Tom Farley said May 11 that he was pursuing a seat on the Five Town Community School District and School Administrative District 28 boards because he has been involved with the advocacy group Citizens for Value In Education, which seeks “the best possible education at the lowest cost,” according to Farley.

“It’s been really good for the citizens of Rockport,” he said.

Rockport voters will choose between Tom Farley and Eliza Haselton to fill a three-year term on the board of School Administrative District 28 and Five Town Community School District. The seat is currently held by Elizabeth Saltonstall.

“I graduated in 1983 and went to the University of Maine at Orono for engineering and landscape design,” said Farley. “I met my wife there. I have two daughters in the system. Morgan is a senior and Mallory is a junior.”

“Morgan will be attending the University of New Hampshire for physical therapy,” he said.

“The [local] schools have been wonderful for [them],” he said. “Because of that, I have great feelings towards the schools.”

“My father was on the school board when I was in school, and my sister is currently on it,” said Farley.

He said VIE’s hands-on approach to asking questions and making sure budget numbers are accurate has been beneficial to the schools and taxpayers, and that school administrators have been “awesome.”

Farley has served on the Rockport Select Board for two years and is that body’s liaison to the school boards.

“I was the one who brought up to the Select Board that we needed to be more involved with the school board,” he said.

“I have attended almost 80 percent of the [school board’s] financial meetings in the last two years,” said Farley. “I understand what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Farley served on the 2010 committee to explore a possible merger of School Administrative District 28 and School Union 69, and said he understood the difficulties of consolidation.

He said he would promote better connections with legislators, calling for changes to the funding formula that dictates the state’s contribution to local education.

“In the last three years we lost approximately $2 million in state funding,” he said.

He said bills in the legislature would make it so that penalties would be removed and provide funding for districts that choose to consolidate, without taking money away from those that fail to merge.

He said the money for that was already in state coffers and would go to schools that had already saved money through regionalization.

Farley said a “visioning process” was needed to find “low-cost ways to achieve better students for the 21st century.” He said video classrooms with high quality teachers would help, as would cloud computing, which allows users to use files and applications over the Internet, instead of storing them on local servers.

He said sports programs could be used to promote workplace skills.

“Extra curricular activities are huge when it comes to interactions in the workplace,” he said. Farley said it helped students understand the importance of all team members, not just those in what he called “the play position.” He said children need to be exposed to wins and losses.

“I’m very excited about the new superintendent,” he said. “I’d love to be involved in working with him.”

He said he would make sure administrators promoted more parental involvement in the schools and the community was involved in making a “superior school and community.”

Farley said uncontrolled costs caused middle class citizens to leave Rockport in search of lower taxes, “thus sacrificing their kids’ ability to attend a wonderful school like Camden Hills Regional High School.”

“As a business person, I would like to see more concentration on trade schools,” said Farley. “Mid-Coast School of Technology is awesome.” He said the district needed to help students who are not college bound.

“The purpose of public education is to educate our kids and instill self-worth and integrity,” he said.

“I’m a firm believer that we need to promote any kind of arts and vocational education and need to reinforce those skills,” said Farley. “Kids who have the opportunity to do that are much better citizens.”

He said he was not sure if an industrial technology program should be restarted at the middle school but that he supported “tactile learning.”

“I’m a firm believer that [a student] can go to a vocational school and go on to be president,” he said, adding that not all students needed to go through the same educational system. The problem of those who have trouble sitting still needed to be addressed in middle school, Farley said.

A good superintendent is involved with the community, has superior managerial skills, looks out for student interests as a whole, promotes best practices among schools within the district and is fiscally responsible, he said.

Farley said a good principal connects well with students, implements policy fairly, promotes superior teaching methods and classroom interaction, and is fiscally responsible.

“If you’re just talking about administrators, I believe it can and will happen,” he said in regard to further consolidation of SAD 28 and School Union 69.

“The biggest problem with the present method — let’s call it the Baldacci method — is that it forced us to consolidate without really looking at the value to the student and the community,” said Farley. “I believe schools need to keep their identity.”