Thompson resignation leaves vacancy on South Portland School Board

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SOUTH PORTLAND — After the unexpected and immediate resignation of Otis Thompson, five School Board seats will be up for election this fall.

In a letter dated Aug. 28 to Superintendent of Schools Ken Kunin, Thompson offered no explanation for leaving the board after completing less than a year of his three-year term.

The letter was short and to the point: “Please accept this letter of resignation … effective on this date.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, Thompson said he had no additional comment.

In an email Wednesday, Kunin said, “As superintendent, I valued (Thompson’s) prior experience serving on the Portland School Board and his knowledge gained as a career educator.”

But Kunin also offered no reason for Thompson’s sudden departure.

Thompson’s is the fourth resignation from the board in the last two years. Other resignations have led to the City Council appointing a new member to fulfill the term of office.

In this case, though, the council will likely leave the decision up to voters, since there are only about two months left until the Nov. 7 election. The council is expected to discuss what action to take at its Sept. 6 meeting.

City Clerk Emily Scully said nomination papers for Thompson’s District 2 seat are available. Anyone wishing to run has until Sept. 8 to collect the signatures of 100 qualified voters. District 2 represents the west side of the city.

In addition to Thompson’s now-vacant seat, District 4 and District 5, plus two at-large seats, are also up for election on the School Board.

District 4 incumbent Matthew Perkins has already returned his nomination papers and District 5 incumbent Elyse Tipton has taken out papers, but has not yet returned them.

In addition, Mary House, one of the at-large incumbents, has also taken out papers to run again, although she has not returned them to Scully’s office.

Karen Callaghan, the other at-large board member, has not taken out papers.