POLAND — The RSU 16 School Committee voted Monday to allow special arrangements for student transport to continue this school year.

Assistant Superintendent Kim Brandt reported that the facilities and transportation subcommittee has recommended an end to past action allowing a number of exceptions to the general policy concerning out-of-town students. This policy requires parents to make their own arrangements to transport students who are attending schools outside the district in which they live.

Examples include students who attend day care outside their home and students who have received permission to attend another school in the district other than their hometown school.

Restructuring routes to accommodate these arrangements add unnecessary transportation costs.

Also, Brandt noted, the siblings of special education students have been allowed on buses reserved for special education students, increasing the demand for the special runs.

The School Committee’s action allows prior agreements to continue for the current school year. Next year, however, parents will have to find their own transportation if they want their children to attend school in another district.


The committee also confirmed that Transportation Director Tom Kelley has the authority to make changes in bus stop locations and that parents can appeal his decisions to the committee.

In other business, Superintendent Tina Meserve reported that the new school year is off to fine start and that attendance appears to be up.

While official attendance is established by the number of students enrolled on Oct. 1, preliminary numbers show that the Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls has about 300 students, up from 267 last year; the Minot Consolidated School has about 250 students, up from 235 last year; and the Poland Community School has about 485 students, up from 460 last year.

Poland Regional High School Principal Cari Medd said that at 521 students, enrollment appears to be about even with last year.

Meserve said the increase in student enrollment should mean the district can expect an increase in state aid next year.

She also said that it appeared the district could be losing about $100,000 in state aid this year due to 12 district students attending charter schools.

“When the district’s student population goes up, the district sees an increase in money a year from now, but gets dinged this year for charter school students,” School Committee Chairman Mary Martin said.

Meserve said it appears the $100,000 loss can be absorbed, because a fairly large number of experienced, highly paid staff members retired this year and were replaced by lower-paid employees.

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