WESTBROOK — Ward 2 School Committee Representative Veronica Bates has resigned from her role and will step down after the Jan. 8 meeting.

Bates Courtesy photo

Bates, who has served on the board for nine years, said she resigned because she needs to have surgery related to severe illness and that she may move to a warmer climate to heal. She also said that with her daughter about to graduate from high school, she wants to be able to get more involved in her college application and selection process.

Bates is departing with almost two years left on her term, which would expire November 2021.

“I am going to miss what I do terribly. This was an incredibly hard decision,” she  said.

Bates is chairwoman of the School Committee’s Finance Committee and a member of the Technology Committee. She is also the School Committee’s liaison between the community and the Maine School Board Association in Augusta.

She has served on the committee for the past nine years, helping guide educational programming, working on budgets and lobbying for student and parent rights in Augusta. Bates advocated for the new middle school and the new Saccarappa School, one of her main campaign promises when running for the School Committee.

“On Nov. 26 I kept another promise I made directly to the kids of Saccarappa,” Bates said. “I promised them a cake when the building was completed. I served cake to every student that day. Over four lunch periods. It was one of the best days of my life. Interacting with them reminded me of why I did what I do, and it made this decision a million times harder.”

Superintendent Peter Lancia said Bates “will be sorely missed.”

“She has made a great impression on the schools and has been incredibly involved,” Lancia said. “She is a great advocate for kids, especially promoting some of the things I am really supportive of as well, in the philosophy of making sure children are fed, have access to winter clothing, school supplies and books. She was a huge advocate for all of our reading initiatives.”

Bates spearheaded numerous clothing, supplies and food drives for students.

The city’s Democratic party will hold a caucus to select a nominee to replace for Bates, and the School Committee likely will appoint the nominee to fill the rest of Bates’ term.

“Hopefully we will have that soon,” School Committee Chairwoman Noreen Poitras said of the caucus. “I’ve talked to Bates, and she has to do what she has to do for health reasons and take care of her family. I understand and support her in that decision. She has done tremendous work for the schools.”

 

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