Today is Tuesday, March 10, 2015. It's Election Day in the Oyster River Cooperative School District.
I'm a busy voter; tell me who you're voting for. I'm voting today at my regular polling place for Dan Klein (website), Maria Barth and Al Howland for school board. The warrant articles are slightly complicated this year. The big question is Article 3, the $2M artificial turf field, which needs a 60% YES vote to pass. I'm voting YES. I'm voting YES on both the bus driver and paraprofessional/support staff contracts, Articles 4 and 5. I'm voting NO on Article 6, the benefits reserve fund. I'm voting YES on the $40.8 M budget. Lee voters, I'm writing in Alice MacKinnon for Selectman and voting YES on the library.
Well, I have a little time to read. You can familiarize yourself with the ballot by reading ORCSDcleanslate's Voting Guide for the 2015 Oyster River Cooperative School District Election. It has explanations and links about the candidates and ballot questions.
Why should I believe you when you tell me who or what to vote for? I'm just telling you how I'm voting and why. There are three school board candidates for three seats this year, so I'm pretty confident in recommending you vote for all three.
What about the YES/NO Warrant Articles? Like I said above, I'm voting YES on all of them except Article 6, the benefits stabilization fund. The fact that the board is trying to add money to this fund in a year when they would normally spend from the fund shows they don't really understand the fund's purpose and that it doesn't do much anyway. I'm voting YES on Article 3, the field, even though I am concerned about the tire crumb fill that's likely to end up on the field. Articles 4 and 5 give the bus drivers and the paraprofessionals nice raises this year, to make up for the zero or very small raises the last three years. It's not so much the district is being generous as the current low pay led to management difficulties where bus drivers couldn't be hired and new paras made more than our experienced ones. I'm voting YES on both. Article 7 is the big $40.8M appropriation to pay for schools. I'm voting YES even though the district didn't quite keep as tight a lid on spending as it has been recently.
What's next? The results of the election should be announced around 9pm tonight. I'll post them here as soon as I can.
Are there any other websites for information? There's not all that much out there this year in general. I didn't see the usual guild questionnaire. Oyster River Community and FORE have been silent since May. The district's site orcsd.org has a link to the ballot but not much else about the election. There are a few official and unofficial sites about the field that you can find via the voting guide. The last couple weeks of Foster's opinion has a few Oyster River letters mostly supporting the field.
Anything else? Yes, just for Lee voters. The field is the only exciting thing on the school district ballot, but there's a pretty big fight brewing in Lee about the potential 10% town tax hike if all the warrant articles pass (including the new $2.5M library) (ballot). Like I said above, I'm writing in Alice MacKinnon for Selectman and voting YES on the library. Some links: Letter from outgoing Selectman Dave Cedarholm bemoaning potential higher taxes. Letters from Ann Wright and Alice MacKinnon in support of spending. leewatchdog.wordpress.com , an apparently anonymous blog against higher taxes. Paul Gasowski's pro-library letter in Foster's. www.leelibraryfoundation.org, the fundraising organization for the new library. Summary of Lee's Library work to date.
Happy Election Day. Go vote. Bring some friends.
Dean Rubine, Lee