James Jette is the permanent superintendent of the Milton School District, a post he accepted after a unanimous 6-0 vote during the School Committee’s “Chair’s Report, Update on Superintendent Search Process.”

Discussion during that agenda 5a item of the Jan. 20 committee meeting began when Chair Sheila Egan Varela sought input from the board on the topic, yet it was the Citizens Speak agenda item, before the superintendency discussion, that stood out.

Early during Citizens Speak, a litany of Massachusetts towns were read aloud by a parent to show that other municipalities had more in-school learning.

Suzette Bridges of Centre Lane said she and her husband and children left Dorchester, giving up a Catholic school they loved, to move to Milton where she and her husband grew up.

More in-school time is what Bridges and other parents who spoke that night want for their children.

Five residents spoke during the 15-minute allotment.

“I hope others will join me in advocating for the children and being the voice for the children,” said physician Robb Kociol of Standish Road, whose two children attend the town’s public school system.

Chris Long of Whitelawn Avenue said, “I think we’re being too conservative in what the parents and kids can handle. We’ve been pivoting on a dime since March. I’m just not sure why we’re making the assumption that we can’t adapt.”

Varela spoke of the town schools’ population crisis, noting that even with the 20 percent of Milton students who chose the remote model, there is not enough physical room in the schools to allow for a full return to in-classroom learning.

“St. Agatha’s and St. Mary’s and many other districts don’t have a population crisis,” she said, adding that Milton’s public schools were built for about 500 [students] apiece.

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