Name: Safiya Khalid
Office sought: School Committee at-large
Occupation: L.L.Bean (manufacturing)
Education: graduate of Lewiston High School, currently a senior at the University of Southern Maine studying psychology and business administration.
Political experience: member of the Lewiston City Democratic Committee.
1. Why do you think you’re the best candidate for this seat, and why are you running?
I’m running for School Committee to make sure every student in Lewiston gets a world-class education. As a recent graduate of Lewiston Public Schools, I know what’s great about our schools and what needs improvement. My younger brother Sharmarke is in eighth grade at Lewiston Middle School, and I want to make sure he and all his classmates have every opportunity to pursue their dreams.
2. What do you like, and what don’t you like, about the school budget passed in the spring? ($41.75 million in Auburn, up by $1 million; $74.3 million in Lewiston, up by $5.5 million)
We need to listen to teachers and parents to identify places where we can save money, and places where we need to invest more. Spending money on education is one of the best investments a community can make, but we need to make sure we’re spending wisely.
3. When it comes to property taxes, what kind of budget would you support this spring?
I know how important it is to keep property taxes down. As a member of the School Committee, I’ll do everything possible to find savings without jeopardizing our students’ education. I’ll also fight for more funding from Augusta, which will help us to invest in our schools without taking more from Lewiston taxpayers.
4. What, to you, is the biggest issue facing Lewiston or Auburn schools, and how would you like to see it addressed?
My top priority will be improving our test scores and low graduation rate. Too many kids in Lewiston don’t have the positive role models every child needs to thrive. We need to fix that, and make sure every student knows that they can succeed. As a member of the School Committee, I’ll strive to be a role model for my younger brothers and for every kid in our great city.
5. Do you support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn?
Yes. I believe that a unified Lewiston-Auburn would have better schools that provided more specialized classes and services.