School security topic for SAD 17 board

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PARIS — Schools Superintendent Rick Colpitts assured SAD 17 directors Monday evening that measures to secure school buildings continue.

“We’ve done more in the last three months than we have in the past three years,” Colpitts said in response to Director Bob Jewell’s concerns about an active shooter or other potential violence.

“I really don’t feel our schools are secure enough,” Jewell said.

The discussion followed an hourlong review of the recent Maine School Boards Association 2018 Delegate Assembly in Augusta, which was attended by five members of the board, Colpitts and Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett.

During the two-day session, participants attended workshops, including one involving TRC Solutions, a national security company that has some 4,000 consultants who work with schools and others in securing public places.

Director Curtis Cole said he learned school boards may be held liable for an active shooter if a security plan is not in place.

Colpitts said the Oxford Hills School District has insurance for such an event. He said although specific plans can not be divulged publicly, the district has been actively training staff, is developing a budget to reflect better security in schools and has a specific plan in case of an event.

Director Jared Cash suggested the community at large may benefit from hearing more of the district’s behind-the-scenes work to secure the buildings without compromising specific plans.

The assembly also involved resolutions that were debated by delegates and SAD 17 Director Barry Patrie and others.

Patrie said several passed with little debate, such as providing school safety and special education reform, while others such as increasing minimum teacher pay to $40,000 and extending the school year to 180 instructional days and 10 professional teachers days failed.

Patrie said the assembly also introduced a new resolution to take $30 million out of the state’s “rainy day fund” for school maintenance.

“It was like throwing dogs a bunch of bones. Everyone was in favor of that,” he said.

Also at Monday’s board meeting, Colpitts announced that longtime SAD 17 director and school bus driver Olive Sanborn passed away Saturday after a brief illness.

“We’re all going to miss her,” he said.

In other business the board approved stipends for Danielle Tran, choir accompanist; Ivylynn Moxcey, Oxford Hills Middle School field hockey head coach. Also for department heads Elizabeth Gallagher, nursing; Samantha Medici, math at the Guy E. Rowe Elementary School; Heather Hatch, social studies at the Paris Elementary School; and Pamela Marshall, social studies at the Otisfield Community School. 

The board also approved the superintendent’s recommendation of Brandon Baer as counselor at the Oxford Hills Middle School; Joanna Brown as nurse at the Oxford Elementary School, Otisfield Community School and Agnes Gray Elementary School; Lori Hart as educational technician II at the Oxford Elementary School; and Meagan Morrissette as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Agnes Gray Elementary School.

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