2017-10-20 / Community News

Election 2017

With current chairman Kelly Murphy not seeking a third term and former member Christine Massengill resigning in June, the Scarborough Board of Education will have two new faces after voters head to the polls Nov. 7. Seeking one of two three-year terms are Rebel Douglas, Hillory Durgin, Leanne Kazilionis and Christie-Lee McNally. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Name: Rebel Douglas
Age: 28
Position seeking: Board of Education
Address: 17 Willowood Lane
Phone: 391-3466

Family: married with one child, 8

Occupation: Deputy Field Director, OneLA Campaign to unite Lewiston/Auburn

Education completed: Bachelor of Science in environmental science and policy, Plymouth State University

Organizations and activities: Parks and Conservation Land Board - Town of Scarborough; Southern Maine Workers Center - Volunteer Board Member; Equality Maine - Canvassed to fund New Leaders Project; Petty Officer in the Navy Reserve; Citizens Climate Lobby volunteer.

Top three issues:

1) Increase community involvement in the school board process. I want to encourage more of the Scarborough community to be directly involved with the school board and increase transparency. Scarborough schools are ranked fourth in the state and I think with more community input we can maintain that standing or make it better. Great schools bring young families, investing in the future of Scarborough.

2) Prioritizing safe school atmospheres and inclusive policies for all students, always focusing on combating bullying. Throughout this summer I worked with a campaign to fight bullying in Maine high schools through the New Leaders Project, a free summer camp for high school-aged students in Maine. Providing a safe space for all children to learn and grow is a top priority for me.

3) Sustainability within the school system. Scarborough is already ahead of many school districts in some aspects of sustainability and there are always ways to further reduce our carbon footprint that save money. (There) are win-win situations already being tested in other school districts in Maine.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I graduated from Plymouth State University with a degree in environmental science and policy and a minor in anthropology/sociology. Since graduating I joined the Navy Reserve and planted my roots in Scarborough. My husband and I live here because of the school system and my son just started third grade at Wentworth. I am personally invested in keeping Scarborough schools among the top in the state while maintaining a reasonable budget. I am running because I want to have a direct involvement in curriculum implementation and assist in different ways to encourage more transparency and community involvement with the school board. I love Scarborough and I want to be directly involved in planning the future of my home.

Name: Hillory Durgin
Age: 41
Position seeking: Board of Education
Address: 9 Sequoia Lane
Occupation: homemaker
Family: husband, Matt; children, Grace (12), Charlotte
(10) and Lila (6)

Education completed: Bachelor of Science in elementary education, University of Vermont

Organizations and activities: Primary PTA, Vice President, volunteer; Wentworth PTA, volunteer; Supporters of Scarborough Schools, treasurer

Top three issues:

1. Maintaining high quality education

2. Balancing the needs of the schools with the needs of other town services

3. Enhanced communication and involvement between the school board, Town Council, staff, students, parents and community members.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Now that my youngest child has started school, I have the time to become a more active member of our community. I believe the school system is one of the most important building blocks in our community and I want to become more involved. With my background as an elementary educator, as well as my experience as a parent and volunteer, I feel I have a unique perspective to offer on the board of education. I want to be an active participant in shaping the future of education for Scarborough.

Name: Leanne Lewis Kazilionis
Age: 47
Position seeking: Board of Education
Address: 11 Orchard St.
Phone: 749-8619
Occupation: Business Systems Analyst at WEX, Inc.

Family: My son Aaron, who is a freshman Scarborough High School and the inspiration for my seeking a position on the School Board. We also share our home with three rescue pets: a dog named Charley and two cats Tommy and Jules.

Education completed: Bachelor of Arts in economics, University of Southern Maine

Organizations and activities: President, Board of Directors, Community Bicycle Center; Committee Chair Troop 47, Boy Scouts of America; Committee member Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake; Volunteer Ronald McDonald House; Holiday Volunteer Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

Top three issues:

1. The lack of funding from the State for our school budget is the greatest single issue facing Scarborough. As a minimally funded town under the current structure, Scarborough lost $1.4 million in state allocated funds or a 40 percent drop from the prior budget year. This shortfall is a significant financial burden to face without negatively impacting the current standard of education for our children. Overcoming this obstacle will require forward thinking, budgetary diligence, and ingenuity to cover the variance while not placing the entire bill upon the taxpayers’ shoulders.

2. The divisiveness between those who support the school budget as presented and those who do not is at an all-time high. This philosophical gap must be bridged if we are going to successfully navigate the loss of state funding without sacrificing the education our children receive. Our exemplary school system is one of the key drivers that attract new families to Scarborough and their high interest in relocating maintains our property values. As a single mother I understand the constraints of a budget, as well as recognize that the children are our future and need to come first. This issue cannot take a priority over their education.

3. The most ardent school supporters struggled recently with two major changes: the move to proficiency-based education standards and the shift in start times for the 2018-2019 school year. We need to be certain that future changes introduced are in the best interest of all of the children and families in Scarborough. I will work collaboratively with the community to understand your concerns while ensuring your voices are both heard and represented.

Why are you seeking elected office?

The vacancy of two seats on the Board felt like the perfect opportunity to merge my passion for youth development with the passion for my town. I have always given back to the community, especially in support of programs that benefit children and my goal is to make a difference as a Scarborough school board member. My son is at an age where I can dedicate the necessary time and effort as we work to overcome divisiveness within the town and our budget shortfalls all while balancing our children’s’ best interests. I pledge to work with all constituents of Scarborough; carefully listening to your thoughts and concerns while taking that feedback into consideration with each and every action or vote. I firmly believe that our strong school system is the backbone of Scarborough and will strive to ensure our students continue to receive the best possible education by being fully prepared for the future.

Name: Christie-Lee McNally
Age: 45
Position seeking: Board of Education
Address: 9 Thomas Drive
Phone: 620-6451
Occupation: Consultant
Family: Two Children: Emily and Matthew
Education completed: Bachelor of Arts degree

Organizations and activities: vice president of New England Weightlifting Club, member USA Weightlifting.

Top three issues:

1. Better communication between school board and community regarding budget.

2. We need to start talking about and addressing the bullying issue that permeates throughout the school system. You can’t fix something you aren’t willing to acknowledge. We have to acknowledge we have a problem and find real solutions, not lip service.

3. We need to make sure students needs are being met in a timely manner. Waiting for over a month for a 504 meeting is not acceptable.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am seeking office to be an advocate for those parents and students that need help navigating the system. I have fought hard for my children throughout their school careers and at times it has been tough. I am tenacious and strong-willed so I always persevered. There are others that do not have my temperament and would appreciate an advocate I would like to be that person.

Compiled by Staff Writer Michael Kelley. He can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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