LIVERMORE FALLS — Jay and RSU 36 students’ choices of new names for the high and middle schools, a mascot and school colors prevailed Monday but not until each was debated.
Regional School Unit 73 directors voted 11-1 on each of the students’ recommendations.
Students from Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls in grades five through 12 voted April 5 on new names for the two schools as Spruce Mountain. They also voted for a phoenix to become the new school mascot and black and green as colors.
Jay and RSU 36 will consolidate school systems and run combined sports teams.
The vote on the colors was the closest vote, with 41 votes separating the two top choices.
Director Diane Gould of Livermore said she was asked by a couple of taxpayers why townspeople were not included in the naming process.
The taxpayers said the kids would move on but residents would still be paying for the schools, Gould said.
Gould opposed the votes on the school names and mascot.
“It was a student project,” Jay Superintendent Bob Wall said.
It was a subcommittee recommendation during the planning process for the consolidated system and it was intended to ensure student involvement, he said.
Jay High School Principal Gilbert Eaton headed the subcommittee and the student voting process with help from student leaders and staff members from both systems.
It was intended to build a culture and bring students together, Eaton said.
Each student in grades five through 12 received nomination papers. The results were tallied by student leaders and the five top nominations in each category, except colors, which had six, were recorded in alphabetical order on the ballot and voted on by students, he said.
Some directors said some students questioned the process.
Director Tammy Frost of Livermore Falls said that the board needs to be careful. The kids put a lot of thought into the process and for the board to go back and vote against them wouldn’t be fair, she said.
Chairwoman Denise Rodzen of Livermore Falls said she recently saw a Jay student wearing a gray sweatshirt with Spruce Mountain, a phoenix, and black and green colors on it.
“It looked very, very nice,” Rodzen said.
The official design of the mascot or the specific green have not been chosen.
Director Darcie Comstock of Jay said most people she spoke to didn’t have a problem with school names and mascot but did with the colors. They thought they were starting new and didn’t want to have any of the current colors in the mix, she said.
Jay Tigers’ uniforms are black and orange and Livermore Falls Andies’ are green and yellow.
Eaton said he didn’t recall any of the color choices being selected because they represented a color from each one of the schools existing colors. Instead, he said he thought uniforms already out there with those colors drove the choices.
Livermore Falls High School teacher Ken Landry brought up a petition circulated in both high schools.
He said students at the Livermore Falls school put out the petition, not because of the colors but because they would have preferred a majority vote on it.
Students thought the choices of colors should have been narrowed down to two and then voted on, he said.
Redmond-Luce asked if directors wanted to ask students to revote colors.
The plan right from the get-go was that the top vote-getters would prevail, Eaton said.
“This is a democratic process,” Jay Middle School Principal Scott Albert said. “We did it the right way. The kids voted on it. Let’s move forward.”
Eaton said he did not receive a copy of the petition but received a letter that one was going around. Livermore Falls Principal Jim Holland said he received a petition with about 100 student signatures and passed it to RSU 36 Superintendent Sue Pratt.
Pratt said she didn’t bring it forward because there was a well established process in place.
If the board decides to go back and have students revote the colors, Rodzen said, someone could ask why they didn’t go back and debate the school name and mascot.
Comstock opposed the choice of colors.