A letter to the community from the Friends of Scarborough Library,

At this time of year many of you are eagerly awaiting the Friends of the Scarborough Library Book Sale. You have donated books, marked your calendars and made ready a list of favorites you hope to find at the sale. Our volunteers have sorted thousands of books and they are packed and ready to go. Unfortunately, in mid-March, everything came to a screeching halt because of the pandemic. Sadly, the Friends will not be having a book sale this year.

We are all disappointed — especially the many volunteers who generously give their time and energy to make the sale run smoothly. Each year I am amazed at the cooperation and community spirit of so many people. We could not have a successful sale without the assistance of the Scarborough Public Schools and high school students, the Town of Scarborough Public Works Department, the Town of Scarborough Community Services Department, the Library staff, members of the Friends, and, most importantly, YOU, the people of Scarborough who support the sale.

In spite of our disappointment, we will plan a book sale next year. In the meantime, please take advantage of the Scarborough Library. The staff continue to work hard to bring as many services as possible to all of us. The Library web page (www.scarboroughlibrary.org) is a gold mine of information.

One last request, please do not bring donations to the Library until further notice. We will let everyone know when the library can receive them. If necessary, we ask you to donate them to other area charities.

Thank you all for your continued support of the Friends of the Scarborough Library.

Kathy Markan, president
Scarborough Public Library

Support Brenner for State Senate

To the editor,

As a resident of this community for 27 years who cares deeply about its future, I am writing to encourage you to join me in supporting, and more importantly, voting for, Stacy Brenner for State Senate.

I have been struck by Stacy’s warmth, thoughtfulness and commitment to our community. As both a small business person (Stacy and her husband operate Broadturn Farm) and health care professional (Stacy also is a nurse/midwife), she is particularly well suited to deal with the challenges ahead as we move forward from this crisis and use the opportunity to build a brighter, more-inclusive future. I believe she will initiate and support measures to promote the environment, education and health and wellness while balancing the needs of our business community and economic development.

For these reasons, please join me in supporting Stacy Brenner as our next Senator for District 30.

Melissa Murphy

Scarborough

To the editor,

l would like everyone to consider voting for Stacy Brenner for the state Senate District 30 in the November election. Stacy has unequaled integrity as well as great compassion for all around her. An example of this was displayed when the corona virus hit this area. Stacy went back to work at Mercy hospital to help support the community. In these difficult times we need someone with Stacy’s vision in Augusta. As said please vote for Stacy in November.

Tom DiPasqua
Scarborough

Vote for Anne Carney

To the editor,

I am writing in support of Anne Carney’s candidacy for State Senate District 29 which encompasses part of Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

I have known Anne for nearly 30 years. Anne is a hardworking, bright and compassionate individual who knows how to get the job done. She has demonstrated these skills while representing the citizens of Maine House District 30 for the past two years. During her tenure in the Maine House, Anne has protected our Environment; promoted and supported legislation to make Affordable Healthcare a reality for Maine citizens and supported legislation that would promote Economic Opportunity for all Maine citizens. Anne is the right choice to represent the citizens of Maine Senate District 29, particularly during these difficult times. Anne has a keen ability to build consensus with everyone she encounters. She is exactly the person we need in Augusta to confront and solve the many challenges that we face. Please join me in voting for Anne Carney for State Senate District 29 on July 14th.

Neil D. Jamieson Jr.
Scarborough

Elect Sophie Warren

To the editor,

I was fortunate enough to spend summers growing up on the beaches of Scarborough and then return here to raise my family. The natural resources of our town mean so much to us.

Sophie Warren has my vote for State Representative in Scarborough District 29. Sophie, who is running as an independent, comes from a family that has made contributions to the Scarborough environmental movement. Sophie’s Aunt Becky (Rebecca Warren Steel) was one of the founders of the Scarborough Land Trust. Her grandparents deeded 160 acres to the Land Trust—now known as the Elaine Stimson Warren Woods, after her late grandmother.

We must protect our natural resources in Scarborough. I believe that Sophie will do that. She is an outgoing, personable, energetic person who would listen to people’s ideas and foster an atmosphere of collaboration and workable solutions.

On Nov. 3, 2020 I will be voting for Sophia B. Warren for Maine House of Representatives, Scarborough Coastal District 29. I urge all who love our town’s beaches, clean water, and air to join me.

Susan Hamill
Scarborough

What’s in teacher’s contract?

To the editor,

As you are well aware, the Scarborough Board of Education continues to obstruct the public’s right to know the details of the recently ratified teacher’s contract. I believe that this same information has been withheld from the Town Council, the body elected to represent the interests of ALL Scarborough residents, not just the narrow interests of the schools at the expense of anything and everything else.

