Franklin Countys First News

Phillips chooses new school board directors, sets budget

Town Clerk Evelyn Wilbur greets residents as they come up to vote Thursday evening.

Town Clerk Evelyn Wilbur greets residents as they come up to vote Thursday evening.

PHILLIPS - There will be some new faces on the MSAD 58 school board next month, after voters elected two new directors at Thursday's annual town meeting.

The vote drew a large crowd to the annual town meeting, with a number of residents leaving after the school director vote. Director John Foss was reelected on the first of three school board ballots, beating out challenger Karen Campbell by one vote. Foss received 28 votes to Campbell's 27, with a second challenger, Amy Alexkovich, receiving 12 votes.

Director and current Board Chair Dan Worcester was nominated for Phillips' second, 3-year seat on the board, along with Campbell and Lynette Abbott. Elected was the newcomer Abbott, with 29 votes to Worcester's 21 and Campbell's 13.

Worcester was then nominated for the remaining seat, a 1-year term for which current Director Carrie Bradeau opted not to run this year. Alexkovich and Campbell were also nominated.

At the request of an audience member, moderator Mike Ellis allowed all three candidates to make a brief statement prior to the third round of voting. Both Alexkovich and Campbell said they had children in local school and were interested in helping the district. Worcester said that MSAD 58 was going through some "tough times" and warned that Kingfield was considering withdrawing from the district. He said that some things posted on Facebook and other forms of social media about the turmoil in the district were not true and urged residents to come to him or other directors for information.

Seventy-seven, the highest count of votes that evening, saw Alexkovich elected with 33 votes to Worcester's 26. Campbell took 18 votes.

Also elected was Selectman Lincoln Haines, running unopposed, and Evelyn Wilbur as town clerk. Applause greeted each vote.

After voting, residents moved swiftly through a budget proposed jointly by the selectmen and budget committee. The municipal operating budget is $1,226,019.40, marking a 4.5 percent increase over the current fiscal year. While residents asked some questions about increases, there were no attempts to amend the municipal budget.

The budget included $10,000 for a new utility fire truck body, replacing an existing piece of equipment that is rusting badly, having been moved to new trucks twice. The budget also included additional funds to rebuild the Equipment Reserve account, although those increases were offset by decreases in vehicle repair lines due to the new trucks in the fleet.

The town's reserve accounts had been significantly depleted following the March 2014 plow truck fire, which consumed a 2010 International on the East Madrid Road. While the truck was insured, additional funds had to go toward the purchase of a replacement.

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23 Responses »

  1. Congrats to the town of Phillips and all elected. Spend it if you've got it - we all know you cant take it with you!

  2. Thanks, I will have to move out of this town, the only ones that will be able to afford to live here will be the teachers and school staff.

  3. It was terrific turn out! Every vote counts.

  4. Congratulations to all elected. You've got a tough job ahead of you but I think that the new Superintendent will be a great asset!!! Let's move on and hope that we all can find the correct balance between great schools and people being able to keep their homes.

  5. I noticed the voting box. Wonder how long that's been around. Plastic tables, but the old wooden box endures!!! And served its purpose.

  6. Bad for those on fixed incomes...Looks like we're in for tough(er) times...(sigh)...can't squeeze more money out of an already dry well.....When will this stop?????????? When will the school have enough to educate the few families remaining???? Enrollment continues to drop and the costs continue to sit in front of computers and can't spell...can't write so you can read it...can't do math without a calculator and probably struggle with reading...can't see that the results warrant the cost....just saying...

  7. Phillips Taxpayer-
    Perhaps you should step into a classroom and see just what these kids are doing.

  8. I understand they are "learning" in the classroom...Please explain why the basic necessary skills taught in the classroom are not readily seen outside of the classroom...shouldn't the basic skills (reading,writing, grammar, math, etc.) show in their everyday living outside the classroom? I have spoken with and seen some checks written by SAD 58 H.S. graduates that make me shake my head.... Apparently penmanship, grammar and math are no longer considered important.

  9. Phillips Taxpayer, I think that is a very misguided summing up of school children. Maybe some fit your description but many of the kids I know are dealing with studies and concepts at a far earlier age than I did. And lets not pretend that every student from whatever golden age you came from could put a rocket on the moon by 8th grade. We pay dearly for it, but I feel like overall SAD 58 students get a decent education and opportunity to succeed. Good luck to the new Phillips school board members.

  10. Phillips Taxpayer,
    We need to sit down and work together. We need working families and businessess to move here so we can prosper. The minute we start bad mouthing our schools, people and businessess who are looking here wont. Taxes are higher elsewhere, yes they are. Instead of arguing every single year why don't all the towns get together and work together to attract families and businesses? Why is it always "Kingfield has this, Strong has this, Avon has nothing, Phillips taxes are too high" We are all one. Our most valued asset are our kids. The schools are one of the few things that hold North Franklin together. We need to stop complaining and come together and work things out. The State of Maine madates most educational procedures and then doesnt fund them. Revenue Sharing has been cut by the State, which further intensifies the local tax share on our rural district. We have things here in which we can attract families and businesses. Natural beauty, cheap taxes (yes I did say that. Compared to where I use to live in Gray Maine, it is extremely cheap here) but if we do not have a positive atmosphere here in North Franklin, treating people with respect, supporting our schools, kids and sports programs. Saying please and thank you when people step up in the community and do positive things for kids, then peoe and businessess will not come here. So I propose we ALL work together to see what positive change we can bring to North Franklin County and Mt Abram HS. How can we help Phillips? How can we bring businesses to the area? Complaining does very little except pulsate negative energy. We want positive energy and we want people to prosper. None of this can happen unless we have a school district because a life without

