SCARBOROUGH — Candidates vying for one of the two, three-year terms on the town’s Board of Education say continued growth must be met with transparency and a willingness to communicate.

Incumbent Alicia Giftos, who was elected last year to fill the final year of Jodi Shea’s term, will be facing challenges by Bryan Shumway and Kristen Turner at the polls Nov. 5.

Shea was recalled in May 2018 following a campaign to oust her, Donna Beeley and Cary Lyford by a group called Road to Renewal. The group was unhappy with the direction of the board and claimed it demonstrated a lack of leadership and transparency.

Voters will be convening at high school, located on 11 Municipal Drive, where polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Alicia C. Giftos

Alicia Giftos said she is running for re-election because there is still additional work she wants to be part of, including hiring a permanent superintendent, updating policies and facilitating change to empower students and teachers.

Giftos said the biggest issue facing the schools is continued growth and the limitations on school facilities. She helped institute the long-range planning committee, which had been on hiatus since 2017, which will analyze the impacts of growth and determine the best way to meet facility needs as student count continues to increase

“I’d also like to continue advocating for positive relationship development with townspeople and council members,” Giftos said. “I want to hear their opinions about the budget and to develop a plan for mindful tax increases while addressing the needs of our schools.”

She said residents should vote for her because of her experience and commitment to the schools, for which she’s worked very hard. She said it’s important to keep an open line of communication, and values the opinions of all individuals, including those with opposing viewpoints.

Bryan J. Shumway

Bryan Shumway said he has wanted to run as a school board member for years, and felt prompted by what he calls the “fairly polarized” political environment the town is now facing. He said his real estate experience will be helpful in “bridging some gaps” in the community to move the school forward with positive momentum.

He believes the biggest issue facing the town is lack of communication, outreach, and inclusion. If elected, he hopes to communicate the value of education in a way that is understood and appreciated by anyone living in the town, not just parents.

“If we don’t have the financial resources we have to implement new policies or make change to the way we’re doing business, we shouldn’t make the change until we know we can do it well and do it right,” he said. “We don’t want to violate the trust of the community because we’re being too frugal or irresponsible with community resources.”

He said residents should vote for him because of his numerous contributions to the community. He said the “very disruptive changes” that occurred on the board within the last couple of years needs to be repaired, and said he brings a new perspective and open communication values to the table.

Kristen A. Turner

Kristen Turner said she is running because after closely following town and school politics, she likes the trajectory the board has taken and wants to help it keep moving in that direction. With children who are older and more independent, running now felt right for her.

“I know our town has had a lot of turmoil in the last few years and I just appreciate the path we’re on right now,” she said. “We have a fantastic school board right now and want to see it going in the right direction where people feel heard.”

She said increasing enrollment has put a huge demand on the school system. As the numbers keep increasing, she said, the school is running out of places to house students. If elected, she hopes to advocate for outdoor time for K-8 students in an effort to increase the mental well being of students.

She said residents should vote for her because she always keeps an open mind, and wants to keep building up communication so everyone feels they have a say in what happens in the school system and feels connected.

Comments are not available on this story.