Although there may be room for interpretation as to when the contract document becomes public information, at its ratification or signing, there can be no mistake that the Board of Education is intentionally delaying the signing of the contract (their interpretation of when it becomes a public document) in order to reduce the window of time in which the public (the people paying the bills) can digest its contents, understand its implications for the school and total municipal budgets, and make an informed decision as to how to vote. How else can you explain a contract that was ratified two weeks ago but apparently no one has been able to take five minutes out of their busy schedule to sign? Are they waiting for the perfect photo op?

In light of the Board of Education’s intentional efforts to thwart public access to and understanding of the impact of the teacher’s contract on the 20/21 budget, I am asking the Town Council, on behalf of all Scarborough residents who see unimpeded access to public information as a democratic right, to table the 20/21 School Budget at its June 24th meeting, and NOT schedule a voting date until three (3) weeks after the School Board releases the contract and provides the public with a straightforward analysis of both the retroactive and prospective pay and benefit increases, along with their impact on the town’s mil rate.

There may be some reluctance to defer the date of the voting, but given the intentional actions of the School Board to limit public discussion around this contract, rushing the budget to vote only makes the Town Council complicit in the obstruction and does nothing to instill confidence in transparent town government.

I have generally been a supporter of both the schools and town government. But this process has certainly soured me with respect to the school budgeting process. The inability of the schools to deliver a lean budget, FOR EVEN ONE YEAR, in the midst of the town/state/country economic hardships we face, distresses me. I am sure that I am not alone.

Neal Gregoire

Very Limited Time for School Budget voting

To the editor,

By the time you read this letter, the Scarborough Town Council will have approved the School Budget and residents will be able to vote on that budget. What you may NOT be aware of is that Town Hall will only be open three days a week during the school budget referendum voting period.

Assuming early in-person voting will occur at Town Hall as it has in the past, there will only be six days when a voter can come to Town Hall and vote absentee on the spot in the school budget referendum. This is a record low number of days for allowing residents to vote in this critical election. This is shameful.

For those of you who believe that Scarborough residents should see a ZERO% tax increase, please be sure that you vote soon on the days that Town Hall will be open for absentee voting – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, except Friday July 3. Or, to request an absentee ballot, you may call the Town Clerk’s office at 730-4020. Please leave adequate time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return it either by mail or in person.

Please be sure to VOTE and return your ballot by July 14th!

Brian Kanode
Scarborough

To the editor,

There continue to be calls for Scarborough’s teachers to re-open their contract and take a pay cut. The teachers union has been referenced over and over by Town Councilors and their family members as a group who should be making concessions. What is critical to know, is that Scarborough teachers already started making concessions months ago! Contract negotiations between the BOE and the Scarborough Education Association started in January 2018 and lasted 18 months! The negotiations failed in mediation and went to fact finding. The minority fact finding report recommended a 19% pay increase over a 3 year period just to get Scarborough’s teachers to the middle of the salary range compared to similar districts! The majority report from the fact finding panel recommended a 11.99% pay increase over 3 years for Scarborough’s teachers. While Scarborough’s teachers would love a 19% raise over 3 years, or even a 11.9% raise during that same time, they recognized, given the times, that would not be rational. So they accepted the BOE’s “best offer” contract. The majority of Scarborough SEA faculty members — 97.5% — approved that contract. As part of the contract, the teachers received a pay increase over 3 years that falls below both the minority and majority fact finding report recommendations. It will also continue to leave our teachers at the bottom of the salary range compared to comparable districts.

During this tumultuous budget season, there continues to be a narrow-minded focus by the Town Council for “teachers to do the right thing” and take a pay cut, when in reality they should be spending their time presenting a fair and responsible budget that will increase the mil rate 1-2%. A quote from a recent public comment says “We can pass the budget the hard way or the easy way” with the implication that the easy way is a 0% mil rate increase. As a taxpayer and member of the SEA faculty contract, I emphatically disagree! And I believe the 3,021 students in Scarborough Public Schools would also disagree! A 1-2% mil rate increase will still result in a tax decrease for some and a slight tax increase for the rest (approximately $9 for the entire year if you own a property valued at $400,000 and receive the Homestead Exemption!). It is well-known that a thriving school system is critical to higher property values. Scarborough is currently a top-notch institution as evidenced by its top-5 Niche ranking among public high schools in Maine. So please stop placing the blame solely on Scarborough teachers, and start focusing on a fair budget. Is it really reasonable to ask a Scarborough teacher who just worked an entire year without a contract and will have to purchase their own supplies this year because that budget line was cut, to give back their raise they just earned when the average property owner could pay $9 more a year? Our town needs a 1-2% mil rate increase in order to avoid the devastating impact potential cuts to our schools would have, both on our children’s education and on taxpayers property values.

Stephanie Leonhartt

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