Calais School Board Candidates

Kathleen Caso

 

There is so much to commend to you about the value and merit of the public schools in Calais.  We are blessed in so many ways to have a capable and dedicated teaching faculty, competent administrators, a host of contributing volunteers and a remarkable student body.  I am proud to have served as a teacher, volunteer, substitute and school board member in this community for over six years.  I know then, first hand, what it has taken to mold programs and challenges that encourage the youth of this community to achieve excellence.

We all know the financial hard times in which everyone shares.  Our national, state, and local leaders have been scrambling to get the most out of every public dollar needed to fund a quality education.  Three years ago, Calais was thrust into an AOS dictated by state government. With a change in school board personnel, I was asked by the chairman to take the lead on the negotiations and details of our exit from the AOS.  At the same time I was asked to chair the committee for the search for our new Superintendent.  The last three years have been trying indeed.  I never lost sight as to the reason why I initially chose to run for the school board when there were two seats open and I was the only candidate.  I believed that my background and on site working relationship with students, staff and school administrators would be an asset to the only reason we have schools – students.  

In spite of competing demands and pressures, I am committed to doing the right things and to doing things right.  I have made every effort to make good decisions based on the information at hand.  It has taken a lot of time and hard work to be an effective board member as the learning curve is a long steady one.  There is a great deal to learn about legal responsibilities, budgets, facilities, negotiations and other facets of governing a school system.  I am looking forward to working on the curriculum and audit committee this year and representing the board by attending the Annual MSMA (Maine School Management Association) Fall Conference for two days with our Superintendent.  I will share the information garnered during the seven clinics presented over the two day conference to my fellow board members at our board member workshop.  

In the end, with all that has transpired, there is one special night that I was extremely proud to be a Calais School Board Member.  It was the Blue and White Night of 2013.  I handed out over 400 certificates of participation/achievement to recipients in co-curricular activities.  Yes the math is correct.  We don’t have 400 students in the high school.  How amazing that so many of our students are involved in abundant activities in their school.  I am asking for your vote for a 3 year term. With your vote, we can continue to bring the community together for a successful Calais School System.

 
Amber Morris
My name is Amber Morris and I am running for a 3-year tern on the Calais School Board. I have been a long time resident of Calais, graduated from CHS in 1995 and am now raising my two children who are in Calais Elementary School.
I was motivated to seek out a seat on the school board after observing issues pertinent to the schools for several years and seeing those issues become greater and greater.
I am an advocate for the children in the school system. I am also a tax payer and I feel that I can look at things objectively when it comes to things such as budget issues.
I am not judgemental and always try to keep an open mind in addition to being approachable. I feel that as a school board member, those are great assets.
I also feel that I could offer some innovative and perhaps different ideas in assisting the school board.
Lastly, the other candidates running for school board are also great individuals, and I wish them luck.
 
Crystal McPhee
My name is Crystal McPhee, and I am currently running for the Calais School Board.  I have lived in this community for most of my life.   I attended and graduated from Calais High School.   All but one of my four children will have attended and/or graduated from Calais High School as of next year.  
There are difficult times upon this community and every department within this City has taken its hits.  I believe that in order to have an effective School Board you must have members that are willing to work well with the other members, Councils and Departments within the City, but also have the desire to build that relationship between the School and the public it serves.
I feel the next few years are going to be just as difficult for the board as these last few months have been, if not even more so.   We, as Citizens of Calais need people that are willing to gather all the facts, make clear decisions and stand behind those.
In the words of a very wise friend “The worst thing you can do is not make a decision, even a wrong one is better than none.” Simply put, tough decisions and changes need to be made; and in order to make those changes Calais needs people that can make those decisions as a group.  I feel I would be an asset to that group and would appreciate your vote in November.
We have some of the very best educators here in Calais, let’s work together to keep them here.
 
