot of work in the community” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Previously ran for School Committee Ward 6 (2013 and 2015) and City Councillor Ward 6 (2017) “The School Committee, in my opinion, is more of an advisory and administrative board … It deals with the high-level decisions of running the school department” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Schools: “Since there’s no physical public school in Ward 6 I feel I would probably lean more on some of the surrounding ones say like Forestdale, Salemwood, and Linden  … my wife and I have close ties to all three of those public schools even though none of them are in Ward 6″ (YT 8/16/19).

Policies & Experiences

  • Biggest issues: “I want to make it clear, that ensuring a high quality curriculum, comprehensive safety, quality teachers, modern facilities and a vision for the future are all goals, that I’m hoping to help achieve with your help” (Patch 5/3/15).
  • Motivation for running: “As a long time advocate for improving the quality of education in the public school’s of Malden, I felt it imperative to represent the interests of the children, families and educators of our great city on important issues” (Patch 5/3/15).
  • After School Programs“This past year another recent program that got cut was after-school program … parents were recently complaining this year that because after school was cut, there’s no [place] for their children to go … once it was announced, parents fought and fought and fought and came up with a compromise to get some sort of after-school program in place because it was devastating to a lot of families” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Budget: “The funding for Malden Public Schools increases approximately 3% per year … but every single year expenses to run the public school system increases 7 to 8% for electricity, water, maintenance, salaries, pensions … so there’s going to be battles every year and if somebody doesn’t advocate for the children, they could lose” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Busing: “One of the more explosive [budget cuts] that hit, I think, a year or two ago, was when the school committee was forced to cut busing … talk about disabled children, families who had no transportation, or they’re on welfare. Some families were literally forced to lose their jobs, because now the parents have to be concerned with how to get their children across town to and from school” (Patch 5/3/15). 
  • Charter School: “We’ve seen many, many questionable issues, a lot of ethics a lot of logistics, a lot of financial issues concerning how money gets budgeted or allocated … what the state laws say about how much money [charter schools get from public funds] doesn’t seem fair. I know it’s the law but some of it just doesn’t feel right … When I first started getting very involved in this issue concerning the charter schools, I found out the hard way that a lot of tentacles from the charter school system reached into virtually all layers of government in my town … I was kind of shocked when I found out that the Chairman of the Board of the charter school [Former Ward 6 City Councillor Neil Kinnon] actually sat on the City Council and was helping pass laws and ordinances or whatever that affected the public school system” (YT 2/6/19).
  • Community: “I’m trying to learn how we reach out to the neighbors, reach out to the families in the ward. We have a massive park, Trafton Park that nobody touches … I’m trying to organize something [at Trafton] for Halloween” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Curriculum: “The new national teaching and testing standards require massive technology enhancements to schools that have fallen below minimum acceptable levels” (Patch 5/3/15).
  • Health & Safety: “When I was in The Parent Council at Malden High, at least 5-6 years ago … we got presentations on the vaping problem in Malden high … As the years go by, there’s more and more scientific information that’s starting to build that this is dangerous for young children … There is already a no vaping policy [at Malden High], but the amount of vaping increases … there’s no real consequences so the very next day the same kids who were told not to vape, who had the vaping materials removed from them and destroyed do this again the next day” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Staffing: “I’m going to advocate for the schools … I’m aligning myself with teachers and faculty; I am for the children and for the teachers…I’m an advocate; I’ll admit it'” (WL 9/1/15).
  • Staffing Diversity“There are different organizations in town that are advocating for more diverse teaching staff, which is a very complex and controversial hole in the public school system … It’s difficult to hire minority teachers who want to come and teach in this town … the diversity of city is literally a non-issue in my opinion. It’s about what the teaching staff wants … Malden can’t compete. We can’t pay them to come here for either (a) the pay or (b) satisfaction” (YT 8/16/19).
  • Linden School: “One year we had an issue where [Linden School], the school where my children were attending – the roof was leaking [and the Board of Directors for the Cemetery Department] voted to gift part of their budget that they didn’t need to the schools to repair the roof. [Former Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon] was practically the lone voice dissenting to stop the Cemetery Department from giving budget money to the schools … [Some of the teachers] approached me and they handed me a chip with some video on it inside the school building during a massive rainstorm. Everything was covered in tarps inside the classroom … there were wires hanging from the ceiling, water pouring from the ceiling … I published that on social media. Everybody from the Mayor on down the entire city government went ballistic because now there’s video evidence that couldn’t be denied. People across the entire city got angry, man, and the City Council voted to gift the money to the schools to do building repair.” (YT 2/6/19). [Editor’s note: I found a photo of this in this Patch article: 3/30/15].
  • Transparency in Government: “Right now, there’s a lot of controversy over executive sessions and they’re not public and no one knows what’s going on no one knows exactly what the rules are even though the rules are the rules some things are being semi-permanently in the dark” (YT 2/6/19).

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