BRUCE DAMON

Occupation: Owner of Damon Refrigeration since 1977

Bruce Damon Submitted

Education: Edward Little High School, 1969; Bentley College, accounting major, 1971; Wentworth Institute, mechanical engineering, 1973

Family: Married for 42 years to Marcia Baxter, living in Lewiston for 35 years; 3 grown children, all educated in Lewiston Public Schools; 4 grandchildren

Political experience: I have never run for elected office.

Community Service: Lewiston School Department Facilities Committee, 2010-2019; Building Committee for Robert V. Connors Elementary School, Building Committee for addition to Lewiston Middle School, and expansion at LHS; Lewiston Comprehensive Plan, Legacy Lewiston, chairman, 2013-2016; Zoning Board of Appeals, 1995-2000; Lewiston Planning Board (2007-2018) and chairman (2012-2018)

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

While working on the Lewiston Schools Facilities Committee and the Connors Building Committee, I gained both knowledge and insights of the challenges of our school department. I want to continue to be involved and help improve our schools, K-12 — not only the facilities, but also the curriculum. One priority will be to explore and expand offerings at LRTC and the new expansion at LHS. Our educational system needs to offer first-class opportunities for student success.

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

A lot of effort went into developing a sustainable budget for 2019-2020. In spite of the addition of 20 new positions (including 8 mandated special education positions), counselors, ELL support staff, and the opening of Connors Elementary School, the increase in taxes was only $15 for a home valued at $150,000. The new positions helped to reduce class size, target chronic absenteeism and address safety concerns. Lewiston incorporated state funding in the budget process and spent less per student than the state average. The budget balanced the needs of both students and staff as well as the ability of the taxpayers to fund the school system.

Lewiston has one of the lowest graduation rates in the state. What can be done to address that problem?

Our current universal pre-K provides the first step. Success during elementary school builds a foundation for a positive learning experience in secondary school. Schools need to feel safe, nurturing and supportive of student success. Attendance habits formed in early years are important as are programs that engage students. There are many paths to appeal to students so they want to stay in school: creative programs in the arts, STEM offerings, vocational training, sports, AP classes, to name a few. A strong school system creates a positive image for Lewiston.

JOSHUA NAGINE

Occupation: Pricing Analyst and Account Manager at Auto Europe

Joshua Nagine submitted

Education: Some college (University of Vermont and Keene State), but I do not hold a degree.

Family: Married.

Political experience: None. I also don’t believe school committee is or should be a political position.

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

I am running because I care deeply about the success of our kids and city. Every challenge we face is rooted in and/or impacts our schools. Priorities would be increasing the graduation rate, expanding LRTC, improving outcomes for all of our children, including mentorship and after-school programs by engaging community partners, advocating for more local control to set our community educational standards, reducing the amount of time we spend teaching to the tests, reducing food waste, increasing involvement/participation of parents, competing with charter and private school options, the list goes on.

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

I like that we as a city invested in our schools as a priority. I don’t like that the tax burden is immense for our property owners.

Lewiston has one of the lowest graduation rates in the state. What can be done to address that problem?

Engaging children at risk of dropping out and their parents wherever possible is key. Education isn’t just a commitment of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 9 months of the year. Improving community and parental supports and expectations to address absenteeism and non-participation, and actively encouraging involvement in PTO’s are part of that solution.


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