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Three Win School Board Seats; RSC approved

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Three Win School Board Seats; RSC approved
Posted on 11/07/2018
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Portland voters on Nov. 6 elected two newcomers, Emily Figdor and Abusana “Micky” Bondo, to the Portland Board of Public Education and returned incumbent Sarah Thompson to her seat. Voters also approved the Portland Public Schools joining a Regional Service Center, or RSC.

Figdor won the District 2 seat, besting Jeanne Swanton. That seat is being vacated by Holly Seeliger, who did not run for re-election. According to official results from the City Clerk’s office, Figdor won 3,763 votes or 63.87 percent and Swanton garnered 2,129 votes or 36.13 percent.

Both Figdor and Swanton were co-founders of Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, a grassroots organization that led a successful campaign to get Portland voters to approve a $64 million bond in November 2017 to renovate four of the city’s aging elementary schools. Both have been involved with the Portland Public Schools as parents and volunteers. Figdor, a campaign director at MoveOn, has 20 years of experience in public policy and organizing.

Bondo was unopposed for the District 1 seat currently held by Jenna Vendil, who didn’t seek re-election. Bondo, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, came to this country in 1996 and is a community leader and volunteer. She is co-founder of In Her Presence, a new nonprofit organization focused on empowering immigrant women.

Veteran school board member Sarah Thompson also was unopposed in her bid for her at-large seat for a fifth term on the board. First elected in 2006, Thompson is a nursing student placement systems administrator at Maine Medical Center.

On Nov. 6, Portland voters approved Question 1 on the municipal ballot, supporting the establishment of the Greater Sebago Education Alliance (GSEA) by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. The vote was 17,567 or 64.92 percent in favor and 9,492 or 35.08 percent against, according to the official results. The vote to join that Regional Service Center (RSC) means the district will retain almost $100,000 in system administration funding from the state that it would have lost if Portlanders voted against joining the RSC. The district also may see cost savings from being part of the RSC. The Portland Public Schools will be participating in a food service purchasing co-op and in regional professional development as part of GSEA membership.