SOUTH PORTLAND — Jennifer Kirk, a mother of two who works for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, has mounted a write-in campaign for the District 1 school board seat in the Nov. 8 municipal elections.

The open seat is on the ballot without candidates because no one submitted nomination papers to run for the District 1 position, which represents the east side of the city, near Bug Light Park, Southern Maine Community College and Willard Beach.

The District 1 seat is on all ballots citywide because each district representative on the seven-member board is elected by all city voters. Two of five district seats are up for election this year; the board also has two at-large seats.

Kirk, 47, of 101 Stanford St., said she decided to run as a write-in candidate because she was disappointed that no one had stepped up in time to get on the ballot, and she wanted to make sure her district was represented by someone who cares about kids.

“I hate people thinking that nobody cares in District 1,” she said.

Kirk is a youth services provider at the South Portland Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs and a lunch and recess aide at Small Elementary School, a six-hours-per-week job that she said she’d give up if elected to the board. A lifelong city resident, she said she has an associate degree in child development from Southern Maine Community College and previously worked for 16 years as a teacher in the Head Start program in South Portland.

As the parent of a former and a current student of the city’s schools, she said she’s interested in the district’s effort to address its aging middle schools and concerned about the loss of families because of high housing costs.

Absentee ballots are available at the city clerk’s office, and voting before Nov. 8 may be done in person at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If there isn’t a clear winner in the District 1 race, the City Council will appoint someone to fill the seat for one year and the position will appear on the November 2017 ballot, said City Clerk Emily Scully.

Although the city clerk’s office tallies ballots by machine, election workers will hand-count write-in votes for seats without qualified candidates or contested races, Scully said.

Elsewhere on the ballot, the District 2 school board seat is uncontested because only one candidate – Otis Thompson of 46 Hillside Ave. – qualified to run for that position, which represents the west side of the city.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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