1. Why do you think you’re the best candidate for this seat, and why are you running?
I am a single mom of two, I have sent both my children through Lewiston Public Schools. My daughter is a teacher, my son will graduate in June. I have seen how changes in education over the years have impacted our children. I’ve been actively attending School Committee meetings for the last several years. I serve on many of the subcommittees — two proficiency-based learning committees, the dropout committee and the Barr Grant Advisory Committee (formally the Longley Programming Committee). I’m running to give our students and our teachers a voice, while being mindful that we need to spend tax dollars wisely.
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)
Having sat through all the budget meetings, I feel the money could have been spent differently. We need to make sure the needs of our schools are being met and stop relying on grants to create programs that will need to be incorporated into a budget paid for by the taxpayers. Our classroom sizes are large, our staff is overwhelmed … We are constantly changing programs without sufficient training for staff, parents and students. When we spend thousands of dollars on a program it needs to work correctly and staff needs proper training. We need to focus on meeting the needs of our schools and not just going with the next new program.
3. When it comes to property taxes, what kind of budget would you support this spring?
This year’s budget season is going to require a lot of hard questions. What do we need versus what do we want? Are we fully staffed to meet the needs of students? I would support a budget that meets the needs of our schools and would have a tough time supporting any extras or new administrative expenses. There would have to be a very compelling argument that new administrative expenses were needed.
4. What, to you, is the biggest issue facing Lewiston or Auburn schools, and how would you like to see it addressed?
Proficiency based learning is going to be a major concern for years to come. The state is working on redoing the rules that schools need to follow. This is problematic, it changes things yet again for students and staff. Students need consistency. They need to know what’s expected of them. … Our children are not a test score, we should stop spending money on tests that are not beneficial. We also have to look at ways to give relief to our large classroom sizes, especially in elementary schools. We improve our graduation and dropout rates by making sure students are getting their needs met in the younger grades.
5. Do you support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn?
No. It will not benefit Lewiston schools.