ELLSWORTH, Maine — The newly reconstituted municipal school board got its first five new members in a special election held Tuesday in Ellsworth.
Elected to the school board were Brenda Thomas, Dawn Ihle Hudson, Paul Markosian, Marcia Boles Jude and Andrea Perry. The three other candidates whose names were on the ballot but did not receive enough votes to be elected were Heather Bird, Darren Richardson and Russell White.
Ellsworth’s new municipal school district was created after a year-and-a-half-long process that culminated in an election last November, in which residents opted to withdraw from Regional School Unit 24. RSU 24 currently serves Ellsworth and 11 other nearby communities.
The length of each new member’s term on the board has been determined by the number of votes they received compared to other candidates. Hudson and Thomas were elected to three-year terms, Jude and Markosian to two-year terms and Perry to a one-year term.
The first order of business for the board is to hire a new superintendent. The search for one already has been set in motion by Jack Turcotte, a former Ellsworth schools superintendent who recently was hired by the city to assist with the transition to a new school board.
Turcotte has begun soliciting applications for the position in order to present a search committee with options. The search committee will consist of members of the school board, the public, the school system and city government.
Turcotte said he has been in conversations with administrators from RSU 24, as well as officials in Hancock and Lamoine, to discuss the possibility of sharing services and costs, including special education, school lunch and technology. In separate votes, residents of Hancock and Lamoine decided last month to withdraw from RSU 24, but Turcotte has said Ellsworth will not be sharing a superintendent with either of those towns.
The Ellsworth school board has until July 1, when local schools revert back to the city’s control, to set a budget, obtain proper insurance and hire staff for a new administrative office, among other tasks.