OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Three candidates are running for two available two-year seats on the Regional School Unit 23 board in Old Orchard Beach including current school board member David Boudreau, former School Board member Michelle Violette and local educator Robert “Bob” LePauloue.

Boudreau, 51, is a sales executive and is currently serving as the chairman of the RSU 23 Board. He served 12 years on the local school board and four years as a city councilor when living in Massachusetts.

“I want to continue the success that school system has been achieving, I truly believe that we have more work to do in all areas, and I would like to finish what I started,” said Boudreau.

Boudreau said he truly enjoys seeing students make great achievements and participate in great experiences. He said he wants to help local students become successful adults in whatever field they choose. He said he hopes that going through the RSU 23 school system is one of the most enjoyable experiences in local students’ lives.

Boudreau said when he was elected to the RSU 23 board three years ago it was in a very serious condition, and with a lot of work the RSU made some very difficult decisions.

“I am proud that not only are we if great financial condition but this year we did not ask the taxpayers for any additional funds for the budget and we are working hard to not ask for any (in the) next budget,” said Boudreau.

Boudreau said the town’s school building are safe but old and in need of repair He said the town needs a new school within the next few years, and he would like to work closely with the town to make this a reality.

“We have made the new state list for the  reimbursement program and I would continue pushing this. I have a plan that would give us a brand new state of the art facility, but with little or no costs to the taxpayers,” he said.

Boudreau said RSU 23 has built an amazing team that is knowledgeable, hardworking and truly cares about students. He said looking ahead, it’s important to continue the focus on staffing to make sure the RSU continues in this direction.

 

LePauloue, 43, is a middle school social studies teacher. He has served on the Jameson playground committee, as president of the local rotary club and as a volunteer coach for the Old Orchard Beach Little League and Recreation Department.

He said as an educator and coach with more than 20 years experience, every decision he makes is in the best interest of children, and as a father of two, every decision is in the best interest of his children.

“It feels like a natural progression for me to seek a position on the RSU 23 School Board to promote the best interest for all the kids of Old Orchard Beach,” said LePauloue.

LePauloue said Old Orchard Beach is at its best when it makes its size an advantage through community partnerships and strong relationships.

“I believe that Old Orchard Beach Schools can become a model of practical innovation and hope to be a partner in its success,” he said.

LePauloue said RSU 23, like many RSUs forced to enter into an undesirable partnership, must continue to climb out of debt and the confusion the original partnership created.

“This is the time to focus on the needs of our schools and students, and I believe that I can help guide us toward our preferred future,” said LePauloue.

LePauloue said there are significant benefits that come from small community districts like Old Orchard Beach. These include smaller class sizes, lower student to staff ratios and schools that allow students from different ages to work together collaboratively.

“The teaching and learning that happen inside the walls of our schools is remarkable; however, the buildings themselves are lackluster and not always adequate to meet the needs of our teachers and students. I hope to support the amazing efforts of the staff of Old Orchard Beach schools by providing them with a physical environment that matches the innovative and exceptional teaching that goes on inside,” said LePauloue.

LePauloue said the small enrollment in Old Orchard Beach schools can be a limiting factor when it comes to the breadth of programming, facilities, and a sense of continuity year to year. The school district must ensure when students leave they are competitive members of the workforce and post-secondary education, he said.

“With the right mindset and implementation, our small size can actually make our schools more flexible so that teachers and administrators can ‘think outside the box’ and be creative educationally in ways that larger, more rigid districts cannot. The key is to support this kind of innovation in a fiscally responsible way,” said LePauloue.

Violette, 50, is a stay-at-home mother. She has served on the RSU 23 board as the vice-chairwoman and has also served on the Loranger-Jameson PTO as the Playground Committee chairwoman and as a parent volunteer with the Old Orchard Beach High School Marching Band and Color Guard.

Violette said as a mother with two children in the school system she has a very personal investment in the quality of the town’s schools.

“My previous experience on the school board would allow me to “hit the ground running” knowing how to work with the current members to develop sound policy and continue to promote a    positive educational culture in ours schools,” said Violette. “Community involvement is also important. Serving on the RSU 23 School Board is one of the best ways I can think of to contribute”

Violette said the board must learn from its past, optimize the present and plan for the future.

She said Old Orchard Beach has historically been a pro-education community. She said RSU 23 school board members are stewards of the highest quality education accessible to all students in Old Orchard Beach. She said it’s critical for the board to access where the RSU stands as a district and determine if its educational policies, models and priorities meet these standards.

Violette said the RSU has to determine how to best serve its students and create and maintain a culture that attracts and retains quality educators in a way that’s fiscally responsible yet not solely determined by the “prettiest” bottom line.

“Our school buildings are in safe yet tough shape.  Now that we know where we stand as far as state funding, decisions need to be made regarding building a new school vs updating what we have without losing sight of the students that are matriculating now,” said Violette.

Violette said public schools are crucial to a good community.

“It is important to foster the growth of our community’s relationship with our schools and vice versa- we need each other,” she said. “There is already wonderful support from local business and community organizations. I would love to see even more involvement between the elder members of our community and our students.”

 Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 780-9015 or [email protected].

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: