Madawaska elects school committee members, approves school budget

MADAWASKA, Maine — Two popular Madawaska-based photographers have won seats on the town’s board of selectmen and school committee in Tuesday’s election. 

Three seats were filled for the school committee, while only one spot on the select board was available. Voters also approved the school’s budget for the upcoming year. 

Chris Michaud, a photographer that can be found on various Facebook groups sharing different pictures of sunsets, sunrises and nature, was elected to serve three years on the board of selectmen. Michaud ran unopposed, receiving 389 votes. Seven other individuals received single votes as write-ins. 

His first time serving as a selectman, Michaud said he’s eager to learn the ins and outs of his new position as a selectman from his fellow board members but has clear goals set on moving along the current wave of downtown projects launched by those currently overseeing things. 

I want to do my part in making Madawaska’s leadership team a positive, forward-leaning group, serving the entire Community honestly, honorably,” Michaud said. “Above all else, with a constructive attitude, always respecting those who serve alongside me.”

Meanwhile, in the school board race with three seats available, Jacqueline Gruber received 213 votes and Jean Ann Thomas garnered 381 votes. The two replace Mindy Braley and Louis Dugal, who both resigned from the committee with one year left on their terms. 

Steve Deschaine, the man behind Deschaine Digital who, like Michaud, shares aerial photos of the St. John Valley to various pages on Facebook, won the election to serve three years on the town’s school board against incumbent Nicholas Guerette by a mere 19 votes. Descahine received 214 votes, compared to 195 for Guerette.

“My main goal is to make the town of Madawaska fall back in love with the school and bring back Owl pride,” Deschaine said. “I feel we lost sight of that when we tried to merge schools, and now that that’s not going to happen we need to focus back on our own school.” 

The school’s $8,082,530 budget, which had been discussed in a meeting on May 16, was approved with 294 in favor and 136 opposed. 

The town also voted in favor of requiring the Madawaska school department to continue to conduct a referendum to validate its annual school budget for the next three years with a total of 242 votes in favor and 185 opposed.

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