DIXFIELD — Energy costs for RSU 10 may decline significantly within the next couple of years if lines proposed by Maine Natural Gas come to the Rumford area.

District buildings, grounds and transportation director Kenny Robbins told the school board Monday night that he and board Chairman Jerry Wiley met last week with four natural gas company representatives who were looking for commitments from major potential users.

“Cost savings would be around 40 percent,” he told the board. The firm is looking for a 10-year commitment, he said.

For now, potential major users include Rumford Hospital, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford and Rumford Elementary School, Robbins said.

“They are looking at Rumford right now,” he said, “but maybe Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico.

“They would run gas right to the doorstep (of each building),” he said.

He said most of the oil-fueled boilers could be successfully switched to gas.

He suggested that the district, as well as the gas company, also look into changing the current appliances in school kitchens to natural gas, which he said would also produce considerable savings.

“If commitments are made, Maine Natural Gas could break ground in June or July,” he said.

Also being checked is the possibility of Maine Natural Gas running lines to Buckfield, he said. The district includes the towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Byron, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Hanover.

He said further details will be presented at the Jan. 28 meeting of the school board.

In other matters, the district will hold another public sale of refurbished Apple laptop computers from Jan. 27 to 31 at the Central Office on Nash Street in Dixfield, and at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Several hundred of the laptops, previously used by district students, have already been sold. Several hundred more are available at $300 each.

Students received updated computers at the beginning of this school year. All laptops have some programs installed and are in good working condition.

Those that aren’t sold locally will likely be sold in bulk through other means, Kevin Kaulback, the district’s technology director, said.

Also on Monday, the board accepted the resignation of Mountain Valley Middle School special education technician Jennifer Swett and appointed Kristen Uhde as speech coach at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Directors also appointed retired staff member David Walton as a two-fifths-time special education counselor.

The annual evaluation of Superintendent Craig King will begin within a couple of weeks. To give the board some direction, Kingsaid a two-night webinar presented by the law firm of Drummond and Woodsum will be offered Jan. 14 and 28.

He also said that the union bargaining units representing the educational technicians and building administrators have notified him that they are ready to enter into negotiations for a new contract.

About a dozen advanced government students from Mountain Valley High School attended the meeting.


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