Three out of four newcomers will be elected to Scarborough’s Board of Education Nov. 2, with three seats up for grabs and no incumbents in the race.

All four candidates – John J.P. Kelleher III, Jenna Leong, Joshua Pobrislo and Jillian Trapini-Huff –  are eager for the opportunity to shape the future of the school system.

“I would welcome any ideas that people have that could point us in the right direction,” Kelleher said. “I want funds to be where they need to be for students, staff and faculty.”

Pobrislo believes that teachers “are due more.”

“I am very empathetic to the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement. I strongly believe we don’t pay teachers appropriately for as hard as they work,” he said.

He also believes it’s important to keep Scarborough’s pay scale competitive to maintain a high quality of teachers and staff.

Trapini-Huff said she was inspired by the nearby town of Westbrook.

“Westbrook schools got a really great grant to work on their cultural diversity and food systems,” Trapini-Huff said, adding she’d like to see Scarborough schools employ something similar. “Yes, they’re going to spend some more money on that, but they got a grant to offset a lot of the cost.”

Leong is new to the Scarborough area, which she believes could make her an asset on the board.

“I can see where everything stands and what needs to happen with a fresh pair of eyes,” she said. “Having an education background and really having a focus on child development, I really can kind of see where things need to be tweaked.”

The candidates all agree on the plans to consolidate three of Scarborough’s elementary schools in an effort to address overcrowding.

Kelleher said “it’s way more cost effective” to consolidate the schools as opposed to “rehabbing” all three.

“You now have the one school and have everything on a centralized campus,” he said. “I think it’s a win for everyone.”

Pobrislo emphasized safety as a key reason he supports the project.

“All three buildings have not only exceeded capacity, but exceeded lifespan at this point,” he said, adding, “health and safety and emergency planning” is of extreme importance to him as a firefighter.

Trapini-Huff was “wary of consolidation” at first, but has since been convinced it’s the best way forward.

In addition to addressing overcrowding at the schools, having one larger school will also allow the school system to consolidate its resources.

“As it stands right now, we have staff that needs to travel between the buildings,” she said. “Those services can be consolidated within one space.”

In addition, Trapini-Huff said there are “opportunities for safer drop-off situations” when the schools are consolidated.

Leong is also in agreement, stating that the current measures the school board has taken should not be permanent.

“You see a lot of trailers as classrooms,” she said. “Those outside classrooms are just kind of Band-Aids to our current situation.”

Voters will cast their ballots at Scarborough High School in the Alumni Gym Nov. 2. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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