Solar power project proposed for Poland schools

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POLAND — The RSU 16 committee Monday referred a proposal from ReVision Energy to construct a solar power project for the high school and middle school complex to the facilities subcommittee for further investigation.

Steve Hinchman, ReVision Energy’s director of finance, told the board that a deal could be structured whereby the school would be paying in the range of 2 cents less per kilowatt for electricity than it pays Central Maine Power Co.

“You won’t save a ton of money, but you would have control over the price of energy in the long run,” Hinchman said.

Hinchman pointed to a combination of improving technology and federal tax incentives as spurs in the development of solar projects nationwide. It can help Maine reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, he said.

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Middle school science teacher Shane Barker, who spoke briefly to the project’s educational component for students and the community at large was directed to assist the facilities subcommittee.

The School Committee also heard Whittier Middle School Principal Ayesha Farag-Davis’ report of problems she is having with the improper use and care of school laptops by students.

Farag-Davis said she has been spending nearly 10 percent of her time dealing with such issues.

She suggested two steps that might be written into laptop use policy to control problems: disabling computers at specific times of day (or night) and the loss of take-home privileges for out-of-school violations.

The School Committee agreed that Farag-Davis should submit suggested changes to the Policy Committee and in the meantime “do what you have to do.”

In other business, the School Committee voted that money collected from athletic use fees should be placed into the extracurricular budget, rather than into the general budget.

Policy Committee Chairman Ed Rabasco said he heard from a number of parents on the matter that they believed the school had instituted the fees as a way for students to help “pay to play” their sports.

All but $2,500 of the $17,000 collected to date will go to extracurricular budget, with the $2,500 earmarked for the new athletic field lights.

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