Marcia Hayward
 
 Our schools are a huge asset to this Calais and the surrounding areas with our children’s education the priority. 
 I am running for the School Committee because this year’s budget disaster has ignited a sense of urgency in me.  I began to research statistics on both a state and a national level and was disturbed by my findings.  Why is the national average to educate a child $10,000 but in Calais the average $13,000? (It’s over $19,000 at the high school level.)  Why is our student/teacher ratio lower than the state and national average?  Why are we charging less for tuition students than what it costs us to educate them? These questions need to be addressed.  I believe it is the responsibility of the School Committee to ask these questions and to bring the figures closer to the average.  Blindly giving money to the schools because it’s “for the kids” is wrong, and the phrase a tactic to attempt to stop questioning.  We need to be responsible in our budgeting and hold accountable, those who are spending the money. Demanding financial responsibility does not mean we do not love and want what is best for our children.  
 Budget cuts throughout the City have forced other departments to do more with less, and to become creative in their problem solving.   I believe that same creativity is needed to bring the schools budget in line with schools of similar size.  I have worked for the City of Calais Police Department for nearly 15 years.  Working at the North St. municipal building, I have seen first-hand, the effect budget cuts have had on the City’s residents and employees.  
The task facing the school committee at this time is huge.  It is going to take a concentrated, unified effort to achieve the perfect balance between what is best for our students and what the City can afford.  I suspect the balance will never be “perfect,” but, I would like to have to opportunity to help in that attempt.
 
Bob Greenlaw
My name is Bob Greenlaw and I am running for a 3 year seat on the Calais School Committee. I am a lifelong resident of Calais and have owned Greenlaw Construction for the past 27 years. I am a proud alumnus of Calais High School. Taxes are always a controversial item when it comes to budgets and always cause a lot of argument and frustration. It’s important to keep taxes in check as I can attest because my wife and I own four properties in Calais and 1 in Baring. I believe that the school system is one of the most important economic tools that the city has. Our children are the future. We have a great school system in Calais with many great programs. Our first priority should be to support the school. I have had three children graduate from Calais High School and were part of many of the great programs that Calais has to offer. They have all done well and are independent and successful. I want the same opportunities for all of today’s kids. The school should be the major tax percentage of the city, as it is in the majority of the cities and towns in Maine. We want to keep the same programs and have the school as the center of the community. We need to continue to make families settle here due to the great school system that we have. It’s called creating and seizing opportunities and paving the road for our future...the children.
I would greatly appreciate your vote on November 5th.
 
Lea Farrar
My name is Lea Farrar and I am running for my second term on the Calais School Board. I have one child attending Calais Elementary and another child attending Calais High School. I am a proud member of the Calais community both living and working here. Knowing that there are many financial challenges ahead for the Calais School district I want to help our community in meeting those challenges. It is important that the children in our district experience the best education that our community can afford to offer. It is my mission to provide a well-rounded educational experience for each and every child attending the Calais Schools. We have excellent faculty, staff, and students that I look forward to working with. I believe a thriving school system makes for a thriving community. I hope you will re-elect me as a write in candidate for the open 2 year term for our school committee at this year’s election on November 5.
 
Dale Earle
Hi,  I am Dale Earle , a candidate for the Calais School Committee. I have dedicated practically my whole life to public service, more especially for the good of our younger people. I have coached and officiated in basketball , baseball, soccer and softball in seven counties in the State of Maine.  I have served on the Calais and SAD # 74 School boards.  I received a good education in the Calais school system.  I will strive to see that our children will receive that same or better education while being fiscally responsible.
I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and the community at large, encouraging an open dialog. The board must take input from all groups and weigh all the facts before making a decision. A Board member is a trustee of the community that elects him or her. The trustee must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the community;  that includes all school staff and or city personnel . Anyone that comes before the board has a right to be heard, not just speak. A school board member must build public understanding, support and participation.
With all this in mind, I would ask for your vote for the Calais School Committee. 
Please vote for me, Dale Earle.  Thank you and God bless.