Ward 1 voters in Saco will go to the polls June 9 to elect a school board member to replace Garrett Abrahamson, who resigned Dec. 18. Courtesy Photo

SACO — Voters in Ward 1 will go to the polls in June to elect a school board member.

The election follows the resignation on Dec 18 of Garrett Abrahamson, who was elected to his second term in November 2018, and served as chair of the seven-member board.

Abrahamson’s resignation, which he attributed to work and family commitments, was effective that night.

His announcement came during the chair update section of the agenda and after an hour or more of public comment both for and against the renewal of Superintendent Dominic DePatsy’s contract, which was due to expire at the end of June. DePatsy had come under fire for his handling of the expansion of the pre-kindergarten program which led to the lease in May of a building in one of Saco’s industrial parks. City officials determined the use of the building would have contravened park covenants had the program moved there, among other issues, including a lack of electrical inspections at the property over the years. In November, the Saco School Department and Saco School Board notified the owners of the Toddle Inn property on Willey Road that the lease between the two entities was void and demanded that the $24,000 monthly lease payments made to the building owners by the Saco School Department be returned.

Abrahamson did not refer to the situation as he announced his intention to resign. Following his announcement, he left the room and the meeting continued.

The board later that evening agreed, in a 5 to 1 vote, to renew DePatsy’s contract for two years.

Whomever is elected to fill the Ward 1 seat will serve the remaining two years of Abrahamson’s three-year term.

Ward 1 includes some in-town locations around Shadagee Road; city maps show much of the ward is beyond the Maine Turnpike, follows the Route 112 corridor and includes such areas as Simpson Road, Louden Road, Route 5 (New County Road), Boom Road, and environs.

No candidates had offered to run for the Ward 1 seat in 2015, and Abrahamson was elected as a write-in candidate, with 10 votes. He was unopposed in his bid for re-election in 2018, earning 1,020 votes.

City Clerk Michele Hughes said that due to election timing deadlines for the March 3 Presidential Primary and state referendum election, Mayor Bill Doyle and Kevin Sutherland, who was city administrator at the time, decided to hold the election in June.

Saco voters will cast ballots on the School Budget Validation referendum and the state legislative primaries on June 9 as well as elect a new school board member. In the interim, the board will function with six members. Vice Chairman Lynn Leary did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

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