RUMFORD — Technology and its advantages were among the topics discussed by the Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 board Monday night.

The board also learned of the hiring of nearly a dozen new staff members, and began discussing whether to move their bi-weekly meetings from Monday to a night later in the week.

The board voted 12-2 to pay a stipend of $1,000 each to one staff member in each of the five school buildings in the Dirigo and Buckfield regions to help teachers learn to use the PowerSchool computer program.

The Mountain Valley region already uses the program that tracks student grades, attendance and other data.

Superintendent Tom Ward said technology savvy people have been helping others, but because the time it takes is above and beyond their normal school day, a stipend was warranted.

“There’s a lot to PowerSchool at the beginning,” Ward said.

The stipended positions are for one year only.

In a related matter, Ward said the region’s new website should be up and running prior to the start of school in late august. Also, the board will soon begin training on their own laptops so that members can more readily access agendas, minutes, attachments and other materials.

He said eventually board members will be asked to bring their laptops to meetings.

Also on Monday, a discussion began on the possibility of changing the regular board meetings from Mondays, which has been the custom in both the former SAD 21 (Dirigo) and SAD 43 (Mountain Valley) for many years, and for RSU 10 for the past year.

Ward said Monday meetings make for very long weeks, particularly for administrative assistants and administrators who are often required to put in 14- or 15-hour days on Monday board meeting nights.

He suggested moving the meetings to the second and fourth Thursdays, or the first and third Thursdays of each month.

Several members said they had commitments on one or more of those Thursdays, while others agreed that a meeting later in the week would be preferable.

A decision may be made at the regularly scheduled Aug. 9 meeting.

New hires include: Lynn Newell, grade 1 teacher at Rumford Elementary School; Jill Bartash, literacy teacher at Dirigo Elementary School; Melissa Audy, English teacher, and Ann Speth, alternative education teacher, at Dirigo High School; Michelle O’Kane, guidance, and Rebecca Dow, art, at Meroby Elementary School; Charlie Nielsen, one-year English teacher position at Buckfield Junior/Senior High School; Debbie Briggs and Melanie Calden, special education office secretaries for the school year; and Josette Duguay, special service department administrative assistant.

Resignations from bus driver/custodian, Wendy Knapp, and special education educational technician Mary Wainwright at Hartford/Sumner Elementary School were accepted.

Ward said the district had an excellent pool of applicants for the positions.

He said only two or three educational technician positions must be filled.

Board member Betty Barrett suggested that such positions, as well as those for secretaries, be advertised in the local weekly newspaper.

“Those are the people we know and should be putting to work,” she said.

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