Election: SAD 51 ballot draws 2 Cumberland men for 1 seat

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CUMBERLAND — Out of three open seats on the School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors, only one is contested on the June 14 ballot.

Former Councilor Mike Perfetti of Main Street and Pete Wilson of Oak Ridge Road are seeking the one-year seat on the School Board. Wilson resigned from the board last September, citing differences over board procedures. He and Perfetti are vying for the final year of Wilson’s unexpired term.

Geraldine “Gigi” Sanchez is running again for her School Board seat, and Mike Brown – temporarily appointed last year to fill the seat vacated by Wilson – is running for a SAD 51 seat being vacated by Bethany Hanley.

Mike Edes of Edes Road and Peter Bingham of Brook Road are each seeking re-election to three-year seats on the Town Council.

Mike Perfetti

Perfetti, 42, has three children, and, along with his wife, operates Cape Shore, a Yarmouth business that designs, imports and sells souvenirs.

He served two terms on the Cumberland Town Council, from 2007-2013, prior to which he was on the town’s Recreation Committee.

In running for the School Board, Perfetti said, “I’ve always felt that it’s very important that if you have a desire to serve, and a skill set to serve, that you should serve,” adding that the timing is good for him to be part of the SAD 51 panel.

Perfetti – who supports the district’s nearly $35 million proposed budget that will go to two votes in the coming weeks – will not approach the School Board with an agenda, he said.

“It’s best to show up and be willing to roll up your sleeves and see where you fit, and what you can do,” he added.

Perfetti wants to ensure the district maintains a strong school system, saying he believes in the liberal arts, which he called “the best type of education.”

“I have a temperament to serve,” Perfetti said, pointing out the importance of public servants “listening, and allowing disparate and opposing views to be aired, to be heard, to be discussed. I don’t get rattled when I disagree. … I have confidence in the process.”

Pete Wilson

Wilson, 69, is married with three children. He worked in the field of corporate income tax before retirement, and occasionally volunteers in an afterschool student assistance program through SAD 51.

Appointed by the Town Council in 2013 to fill one of two vacancies on the School Board, Wilson was elected to a full term the following year. He resigned from the board last September, citing differences over board procedures, including issues related to finances.

“I resigned in order to publicly state issues that I had with board operations,” he wrote in an email May 2. “I said what I had to say, and I’m glad that I did.”

Wilson added that his main reason for running again is “to somehow force (or do myself) an analysis of why our expenditures per student are so high. Maybe our cost per student makes sense or maybe it’s a sign of inefficiency. I want to face that question head on. I want people to realize that a net-of-revenue depiction of cost per student is not meaningful.

“I also want to be a part of the continuous improvements to the school accomplished by this school administration and overseen by the board,” he noted.

Wilson echoed the per-student-cost issue in an interview this month when explaining his opposition to next year’s budget.

The most recent boards have not focused on that, Wilson added, noting that the “portrayal of cost per student as net of revenues is … avoiding the issue. Revenues aren’t from the sky. … We pay tax in, and then the government gives it back.”

Wilson said he is a good candidate because of his understanding of finances, adding, “I’m not afraid to say what I think, whether it agrees with others or doesn’t, because I’m not subject to peer pressure.”

Election Day is Tuesday, June 14.

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

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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.