RSU 73 classes resume in the shadow of mill layoffs

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Spruce Mountain High School students will see new bleachers and goal posts at Griffin Field when they return to school Monday.

The school’s football games are played on that field.

They will also see the new elevator at the high school is nearly completed.

Regional School Unit 73 Superintendent Kenneth Healey said academic programs offered to all 1,560 students are the same as the previous year, and there are no teacher or support vacancies.

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“No openings whatsoever,” Healey said.

However, longtime business manager Stacie Field submitted her resignation Thursday night. She served in the same capacity for several years in the region before the former Jay School Department and RSU 36 in Livermore Falls merged in 2011. Healey said Field is leaving for a similar position at RSU 16 in Poland.

Although an announcement was made by Verso Paper Co. in Jay that about 300 employees may be laid off during the next few months, Healey said no special school budget actions are anticipated.

“We’ll ride it out before we may have to take any action,” he said.

The mill pays a significant portion of the school budget through property taxes.

Healey said he believes legislation may soon be submitted in Augusta that could provide an emergency subsidy for the town of Jay.

“There’s normally a two-year lag time” before revenue losses affect towns and schools, he said. “We are not anticipating any reductions.”

However, he said, “We want to be proactive when the time is right.”

The school year will see a continuation of work on teacher and administrator evaluation tools, and the beginning of the process for the first accreditation of the high school.

A teacher workshop was held Thursday and a second one will take place Friday.

Students in all grade levels will begin classes Monday.

Healey will begin his second year as district superintendent.

“I have valued all the work of the teachers and staff. We’re proud of last year’s accomplishments,” he said.

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