4 newcomers vie for two School Committee seats

Valerie Gunn, Robert Hover, Julie Kelbert and Justin Thomas are vying for the two seats available on the School Committee.

YORK, Maine — Meredith Schmid and Brenda Alexander chose not to file for re-election to the School Committee this year. Now four candidates are vying to fill both three-year seats: Valerie Gunn, Robert Hover, Julie Kelbert and Justin Thomas.

Dr. Valerie Gunn

Age: Retired

Address: Cape Neddick, Maine

Occupation: Research and development medicinal scientist

Education: I am the beneficiary of a classical education including the sciences, advanced mathematics, Latin, German, history, civics, philosophy, and public health resulting ultimately in a Ph. D. in addition to several publications and patents. I have served as adjunct professor for several colleges and universities throughout my career as a corporate research and development scientist.

Public service: I have served on the boards of women’s healthcare organizations as well as on mission boards and library committees over the years.

Valerie Gunn

1. Why do you want to be a member of the School Committee?

I think the single most important question is “why have I decided to run for the York School Committee?” When I first moved up to York 25 years ago, the choice was predicated in large part upon the excellent quality of education afforded by the York School District. At that time York Schools were ranked No. 1 in the state – an indication that York could turn out “future innovators” for Maine who could go on to higher education, creating businesses and job opportunities for well-educated Maine students entering into the workforce with strong local family ties. Unfortunately, the York School District (YSD) is currently ranked No. 15 in the state even as York property owners’ tax burden in support of the schools ($22,753/student) is 14% higher than the No. 2 ranked Kennebunk School District. In addition, the quality of education in YSD continues to plummet. All this to say we have real issues inherent in the York School District and throwing more money at them is obviously not providing any relief. To make matters worse, frustrated parents, who have sought answers to these issues in earnest, continue to pull their children out of York schools in a desperate attempt to secure a higher quality education and a more robust future for their children.