6 Cumberland residents apply for 2 School Board open seats

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CUMBERLAND — Six residents have applied for two open seats on the School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors.

The Town Council will hold a special meeting Monday, July 29, to publicly interview the applicants, and then may fill the openings.

The applicants are Bill Dunnett of Mulberry Lane, Tim Ferris of Turnberry Drive, Stuart Hill of Orchard Road, Brad Hilton of Blanchard Road, John Simpson of Island View Drive, and Pete Wilson of Oak Ridge Road.

The only one with prior School Board experience is Dunnett, who did seek re-election this year. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

The applicants would replace Jeff Porter, who resigned from the board July 1 after becoming frustrated with the relationship between the board and school administrators, and Bill Richards, who stepped down July 8 because he was moving out of the district.

Next week’s meeting, to be held at Town Hall, will start with a 6 p.m. executive session between the Town Council and town attorney, to answer any remaining questions councilors may have about the appointments.

“This is kind of unique, doing the public interview process, so they want to make sure that all the candidates are treated fairly,” Town Manager Bill Shane said Tuesday.

Councilor Shirley Storey-King will moderate the meeting. The applicants will each give brief opening statements, and then answer the same series of questions, ending with brief closing remarks.

The council will then go into a second executive session, where councilors can appoint the new School Board members, continue discussion to a future meeting, direct Shane to re-advertise for one or two candidates, or take some other action.

While the public may attend, questions and comments from the floor will not be allowed.

The appointees will serve until June 2014, when elections will be held to fill the final year of Porter’s unexpired term and to elect a successor to Richards for a new, three-year term.

Applicants must have lived in Cumberland for at least one year, and had to submit letters of interest no longer than two pages that included their community involvement and knowledge of the SAD.

The letters had to be postmarked by July 19 or delivered to Shane’s office by 9 a.m. Monday, July 22.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.