RUMFORD – With just a day and a half left before the end of the school year, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin announced that the district received a federal grant for nearly $85,000 to boost the effectiveness of teaching science and math.

The Western Maine Mathematics and Science Collaboration grant will be used to train SAD 43 high school teachers to revise the biology curriculum to more closely match Maine Learning Results standards, as well as assist in math, curriculum coordinator Gloria Jenkins told school board members Monday night.

Mountain Valley High School math and science teachers will use some workshop days, a couple of Saturdays, portions of the delayed arrival Wednesdays, and a few days that require a substitute teacher for the training, Jenkins said.

The grant is a collaboration with the University of Maine at Farmington, Region 9 School of Applied Technology, and the University of Southern Maine. Participants will attend some presentations at the university campuses.

The district’s last day of school is Wednesday, when students will leave at 11:55 a.m.

Wednesdays are generally late arrival days for students. Because of the early release, classes will start at the same time they do the rest of the week.

In other matters on Monday, Hodgkin said he was pleased and surprised that the $15.5 million fiscal 2009 budget was approved by district voters.

“I didn’t expect it to pass in all four towns. It was the largest percentage increase, at 4.62 percent, although not the largest tax liability, since I’ve been here,” he said.

The budget came at a cost of 11 jobs. Six were reduced through attrition. Five, all educational technicians, were cut as of the end of this school year.

The board will be meeting July 21 and Aug. 11.

Regarding the district’s plans to partner with neighboring SADs 21 and 39, Hodgkin said the next Reorganizational Planning Committee meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at Dirigo High School.

He said plans are to include all three districts despite some movement by SAD 39 to try to join SAD 17 in Paris/Norway.

A plan that will be sent to the state will include the three districts, whose members have been meeting for several months.

“We’re not going to wait for SAD 39 to make up their mind. We may have to re-do the plan without SAD 39 for things such as governance and cost sharing,” he said.

Portland lawyer Dick Spencer of Drummond Woodsum MacMahon is redoing the cost share figures that would show the expenses for SADs 43 and 21 without SAD 39. Those figures are expected to be ready for presentation at the June 25 meeting.

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