RSU 56 works to preserve teaching positions

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DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen says she and school administrators have crafted a proposed school budget that preserves all of the district’s teaching positions for next year.

Doyen reviewed the proposed $12.32 million budget Tuesday night with the RSU 56 board of directors.

During her presentation, Doyen said she met last Friday with school administrators to discuss the budget — a 2 percent increase over this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Doyen said she and administrators met “to move items around (on the budget-cut list) so that at the 2 percent mark, we would not be losing any of the teaching positions.”

The list of cuts includes network upgrades, high school athletics (determined by student sign-up lists), textbooks at Dirigo High School, less staff training at Dirigo Elementary School and the Dirigo High School library.

Business Manager Mary Dailey also reviewed the budget with the board of directors and told them that some major changes to the 2018-19 budget were because of employees’ retirement changes and state requirements for special education budgeting.

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The board is scheduled to vote on the spending plan when it meets at 6:30 p.m. April 24 at Dirigo High School.

In other news, Region 9 School of Applied Technology Adult Education Director Nancy Allen gave the directors information about RSU 56’s funding of adult education at the career and technical center.

The 2018-19 budget for Adult Education is $358,927, an increase of $27,224. Funding from RSU 56, RSU 10 in Rumford-Mexico, School Administrative District 44 in Bethel and the towns of Byron, Andover, Gilead and Upton pay for high school equivalency tests for students, helping them earn their diplomas and recover high school credits, helping individuals upgrade their skills for job requirements and aid with college transition.

“We have had 10 students graduating last year but the number of students graduating has gone down because the (HiSET High School Equivalency Test) is a harder test,” Allen said.

Students can also work on their diplomas from Dirigo or Mountain Valley High schools, she said.

The three school districts and four towns also pay for two full-time teachers, a part-time assistant and full-time director for the adult education program, along with some administrative personnel shared with the Region 9 technology school.

“You do not pay for enrichment or adult vocational classes,” Allen said.

Courses such as bagel-making, basket-weaving, quilting and using power pools are the enrichment classes not paid by the school district and towns. Those courses are included in Region 9’s budget, Allen said.

In other matters, Doyen updated the board on reinstating a spring junior-varsity baseball team at Dirigo High School. Earlier this year, the district decided to accept community donations for a JV baseball team that had been removed from this year’s budget.

Athletic Director Jeff Turnbull has a list of about 17 students who want to play baseball this spring, but that might not be enough to offer two full teams. Also, a stipend will be needed to pay for a JV baseball coach, Doyen said.

The district is asking the High School Athletic Association about possibly paying partially or fully toward a stipend for the JV coaching position, and community donations would help to “cover at least part of the stipend,” she said.

Also, Philip Therriault and Jay Johnston were hired as bus drivers/custodians and Joanne Weston and Pam Child as graduation co-coordinators.

mhutchinson@sunmediagroup.net

Region 9 Adult Education Director Nancy Allen speaks Tuesday to the RSU 56 board of directors. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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