MEXICO — Hats can be worn at Region 9 in some places, but not in others.
The vocational school board arrived at a new policy that will be inserted in the student handbook that allows hats to be worn outside the building, in the shop areas, in the school's hallways, and during the serving of food, Director Brenda Gammon said.
Hats will not be allowed when entering offices, classrooms, the cafeteria or during school-wide assemblies.
The board has been wrestling with the issue for many months, and had banned them completely. However, Gammon said the administration and board members have listened to arguments from students and staff that advocated wearing hats, particularly in the shop areas.
Some board members have argued that wearing hats, particularly in the classroom, is not respectful.
Of the three sending high schools, only Dirigo High School in Dixfield allows students to wear hats at all times. Hats are banned in Telstar High School in Bethel and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.
Gammon said notices will soon be sent home to parents of all Region 9 students outlining the new policy.
In other business, she said the board's Finance Committee will begin to develop the 2011-12 operating budget at 10 a.m., Jan. 20, at the school.
Last year, voters approved a $2 million budget. Gammon declined to comment on any proposed new budget for the upcoming school year. However, she said sending schools want Region 9 to continue to provide English classes for vocational students. Also, a new fire science program has been approved to begin in the autumn of 2011.
She expects all staff and programs to remain intact.
The region's residents will vote on the final, board approved budget sometime in May.
In other matters:
* Forestry instructor Marc Dupuis told board members that Region 9 will host the annual logging competition this year on May 12 and 13. Each of the remaining four vocational schools that offer a forestry program take turns hosting the annual event. This year's competition will take place at Welch's Campground in Dixfield.
* Entrance doors to the school will now be locked all day as well as at night. To enter, people must push a buzzer to be allowed in.
* Gammon said the board agreed to continue contracting with Mountain Valley High School for student lunch delivery. Because lunches sometimes arrive cold, she said the board is considering purchasing a steamer table that can keep foods either warm or cold.