Matthew Dailey said May 12 that the first time he ran for a seat on the School Administrative District 28 and Five Town Community School District boards of directors, in 2008, there was no competition.

“I brought the elementary school parents’ perspective,” he said. “I ran as a write-in candidate. The other seat was unfilled.”

Camden voters will elect two representatives for the three-year positions currently held by John Lewis and Dailey. Willard J. “Bill” Hibbard and Dale E. Landrith Sr. will also appear on the ballot.

“Now I understand the boards’ role and the relationship with the state and the statutes,” he said.

“I feel good about what’s going on and I’d like to continue with it,” said Dailey.

“I’m interested in the process,” he said. “I care.”

“Being on the board, it’s important to represent the community as best you can,” he said. “I don’t have a doctorate in education but I have a good idea what we expect out of our schools.”

As chairman of the board’s finance committee, Daily wrote that it was important to preserve the breadth of programming and expose students to things they wouldn’t otherwise experience. As an example, he mentioned the salmon release trip students take in third grade.

“It doesn’t explicitly hit the learning results, but gives them exposure to things they wouldn’t see if they sat in a classroom all day,” said Dailey.

He said it was also important for schools to be safe and healthy.

He said foreign languages, music, integrating technology and maintaining the breadth of programming were all important.

“I was on curriculum committee when we formally eliminated the industrial arts program from the middle school,” he said. “We hadn’t been able, for years, to find anybody to teach it. So we eliminated the program at the middle school.”

“That being said, we need to find a way to get kids the same kinds of skills, as well as modern technology skills,” he said.

He said there was an effort at the CSD to not duplicate any courses offered at Mid-Coast School of Technology.

“Some kids in fine arts need those skills but don’t want to travel to Mid-Coast School of Technology,” he said. “If we can get more of our kids to go [to MCST] that would be great too.”

Dailey said equipment currently in place in the middle school classroom that served the industrial technology class when that building was the high school was “professional industrial arts equipment. It’s the kind of thing you would not want a 12-year-old to operate.”

Dailey serves on the SAD 28 Facilities Committee board.

“Because the elementary school is so new, much of the work the committee is going to do is figure out how to use the middle school over the next decade,” he said. “There’s declining enrollment [which means] a lot of excess capacity in terms of classrooms. We need to plan how that building is used over the next two decades.” He said one use that has been proposed for the former technology classroom is as a cafeteria.

“Realistically, it’s never going to be an industrial arts room again,” said Dailey.

Dailey said it was important to offer students alternatives to sitting in front of computers all day.

“Technology is a huge part of our lives,” he said. “It’s going to increase.”

“The technology is going to be here and we’re going to have to find ways to roll it into our curriculum,” he said. “I don’t think anybody expects kids to learn from a computer the way they learn from their peers or a teacher. They may communicate with peers and teachers through computers but they still learn more from the experiences of other people.”

Daily said the districts were fortunate to be able to offer as many field trips as they do.

“The school day is very, very full,” he said. “It’s hard to fit in physical, energy burning time. We’ve reached the point where we can’t take any more of that out of the day.”

Dailey said the perfect superintendent would be respected by teachers and all employees of the district. He said that meant an open door policy that people wouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of.

“Someone with a good eye to the needs of the district and the community for the next five to 10 years, and someone who’s not afraid to — not radically change things — but to change things,” he said. Dailey said changes made in the last few years have set the schools up for the future.

He said a good principal would be respected by staff and parents in the community, and be responsive to needs of students.

He said administrators should be leaders who can adapt to changes and lead others in adaptation.

“Before I got on the board, I couldn’t understand why consolidation was so hard,” said Dailey. “We are consolidated from ninth through 12th grade, so why is it so difficult to achieve that for kindergarten through eighth grade?”

“If it was just matter of us all getting together and working out details of curriculum and policy, that would have happened a long time ago,” said Dailey.

He said the problem with consolidation was that the state mandate changed the formula for state subsidies to the point where it would now cost Camden and Rockport money to join with other towns.

“Two years ago, the penalties were actually less than the cost of consolidation,” said Dailey. He said equalizing salaries and benefits for teachers in SAD 28 and School Union 69 would add another expense.

“It’s hard to see how citizens of Camden and Rockport would benefit financially or educationally through consolidation,” he said. “Camden and Rockport — the two biggest towns of the five — are already consolidated.”

“That said, I would like to see it happen,” said Dailey. “Kids in Camden and Rockport are going to spend four years with kids from Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville. It would benefit them all to be on the same page when they get to high school. I don’t know if that means just spending more time together, or a consolidated middle school.”

“My mom and dad grew up in this town and graduated from high school here,” he said. Dailey said most of his relatives live in the five-town area.

“I have roots here and I intend for my kids to grow up here,” he said. “What the board does will have a huge impact on my family and I would love to be part of it.”

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by email at sauciello@villagesoup.com.