RSU 73 board seeks feedback on failed building project

LIVERMORE FALLS — RSU 73 Superintendent Robert Wall plans to develop a way for community members in three towns to give feedback on why they feel a proposed $5.3 million building project failed.

Voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls overwhelmingly rejected the project by a vote of 316-566 on May 8. The project included building a three-story addition on to Spruce Mountain High School North Campus in Jay to house all high school students on one campus.

“We are going to give this a period of time for us to get community feedback,” Wall said Monday. “The option piece is such that we're going to explore and present options I feel are available for consideration to the board.”

He plans to develop a process to seek community input.

“We have to realize the process failed. It doesn't mean we have solved the issue,” Wall told RSU 73 directors Thursday during a school board meeting.

The district still needs to find a way to house high school students together to make it more efficient in providing education.

Directors left $150,000 in the proposed 2012-13 budget that was for a first interest payment on a bond if the addition/renovation project passed.

If something is going to be done, money needs to be in there for planning, Wall said.

If the money is not spent it goes into next year's budget and taxpayers don't have to raise it, Vice Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce said.

Junior Megan Norris of Livermore Falls asked Wall if the changes in the proposed $18.9 school budget, including reductions, will mean all classes will still exist for students in the next school year.

Wall said they may start offering electives every other year.

He didn't anticipate any major changes, he said.

Directors have not changed the amount of credits that high school students will need to graduate, he said.

There is currently a discrepancy of a half-credit between the south campus in Livermore Falls and the north campus in Jay. Students attending the Jay school are required to earn 24 1/2 credits and those attending the Livermore Falls school are required to earn 24 credits. The difference is a half-credit for freshmen essentials that the north campus requires its students to take.

The board also approved the proposed budget for 2012-13, which included elimination of a health teacher.

Currently students at both schools need to earn one credit in health toward graduation.

School leaders will need to try and give health classes to students with remaining staff or the board will need to be approached to reduce graduation credits, Wall said.

North Campus Principal Gilbert “Specs” Eaton said he is doing his best to make sure all freshmen will get freshmen essentials in the next school year. The teacher who teaches that course resigned effective at the end of the school year due to proposed reductions in the school budget.

All freshmen will attend the north campus high school in 2012-13. They are currently the eighth-graders at the consolidated Spruce Mountain Middle School. Students in grades 10, 11 and 12 from the Livermore Falls area will continue to go to the Livermore Falls school.

Wall said the district needs to use its resources efficiently. One key thing is offering electives every other year, he said.

“There are methods for us to be more efficient in our use of staff,” he said.

More classes and activities are being offered at the middle school because of efficiencies and there is a proposed reduction of $120,000 in the instruction line for that school, he said.

“We haven't realized consolidation at the high school,” he said. Once it is complete, he said, he expects students to be offered more.

Parents raised concerns about only offering electives every other year since some of the electives are advanced classes in subjects including math. Students coming up through the system will need those classes because they are advanced in their studies, parents said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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 's picture

We were told when the

We were told when the consolidation was being forced onto us that there would be room for all the students with the exception of perhaps a couple of portables to use. Now they want a 5 million plus addition with all those extra rooms. They need to realize that people can't afford all those added costs. The town part of the budget has held the line. The school department needs to do the same.

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