JAY — Three residents are running for two, three-year terms on the Regional School Unit 73 board.
Polls in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, .
Directors Michael Morrell, a science teacher, and Joel Pike, an energy manager, are being challenged by former Director Michael Schaedler, a bookkeeper.
Each answered three questions.
Is it difficult to balance students’ needs and keeping education affordable for taxpayers?
Morrell: “Yes, at times it is difficult to balance the needs of the students in our district while at the same time keeping the budget at a level that is affordable for taxpayers. There are times where decisions need to be made that affect either side of this question and those decisions are never easy to make. It takes time to gather all of the necessary information in order to make what you will believe is the right decision for the students, the district, and the taxpayer.”
Pike: It is a key responsibility to provide a solid education in order to prepare “our children to succeed in life. We have an excellent complement of teachers that we need to recognize for what they do. With that, we need to recognize that it cannot be education no matter the cost so every need has to be evaluated to find the right answer for the students, public, and school system.”
Schaedler: The short version is “always. When town valuations change, the state fluctuates on its educational funding, the state regulations/requirements change and are also unfunded, the costs of employment contracts continue to rise, most other costs continue to rise, these put pressure to increase taxes to fund everything as it most always has been done before. To me, part of the school board’s responsibility is to be part of the checks and balances that protects the town property taxpayers from continual property tax increases, while seeing to it that the students are receiving the best education that can be provided.”
What do you base your decisions on?
Pike: “My decisions are based on a combination of information presented to the board, input from the public, and my analysis. I strive to use data and logic to develop my position on issues.”
Schaedler: He bases his decisions on “principles, information, citizen input, personal experiences, acceptance of the realities around us. If students graduate and need to take more classes to get an entry level job, then our school district is falling down on what is being taught. That type of thing is why I voted for the curriculum coordinator position that last time I was on the school board to try to help minimize this type of challenge.”
Morrell: His initial thought is always, “’Is this what is best for students?’ Sometimes making sure that the answer is yes means making the hard decision to ask the taxpayers to allot more funds to the school, but as often it means making sure the community is strong and stable, and not overburdened by providing for the school. But every decision I make comes back to striving to make sure that our students have the best opportunities that we can provide for them.
What strengths do you have that you believe will benefit the school board?
Schaedler: He said he has served on the Budget Committee, School Committee and RSU 73 board enough to know what the biggest struggles are to provide the highest quality education at an affordable cost to the towns’ property taxpayers through the years. “My commitment to work with others to achieve the changes that need to be done to improve our students’ lives when they go out into the unsheltered real world, is of the utmost importance to me,” he said. “I would be one vote, which alone can get nothing done, but working with others we can better educate our students and do it in a fashion that won’t force folks out of their homes because of the property taxes.”
Morrell: “I believe that the biggest strengths I bring to the board are my years of experience, both as an educator and as a current member of the RSU 73 school board. My teaching experience grounds me, and is a constant reminder of the day-to-day happenings in the lives of public school students and their families.”
Pike: “I have a technical and business background and I rely on both of them to guide my decisions. I am also a parent and work to bring that perspective along with what I feel other families in the district would be expecting. I am willing to dive into issues and ask the tough questions when needed.”
Joel Pike (File photo)
Michael W. Schaedler (Submitted photo)
Michael Morrell (Submitted photo)