  11. A life without kids and a school is not much of a life.

  12. *state of Maine mandates

  13. Wow "Phillips Taxpayer", I'm sure I speak for all past alumni (as well as a parent of a honor roll student), when I say thank you. Thank you for giving me something to point out to my children and warn them to never become a person like you (of course it would be easier if you had used your real name, but I understand, that takes courage. .
    The doctors, lawyers, business owners, business managers in the community,and even stay at home mothers like myself, feel that even "the few families remaining" deserve to have educated children. My kids know how to write out long division, they know how to use a dictionary and *gasp* have even attempted to read "Shakespeare" and John Steinbeck!
    I look forward to seeing the change in the school board. I really believe we will see a huge moral change, and with that everything comes full circle.

  14. Your school budget is NOT the ONLY reason your taxes are going up, but I sure am glad someone paid for you to get an education so you can attack those who deserve one now. Seriously how many times have you been to the school, an athletic event, or any other school event for that matter. Put your money where mouth is taxpayer, my taxes are high too, but I never once thought those damn kids why do they need an education! I'm going with what a wise man once told me, you're bitching because you don't know what to hell is going on.. Maybe it's time for you to get educated about where exactly your tax $$ are going. Better yet since you know so much maybe you should volunteer at our schools and help us instead of complain.

  15. You all make me laugh....geez come on...leave the poor taxpayer alone. That person was stating an opinion. Your group sure whined a lot when it came to the school board. I got an education in the phillips schools s as did my children. But taxpayer has some truths to their OPINION! Some kids go thru school not getting the education they should have gotten. There are a few out there that can't read...I'm sick and tired of everyone's opinions are wrong but your whining group!
    I hope the new school board works great together, but somewhere down the line there is going to be some things that some aren't going to like and it begins again.
    Phillips wanted new businesses to come into phillips. Then when someone comes in, the town drives them out with ordinances that haven't been enforced in parking for customers. My taxes have tripled on my small piece of property. I don't know how many more years I can pay and keep paying....

  16. You know Sue, I've been called pretty much everything, but never a whiner. And since you've known me a good portion of my life you know I'm not a whiner. "Taxpayer" asked 3 questions, which I simply answered. And as "Another Taxpayer" stated, the school isn't the only reason taxes are going up everywhere, not just Phillips, I assure you.
    Opinions are fine, but let's deal with truths. The truth is MY kids have as much right to an education as your kids when they were here. I have one going into high school and she actually asked me what would happen if there was no high school. Kids shouldn't have to worry about that. I will stand for my kids, just like I know you would have. And that's not an opinion, it's a fact!

  17. <>
    I am a sophomore at Mt. Abram High School and I can guarantee you that you are underestimating our education.
    Just to educate yourself, I would like you to know that the Maine DOE 2014 report card showed that Mt. Abram High School was graded with a "B" out of a "A-F" grade scale. Very few schools in the state of Maine had an "A" or "B", they were all graded lower. The 2013 math and reading SAT scores were also a success. 60% of the students met the standards while a lot of other schools where only around 30-40% with a few even going below that.
    I believe our teachers do a fantastic job with teaching concepts to students. They are always trying new ways to teach us different things. On top of that they know who their students are, their dreams and goals and are always trying to help them achieve them. Where in other schools you don't get that same experience.
    I'm not sure where you have seen Mt. Abram HS graduate checks written out, but I work at a local grocery store and they are at least readable compared to adults 25+ years old who writes out checks!
    YOUR future will soon be in our hands and in order to make that future bright we need a good education. So I suggest that you stop worrying about yourself and think about EVERYONE'S future here.

  18. Above is in response to Phillips Taxpayer.

  19. I have never seen the likes of this parent group.
    There will be other school board members they
    will not agree with- look out and march in line or
    you may be the next prey. No wonder community
    service is dying. Do what they say or your name will
    be plasted on the bulldog.

  20. The angels will do anything in our power to help

  21. Phillips Taxpayer - The fact that your basing your opinion on a few CHECKS that you've seen written is reason enough to laugh you off this thread. Opinions are great, but opinions based on half truths and misconceptions are nothing more than ramblings of a crazy person.

  22. Local control is about community involvement. I think part of the root of some of the recent issues is that people *feel* they are not getting a good value, in some cases, for the money spent.

    I think we have an excellent chance to rebuild things now. New board members, new teachers, new superintendent; it's time for the pendulum to start swinging the other way.

    To that end, why don't we agree to make strong connections with our schools? If the kids can't read (I know that's not true) why don't we all agree, the admin team, the school board, and the community, all of us agree to voice these concerns and address them without going into combat mode.

    Teachers, you have some among you that need to retire or move on or improve. That's not inflammatory rhetoric, it's simply the truth. Deal with it openly or continue to face hostility from the community. Don't wrap these low hanging fruit up in the protection of union solidarity, listen to the community you purport to serve and support.

    Community members, you need to curb some of the vitriol and venom and substitute behind the scenes hostility and sniper fire for direct involvement in our schools; attend school board meetings, voice your opinion respectfully, contact your representatives, volunteer in the schools, donate your time and wisdom.

    It's time for healing and rebuilding this district into the amazing organization we all want it to be.

  23. i'm sure that in phillips taxpayer's day, the core curriculum was logic, rhetoric, and punctuation.