Mt. Abram principal to be next SAD 58 superintendent


SALEM TOWNSHIP — SAD 58 will start the next school year with a familiar face in the superintendent’s office.

Brenda Stevens, currently Mt. Abram High School principal and formerly the school’s athletic director and assistant principal from 2000 to 2002, was confirmed by the district’s board to become the superintendent in August.

Stevens was Kingfield Elementary School principal, and she has worked for both Anson-based SAD 74 and SAD 58 throughout her teaching career. She knows Franklin County well, having graduated from Mt. Blue High School and the University of Maine at Farmington. She received her master’s degree in educational leadership at the Orono campus

“This is one of the last times I’ll be able to sit in the audience,” she said with a laugh as she shook hands with well-wishers Thursday night.

The directors started budget deliberations with a lengthy discussion about sports programs cuts. Currently, third- and fourth-graders play other students within their own elementary schools. The junior varsity and varsity students in fifth through eighth grades travel to other schools. The junior varsity teams play a four-game schedule, and the varsity teams play an eight-game schedule (for all sports), Superintendent Quenten Clark said.

Intramural sports cost less, but parents have strongly protested past cuts in any sports programs. Travel expenses will be much higher next year, and Director Ann Schwink suggested cutting half of the total request for sports programs. The board spent nearly 45 minutes discussing the $18,000 from the sports budget and settled at approving a $13,588 allocation. The directors agreed to continue the Pay to Play program.

The board expects to take the budget for ratification to the voters in five towns on June 7. All towns will see increases in their share of next year’s budget primarily because state subsidies have gone down, Clark said, while most operating costs have increased. Clark said not all the news was bad.

“Insurance went up 6.5 percent this year, but the cost for heating went down,” Clark said.

Strong, Phillips and Kingfield elementary schools, and Mt. Abram High School have installed pellet boilers, with the pellets coming from the Geneva Wood Fuels plant in Strong.

The board decided to continue with a districtwide violin and cello program, which Clark said he hopes will lead to the start of a school orchestra.

“It’s well worth the money,” Strong Principal Felecia Pease said. “Even if it’s only 25 or 26 kids, we run sports programs for that amount of money.”

Kirsten Brown Burbank will assume more duties in the guidance and career education programs. The board also agreed to cut back on her Adult Education program funding.