Uncontested Yarmouth election opens door for 1st-time candidates

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YARMOUTH — Three candidates are running unopposed June 9 for seats on the School Committee.

Newcomers Laura Coroi and Jeanne Rapone are running for two open seats, while incumbent Tim Wheaton is seeking re-election. David Ray and Susan Stover are not seeking re-election.

Jeanne Rapone

Rapone, an 11-year resident of Yarmouth, owns her own kitchen and bath design company. She was a founding member of the Yarmouth Education Foundation and was a liaison between the group and Frank Harrison Middle School. She also served on the grants committee.

Rapone said she’s been attending the School Committee’s budget workshop meetings for the past few years and now seeks a more active role.

“I’m all about gathering the facts, going back to the community, and deciding what we want as a community,” she said.

Rapone said although it would be expensive, it’s important to get updated technology into the schools.

“We need to be mindful of the taxpayers, but we need to be realistic,” she said.

Rapone said a cost she wants to do away with is the district paying for Advanced Placement tests. She said families who can afford the test should pay for their own and the rest of the money should be used for professional development for teachers.

Overall, Rapone said she wants to be fair to everyone.

“I’m going to try to be a balanced candidate,” she said. “I want the students to have the best, the teachers to have the best, and the tax payers to know their money is being spent wisely.”

Laura Coroi

Laura Coroi, who works at Physics Consultants in Portland, has lived in Yarmouth for nine years after moving from Romania. She served on the YEF board of directors for three years and has also done fundraising for the Parent Teacher Organization.

“I’m passionate about education,” she said. “Girls in science and math is important to me.”

Coroi said she spearheaded a program, “Girls as Engineers,” with grant money from YEF to teach girls in the Yarmouth area about engineering. She said it’s important for girls to thrive in science and wants to get more science, technology, engineering and math education in lower grades.

“I think it opens new horizons,” Coroi said. “(Girls) can do anything (boys) can do.”

As for this year’s School Committee budget, which councilors questioned, Coroi said she doesn’t yet have thoughts on how the money should be spent.

“The more I get into the nuances, the more I will form an opinion,” she said.

Coroi did say she likes the way the School Department spends money, though.

“This school district is one of the best because we’re not trying to spare anything,” she said.

Coroi said her main objective will be to help the School Committee continue to improve education in town.

“I will try to do my best to serve the purposes of education,” she said.

Tim Wheaton

Wheaton is seeking his fourth term on the School Committee, having served from 2003 to 2009 and again from 2012. He has been the chairman twice, the vice chairman three times, and is currently the chairman of the finance committee, which is a position he’s held for six nonconsecutive years.

“I want to continue serving on the School Committee because of the importance of public education in our community,” Wheaton said. “It’s a way to leverage my experience working with the schools, and (I) can’t think of a better way to give back to the community.”

Wheaton said his experience will help him.

“Experience matters and stability on any governing board is important,” he said. “I think it’s important to honor successful practices, but also to embrace new thinking and ways of doing business.”

Wheaton said one of the first things the newly elected School Committee will do will be negotiating a new contract with the Yarmouth Educators Association. He said the board will also be building on its strategic plan.

Wheaton said he also wants to focus on hiring great teachers.

“I think the most important thing we do is attract the highest quality educators to our district,” he said. “The quality of our schools is directly tied to the quality of the instructors in our schools.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Sidebar Elements

Town Council, Water District board

YARMOUTH — Town Councilors David Craig and James MacLeod are both seeking re-election to second, three-year terms, and both are unopposed on the June 9 ballot.

Thomas Brennan is the only candidate for a seat on the Yarmouth Water District Board of Trustees. Walter Anderson is not seeking  re-election to the board.

 — Kate Gardner




I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.