MONMOUTH — The candidates vying to serve the next four years on the Regional School Unit 2 board both say they are motivated to help create the best education possible for students, but they disagree on whether that’s best achieved by remaining with the school district.

Annya Rice, who has served on the board the last three years, is challenged by Jonathan Hamann in Tuesday’s election. Voting is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the lower-level library at Cumston Hall.

Voters also will decide during Tuesday’s election whether to remain in Regional School Unit 2, which also includes Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell and Richmond; or to withdraw and form a local district consisting of only Monmouth schools.

Rice, 62, shares a blended family with her husband of 20 years that includes four grown sons. Rice first moved to Monmouth in 1966 but moved in and out a few times before settling down in town permanently in 1990.

Rice earned a General Educational Development certificate before taking business classes at Coastal Carolina Community College. She then took advantage of on-the-job training, taking business and accounting courses.

She retired from various accounting and consulting positions before opening her own florist shop, which she continued to run until a couple years ago.

In addition to her time on the school board, Rice has a history of mentoring schoolchildren and was a volunteer substitute teacher.

“I like being around young people,” she said.

Hamann, 37, grew up in Greene and moved to Monmouth 11 years ago. He and his wife, Danielle, have two children — a son who is in third grade and a daughter in first grade.

Hamann graduated from Leavitt Area High School in Turner in 1993 and earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Maine and an master’s degree in business administration from Thomas College. He has worked since 1997 as an engineer and project manager at Cives Steel Co. in Augusta.

Hamann has never held a public office, but he has been an active volunteer. In January, Hamann founded the Monmouth chapter of the Watch DOGS program at Henry L. Cottrell School. He has since recruited more than 40 fathers to commit to at least one full day at the school.

Hamann also has coached soccer and baseball.

“Danielle and I both feel it is important to be involved in our children’s school activities and recreational sports,” Hamann said.

Rice said Monmouth schools are on a good path, with quality educators and administrators, but not every child is being served. She cited a recent national study saying 52 percent of students who start college will drop out. She laments the trend of eliminating trade schools and apprenticeships.

The regional school unit eliminated Monmouth’s industrial arts program in 2011 as a cost-cutting measure.

“We need to help those children who don’t want to go on to college be successful,” Rice said. “I see a lot of people after they leave high school kind of wander.”

Hamann said he disagreed with the state effort to force communities to join regional school units, but he now sees the benefits of consolidation. He thinks the regional school unit has saved the town money, but that has not been the biggest benefit to the town.

“I think the professionals we have for superintendent, curriculum coordinator and technology coordinator bring a lot to the table,” Hamann said. “Having those people allows the school administrators to do their jobs. I think we’re in a good place and the RSU is very well respected in the state.”

Hamann said he is running for school board because it is important to have a parent of a student to represent other parents.

Rice said the board needs to be creative in finding outside revenue, such as grants, to fund education to help ease the tax burden on residents.

“Education is changing,” Rice said. “We need to change the way we fund our schools.”

Rice thinks her ideals can be accomplished best by withdrawing from the school district.

“As a stand-alone school (system), we would have the ability to modify the education system and look for revenue in other areas,” Rice said. “By involving the community more, we could provide an education for all our students, with everyone’s needs taken into consideration.”

Hamann said he would work closely with selectmen to keep them up to date on what is happening within the school district.

“I want to make sure everyone has access to their school board member,” Hamann said. “My focus as a school board member would be simple: to ensure our children receive the best education possible, while keeping our tax burden at a reasonable level.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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