The defeat of Jamie Doubleday for a seat on the school board in Thomaston is the second big shoe to drop in the district in three months.

Doubleday was not only one of three Thomaston representatives on the school board but she was the chairwoman of the Regional School Unit 13 Board. She was the chairwoman of the board committee that is negotiating labor contracts with district employees.

She was also one of the leading advocates for the Many Flags, One Campus proposal.

Her defeat follows the March defeat of Ruth Anne Hohfeld to continue to represent South Thomaston on the RSU 13 Board.

There is a message being sent but exactly what the message is has not been clearly articulated by the public. There has been considerable discontent in St. George but those residents don’t vote in Thomaston or South Thomaston. St. George people, however, have friends and relatives in the neighboring communities.

There may be a general discontent by the public because of the continued poor economic times that we are enduring. Incumbents tend to fare more poorly when economic times are bad.

But the pace of change in the district may also be fueling the anxiety in the community. Most people have acknowledged that consolidating the two high schools in the district was something that needed to be done. There was considerable dispute, however, on whether that consolidation should happen so quickly.

The spending by the school system is obviously not the reason for the defeat of Doubleday. While she lost a narrow race (110 to 101), the same voters gave their overwhelming backing to the 2011-2012 budget at the polls (165 to 50).

Some citizens said the discontent is the lack of questioning that the board offers when it comes to significant changes that come from the administration.

So, the RSU 13 Board will have its third chairwoman in three months. The vice chairwoman is Esther “Tess” Kilgour of Rockland who will take over the gavel at the next meeting.

Kilgour will be the first Rockland board member to chair the board since Julie Raye in 2002.

The big question is will the direction of the board change with a new chairwoman and new members. Hohfeld and Doubleday supported the consolidation of the high schools and voted for having St. George eighth-graders move to Thomaston in the fall (although Doubleday supported a successful 11th-hour plan to impose a one-year moratorium on that move). Kilgour, however, also supported the consolidation of the high schools and the relocation of the St. George eighth-graders.

And speaking of Rockland’s representation on the school board, a new member will join the board at its next meeting. The Rockland City Council appointed Carol Bachofner to fill the seat vacated earlier this month by Steven Dyer.

The council has appointed three people in the past seven months to fill vacancies.

Bachofner is a relative newcomer to the community and she was selected over Rockland native Donald Robishaw Jr. That move has left some people asking why the council continues to pass over Robishaw for a seat on the board.

Robishaw is clearly opinionated but does a lot of research before issuing those opinions. He sought the two seats that were vacant in December and tried again this month. The Rockland native is a graduate of the school system, has been a parent within the district, is a veteran retired firefighter, and served as a bus driver for several years.

The Rockland native waged an unsuccessful battle at last week’s budget meeting to cut money out of the technology and the contingency accounts.

But at the polls in Rockland, the budget that had been proposed was not welcomed with open arms. A majority of Rockland voters (80 of 156 who voted) were against the budget.

Robishaw also has been one of those people who say the board has failed to provide proper checks and balances with the administration. His views were in line with that of Dyer.

The message is apparently clear that if Robishaw wants to serve on the school board he will have to be on the November ballot and not appointed through the council. There will be four seats up for a vote in November including the three members appointed from December through June.

Come November, Rockland residents will have the opportunity to shape the board in its likeness. The four seats account for 80 percent of Rockland’s representation on the board and those four seats account for a third of the voting weight on the board.

Are changes a coming?

Stephen Betts is associate editor. His commentary appears on this page on Fridays.