McCallister, Whitehead

Stewart McCallister was re-elected to the Gorham School Committee on Tuesday and former committee member Jennifer Whitehead was invited back to the board, defeating political newcomer Andrew LaPlaca in the three-way race for the two seats.

McCallister and Whitehead teamed up in the race with campaign signs bearing both names.

With a voter turnout of more than 60%, McCallister had 4,671 backers in the election; Whitehead, 5,544; and LaPlaca, 2,885.

Whitehead swept all three voting wards and absentee balloting.

McCallister said Wednesday he’s humbled by the support he’s received during the campaign.

“I am honored to be able to serve our community for another three years on the School Committee and continue to advocate for our students,” he said. ” I look forward to continuing our conversations on diversity and inclusion, early childhood education, and sustainable plans for our facilities.”

Gorham is a growing town and educators and students are working in cramped spaces, especially at the high school that opened in 1959.

Whitehead favors a state-funded renovation of the high school. While waiting, she advocates for adding modular classrooms and making use of other public spaces as well as private facilities.

She said Wednesday she is happy to continue her support of students and staff as the schools continue to strive for excellence and to be welcoming to everyone.

“I really appreciate all the support,” Whitehead said.

Also on Tuesday, voters gave the OK to a school referendum, 4,952 to 3,830, to allow borrowing up to $10.5 million for projects at the high school and Narragansett Elementary. With interest over 10 years, the total cost would add up to $12.3 million.

Town Clerk Laurie Nordfors reported 9,350 ballots were cast representing a 60.3% turnout of registered voters.

Voting appeared heavy throughout the day at the Ward 2 polls at Shaw Gym with long lines waiting to cast ballots.

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