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Challenges face new Cape Elizabeth School Board members, leaders

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Challenges face new Cape Elizabeth School Board members, leaders

CAPE ELIZABETH — With news of a reduction in state funds for this year, and a grim outlook for fiscal year 2010-2011, the newest members of the School Board were sworn in on Monday, Dec. 14.

John Christie, Kate Williams-Hewitt and David Hillman took their oaths in a special business meeting. Rebecca Millett was elected chairwoman and Kathy Ray was named vice chairwoman.

Superintendent of Schools Alan Hawkins said changes in the board's composition require adjustments every year, but he is very confident in the new members' ability.

"The newest members are already learning the ropes and are incredibly intelligent," he said. "They understand that their job is to support education. The entire board is made up of strong members."

In addition to their work on the budget, Hawkins said the School Board will continue to work on curriculum development throughout the district. He said the process of evaluating and updating each area will continue with World Language in January and Guidance in February.

The work of the Curtailment Committee is also scheduled to continue in the coming weeks.

The group was formed as a response to Gov. John Baldacci's announcement that $63 million would be cut from the state budget, including a $38 million reduction in the state's general purpose aid to education. In Cape Elizabeth, the state reduction meant a reduction of $621,000 to the current school budget.

The Curtailment Committee includes School Board members Millett and Ray, and representatives of the Town Council, Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation, Cape Elizabeth Educational Administrators Association, and a student representative.

The next Curtailment Committee meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. in the William H. Jordan Conference Room at Town Hall. The School Board will meet Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall council chambers.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net