JAY — School Committee members voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Courtney Webster as a student representative to the board.

The high school junior one of two candidates to be interviewed for the position. She joins senior Kyle Hawkins on the board.

In other business, the board voted to appoint Patty Schoen as the adviser for the fifth-through-eighth-grade after-school drama program.

Before the vote, committee member Judy Diaz asked if the fourth grade was going to be included in the program.

Fourth-graders were moved up to the middle school from the elementary school this school year.

Superintendent Robert Wall said the plan was to keep the third and fourth grades together in a drama program, as they were at the elementary school.

 Elementary students would be bused up to the middle school as part of the regular bus run, middle school Principal Scott Albert said.

Last year, Schoen had 32 students participate in fifth-through-eighth-grade drama. This year, 29 students signed up and five or six more contacted her after the initial meeting to say they were interested, Albert said.

The vote was unanimous to appoint Schoen to the position.

Fourth-grade teacher Donna Labbe, who had asked to speak on the younger grade drama program, said she and Nancy Anctil, another fourth-grade teacher and Labbe’s sister, had run the third- and fourth-grade program for 10 years.

About 50 to 75 kids participate each year.

Labbe said she and Anctil had applied to be drama advisers this year but learned Thursday that there were financial issues. They were asked to split one stipend, she said.

Students are taught the fundamentals of acting including oral speaking skills, she said.

“Our drama program is really the basic component that leads up to the middle school production,” Labbe said.

The two were surprised to be asked to share one stipend, she said.

“I will say what happened to us today, hurt,” Labbe said.

Committee Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce said since the lower level program was not on the agenda, and the matter not proposed to the board, all they could do was hear it and send it back to administration for more discussion.

If other programs are going to be asked to take similar decreases, Labbe said, that’s fine.

“But if it is just drama, that’s frightening,” she said.

A stipend for advisers is figured by a formula that takes into account years of experience among other factors.

Schoen will receive about $1,665 as a stipend.

Wall said $3,600 was budgeted for stipends for the lower grade program and they were exploring whether that program could be continued and have the two advisers share $1,800, Wall said.

Jay is looking at more than a $200,000 loss in state subsidy due to a state revenue shortfall.

“These things were budgeted for, but we are looking at our revenue sources being decreased significantly,” Wall said, after the meeting.

There currently is a freeze on spending and all programs are being looked at, he said, to see where reductions can be made.

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