School Board incumbents lose in Cumberland, North Yarmouth; voters approve SAD 51 budget

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CUMBERLAND — Voters rejected re-election bids by two incumbent School Board members Tuesday, but approved next year’s School Administrative 51 budget.

The budget referendum passed, 1,470 to 1,015. The vote was 1,080 to 657 in Cumberland and 390-358 in North Yarmouth. Voter turnout was 31 percent in Cumberland and 27 percent in North Yarmouth.

Three Town Council races were uncontested in Cumberland. Incumbents Shirley Storey-King of Shirley Lane received 1,545 votes, while Ron Copp of Interurban Drive earned 1,454 and George Turner of Carriage Road drew 1,494. All sought third terms.

In the School Board elections, James Moulton narrowly defeated incumbent Todd Nicholson, 341-327, for a North Yarmouth seat. Jeffrey Porter defeated incumbent Karen Campbell, 1,043 to 762, for a three-year Cumberland seat.

Moulton, 63, of Mill Road, served on the SAD 51 board from 2002 to 2005. He has lived in North Yarmouth for 60 years, is married, has two daughters and four grandchildren. Three of those grandchildren will be in the SAD 51 system by next school year.

“It was close,” the owner of Jim’s Auto Repair said Tuesday night about his 14-vote margin of victory. “I figured it would be, because the vote was pretty close on the budget.”

Along with his time on the School Board, he has served 12 years on the Board of Selectmen, most recently from 2005 to 2008. Moulton has also served six years on the Cumberland County Budget Advisory Committee and several years on the town Zoning Board of Appeals.

He served on the Policy Committee during his time on the SAD 51 board.

Nicholson, 46, of Hawthorne Road, was elected to the board in 2009 and was seeking his second term. He has lived in North Yarmouth for 20 years, is married and has three children in SAD 51 schools.

Nicholson said Tuesday night that he was unsure whether he would ask for a recount.

“I’m pleased that the budget validation referendum passed,” he said.

Nicholson is director of advancement at Maine Audubon and serves on the Freeport Historical Society board. He is chairman of the SAD 51 Finance Committee and serves on the board’s Strategic Thinking and Planning Committee. He has also chaired its Policy Committee and served on its Negotiations Committee.

Porter, 46, of Crossing Brook Road, stepped down from the Cumberland Town Council last year after 12 years. His wife has worked in SAD 51, but is now teaching in Pownal, which allowed him to seek a School Board seat. They have five children; four are still in district schools.

“I look forward to serving the citizens of Cumberland,” Porter said Tuesday night.

A lifelong Cumberland resident, Porter is a Cumberland-North Yarmouth Lions Club member and spent nine years on the People’s Regional Opportunity Program board, including two as chairman. His job with the U.S. Commercial Service, as director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland, has taken him to about 30 countries since 1995.

His town service has included work on the Greely Middle School Building Committee; the Cumberland Housing Authority; the Val Halla Golf & Recreation Center board and Twin Brooks and Rines Forest committees; Cumberland’s finance, recreation, energy advisory, Doane and town center committees, and a local regionalization committee.

Campbell, 50, of Stonewall Drive, has lived in Cumberland for nine years. She is an a married, at-home parent and has three children; two are in the SAD 51 system.

She is the School Board vice chairwoman and is also involved with its finance, negotiations, and strategic thinking and planning committees. Campbell also led the board’s communications committee for two years, has been the policy committee chairwoman and has served as liaison between the School Board and parent-teacher organization.

School budget

The budget ratification by residents of the Cumberland-North Yarmouth school district followed the June 7 approval at a town meeting at Greely Middle School. More than 110 registered voters attended that meeting.

Next year’s spending plan reflects a 5.3 percent increase, from $28.9 million to $30.4 million. The fiscal 2012 budget, a nearly 3 percent increase over last year, followed three years of flat budgets of $28 million.

The budget is expected to cause a tax-rate increase in Cumberland of 50 cents per $1,000 of property valuation, a climb of 3.1 percent. The increase would be about $150 a year on a home valued at $300,000.

North Yarmouth could see a tax rate increase of between 94 and 98 cents, or about about 7.1 percent, pending final valuations. The owner of a $300,000 home there could experience an annual increase in school taxes of between $282 and $294.

As a percentage of the overall (state-equalized) valuation of the two communities, North Yarmouth’s increased slightly, shifting about $130,000 to that town, according to SAD 51 Finance Director Scott Poulin. That town’s percentage of the total combined valuation has increased this year from 28.7 percent to 29.4 percent.

The recent growth of Cumberland’s tax base is another key factor behind the two towns’ sharing of costs.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or 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.