News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 11, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, January 4, 2018
Union 93 board unable to elect chairman, again

by Monique Labbe

Two meetings into the 2017-18 school year, the Union 93 board is still without an official chairman after its meeting on December 12 at Penobscot Community School.

After being unable to reach the 3,644 votes necessary to gain the majority vote to elect a chairman at the November meeting, the board members again tried to reach a decision. Penobscot School Board member Jerry Markley and Blue Hill School Board member Ben Wootten were the candidates up for election.

Markley received the overall majority vote with 2,921, while Wootten received 1,587. The three representatives from Blue Hill voted for Wooten, while the rest of the board members in attendance voted in favor of electing Markley. Wootten abstained from the vote.

In total, there were three representatives from the Castine School Board, two from Brooksville, five from Penobscot and one from Surry, in addition to the four members from Blue Hill.

Each board member from Blue Hill represents 529 votes toward an article, while Castine board members hold 337 votes per member. Surry board members hold 292 votes per member, and Penobscot representatives have 292 votes. Brooksville board members contribute 184 votes per member.

There were three Brooksville, four Surry and one Blue Hill representatives missing from the meeting.

Following the vote, Union 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt suggested the board could either vote via written ballot, or decide to vote based on the majority decision, which favored Markley. The legality of electing a board chairman without the required 3,644 votes was called into question; however, Hurvitt called a “measure of good faith” to lead the process along so that the board could have a chairman heading into 2018.

Penobscot board member Fred Breihl made a motion to elect the chairman by majority, but it was not seconded. The board instead decided that Markley would serve as the chairman for the evening’s meeting and as a temporary chairman until the April meeting, based on the majority vote.

Kathy MacArthur was elected secretary of the board by a unanimous vote.

In other board news, members approved the 2018-19 budget for the office of the superintendent, which totaled $267,784. Contracts, salaries and hourly wages were approved for Hurvitt, Curriculum Coordinator Dawn McLaughlin, Business Manager Heather Lanpher, Administrative Secretary Susan Duddy, Executive Secretary Vernette Bannister, Payroll/Human Resources Officer Diana Sterns and Technology Coordinator Richard Avery.