JAY — Jay and RSU 36 school boards will meet separately Tuesday to make recommendations on whether or not Jay and Livermore Falls high school sports teams should be combined as of July 1.
The two school systems will become one that day.
The special meeting will begin at 6 p.m. March 22 at the Jay Middle School cafeteria. They’ll also decide whether to send all freshmen to the same school to participate in Freshman Academy to prepare students for success in a specialized learning environment.
Those recommendations will be made to the new school board that is scheduled to be elected April 19 to oversee RSU 73. However, the decisions each board makes Tuesday will set the tone for the first year of the new system.
Time is of the essence, Jay High School Principal Gilbert Eaton said. Decisions on sports and Freshman Academy need to be made soon. They cannot wait until May, he said.
Now, everybody in the conference is on hold, waiting to hear the result of the athletics component so fall sports schedules can be completed, Sally Boivin, Livermore Falls High School athletic director, said.
If they have two high schools and have combined sports teams, then athletes will play in Class B, Boivin said. If they have two schools and separate sports teams, then athletes will play in Class C, where they are now.
About 100 people turned out Tuesday at the Jay Middle School to hear the conceptual plans for several areas of the new RSU 73 system.
The message from many of the audience who commented on sports and Freshman Academy was to follow the recommendations subcommittees presented to the reorganization planning committee, who put the consolidation plan together.
Put the focus on combining the middle schools and keep the high schools separate the first year of consolidation, they said. A subcommittee recommended the two high schools become one in 2012-13.
Others were interested in cost savings that would come from having combined high school teams, and combining the two high schools. Some were interested in offering more academic and career options.
Boivin presented results of a committee assigned to develop a report regarding the logistics, feasibility, pros and cons, and ideas of combining Jay and Livermore Falls high school sports teams beginning fall of 2011.
There are also several questions to be answered, Boivin said. One is: Will a ninth-grade academy begin in the fall.
“If we’re going to bring the Jay, Livermore Falls freshmen together and they are not going to combine sports, then at 2 p.m., students will return to different schools and compete against each other,” Boivin said. In her opinion, she said, that is not a good idea.
“If we’re going to have Freshman Academy, they need to be one. I think this is a good time to bring them together,” she said.
Concerns were raised about logistics of transporting students back and forth to a different campus, leaving the sophomores, juniors and seniors at different schools, among other issues.
Rob Taylor, a Jay teacher, parent and resident, said the way he is understanding it, if they do have freshmen go to the same school, then sophomores, juniors and seniors would be at two different schools. But they will be considered one school with a north campus in Jay and south campus in Livermore Falls, he said.
He pointed out that the regional planning committee accepted a report from a subcommittee that recommended the two high schools remain separate for the first year and the middle schools being combined.
“We are now looking at having one high school with two campuses and putting sports teams together,” he said. “We either consolidate our high schools or we’ve got to stick with our plan and have one middle school.”
“If we have separate buildings, then there would still be a rivalry. Isn’t that what we’re trying to get away from?” student Holden Parker of Livermore said.
The space would be tight to have all of the students at Jay High School, Wall said. There would need to be a small addition to hold them all and look at state money to help fund it, he said. Student numbers at both schools are declining, he said.