By Diana Bowley of the BDN Staff: DEXTER - Four residents are vying for three three-year seats on the SAD 46 board in the Nov. 4 municipal elections.
Incumbent Steven Foster, a Maine Maritime Academy graduate who furthered his studies at Kennebec Valley Community College, has served on the SAD 46 board since 2001.
While Foster supports the basic concept of the consolidation effort to find ways to save money in education, he believes local people could have arrived at a better solution had the state presented a reasonable budget expectation and asked that it be met. He said he does not believe the state effort "meets the straight-face test of rule by democracy" rather, he believes the effort is the result of a flawed state educational funding formula.
Foster said one of the toughest challenges facing the district in the next few years is working to reduce the dropout rate.
"During the many hours spent over the last few years representing the voters and taxpayers of Dexter, I have put the importance of a good education for our students first," Foster said.
Joey Burton, who is in the construction business, served on the school board about 12 years ago.
Burton said he was very disappointed when the district eliminated its gifted and talented program because he felt many students could have benefited from it.
"It's my belief that everyone should serve their community in one way or another," Burton said. When his children were younger and in school, he spent a great deal of time coaching and supporting them in and out of the classroom, so he said he knows the concerns of parents. "It's not all about what it's going to cost or what someone may have to give up; it's about what's best for the children and their futures," he said.
Candidate Dale Thompson served in the military during the Vietnam War era and previously served on the school board. He is medically retired and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Thompson said there is always room for improvement in education.
"Residents should vote for me because I served on the board once before and I will do my best to support this community," he said.
Sherree Mitchell, who also is a candidate, did not return a request for comment.
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