DIXFIELD — The RSU 10 board and administrators began the task of trying to decide the short- and long-term goals for the 10 school buildings in the district Monday night.
And although none of the three high schools were slated to be closed, one or more of them may serve other than high school-aged students in the near future, they said.
Assistant Superintendent Gloria Jenkins said the world of education is much different than most people have experienced. It focuses on technology and student flexibility in a world system rather than just in a community.
“Lifestyles are also changing. It's more fast-paced, with perhaps different family structures,” she said.
Changes to the current use of buildings are also necessary because of the slowly declining student enrollment, as well as the need to reduce operational and educational costs.
Marcia Chaisson, a board representative from Rumford, said studies showed that closing Rumford Elementary School and the Pennacook Learning Center alone, could save RSU 10 more than a half-million dollars a year.
Those two recommendations were made by several of the groups when they reported their top suggestions to the entire board and administrators.
If such a move is eventually made, that would mean that the students served in both buildings would have to be sent to other buildings.
Among the suggestions for these students were sending grades fourth to six to Mountain Valley Middle School.
Other considerations were what to do with the excess space at Mountain Valley High School.
Now, the former industrial arts space at the high school is used as a bus garage, which Superintendent Tom Ward presented problems with air quality in the rest of the school.
Also, he said, the University College at Rumford/Mexico housed in the convent building of the former St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Mexico, is considering a move to that portion of the high school.
Other short- and long-term recommendations coming from Monday's board and administrators' workshop include:
* Sending Canton grades K-6 to the Hartford-Sumner Elementary School instead of Dirigo Elementary School in Peru which is at capacity.
* Closing Rumford Elementary School, sending K-2 pupils to Meroby Elementary School in Mexico and grades three to six to Mountain Valley Middle School.
* Combining the alternative education programs from the Dirigo and Mountain Valley regions.
* Housing grades eight-12 at Mountain Valley High School and sending grades four to seven to Mountain Valley Middle School.
* Redistricting RSU according to each school's capacity.
* Sending all middle school students to Dirigo High School and all high school students to Mountain Valley High School, while retaining the current structure at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.
Superintendent Tom Ward said chances for getting on the list for state funding are likely years away. He said a meeting with state educational officials last week revealed that no applications were being taken for new schools, and the revolving renovation fund is geared toward schools in much worse condition than those in RSU 10.
A very long-term plan could bring high school students from all three regions under one roof that would provide both academic and vocational education.
The information gathered Monday will be further refined at another workshop July 9 after the regular board meeting.