DIXFIELD – SAD 21 directors on Monday authorized the superintendent and elementary principal to negotiate an agreement for use of a section of the new school by the Head Start program.

Superintendent Tom Ward and Dirigo Elementary School Principal Kathy Richard will meet with representatives of the Head Start program to try to get a pact for use of a kindergarten classroom at the new school in Peru two days per week.

Ward said if successful, the district would allow use of the classroom by 4-year-olds, but no younger children. Also the use would be limited to one year because the district plans to use the classroom and a second one that is not occupied as space for a new pre-kindergarten program next year.

The River Valley Head Start program is on Prospect Avenue in Rumford now.

Richard said she believes the agency wants to serve children in the Canton-Peru area.

Rick Colpitts, a board member representing Peru and assistant superintendent for SAD 17, said school districts sometimes allow use of classroom space by a Head Start program. He said SAD 17 does.

Also supporting the use of a portion of Dirigo Elementary School was Peru representative Pat Hunt.

“The kids would be here anyway if we had pre-K,” she said.

The board also appointed Karolyn Buotte, originally from Rumford, as an English teacher at Dirigo High School. Buotte, a graduate of Mountain Valley High School, comes to SAD 21 from SAD 52 in Turner.

With Buotte’s appointment, and the appointment Monday night of several coaches and extra-curricular positions, Ward said all staff positions are filled. Students return to classes Wednesday.

Also on Monday, the board heard a presentation by SAD 21 health coordinator Laurie Soucy and SAD 43 health coordinator Kathy Sutton on a $728,000 federal physical education grant the two districts recently received. The districts will partner with several recreation-focused organizations, such as the Greater Rumford Community Center and the Mexico Recreation Center, to offer physical-education opportunities to students. A fully-equipped fitness center will be established in the former elementary school for use by the public.

In other matters:

• The date for the official ribbon-cutting for the new Dirigo Elementary School was set for 6 p.m., Oct. 2. People who played a role in the construction of the school will be invited.

• The board moved a previously scheduled teacher workshop from Oct. 3 to Oct. 10 so SAD 21 would be in alignment with SAD 43 in Rumford and SAD 44 in Bethel.

• Board meeting locations will rotate each month, beginning in September. Two meetings will be held at Dirigo High School in September, then Dirigo Middle School in October, and Dirigo Elementary School in November. The board meets on the second and fourth Mondays at 6:30 p.m.

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