Saturday, April 19, 2014
PORTLAND — In final returns Tuesday, Anna Trevorrow and Pious Ali won election to the Portland School Board.
With all 12 districts reporting, Trevorrow, the one-time chairwoman of Maine’s Green Independent Party, was the top vote-getter in the six-way race, receiving 5,965 votes or 28 percent of the vote. Ali, a photojournalist from Ghana, received 5,073 or 24 percent of the vote.
The candidates were vying for seats being vacated by current board chairman Jaimey Caron and past chairwoman Kate Snyder.
The next top vote getters were nurse Deborah Brewer, with 3,011 votes, or 14 percent, and retired lobbyist Ralph Carmona, with 2,960 votes or 14 percent of the vote. Local businessman Gene Landry received 2,541 votes, or 12 percent, and special education advocate Frederick Miller had 1,406 votes, or 7 percent.
Incumbent Laurie Davis, who ran unopposed for her District 3 seat, got 2,258 votes.
Of the candidates, only Trevorrow and Davis have previously held elective office; both were elected to the Charter Commission.
“We knocked on a lot of doors,” Trevorrow said of her win. “I’m honored the Portland voters have entrusted me with this position.”
Ali, who moved to Maine in 2002 and became a citizen in 2009, has a 17-year-old son enrolled at Casco Bay High School and a 9-year-old daughter at Lyseth Elementary and was endorsed by the Portland Education Association.
“We did a lot of work, and this makes me feel like hard work does pay off,” Ali said Tuesday night. “This enhances the experience of being here in this country.”
Ali, who ran on a message of increasing the communication between the board and the community, said he hoped all of the candidates would remain involved in the schools and committed to improving education.
The school board oversees a roughly $100 million budget for a 16-school district with 6,986 students. The district employs 694 teachers and 60 administrators.
Issues such as curriculum, graduation rates, test scores and attendance can come before the board and its seven standing subcommittees. The board works closely with the school administration and Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk.
In the next year, the board will face several significant issues, including teacher contract negotiations, crafting the annual budget and a June vote on a $39.9 million bond to renovate Lyseth, Presumpscot and Riverton elementary schools.
Trevorrow, who was endorsed by Portland’s League of Young Voters, works in the State House as a legislative aide. She said she wanted to serve because of the importance of strong schools and was inspired by her parents, who both taught in Maine public schools.
Ali works with children as a counselor for Portland’s refugee services, largely with those who are having difficulty integrating, he said. He also works with youth organizations such as Seeds of Peace and Portland-based King Fellows, a group for young people based on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at: email@example.com