Annalee Rosenblatt and Jacquelyn Perry are competing for a one-year term on the Scarborough Board of Education. Linda Gordius, who moved out of the area, vacated the seat.

Annalee Rosenblatt

Annalee Rosenblatt is seeking her second term on the Board of Education and feels her previous experience will give her the ability to immediately contribute.

Rosenblatt, 61, is a self-employed consultant specializing in labor relations and human resources and said her experience will benefit the town.

“I enjoy being on the school board and giving my time,” she said. “I think I bring some expertise to the school board in the area of contracts.”

Rosenblatt, who last served on the board between 2002 and 2004, said it is important that the individual who wins the seat has experience since there is only one year remaining on the term and it takes some time to understand how the school board operates.

The district is currently investigating a $40 million to $50 million construction project that would add space at the middle school and build a new intermediate school. The district administration is hoping to place both questions on the 2006 ballot. Rosenblatt said she is not in favor of bonding the entire project at one time.

She speculated that the decision to proceed with the plan would be made before the new board sits in December, but said she would have to be provided with details about the expenditure.

“I always felt the building doesn’t make the student,” she said. “I think it’s a matter of assessing priorities and determining where those priorities are.”

Rosenblatt also wants the district to continue with its history of academic excellence. However, improvement has to be made at the high school where the percentage of students not meeting standards increases from the lower grades.

This may have some carryover once students enter college and Rosenblatt said some students have been having trouble with classes there, specifically in English.

While not many changes can be made in a year, Rosenblatt said it is important for a school board member to ask why this is occurring and help to make some changes to increase the high school test scores.

Rosenblatt also thinks the school board should increase communication from the board to the community. She thinks the board can better respond to parents’ concerns when they are brought forward at meetings.

“Parents seem to have difficulty finding out how to have their concerns addressed by the board,” she said. “I’d really like to see that change dramatically.”

She also would like to see the board hold meetings at different times and places to allow everyone the opportunity to come, which she said will ” allow parents to come address and engage in dialogue with school board members about their concerns.”

Rosenblatt feels the district has to set its priorities when deciding its annual budget. She also would like to see a more open budget process where the meetings are televised and the various principals discuss their request with the board.

But said she is worried about the integrity of the budget system when school administration says there will be programming reductions if the budget is cut, but none are made after receiving a lower budget.

“I think when you make promises with consequences that don’t happen you lose credibility,” she said.

Rosenblatt is currently the vice chairman and treasurer of the 350th committee and is the school board representative on the comprehensive plan review committee. She is single and has two grown children who graduated from Scarborough schools.

Jackie Perry

Jacquelyn Perry has been a school board member off and on since 1976 and last served in 2003 when she was term-limited out.

“I come back when things seem to stimulate me,” she said.

Perry, 68, said she decided to run for the one-year term because only one other person is running and she wanted to see a race. Perry is one of the few members of the public who regularly attends school boards meetings and speaks to various issues.

“I enjoy it; it’s something I always enjoyed,” she said. “I have a vested interest, I love education and I love kids.”

Perry, who was a teacher for many years, said she values people’s opinions and even though she may not always agree, will listen to what people have to say.

One of the biggest issues facing the district is its facility needs. The district is currently investigating a $40 million to $50 million construction project that would add space at the middle school and build a new intermediate school.

Perry said something has to be done to fix the problems at the schools, but has not decided whether the projects should be divided or bonded together. But whatever happens, the priority should be Wentworth, she said.

The plan the district eventually formulates should not necessarily be dictated by cost, Perry said. Instead it should be developed based on the school needs and then sent to voters for their decision.

She also believes the Town Council should not veto any bond request for school, instead letting voters decide for themselves. She noted the council has vetoed school bond proposals in the past.

“Eight years ago we could have renovated Wentworth for somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million to $11 million,” she said.

Perry supports the current level of spending within the district and believes it should continue spending as much money as necessary to offer a strong educational program.

“I think it’s the board’s duty, job to advocate what they believe are the needs of the students,” she said. “If we start to cut the budget just to cut the budget … I think we are doing a disservice.”

Perry said the district has been competitive in its testing scores, but should provide teachers with the necessary training to ensure that the testing scores remain competitive.

Additionally, the extra time teachers are spending working on paperwork related to the No Child Left Behind Act and the Maine Learning Results has taken time away from education, Perry said, and it may be time to investigate increasing the length of the school day.

Perry said the district has a strong staff and leadership and should continue hiring teachers based on ability rather than cost.

“I think for the most part the district does a very good job,” she said.

Some changes that Perry would like to see include regularly updating the district’s Web site to provide better communication with parents and community members.

However, Perry believes the board is acting properly in not responding to constituent concerns that are raised at the board meetings. She said people deserve answers to their questions, but often these are not readily available during the meetings.

Perry is an accounts receivable specialist for Ace Hardware at Oak Hill. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club and most recently was a member of the School Safety Committee, which reviewed the town’s bus stops.

Jackie PerryAnnalee Rosenblatt

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