Elections bring contested school board race
The Weekly Packet|3/26/2020
But no one stepped up for planning board
ANNE BERLEANT
BLUE HILL—In local elections, voters will choose among three candidates for two three-year school board seats. In uncontested races, Selectman Ellen Best and Road Commissioner Bill Cousins seek reelection. Two open planning board seats drew no candidates.

Elections are scheduled for April 3, along with five referendum questions, but selectmen said they will decide by Monday, March 30, whether to postpone the referendum over COVID-19 concerns.

“We have some time here,” Selectman Jim Dow noted at a March 18 virtual meeting. Selectmen encourage people to vote by absentee ballot, by calling the town office at 374-2281 or visiting townofbluehillmaine.org, and have already postponed Town Meeting’s business portion from April 4 to April 25.

Joanne Barrett, school board

Born in Castine and raised in Penob scot until a move to Ohio at age 8, Joanne Barrett returned to the peninsula, graduating from George Stevens Academy. After earning a teaching degree at the University of Maine in Orono, Barrett taught in local elementary schools for well over 10 years, and helped run King Hill Farm in Penobscot with her late husband, Dennis King.

“Most of my professional life has been split between farming and teaching,” she said.

Barrett seeks a seat on the school board “just to see if I can be of any help. I understand education. I understand what it is to create and live with a budget. I understand what it is to use every penny very wisely so students get the maximum benefit out of those dollars.”

Now retired, Barrett consults for nonprofit Land For Good, is a Blue Hill Heritage Trust trail steward, and volunteers at Blue Hill Consolidated School. She has also served terms on the boards of Healthy Peninsula and Beginning Farmers Resource Network Leadership Council.

For Barrett, there is no one big issue facing the board but “the ongoing issue of doing the very best for every student within our means. I’m not walking into this with an agenda. I want to just do a lot of listening and have conversations.”

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