Administrators are concerned about

the wear on the

new gym floor.

RANGELEY – Rangeley Lakes Regional School students arriving for classes will have to wait outside the building until nearly 8 a.m. under a new procedure implemented this year.

The reason for the change is to keep students from damaging the new gym floor.

Parents upset about the new practice that started on the first day of school Wednesday addressed the School Committee Wednesday night. One said it was unfriendly and another said it was asking for trouble to have students remain outside.

Some School Committee members also expressed concern over the implementation of the procedure by the school administration.

Previously, all students were let into the gym before the start of classes.

They are now advised they can’t be on the grounds until 7:30 a.m. when an outside supervisor is present.

In inclement weather “students will be brought inside to designated classrooms,” Superintendent Kenneth Coville said.

With approximately 50 percent of students arriving by bus, the bus schedule must be carefully orchestrated. Buses are currently expected to arrive at the school between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., approximately 15 minutes later than last year.

Coville said during the first few days, “Extra supervisors will be on-hand to help students. Bus schedules will be changed to accommodate for the winter weather,” he said.

In other issues, a parent complained that the school year starts before Labor Day and interferes with a student’s summer job opportunities.

“No members of the public attended the school board meeting last spring,” when the decision was made, Coville said. The school calendar is set by the School Committee in April and members seek input from the community and teachers.

School Committee members revisited the school’s substance and tobacco use policy. It does not currently address behavior which occurs between athletic seasons, the possible use of drug testing, chemical dependency as an emerging problem for Rangeley students, and the challenges of enforcement of the policy.

The draft policy, to be presented at the next school board meeting, will include prohibiting use of illegal substances and association with those who use them; penalty for first offenses is removal from the team for 90 school days from the date of the offense, and for the second offense removal from the team and subsequent co-curricular activities for one year.

Options to reduce the length of a penalty will include treatment and counseling, but they must be approved by the superintendent and athletic director and would not apply to repeat offenders.

It was announced that the school received a MELMAC grant for $35,000 to promote student aspirations and college attendance.

School Committee members received a report on the Maine Community Foundation Grant by Barbara Dailey, grant project coordinator. The objectives of the grant for the 2003-2004 year are: 45 percent of students proficient with a musical instrument, 20 percent involved in performance arts, 15 percent involved in dance instruction, and 5 percent involved in visual arts instruction.

Zelda Clark was hired as the school’s part-time assistant cook. She will work with one full-time cook and one full-time assistant cook to serve about 180 to 200 lunches and 200 breakfasts each day.

The next school board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School.

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