Portland High School
The main entrance to Portland High School on Cumberland Avenue. Superintendent of Schools Xavier Botana said replacement of Portland and Deering high schools will remain a priority for the School Department after he leaves his post next July. (Portland Phoenix/Jim Neuger)
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Following ranked-choice runoff Wednesday morning, Julianne Opperman was elected to the District 3 School Board seat, displacing incumbent and vice-chair of the board Adam Burk after the second round.

Opperman ended with 3,228 (54.7 percent) votes compared to Burk’s 2,672 (45.3 percent). Samuel Rosenthal received 806 votes.

Numbers remained close as results came in Tuesday night with Opperman maintaining a narrow lead. Results prior to ranked-choice runoff also had Opperman winning, receiving 2,861 votes (46.3 percent) compared to Burk’s 2,525 (40.8 percent). In a ranked-choice election, a candidate needs 50 percent of the votes to be a winner, which Opperman reached after a second round.

1,618 ballots were exhausted (and as a result uncounted) meaning they were left blank, only included votes for Rosenthal, or contained overvotes.

The two At-Large school board seats were also on the ballot, but both candidates, Ben Grant and Sarah Lentz, were unopposed after they were both elected in June.

All of the school board seats are filled for three-year terms.

Prior to the election, Opperman, a teacher for more than 40 years, emphasized the importance of putting a veteran teacher back on the school board, and that the board could focus more on changes that would make bigger differences at the school. 

Since the start of the school year, the school board has taken on a number of significant changes, including the search for a new superintendent, and announcing the goal of shifting the district’s high school model.

This fall, members of the community have voiced concerns to the board about some more immediate changes. The adjustment to the high school enrollment process resulted in many parents claiming the change came too quickly and too soon. A policy change to limit student attendance at sporting events was also met with opposition from students and parents, and was rescinded a few weeks after it was announced.

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