The chairwoman of the RSU 23 School Board in Old Orchard Beach is facing a challenge from a candidate looking to become more involved in his hometown.

The one open seat on the school board comes with a three-year term.

Carolyn “Carol” Marcotte, 65, is finishing a two-year term on the board and wants to continue her work supporting education. Her opponent, Irving “Randy” Hirst Jr., says he is eager to continue his support for the town’s school system by serving on the board.

Marcotte, an educator who lectures at the University of New England, previously was the curriculum director for RSU 23. She ran for her first term after semiretiring, which gave her the time needed to serve on the board.

“To me, it’s all about a strong educational system and making sure students are getting the best education they can,” Marcotte said. “That’s right in front of me all the time.”

Marcotte said her experience on the board – especially when it comes to budgets – makes her a strong candidate. As chairwoman, she ran budget meetings and supported efforts to downsize administration to control spending. She said she wants to continue to balance a sound education for students with keeping taxes in a place everybody can afford.

“We’re always looking at the budget and trying to be fiscally responsible. I happen to be a single home owner, so I can understand folks who are retired and low-income,” she said.

If re-elected, Marcotte said she will be ready to address the district’s infrastructure needs, including school buildings that need be brought up to code.

“It’s paramount the town and school board work together on this,” she said. “We need to be collaborative at addressing this. I’m a very collaborative person. I always want to hear the other side so I can understand and make decisions.”

Hirst, 60, is an Old Orchard Beach native and self-employed businessman making his first run for elected office. He said 14 members of his family have been educated in Old Orchard Beach schools. That exposure has given him a solid understanding of how the schools work and a strong appreciation for the school system, he said.

“We have a great school system with fantastic educators,” he said. “I really want to see that continue. I feel I can dedicate tremendous time and energy to making sure the school system gets to the next level.”

As a school board member, Hirst said he would help the board look at the infrastructure needs of the school and make sure any school replacement or renovation projects are affordable for taxpayers.

“We need to keep the budget in line, but we want to make sure the kids are getting the quality education they need going forward so when they get out into the real world they have a good foundation,” he said.

Hirst said his financial business background lends itself to contributing to the school budget process.

“I’m a number cruncher,” he said. “I think with my financial background that I could help give some guidance and ask some questions that haven’t been asked before.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.