Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harris and Reuscher unopposed for S.P. School Board

Published in the Current

SOUTH PORTLAND (Oct 27, 2005): William Harris and Mark Reuscher are running unopposed for two seats on the South Portland School Board.

Reuscher, the board’s chairman, is seeking his second term because he thinks they "still have a lot of unfinished work.”

The 47-year-old, unmarried father of two, a son in eighth grade and a daughter in fifth, is a full-time business instructor at Southern Maine Community College, prior to which he owned Ocean Fitness for 14 years.

He said the city’s high school has a good graduation rate, and is concerned about “making sure the kids are actually learning.”

“We’re going in the right direction,” he said. “Last year the budget went really smoothly” because of a new collaborative approach between the City Council and the School Board.

He is undecided on the subject of renovations to the city’s middle schools, on which there are two options: either renovate Mahoney Middle School and build new where Memorial Middle School is, or close Mahoney and build a single middle school where Memorial is now.

“I’ve tried to be honest and make fair decisions for all the children in the city no matter where they lived,” Reuscher said.

Harris, a married 69-year-old making his first run for elective office. retired four and a half years ago from the city’s finance department.

“My father, my brother and I, my two sons, my three step-sons all graduated from South Portland High School,” Harris said. “I wanted to give something back to the city that’s given me a lot.”

Harris has also been honored for his volunteerism: In 2004 he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in honor of his 35 years as a Little League coach and umpire.

He wants to keep the city’s neighborhoods “vibrant and alive,” perhaps by involving neighborhood associations in classroom projects with teachers and students.

He wants to participate in the construction-renovation decision for the high school and middle schools and work to “figure out a way to keep high school and college graduates from moving out of the area.”