2016-11-03 / News

Two vie for RSU 23 seat

Printed below are the responses to candidate survey forms for candidates for Regional School Unit 23 Board Director, which serves Old Orchard Beach. Irving Hirst Jr., faces Carolyn Marcotte, an incumbent. The Courier prints responses within each race in alphabetical order by the last name of the candidate. Irving Hirst Jr. was approached to complete a survey but did not respond as of deadline.

Name: Carol Marcotte Age: 65 Address: 27 Reggio Ave. Occupation: Associate lecturer, University of New England

Family: Four children and 15 grandchildren Education: Ph.D. school administration and supervision, professional certificate: superintendent certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational leadership, M.S. in Educational Leadership, B.S. Major/Elementary Education, minor/communication Organizations and activities (including past political experience): Regional School Unit 23 – school board chairman, educator preparation and employment PK-16 Leadership Council, Learning Forward New England (president and consultant), town of Old

Orchard Beach Scholarship Trustee Committee

Top three issues:

1. Pre-K program: We have a stellar pre-k program in Old Orchard Beach. This program, which is at Jameson School, is a collaborative effort with YCCAC-Head Start and Child Development Services of York County. It has been in effect for two years. Students eligible for the program receive full day educational services as well as snacks and meals. Families that are in this program can receive support services also. Currently, the program is partially funded by a ME DOE Preschool Expansion Grant. Future plans would be to continue this program.

2. Facility: An architecture firm recently completed an analysis of the conditions of our schools. A comprehensive report was shared with the town council. At this point, there is a need to plan community forums to inform the public about the results of the report. Next steps will be to ask for guidance related to an action plan to support our school building needs with a strong focus on student education and community needs.

3. School funding formula: Currently the school funding formula, Essential Programs and Services, is based on property values. The funding that Old Orchard Beach receives is that of a “minimal receiver.” This means that we do not receive as many funds for the state that other communities do. As we continue to discuss budgets constraints, it is essential that we try to determine how “income” might be an aspect of EPS.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Giving back to my town is very important to me. When Old Orchard Beach became a one-town RSU, I felt that being on the school board was a sound way of supporting the students, staff and community members of Old Orchard Beach. My pre-k, higher education experiences in education provide me with in-depth knowledge that I can share as a team/board member. After being nominated for the position, I was then appointed the RSU 23 School Board as chairman. I have enjoyed the past two years and would like to continue my efforts of supporting the district and townsfolks. Old Orchard Beach is a very special town and has a strong profile of a strong educational system and caring community members. We have excellent staff in RSU 23 and they are strongly focused and dedicated to meet the needs of all students. Our educational system is one to be proud of. We also have taxpayers with different income levels. I am cognizant of this as a single homeowner. I would like to continue to bring our entire community together and focus on the balance of the educational and budgetary needs of our town.

If you could change one thing about the Old Orchard Beach school system, what would it be and how would you do it?

The school board is a critical link that connects schools and community. First and foremost, the responsibility of the school board is to provide students with an exemplary education. The Old Orchard Beach School Board has the charge of providing the best educational opportunity we can for the children of Old Orchard Beach. We (the full board) make decisions about students’ welfare by incorporating the communities view. We also are the “watchdog” of tax dollars so students receive a sound education and we are held by a responsibility to be fiscally responsible to the community. The RSU 23 school board has been working toward a collaborative effort with the town to see that we are meeting our goals. I would like to see this continue, in which we would become stronger and continue to grow collaboratively in any future discussions related to education and taxes. How could I address it? Bringing community residents and the school department together. Transparency between school and community is important. My belief is that to understand other people’s perspectives and being collaborative is the way that I communicate. My beliefs are that the community should be comfortable entering our community schools and have a voice to the structures of our schools and the fiscal responsibility of the board’s actions. As a school board member I will be open, honest, available, and adhere to the responsibilities set forth.

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