School board does an about-face on joining service center

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BUCKFIELD — Regional School Unit 10 directors on Monday reversed their decision last month not to join a regional service center.

Superintendent Deborah Alden told directors that during a fall conference in Augusta, she received a lot of information about the Maine Department of Education’s regional service center proposal.

“I use the analogy of propping a door open, putting your foot in the door so that it doesn’t lock, so that if we put in part one (of the application) by Nov. 30, it doesn’t mean we have to go to part two by April,” she said. “We can look at it further and say, ‘no way.’ But if we don’t do part one we can’t do any of this — it’s done.”

An attorney from Drummond Woodsum spoke with Alden and several other superintendents at the conference, Alden said, telling them the firm could provide some free legal services “to see what (regional service centers) would mean financially” for the schools.

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Alden said the idea would be for RSU 10 to join with six other schools to regionalize services for Pennacook Learning Center in Rumford. The six schools are RSU 9’s Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, School Administrative District 44’s Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, RSU 56’s Dirigo High School in Dixfield, RSU 58’s Mt. Abram High School in Salem, RSU 73’s Spruce Mountain High School in Jay and RSU 78’s Rangeley Lakes Regional School in Rangeley.

“These were all the people that signed on to our Embrace grant, which was the grant that we were awarded last spring to renovate Pennacook Learning Center and train staff for our program to become a regional program,” she said.

Alden and the six other school district superintendents considered three possibilities for sharing services: Pennacook Learning Center services, substitute teacher training, hiring and management, and food service menu planning and bulk purchasing.

All of the RSU 10 directors at Monday’s meeting voted to submit part one of the application, except for Jennifer LeDuc of Rumford and Michelle Casey of Buckfield.

“We lose control (of Pennacook Learning Center and other things) if we were to share services,” Casey said.

LeDuc said she did not think the part one application was fair because RSU 10 and RSU 56 were the only two schools listed at the head of the application.

“Maybe we’re putting more ‘skin in the game’ than the other applicants and it should be all seven applicants or one school applying,” LeDuc said.

In other business, Alden noted that Mountain Valley High School teacher Jeff Bailey in Rumford received the 2017 Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine Achievement Award and the Lawrence O’Toole Teacher Leadership Award of $15,000 earlier this month. He will be recognized on Dec. 8 at a technology and education conference, Alden said.

In other business, the board:

• Hired Krista Cote of Rumford as a second-grade teacher at Meroby Elementary School. Cote is a Mountain Valley High School graduate and a 2016 University of Maine at Farmington graduate. Last year Cote taught second- and third-grade students in Thailand;

• Approved a trip to Germany and Austria for Buckfield Junior-Senior High School students in April. Students will fundraise for the trip and their parents will also help pay the $2,823 per-student cost of the trip, Gifted and Talented teacher Linda Andrews said; and

• Hired Neal McCrillis as a Hartford-Sumner Elementary School bus driver/custodian; Jennifer Dobson as a Buckfield Junior-Senior High School cheerleading coach; Karen Wilson as a Mountain Valley Middle School alpine coach; and Ben Keene as a Buckfield Junior-Senior High School special education educational technician III.

mhutchinson@sunmediagroup.net

Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Regional School Unit 10 directors hired Krista Cote of Rumford as a second-grade teacher for Meroby Elementary School in Mexico on Monday. Cote is a Mountain Valley High School graduate and a 2016 graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington.(Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Regional School Unit 10 directors discuss their decision about joining a regional service center Monday at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Times)

Regional School Unit 10 directors discuss their decision about joining a regional service center Monday at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Times)

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