School merger prompting lots of questions

LIVERMORE FALLS — School superintendents in Jay and Livermore Falls said they will try to keep board members updated on the possibilities being discussed for the new consolidated system.

RSU 36 Vice Chairwoman Denise Rodzen said Thursday that people asked her specifics about the merger, for instance, about the incoming Livermore Falls High School freshmen class going to Jay High School as of July 1.

She said she hadn't heard that. And as of a RSU 36 board meeting on Feb. 10, the board was told that there have been no discussions on where the freshmen class would go.

A parent asked if her child went to Jay Middle School in the coming new school year would she go back to Livermore Falls High School as a freshman.

“That discussion is on the table right now,” Jay School Superintendent Robert Wall said during a joint meeting of the two school boards. “We told people when we put this school system together we would make it better for students,” he said.

School officials are open to proposals from anyone that would improve education for students, he said.

Jay High School operates a freshmen academy that includes small learning communities and has intervention processes in place to help students succeed, Wall said. A group of teachers work with a group of students similar to the middle school concept, he said.

Students are also able to explore career paths early on.

“It's just discussion,” RSU 36 Superintendent Sue Pratt said.

Rodzen said it was said during the Regional Planning Committee process that everything will be done in the open so everybody would know what is going on. She suggested a weekly or biweekly update so that when someone approaches her with questions she will know what they are talking about.

“We need to be kept in the loop,” she said.

Jay School Committee Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce said this is an opportunity to think outside the box and bounce ideas around and do some research.

Wall said that is exactly what they are doing.

RSU 36 Chairman Ashley O'Brien said he would rely on the superintendents to do their jobs. He didn't need to be updated about everything, he said.

Rodzen said she didn't need to be informed about everything, but updates would be nice so when directors are approached they may be able to give an answer instead of looking like a “blooming idiot.”

RSU 36 Director Cindy Young asked if the middle school sports teams would be combined next year. There is a possibility that Livermore Falls Middle School would be closed before July 1 and students that would have attended that school would go to Jay Middle School.

There is also discussion about both high schools sports teams being combined, even though both schools will operate next year.

Analysis and research is being done on a lot of ideas to see if they would work for students and be cost efficient, Pratt said.

“I want you to know everybody is excited,” Jay High School Principal Gilbert Eaton said. “Everybody is saying what about this? What about that?”

"You'll have an opportunity to weigh in on the pros and cons," he said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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 's picture

If this is to be a combined

If this is to be a combined unit, called RSU 73, why would NOT combining all the kids into one team even be considered? This process is supposed to save money and add programs "for the children". Now folks are trying to find ways to not combine them into one unit. How could the MPA allow two teams from one unit in any of the sports? It would seem that change is hard for some. The high school and middle school in Liv Falls should be closed as we were led to believe and classes combined in Jay.

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