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Swearing In of New Board Members June 21

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Swearing In of New Board Members June 21
Posted on 06/15/2022
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After a ranked choice runoff on June 15, Sarah Lentz and Benjamin Grant were declared the winners of two at-large seats on the Portland Board of Public Education, and Sarah Brydon won the District 5 seat. The three now will be sworn in at the Board’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 21.

“I congratulate all three on winning these Board seats,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “I very much look forward to working with them. I’m also glad that we now will have a full complement of nine Board members as we continue the important work of creating a more equitable school system and planning for the 2022-2023 school year.”

The District 5 seat has been vacant since Board member Jeffrey Irish resigned from the District 5 seat last fall, with two years remaining in that three-year term. The two at-large seats became vacant when at-large Board members Roberto Rodriguez and Anna Trevorrow stepped down from the Board last fall after they were elected to the Portland City Council. Only six months remain in the terms for those two at-large seats, so they will be up for election again this November.

Lentz, Grant and Brydon, all three of whom are parents of Portland Public Schools students, had strong leads in the competitive races after the first round of vote tallies on Election Day, Tuesday, June 14. However, Portland municipal and Board races are decided by ranked choice voting. Because none of the candidates received over 50 percent of the vote, a ranked-choice runoff took place on Wednesday morning, June 15, at City Hall.

In addition to Lentz and Grant, five other candidates were vying for the two at-large seats. The runoff results for those seats showed Lentz winning with 55.3 percent and Grant with 55.7 percent. Brydon faced four other challengers for the District 5 seat. After the runoff, Brydon won with 68.8 percent.

Election results can be viewed on the city’s website HERE.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.