CAPE ELIZABETH — A local photographer, a school psychologist and a risk manager are all running for one of two school board seats in Cape Elizabeth this fall.

All three candidates are seeking seats vacated by board members Hope Straw and Nasir Shir, who have both declined to seek reelection. Shir said “it was challenging to balance the time required with work and family” and that he will be serving on the University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors. Straw did not respond to requests for comment before The Forecaster’s deadline.

The candidates — Audra Gore, a freelance photographer; Jennifer McVeigh, a school psychologist; and Cynthia “Cindy” Voltz, a technology risk management specialist – have all submitted nomination papers. All three said they were committed to helping the district continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Gore stressed the need for accountability and keeping the community both informed and involved. She said she plans to review how the district has handled the pandemic so far, but she also said she supported remote learning.

“I believe that 100% remote instruction of students should continue to be offered to families during the coronavirus pandemic regardless of medical needs,” she said.

McVeigh said she was concerned with the impact of the pandemic on the long-term academic and mental health of the students and noted the potential for “persons of color and ethnic minorities” to be disproportionately impacted by the virus.

“School focus should continue to lie with creating a safe and supportive environment, home-school communication supporting parents with remote learning, staff professional development and implementing systems that will support long-term academic and mental health growth for students,” she said.

Voltz said she hopes “we will be in a more stable place” by January 2021 and wants to help the district recover from the pandemic.

“Once we return to full-time in-person instruction, I would like to make sure all students and staff have the resources necessary to address any academic and social-emotional issues that may have resulted from this unsettled time,” she said.

Gore added that she would like to see the school department consider adding a volunteer coordinator position and work to keep the district’s achievement center open to all students.

“If elected, as a member on our school board, I will honor our commitment to education, ensure all students have access to academic achievement, continue our much needed conversations about race and diversity and expand our community involvement with clear, open communication,” she said.

Voltz said she wants to address the need for facilities updates in the district.

“My husband was on the school board when the initial facilities study was conducted in 2018 and I followed the work closely,” she said. “Unfortunately, full funding for the work was not approved at the time. If elected, I hope to work with the school board, Town Council and the community to budget and prioritize the necessary upgrades.”

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