Ward 3 Lewiston School Committee representative Elizabeth Eames Submitted photo

LEWISTON — School Committee Ward 3 incumbent Elizabeth Eames, 67, is running for reelection. The retired educator is hoping to serve a second term.

Community Engagement: Camp Middle Jubba Organizer, Chamber of Commerce/Career Center Somali Employment Study principal investigator, Community Financial Literacy Board, Connors School Planning Committee, Farwell School PTO, Fulbright Association Board, L/A 101 Participant, Literacy Volunteers Androscoggin tutor, Many & One Coalition Board, MPBN Citizen Advisory Board, Museum L/A Consultant, School Redistricting Committee, Somali Bantu Community Association Advisory Board, United Nations Association, YWCA Board.

How would you manage the school budget? Allocate more funds to schools or pull back spending? Why? 

Lewiston’s City Charter promotes a perverse incentive structure. When our City Council squeezes the school budget’s bottom line, councilors make claims of fiscal responsibility but they rob Peter to pay Paul. In this zero-sum game, city services can be expanded to the extent the school budget is reduced. Municipal stinginess now will surely backfire on Lewiston when our next generation grows up hampered. Our school system needs to be flexible. Full employment in this challenging district requires a pay scale on par with neighboring towns. Our kids — all kids — deserve all possible opportunities to excel.

Do you believe student safety is a priority and would you support initiatives that address safety issues?

Surely every candidate will answer yes to this question. Where we differ will be in our definitions of student safety. I consider an orderly building a safe building. I think respect for authority is a prerequisite and that this practice should be taught in the younger grades. I am glad we barred cellphones and believe this will assist in keeping order. I do not think staff having guns in school increases safety, but I do think that running safety drills and simulations could be helpful for students along with staff. Increasing cameras and hall monitors seem like good policies.


Do you believe students’ social and emotional needs are being met in schools? What could be done differently?

Social and emotional well-being and self-awareness are essential prerequisites for academic success. Just as no one can learn well on an empty stomach, no one can learn in the throes of an anxiety attack. Teaching students how to have a strong vocabulary regarding their emotional states and teaching different calming practices will add to everyone’s progress in class and life. The most troubled students are causing the most trouble and we all benefit if interventions can engage them in emotional growth. We need more, not less, social-emotional learning in Lewiston schools. Our RootED program provides proof of this.

Do you believe parents and community members have adequate access to the committee members at meetings or through other methods to express concerns and frustrations?

I attend many community meetings with the goal of gaining feedback about our schools. I always encourage folks I hear from to also contact other committee members. Each of our emails and meeting information is posted on the school administration’s website. Every meeting has a period set aside for public comment. Should anyone be unable to attend a meeting, they can find it after-the-fact on YouTube. We would all love to hear from the public more than we do. We appreciate learning your concerns but to be honest we wouldn’t mind hearing your triumphs or kudos either.

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