Buckfield students have alternative education opportunity


DIXFIELD — Students from Buckfield High School who are suited for an alternative education program will have a chance to enter one when classes resume in the fall.

Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 Superintendent Tom Ward said one of the goals of the district is to offer similar services to each of the regions.

Both Dirigo and Mountain Valley high schools have offered such programs for secondary students for many years. The goal, he said, is to eventually establish a separate building for all secondary and middle school alternative education students.

In the fall, Buckfield alternative education students will attend classes with others from Dirigo High School at the former SAD 21 central office in Dixfield. The Mountain Valley alternative education students will continue their education at its site at the high school in Rumford.

Both Dirigo Middle School and Mountain Valley Middle School students will attend their classes at a site at the Mexico middle school. It is not known yet whether one or two Buckfield Middle School students will also attend that site.

“Our goal is to transition middle school students into the mainstream,” Ward said.

“This arrangement buys us time. Ultimately, we want a centrally located alternative education school.”

That school would educate about 50 students.

That common site may be the former Peru Elementary School in West Peru because of its central location to all three regions. When the former SAD 21 built its new elementary school along Route 108 in Peru two years ago, the old school was returned to the town.

Peru officials and committee members have worked to create a community center at the former school, along with offering a large portion of it for use as an alternative school. They have been meeting with school district officials to work out a lease agreement for the district’s use of the school.

Ward said the interim alternative education sites will have school year 2010-11 to work out all the details.

He said not only will a common site be centrally located and serve alternative education students from the three regions, but it will likely reduce the number of teachers and educational technicians needed to operate the program.

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