AUGUSTA — Jennifer Dumond and Kevin Lamoreau are vying to fill out the remainder of an at-large Augusta Board of Education term.

The seat was left vacant when the previous holder of the spot, Edward Hastings, was elected as chairman of the school board.

Both are relative newcomers to city politics, neither having held office. Lamoreau ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate for a different spot on the school board last year.

Dumond, 47, co-owner of Kennebec Chocolates in Augusta, said issues she sees as important for the school system include getting and keeping good teachers, school safety and continuing to provide students with multiple options for potential careers or higher education after they graduate.

“Good teachers are the heartbeat of the school,” said Dumond, a graduate of Gordon College in Massachusetts. “And school safety is a huge issue being thrust upon us. Safety, a lot of it is early detection, so problems don’t snowball into bigger problems later.”

She said Augusta can get and retain good teachers by making sure they feel appreciated, paying them a livable wage and making sure students that need help, get it. She said Augusta does a good job, especially with Capital Area Technical Center, providing students options, in addition to going on to a four-year college, that can result in careers in the trades or furthering their educations at a community college.

Lamoreau said he sees paying teachers a competitive wage to ensure Augusta gets and keeps quality teachers, spending money wisely, and communicating to both the Augusta City Council and residents why local school costs are increasing as important issues for the school system.

“We need to communicate to the council, and to the people of Augusta, why costs are going up,” said 37-year-old Lamoreau. “In some ways, we need to be ambassadors, to address people’s concerns, and explain this is why we need what we’re asking for.”

He said a recent increase in teachers’ pay, following negotiations between the union representing them and school officials, is a good step to address concerns about teachers previously leaving Augusta for other area school districts for higher pay.

Lamoreau is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a major in math and minor in political science and who works in computer-aided design data input for Cives Steel in Augusta. Lamoreau said he’s running because he feels the current board and administration are doing a good job and he wants to be a part of it, and broaden and expand his knowledge and horizons.

Dumond, who has three children, one who graduated from Cony High School, one who attends a district elementary school, and one who attends a private Christian school, said she decided to run for Augusta school board because she also thinks the school system is currently doing a good job, and she wants to give back to the community and help keep the school district on a positive track.

Dumond said one way to help improve Augusta’s schools would be to encourage more parents to be involved in them, even if they don’t have a lot of time. She said parents need to know if they can do a little bit, here and there, at schools, such as sharing their skills and knowledge with students, it adds up significantly.

Lamoreau said a way to improve the city’s schools would be to identify programs and ideas that are working well in a particular school, such as a strong breakfast program at Farrington Elementary School, and do something similar in the other district schools.

He said he loves Augusta and would bring a well-reasoned, cooperative perspective to the school board.

“I’m somebody who is able to work well with others,” Lamoreau said. “I feel like I’m someone who is going to be a voice, when things get a little heavy, who can simmer things down and keep things focused on what they should be focused on.”

Dumond said she’s passionate about having a role on the school board and would do a good job.

“I’m a business owner, so I understand budgets, I’m a mom so I understand kids, I was an Air Force brat so I’ve seen different schools and how they run across the country,” Dumond said.

The victor in the Tuesday election would serve the remaining time of Hastings’ unexpired term, until Dec. 31, 2019, according to City Clerk Roberta Fogg.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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