RSU 73 residents worried about old school, mill layoffs

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LIVERMORE FALLS — With just a few days to go before the first day of school, Regional School Unit 73 board members expressed concerns about the possible impact of 300 layoffs from the local paper mill and the closure of the former Livermore Falls High School.

Verso Paper Co. in Jay announced earlier this week that about 300 jobs will be permanently lost within the next few months.

RSU 73 is comprised of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. 

“From now until the end of the year, we should look at (the loss of jobs at Verso) and look into the elementary schools,” board member Tammy Frost said. “We’re near the end of our five-year plan. There are a lot of unknowns.”

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Board member Holly Richards agreed.

“This would be something for the board to work on,” she said.

Board Chairwoman Denise Rodzen said strategic planning should come from the superintendent and the principals.

Also part of the plan was closure of the former high school, which has been done, except for the showers used by football players following practices.

Resident Rick Parker wants that use to continue, as well as the weekly suppers served by parents to players before games.

“If it’s there, we hope we’ll be allowed to use it,” he said. “There’s a lot of angry parents. We’ve had team suppers there for years. We use the cafeteria and clean it up.” He said he’d like to squeeze out one more year.

He requested the use of the Spruce Mountain High School cafeteria. The board had not decided that request by mid-evening.

Superintendent Kenneth Healey said no money has been budgeted for any use of the former high school. He said if one group is allowed to use it, others may want to use it as well.

Board member Michael Schaedler said the board has not yet “let go” of the former high school.

“Pieces of the building are still open. When you don’t accept reality, it hurts you,” he said.

Griffin Field next to the old high school is used by Spruce Mountain High School in Jay. Healey said new bleachers and goal posts are expected to be installed within a day or two.

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