Two candidates are hoping to land a three-year term on the School Committee in Westbrook’s Ward 3 race in the city’s election next month.

Three-term incumbent Noreen Poitras is facing challenger Flynn Ross, a school and community volunteer.


Poitras, 55, is frustrated with the state’s formula for funding school districts, while Ross says Westbrook schools are due stepped-up recognition for the quality of education they provide.

Poitras said the state funds Westbrook schools at 47%, short of the mandated 55%.

“This number could change and that makes it challenging not knowing the true amount when schools start the budget process in late February,” she said. “Once the amount is released to the schools, adjustments have to be made and this usually results in cuts to the budget.”

Poitras, a Democrat with a business background and currently an inventory specialist for a supply firm, advocates for the state’s use of a “simple formula,” so school districts could more closely predict the amount of funding they will receive.


Ross, 53, a professor of teacher education at the University of Southern Maine and a Democrat, says Westbrook schools have an identity and communication issue.


“We are better than many know and can be better yet,” she said. “There are many excellent things going on that don’t receive enough coverage or recognition in the traditional and social media.”

She points to the quality of Westbrook programs, “from excellence in the music programs to academic success of alumni who go to top-caliber colleges, to the many graduates in the trades who quickly rise to supervisory positions.”

“With their rich cultural and linguistic diversity, our immigrant neighbors bring their global experience and perspectives to the classrooms and are quickly reaching strong academic performance, ” she said.

Westbrook schools also feed many children year round and welcome those experiencing housing insecurity.

Ross has volunteered at Westbrook schools in several capacities, including for field hockey and music boosters, and has been a coach for Odyssey of the Mind. She’s involved with the Westbrook Children’s Project and has been active in One Westbrook, a group that addresses social injustices.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Westbrook polls will be open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. All wards will vote at the Westbrook Community Center, 426 Bridge St.

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