2018-03-08 / Local

Write-in candidates vie for MSAD 75 seat

Times Record Staff


With no candidates on the ballot, write-in candidates will battle for a seat on the MSAD 75 school board at the annual town meeting in Harpswell Saturday.

While Harpswell doesn’t keep track of write-in candidates, there are at least two announced candidates for the three-year term: Incumbent Joanne Rogers and newcomer Peter Huntsman.


Rogers has served on the school board for more than 30 years over two different periods: 15 years starting in 1975 and then from 2000 to present. Rogers has also been the full-time librarian at Orr’s Island Library for approximately 30 years.

With her current term coming to an end, Rogers said she is seeking reelection to continue some of the major projects that are underway in the district.

“We’re in the middle of some really important things right now, and I’d like to stay involved with the new high school,” she said. “Proficiency based education is at the forefront right now. There seem to be a lot of federal and state mandates that we have to fulfill, and I’d simply like to stay involved for a little longer and be part of that.”

For Rogers, the biggest issue facing the district is the new high school.

“Having had five children graduate from the old high school, I can see what we should have done when we built it, and I can see what we’re doing now,” said Rogers.

“I love doing what I’m doing — what I’m involved in with contract negotiations, with the superintendent’s evaluation committee, I’m on the finance committee,” said Rogers. “I’d like to continue with my service to the community and the district.”


Huntsman is a retired former assistant attorney general in Connecticut. He has six children, three of whom are in the MSAD 75 school system.

For Huntsman the driving issue of his candidacy is concerns over proficiency based education.

“The first thing that concerned my wife and I was the district was interested in what is called proficiency based grading,” he said. “In our view, it’s a strange way of measuring achievement.”

Huntsman said he prefers the letter grading system that he had when he attended school, and if elected he would work to steer Mt. Ararat in that direction.

While proficiency-based diplomas are required by the state, the implementation of proficiency-based education has largely been left to the school district. With leeway on grading and education methods, Huntsman is in favor of steering away from proficiency based grading.

Huntsman says that the new grading system of 1-4 is far less motivating to his children who are in the school system.

“We need to have real grades,” said Huntsman. “My eighth grader doesn’t feel challenged. She doesn’t feel as if the system is working for her. She works very hard and she wants to be rewarded for that work.”

Huntsman also said that he wanted board members to make themselves more open to the community, perhaps holding open office hours for constituents to voice concerns and feel heard.

Voting for the MSAD 75 board position will take place Saturday at Harpswell Community School. Voting will commence shortly after 9 a.m., with polls open until 5 p.m.


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