LEWISTON — In the past three election cycles, the Lewiston Education Association endorsed Megan Parks, the incumbent at-large representative on the Lewiston School Committee. But this time, the educators’ union will support her opponent, Jason Lavoie.

Jason Lavoie Submitted photo

Parks, who has been a representative on the School Committee for six years, is running for her fourth term. She is chairwoman of the committee.

Her sole opponent, Lavoie, is a special education technician in Walton Elementary in Auburn. From 2017 until spring of this year, he was an education technician in the Lewiston Public Schools.

“When I was growing up, I was told I would never accomplish anything, and I was put in special education classes and I lived the system,” Lavoie said. “So not only have I lived as a special education student . . . but I also have worked in them.”

Allison Lytton, president of the LEA, explained that questionnaires are sent to candidates to fill out and return. Endorsements are selected by a committee of representative members and approved by the LEA representative body. The committees consider the questionnaire, past voting records, if available, and the candidates’ alignment with LEA priorities.

The association places students at the forefront of their actions while advocating for Lewiston education professionals’ interests, Lytton said.

“Many of these people, I have worked with in the past in Lewiston Public Schools, so they know me very well and they know my dedication in the classroom and they know how much of a champion of education I am,” said Lavoie, who is a member of the Maine Education Association.

Lytton did not vote on endorsement selections and declined to comment on this decision. She did note that the LEA has, in the past, endorsed multiple candidates for a single seat, but the committee did not choose to do so in this instance.

Parks said she believes politics played a part in the decision-making.

“Having been endorsed by the LEA the last three elections, I believe the intentional divisiveness and political agendas of some School Committee members this term played a big role in current LEA endorsement decisions, which is unfortunate because it tarnishes the value of such an endorsement,” she said.

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