A school board member from Kennebunk will remain in office after town voters on Tuesday soundly rejected an effort to have him recalled.

The effort to recall Tim Stentiford failed by a 1,716-516 vote, Kennebunk Town Clerk Merton Brown said late Tuesday. Gayle Amussen Spofford’s bid for his seat on the board failed because voters defeated the recall. Her name had appeared on Tuesday’s ballot.

Spofford has taken out nomination papers to run for Stentiford’s seat on the RSU 21 board of directors when his term expires on June 30, according to Brown. Kennebunk will hold a special election June 14.

Tuesday’s special town meeting follows months of tense debate about the reasons behind the effort to remove Stentiford and whether the town has the authority to hold the election. A court ruling earlier this month paved the way for the March 29 vote on whether Stentiford will serve out the remaining three months of his term.

The recall process began last fall when a group of residents sought to recall RSU 21 board Chair Art LeBlanc and Stentiford, blaming them for the losses of several teachers, increases in human resources spending and the absence of a school board curriculum committee. Proponents of the recall failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a vote on LeBlanc, but did collect enough to move forward against Stentiford.

In November, members of the school board wrote a letter defending both men and denying claims that the two had failed to support the district’s teachers. The board pointed out that a three-year teacher’s contract, which was signed June 2021, was supported by more than 90 percent of the district’s teachers.


RSU 21 serves students from Arundel, Kennebunkport and Kennebunk. RSU 21’s board of directors includes six representatives from Kennebunk, three from Kennebunkport and three from Arundel, as well as two student representatives.

Board members do not represent the individual towns they live in. School board members in RSU 21 are public officials whose job is to oversee the RSU’s public education programs and make decisions based on the needs of the district’s students, staff and residents.

Polls in Kennebunk closed at 8 p.m.

Note: This article was updated on Thursday, March 31, to remove a reference to Stentiford’s reelection plans.

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