LIVERMORE FALLS – Veronica “Roni” Pillsbury and Jennifer Pooler are vying for a one-year vacant term on the SAD 36 Board of Directors. The district serves children in both Livermore Falls and Livermore but there are no contested races in the latter town.

Elections will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the town office.

Both candidates said they believe education funds are the biggest issue facing the district and are willing to look at ways to make education work and at the same time be fiscally responsible to taxpayers.

“There are many issues that we at SAD 36 have to face,” Pillsbury said. “We have a real need for an advanced-learning program as those children are being left behind. The financial crunch that we will soon be facing in light of the economic situation of the country will take a great deal of checks and balance to keep everything we need in our schools on track.”

If elected, Pillsbury said, she would listen, learn, watch, investigate and then take action.

“I will also do all that I can to assist and support the new superintendent in any way that she needs in order to get her bearings to begin her work here in SAD 36,” Pillsbury said.

Pooler has been serving as a school director since selectmen appointed her to the position on April 21 until the election is held.

“I believe the biggest issue facing our school district and most others across the state is the pending funding cliff,” Pooler said. “Districts will receive flat funding from the state in the coming school year and then will face the ‘funding cliff’ – a significant drop in funding for the 2010-11 school year. This gives us one year to develop a plan to preserve educational programming and find ways to maximize our education tax dollars.”

If elected, Pooler said she will be a strong proponent of using the district’s limited resources more effectively and more efficiently.

“We, as parents and taxpayers in Livermore Falls, need to become more aware of what is going on in our school and how our education tax dollars are being spent. The board needs to analyze what we are doing effectively and continue those practices and at the same time look at recurring costs the district faces and find ways to provide the same services more efficiently. We cannot take money from the classrooms. We need to find another way to make our school district sustainable and ready for the challenging financial times ahead.”

Pillsbury said she believes her education, a master’s degree from Rutgers University, and her experience as an educator to some degree for 30 years, will be a benefit to SAD 36.

“I have worked with people with developmental, social and physical issues as well as with those individuals that meet or exceed the expected levels of education and behavior,” Pillsbury said. “I have served on numerous community boards both here in Maine and New Jersey. I have good people-skills. I love to listen to what people have to say. Every voice is worth hearing. This is our school/community and we need to make it the best that we can. I am open-minded and fair.”

Pooler believes her ability to collect and analyze data will be a benefit on the school board.

“I am not afraid to voice my opinions and stand up for the needs of our students,” Pooler said. “The significant funding and other challenges facing our district will require board members to collect and analyze data that will help us determine what is effective and what needs to be revamped. Those who work with me professionally and otherwise know that I am all about follow-through – as we debate and chart a path for better educational opportunities, I will not let good ideas sit on the shelf.”

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