FAITH FONTAINE

Occupation: Associate Broker for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northeast Real Estate. Registered Nurse

Education: Bachelors of Science/Nursing

Faith Fontaine Submitted

Family: My husband, Brendan Fontaine, is a local mortgage broker. We have three amazing kiddos whom we have raised in Auburn. Grace, 18, is a 2019 graduate from ELHS and is studying business and playing basketball at Southern Maine Community College. Hope, 10, is a fifth-grader at Fairview Elementary School. Maximus, 8, is a second-grader at Fairview.

Political experience: Two terms on the Auburn School Committee.

Why are you running for school board? If elected, what will be your priorities?

I am running for my third term for the Auburn School Committee because I believe our parents, teachers, community members and students need a voice. I am very active in our community and encounter many people on a daily basis. I volunteer in the schools and coach several athletic teams year round. I believe in Auburn and feel we can rise above where we are at now. This is not a fix that will happen overnight and I hope I have another term to continue to work on the changes to make our schools the best they can be.

What do you like and what don’t you like about the school budget that passed in the spring?

There were positions that I feel were necessary that we were not able to add because we were asked to stay at a 0-percent increase. We spoke with administrators and staff and made changes the best we could to stay at 0 percent. Unfortunately, some departments did not receive positions or monies they needed. We work with an amazing group of people in Auburn who go above and beyond when needed for the students.

How would you rate Superintendent Katy Grondin’s job performance? Do you support renewing her contract? Why or why not?

No answer.

PATRICIA M. GAUTIER

Occupation: Retired ELHS librarian

Pat Gautier

Education: Portland High School, B.A. from Wheaton College (Mass.), M.L.S. from the University of Maine

Family: Widow of Donald C. Gautier Jr., three adult children, eight grandchildren (two in the Auburn School district)

Political experience: Serving first term on the Auburn School Committee

Why are you running for school board? If elected, what will be your priorities?

I am passionate about the new ELHS building and want to continue to participate and support those efforts. I support the customized learning educational programming being used in Auburn. This is a major shift in educational pedagogy and has been a long and all-consuming transition for our staff and students. As complete implementation occurs it becomes important to check the effectiveness of this program. I want to make use of my experience working in the system and continue to be involved in the evaluation of our programming so that we can make the best decisions going forward for our students, staff, and community

What do you like and what don’t you like about the school budget that passed in the spring?

I like that we were able to add several new vital positions without raising the school department’s impact on the municipal budget. We even complied with the mayor’s request to come in $60,000 below the previous year. I am glad that our capital improvement projects were funded by the city so we could expand Park Avenue School and make other necessary upgrades to school facilities. I don’t like that teachers and administrators have to spend countless hours going beyond traditional teaching duties to ensure that their students’ basic needs are being met before they can learn. Our teacher-student ratios can be better, but that means more personnel and more classroom spaces and more community tax support. I encourage the state to continue to reach  the statute goal of funding 55% of local school expenditures to relieve local tax burdens, especially with the drop in revenue sharing dollars.

How would you rate Superintendent Katy Grondin’s job performance? Do you support renewing her contract? Why or why not?

As a current member of the School Committee, I am expressly prohibited by law from disclosing confidential personnel information. This is especially true, given that one of the committee’s responsibilities is to evaluate the superintendent’s performance. Consequently, I am unable to answer these questions.

DAVID  SIMPSON

Occupation: Manager, Evidence Based Practices, Maine Department of Corrections

David Simpson submitted

Education: Attended University of Southern Maine

Family: Wife, Susan, and two children in the Auburn School District: Konnor, a junior at Edward Little High School and member of the renowned Lake Street Ballers, and daughter, Abbie, a seventh-grader at Auburn Middle School.

Political experience: No political experience and I do not view the school committee as being a political body.

Why are you running for school board? If elected, what will be your priorities?

As a parent of two students I finally tired of feeling frustrated with the status quo-a school committee that never followed up on concerns brought by myself or any other parent/tax payer. I tired of costly failed initiatives. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch our graduation rate continue to fall. I can no longer be a spectator to this committee sitting on their hands while our children are failed by their schools. Once elected I will have the committee re-focus on what is most important- our students and our teachers.

What do you like and what don’t you like about the school budget that passed in the spring?

As in years past, the Committee chair presented a maintenance budget which did not receive the level of review necessary, a line by line review. It was presented to be rubber stamped which is unacceptable. Taxpayers deserve to know what they are getting in return! While I was appreciative that the educators did receive a better deal then in years past, I remain concerned with the dollars allocated for expensive consultants and the substantial (excessive) salary costs for administration.

How would you rate Superintendent Katy Grondin’s job performance? Do you support renewing her contract? Why or why not?

Ms. Grondin has earned more than $1 million during her tenure as superintendent, and all available data suggests our schools are consistently failing under her leadership. Graduation rates continue to fall. Math and language arts proficiencies are terribly poor and trending in the wrong direction annually. Under Ms. Grondin’s leadership, we have lost more than half of our teachers. I rate Ms. Grondin with a very generous incomplete. I do not support a full renewal of her contract. I would give my full consideration to a one-year extension with accompanying outcome expectations.


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