Incumbents head back to Portland School Board

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PORTLAND — Three incumbents will return to their seats on the School Board for another three years.

In the only contested race in Tuesday’s election, Elizabeth Holton, was re-elected to an at-large seat with more than 60 percent of the vote. Holton received 8,736  votes to 5,747 for Somali women’s advocate and political newcomer Josephine Okot.

Holton, who has three children and lives in East Deering, was first elected to the School Board in 2008. She was not available for comment Tuesday night.

Incumbents Justin Costa and Marnie Morrione, representing Districts 4 and 5, respectively, were unopposed in their races and will return to their seats. Both were elected for the first time in 2008.

Costa issued a statement Tuesday night as the polls were closing.

“I am excited to be able to continue the work of making Portland’s schools the best they can be for every single one of our students,” he said.

He said the last three years of new leadership has guided the development of a strong, new vision for the district and made the schools more equitable, more accountable, and more open about the challenges they face.

“We have not, by any stretch of the imagination, achieved all of the goals we have for our children’s education, but we are on the path forward,” Costa said.

In addition to putting together next year’s budget, the School Board will be tasked with choosing a new superintendent to replace James Morse Sr. when he retires at the end of the school year, and with creating a Comprehensive Plan that will provide the framework for achieving the district’s future goals.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.