2013-11-01 / Community

Election 2013

School board chairman will face challenge for seat

The only contested school board race in South Portland will be in District 1, where Chairman Richard Carter will face challenger Eugene Swiger of Boyd Street. Attempts to reach Swiger were unsuccessful.

District 2 incumbent Sara Goldberg and at-large incumbent Mary House will run unopposed for another term in their respective seats.

Name: Richard Carter
Age: 51
Address: 33 Thompson St.
Family: Married with two grown sons
Prior political experience: Currently chairman of
South Portland Board of Education, finishing my third
term (nine years) on the board, fourth time serving as
chairman.
Volunteer/community involvement: Previously
served as president of Small School PTA, and coached
youth sports teams in soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for re-election to the South Portland Board of Education to continue to advocate for the students in the South Portland schools. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the school board over the past nine years. I look forward to the opportunity to continue that service. Educating our children is the most important thing that we do as a society. To do so, we must have an excellent public school system, which South Portland has. Though we have many successes, we also have many challenges. South Portland schools will face difficult decisions. State and federal funding will continue to be unpredictable. With my experience on the board, I know that these challenges can be met. The school board, city council and the entire community must work together to ensure that our kids have everything they need to prepare them for the future. As a school board member I will work with teachers, parents, administrators, and staff to improve student achievement. Every decision, whether it is curriculum, policy, facilities, or budgeting must be made based on what is best for students. I will stay true to that ideal, to help all of our students succeed.

Are there ways in which the council and school board could work more collaboratively in the future?

Mayor Tom Blake and I have made a concerted effort over the past year to improve communications between the city council and the school board. We have met to review areas that we are already collaborating, such as IT (information technology) and grounds maintenance, as well as to look at areas of future potential collaboration. More importantly, we recognize that by meeting and communicating more often we can make the budgeting and decision- making process smoother and more effective.

At this point in the process, the scope of the high school project has already been determined. To date, the project is on budget and on schedule. As a school board member, my role is to ensure that the project stays on budget and on time. I will also be required to vote on large expenditures to ensure that the proper procedures have been followed and the taxpayers are protected. Lastly, the board will become involved if there are any unforeseen issues, or the need to alter the original plans, which presently has not been necessary.

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