Ward 2 — Washburn/Park Avenue schools area

Beth Favreau

Age: 33

Address: 481 Park Ave.

Occupation: Realtor with Fontaine Family

Education: Lewiston High School graduate, attended University of Southern Maine

Political experience: None.

Community organizations: Cabinet member of the United Way campaign, Androscoggin Valley Board of Realtors

What’s the biggest problem you perceive in the Auburn School Department, and how will you work to correct it?

I think there is a lack of communication and collaboration among the School Department, the School Committee, City Council and community. Community members are asked to spend money but they really have no way of knowing what is happening within the schools. Specifically, the School Committee should list agendas for upcoming meetings and make it a welcoming forum for parents, teachers, principals and residents to share concerns and ask questions.

What’s working well in Auburn schools? What’s something you want to continue or support?

I know there are outstanding teachers, excelling students and great things happening with the Auburn schools, but again, this needs to be better publicized to the community. One reason I decided to run for School Committee is that I have a child entering the school system next year. I want to know what is going on in the classrooms. I need to know what is working well in order to support it.

Do you support the iPads for kindergartners program? What will you do if Auburn does not get grants to pay for the program next fall and in future years?

(Not sure.) I support technology in the classroom. I cannot say yet if I specifically support the iPads for kindergartners until I see the test results in mid-December revealing the impact they have had on students so far. For me, those test results will also determine what to do next fall and in future years regarding this program.

Edward Little is in need of repairs, but it’s unlikely state money for a new high school building is coming soon. Should the city pay for a new or improved high school on its own? Would you rebuild a new school, renovate the existing one or leave the building as is?

I do not believe Auburn taxpayers can support the cost of a new school without state money. Residents have seen a steady increase in their taxes over the past few years. Their homes are assessed for way more than they could ever sell it for in this economy. As much as I would love to see a new high school, I do not believe we can accomplish this alone. We have to remember, the age of a building does not determine the quality of education students receive.

What’s your position on the next Auburn school budget and property taxes? Should the school budget’s impact on property taxes be flat, decreased, or increased, and why?

Flat. I have to say this because of my previous answer. Residents of Auburn cannot afford more taxes.

Why are you running for School Committee?

I have a son who will be entering the school system next fall. I want to be an involved parent, I want to know what is working well and where areas of improvement are needed. I do not have a political background but I do have a desire to have a school system Auburn residents can be proud of. Secondly, every year I get my tax bill I question where is all this money going? When will the increase in property taxes stop? As a local Realtor I try to encourage folks to buy a home in Auburn. The only two objections I hear are the high taxes and school system. I want to be able to overcome these objections and share what is working well and what this community has to offer its residents.

Bonnie J. Hayes

Age: 60 something

Address: 172 Allen Ave.

Occupation: Business development manager for Tower Group Insurance

Education: Portland High School graduate, University of Maine in Orono, bachelor’s degree in education

Political experience: Auburn School Committee, 1980-89, served as chairperson; Auburn School Committee, currently, member as vice chairperson, Auburn School Committee Finance Committee.

Community organizations: Auburn School Master Facility Committee member, YMCA director and past chairperson; previous member of Central Maine Medical Center Associates.

What’s the biggest problem you perceive in the Auburn School Department, and how will you work to correct it?

Short term, the most pressing problem is the school board’s relationship with the Auburn City Council. This has been an adversarial relationship in the past years. I believe we all want the best for our community, and we need to listen, respect and trust each other. This can be done by educating each other on the problems and situations that each board faces and working together to solve them.

Long term, the biggest problem is the decaying Edward Little High School and what needs to be done with the building to provide an education that is the best we can offer as a community and the safest for our children. We are 16th on the Department of Education’s (school construction list) to receive a new school building. This will not provide the city of Auburn a state-funded high school in this round of state-funded projects. The community will need to decide if a new high school can be funded by the community in the near future.

What’s working well in Auburn schools? What’s something you want to continue or support?

The principals, teachers and all staff are working well at all levels. This could be a difficult year with a new superintendent and assistant superintendent, but the principals and teachers have continued to shine with their willingness to collaborate and develop future programs. This demonstrates the professionalism of our teachers and administration in Auburn. Our staff is truly a shining staff. They deserve continued support from the community.

Do you support the iPads for kindergartners program? What will you do if Auburn does not get grants to pay for the program next fall and in future years?

Yes. I believe we need to provide cutting edge education for our children. And we need to provide a tool that all children can use regardless of their learning capabilities. There is much to learn about this product and its relationship to learning. I am excited to see what this year will bring in regards to our project of iPads. It is important to remember that iPads are just another tool to be used to aid in educating our children. It is not to replace books, pencils or teachers but to be used in conjunction with books, pencils and teachers. Funding is critical to this project, and if none is available for the following years from grants, then we need to be sure the iPads we have remain in good condition for those that follow.

Edward Little High School is in need of repairs, but it’s unlikely state money for a new high school building is coming soon. Should the city pay for a new or improved high school on its own? Would you rebuild a new school, renovate the existing one, or leave the building as is?

The funding of a new school is not the decision of the school board, but the decision of the community in a public vote. The school board can only point out what the need is, then the community must decide if we can afford to fund a new facility. I was a member of the facility committee three years ago and we decided after studying the building that we needed to rebuild the majority of the building and perhaps leave the gym area as is. The idea was to perhaps build to include the existing gym structure. The envelope of Edward Little High School is almost nonexistent. Insulation, windows and the heating system are just a few of the problems. The building needs to be ADA accessible and it needs to be accessible to the entire community.  . . . As a member of the community I would vote to rebuild ELHS due to its deplorable condition.

What’s your position on the next Auburn school budget and property taxes? Should the school budget’s impact on property taxes be flat, decreased or increased, and why?

(Not sure.) This is a difficult question to answer because the knowledge of the level of funding from the federal government and the state is not known at this time. School budgets are dependent on many facets of funding from many areas. It has always been my intent to fund the local share with reasonable costs to the community.

Why are you running?

I am running for the Auburn School Committee because I believe in public education, and I believe that each child should have the best education that the community can offer at a reasonable cost to the community.


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