Brunswick voters to weigh regional school service center

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BRUNSWICK — Voters on Nov. 6 will decide whether the School Department should join a regional service center with nine other districts.

Three seats on the Town Council and three on the School Board will also be on the ballot.

The town’s only referendum question will ask residents if they “favor a plan” to join the Greater Sebago Alliance Regional Service Center.

The center includes public schools in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Gorham, School Administrative District 6 (Buxton, Hollis, Standish, Limington, Frye Island), Regional School Unit 14 (Windham, Raymond) and School Administrative District 15 (Gray, New Gloucester).

It was approved by the state Department of Education in May – one of 12 regional services centers approved by Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson Jr. as part of the department’s EMBRACE Regionalization Initiative

At the Aug. 20 meeting of the Town Council, Assistant Superintendent Pender Makin said joining the initiative would allow Brunswick to save money by jointly purchasing food with the other districts and joining forces for recruiting and training substitute teachers and staff teachers.

It would also result in additional state subsidies for Brunswick schools – roughly $38,000 for fiscal year 2019. The DOE has promised to more than double the incentive the following year. It will cost the district $1,000 per year to be a member.

The School Board unanimously voted to join the center in May, the same month the center was approved by the DOE. Because Brunswick is a municipal district, state statute requires the question be put to voters.

Candidates

The deadline was Friday, Sept. 7, for candidtes to submit nomination papers for District 3, District 4 and at-large seats on the Town Council and School Board.

The at-large seat on Town Council will be Brunswick’s only contested race, with Sande Updegraph and Dan Ankeles vying to replace Councilor Alison Harris.

Council Chairman John Perrault is running unopposed for re-election in District 4, and Daniel Jenkins is the only candidate running for the District 3 seat being vacated by Councilor Suzan Wilson.

On the School Board ballot, two members will be running unopposed for re-election: Chairwoman Joy Prescott for her at-large seat, and Teresa Gillis in District 3.

Celina Harrison is the only candidate running for the District 4 seat being vacated by Corinne Perrault. 

Voting on Election Day will be from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at Brunswick Junior High, School 65 Columbia Ave.

Absentee ballots will be available Monday, Oct. 8, but according to Town Clerk Fran Smith, residents can now request absentee ballots and Smith’s office will mail them when they are available.

Absentee ballots can be obtained at the town clerk’s office in Brunswick Town Hall or by calling the clerk’s office to request a ballot. 

Residents can also complete or have an immediate family member complete an absentee application, request an absentee ballot online, or give written permission for an unrelated third person to obtain the ballot. 

Applications can be mailed, faxed or delivered in person to the town clerk’s office. Town Hall hours and other information about voting are available on the town website

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente

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