When Rockland voters head to the polls in November, they will have two candidates to choose from for one city council seat. But the local school board has three open seats and only two candidates, so no matter who gets voted in, there will be a vacancy after the election.
Only two Rockland residents submitted papers by the Sept. 20 deadline to run for the three open seats on the Regional School Unit 13 school board. Without a third candidate, the city council will have to appoint someone to fill the vacancy until next year’s election.
Incumbent RSU 13 School Board member David Martz is seeking a one-year term, after being appointed to the board in July by the Rockland City Council. Current RSU 13 board members Thomas Peaco and Doug Curtis Jr. are not seeking reelection.
Kelli McConnell, of Cedar Street, is the second candidate running to fill one of the three-year terms being vacated by Curtis and Peaco. Peaco said after five years on the school board, he feels it is time to give someone else a chance to serve.
Rockland is not the only community in Maine with a shortage of school board candidates, Old Town is one candidate short for the two vacancies on the Regional School Unit 34 board. In Brewer, only two candidates are vying for two open seats, meaning the race will not be competitive.
School and city officials say it’s not uncommon for there to be a shortage of candidates.
“We’ve had trouble in the past filling all the seats,” Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald said.
For city council, incumbent Rockland City Councilor Ben Dorr and political newcomer Nicole Lynn Kalloch are vying for the single open seat, which comes with a three-year term.
Dorr, a James Street resident, has served on council for the last three years, after being elected in 2018. Dorr co-owns Curator, a vintage store in downtown Rockland.
Kalloch, of Main Street, is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and serves as the manager at the Sierra Peaks manufacturing plant in Rockland, according to the company’s website.