BETHEL – SAD 44 expects to begin planning in earnest soon to form an alternative regional school unit with neighboring SAU 37 in Rangeley.

SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy said the board, which met Monday night, learned that state Department of Education Commissioner Susan Gendron will support legislation that will allow students from the unorganized territories to be included in student enrollment.

Nearly 200 of SAD 44’s students come from Albany and other townships.

Even without those students, Murphy said the combined totals of Rangeley students and SAD 44 students would reach 1,000, the minimum needed to meet educational sustainability.

He said SAU 37 and SAD 44 should have a preliminary plan in place by the end of September to present to the DOE. Then, the two school units will begin meeting to hammer out a final plan. That plan must be presented to the DOE by January.

In other matters on Monday, Murphy said Elise Thomas was appointed as the district’s new director of special services. She comes from a New Hampshire school union and has years of experience.

The district shared SAD 43’s special services director, Paula Leavitt, for the past year or so.

Also on Monday, Murphy said three teachers were named as teaching principals in the district’s elementary schools. Each will receive an annual stipend of $9,750 for the additional administrative work they must do as part of the job. Jolene Littlehale will lead Woodstock Elementary School; Roger Sabin will be in charge of Andover Elementary School; and Levi Brown will lead Crescent Park Elementary School in Bethel.

Murphy said a board facilities panel will soon meet to study district buildings’ energy efficiency and functionality.

Also on Monday:

• Murphy announced a lock-in price for diesel fuel of $3.679 per gallon, and $3.509 for large deliveries and $3.569 for small deliveries of heating oil.

• An educational technician I position at Telstar High School was upgraded to educational technician II so tutorial support can be given to students in study halls.

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