Petition at 'Keag Store taken by school board rep

By Juliette Laaka | Feb 17, 2014
Photo by: Kim Lincoln Deborah Damon of Owls Head signs a petition at the 'Keag Store Thursday, Feb. 6. The petition asks for the Maine Department of Education to step in and disband the RSU 13 school board.

South Thomaston — A petition asking residents to seek state aid in disbanding the Regional School Unit 13 board was taken from the 'Keag Store by the South Thomaston school board representative, according to the store's manager.

Pam Paquette, the 'Keag Store manager, said a co-worker saw Christine Curtis take the petition. It was later confirmed through video surveillance footage Curtis did remove the petition from the counter.

"I was hoping it was an accident, and that she took it when she picked up her mail, " said Paquette. " But it was not accidental."

The petition was taken Feb. 11, and Curtis' husband returned it a couple days later, said Paquette.

She said Curtis has apologized, saying it was a lapse in judgement.

The petition, which currently has 84 signatures, states, "We the undersigned of this petition would like to have it known that the people of Knox County who live in RSU 13 school district have no confidence in the current administration or the school board to lead our district through its current turmoil," the petition states.

"Due to the amount of discord in the operations of the district at the board and administration level, we would respectfully request that the Secretary of Education for the state of Maine intervene on behalf of the children of RSU 13 and disband the current board and reorganize the district in a manner that serves to best educate the children of the district," it reads.

"I think it's unfortunate. I would think as a school board member, you would hold yourself to a higher standard," Paquette said.

In an email, Curtis said she took the survey in good faith, not to deprive anyone of signing it, but because she wanted to ascertain who sponsored the survey.

"I wanted talk to the person to listen to his or her concerns in detail. After reviewing it I discovered the sponsor's name and contact information were not on the survey, but the local sponsor's name was published in other media and I was able to contact her. I have apologized to her and others. I ran for the position because I am dedicated to my community and wanted the town of South Thomaston to have a voice on the school board. I encourage residents of South Thomaston to feel free to contact me with questions and concerns regarding school matters. I want the best education for our children within the means of our community," she said.

Curtis is running unopposed for another term on the board.

Petitions also are circulating in both Thomaston and Rockland seeking to withdraw from the district and operate independently.

The petitions are emerging as problems within the school district mount, including the resignation of Superintendent Lew Collins and administrative leave of Business Manager Scott Vaitones.

Collins resigned from the job Dec. 31, with his last day being Feb. 15. He cited the lack of unity on the school board as the reason for his departure. The district agreed to a nearly $100,000 settlement. The board is in the midst of negotiating a settlement with Vaitones.

RSU 13 includes schools in the towns of Rockland, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Owls Head, Cushing and St. George.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Feb 18, 2014 12:44

Just another example of the reality show that passes for a school board... If RSU #13's Board included representatives from its constituency, e.g. students, teachers, tax payers, perhaps the Board would behave themselves and act in the best interests of students.

 

 



Posted by: Susan P Reitman | Feb 18, 2014 12:31

Could the fiasco with RSU-13 get any worse?  This whole mess is an embarrassment!!!!!!  What happened to if you steal something you suffer a consequence like going to jail?



Posted by: Charlene French | Feb 18, 2014 05:26

If she really just wanted information that was on the petition, why didn't she either copy it down or take a picture of the petition with her cell phone?

Ms. Curtis needs to be off the board at the very least.

If it's too late to get someone else on the ballot, perhaps a write-in candidate, for the upcoming election? Just an idea.

As long as this type of behavior is engaged in by board members there is just going to be more drama and trauma on the school board.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 18, 2014 05:19

Ir doesn't appear that anyone is in any hurry to step forward to run against Mrs. Curtis. When is the last time we have taken the time to call a school board member and say, "Thank you for doing a good job with that decision to.........."? Our encouragement just might make a difference.



Posted by: robert garcia | Feb 17, 2014 22:28

Common theft and she should be ashamed of herself as a representative of the School Board and a supposed role model for our children. This should be investigated by the State Police and District Attorney and I hope they hold her accountable for violating the rights of every person who signed that petition. If she hadn't been caught "red handed" I'm sure she would never have returned them. Saying you're sorry doesn't cut it when you break the law...where is law enforcement? I hope the good citizens of South Thomaston send her packing.

 



Posted by: Cynthia McGuirl | Feb 17, 2014 20:34

This is called stealing. Christine Curtis should resign. Coincidentally, the Thomaston withdrawal petition is "missing" from Thomaston Grocery. Unfortunately, they don't have a security camera.

 

 

 



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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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