We members of the South Portland School Board are writing this letter to address last week’s article, “South Portland School Board appointment raises questions about oversight, superintendent’s role” and the subsequent editorial.
The article states that “Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Godin has recommended three board appointees since becoming school chief in 2007.” This statement is simply incorrect. When Mr. Harris resigned in 2007, the council appointed Burt Edwards as his replacement. At that time the superintendent was not Ms. Godin, but rather Wendy Houlihan. When Mr. Reuscher resigned later in 2007, the council chose not to appoint anyone, as it was already close to a general election. So this is the first, and only, appointment that has taken place since Ms. Godin became superintendent.
The article also states that “the council appointed Callaghan and Ralph Baxter Jr. to the board in 2008.” This statement is also incorrect. Ms. Callaghan and Mr. Baxter both ran and initially won their seats in a special election in 2007. This lack of fact checking and bad reporting is inexcusable, especially when this is the basis for the insinuation that the superintendent has hand-picked the board. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Forecaster is further asking its readers to trust them that everything else in the story is accurate and well reported. We are asking that the citizens of South Portland take the article and subsequent editorial for what they are – bad reporting and an unfair maligning of the superintendent and an individual who has generously stepped forward to serve.
Rick Carter, Ralph Baxter Jr., Karen Callaghan,
Stacy Gato, James Gilboy, Sara Goldberg