Peter Cotter, 58, of Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth, is running for the Cape Elizabeth School Board in hopes of being one of seven members who can work to help maintain good education while also tightening the school budget.

Cotter is among four candidates vying for three, three-year seats on the board. The others are incumbent Kevin Sweeney, Piotrek Stamieszkin and Karen Burke.

Cotter was born in New Bedford, Mass., and received his bachelor’s at the University of Maine in public administration. He has lived in Cape Elizabeth for 23 years. Currently, he works for Goodwill Industries, a job he has held for about a year. He and his wife, Katherine, have two grown children, Patrick, 30, and Sarah, 28. Cotter turned over his house-painting business to his children several years ago.

Cotter has had many experiences with municipal government, having spent 10 years on the town planning board and serving as town manager for Boothbay in the 1970s. He said he has also served on a number of local and regional boards

Cotter said he is going to vote for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. He said he has grown impatient with Maine not doing anything about tax reform, and the state will continue to do nothing unless TABOR, a measure that would cap spending, passes.

A big issue for Cotter is the underlying cost of running a school system. The town needs to start thinking outside the box, he said, because when it comes to the cost of a school system, there are other things to consider besides books and teachers. These include facilities management, benefits and health care.

He said the town and the schools are going to have to pinch pennies and prioritize their needs, letting town councilors and school board members see what the biggest needs are, said Cotter. He compared it to a family budget. He said residents have to make priorities in what is best for their families, and schools should be doing the same thing.

Cotter said he is not worried about the recommendation the high school received last October while being accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The school has to report to the association with an update on the curriculum next fall. Cotter said the parents and the children decide if the schools are providing a good service. He said the schools are absolutely providing a good curriculum.

“Regionalization doesn’t work,” said Cotter. He said he does not support any consolidating of school or municipal services. Cotter said when he worked in Boothbay, area schools tried to consolidate, but the superintendent spent all his time at various school meetings.

Cotter said he has been contemplating running for the Cape school board for the last 10 years. He said it was the encouragement of school board members and people of the community that finally convinced him to run.

Cotter said he has worked with town governments his whole life. He said his experiences give him an alternative perspective that he believes would be good for the board.

“I think I’m different from what is on the school board,” said Cotter.

Cape school board: Cotter calls for prioritizing budget needs


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.