WATERFORD — Longtime Oxford Hills School District Director Bill Hanger will not seek re-election at the annual town election March 1.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Waterford fire station in the municipal building on Valley Road. The annual town meeting will begin 9 a.m. March 2 in the fire station.
Judith Green, former SAD 17 adult education director, is running unopposed for the position. Hanger said he believes Green will make a positive addition to the board.
The only other candidate on the ballot will be Selectman Wyatt Andrews, who is seeking another term.
Hanger was elected to the school board in March 2004 after being appointed the previous March.
Hanger said the biggest challenge for the board has been providing a quality education during state funding cuts in recent years.
But Hanger, who also served on the board's finance and negotiations committee for years, leaves the board buoyed by the support he said taxpayers have given public education in the Oxford Hills.
“I think my most satisfaction comes from the incredible resolve of the citizens of Oxford Hills to support theirs schools. It's a wonderful expression every year,” he said.
“I really believe its one of the distinguishing features of this nation that we're willing to tax ourselves for public education. It's the hallmark of this country and clearly in Maine,” Hanger said.
He said one of the most important things the board accomplished during his tenure is a move away from "adversarial” negotiations.
In the past, the traditional negotiations would consist of both parties sitting in separate rooms hammering out what they want while each party's attorneys would go back and forth with the demands until a settlement could be reached.
Under the more recent interest-based bargaining method, negotiators first reach an understanding of the problems and identify the interests that underlie each side's issues and positions.
“It has been a joy,” he said of the change in negotiation process several years ago.
The current teacher's contract was the longest negotiated in the shortest time, he said.
“We are truly in this all together,” he said.
The former university administrator from Ohio has lived in Waterford since 1958, either part time or full time.
He said the district also has been fortunate to have the leadership of Superintendent Rick Colpitts and former Superintendent Mark Eastman.
Hanger said he expects to be involved in some form of volunteer work in the future, but is undecided at this time.