RANGELEY — The School Board approved the appointments of four coaches and a spring trip for alternative education students at Tuesday’s meeting.

Technology Director Lynn Richards presented a report in favor of hiring a full-time technician, both due to need and the difficulty of attracting qualified people to the area for a half-time job.

“Our use of technology is increasing, and it’s important not to have downtime,” Richard said. “Getting tech help up here is costly and takes a long time. So many problems have been on the back burner for so long that we’re stretched terribly thin.”

Adding that they would need someone with experience in a school system, Richards said the salary could be covered by her own voluntary cut from full to half time. Her request will be considered in budget discussions.

Superintendent Sue Pratt gave a brief presentation of the New England Common Assessment Program test data and said that they indicate very good growth and high scores in most areas. The data from last fall’s NECAP, covering grades 3-8, indicated growth in math and reading scores for four of the six classes. That’s an increase from last year’s three out of six.

There was more growth shown in reading than in math, prompting a search for ways to improve math scores. Data from the high school level will not be available until August.

The Facilities Committee met with the new Building Committee and discussed problems with the lack of storage space, front and back door replacement, the elevator and bathrooms. Ginny Nuttall reported that the committee had interviewed two companies for an energy audit and recommended allowing Pratt to enter into negotiations with the Siemens Corp., which guarantees that the school can finance any improvements with money saved through efficiency. The agents will also work with science classes to involve students in alternative energy planning.

The board quickly approved the one-year appointments of Phillip Olivieri as middle school baseball coach, Jeff Larochelle as varsity baseball coach, Ashley Quimby as varsity softball coach and Elden Smith as middle school softball coach.

Alternative education teacher Jeanette Jacobs presented a rundown of a planned spring trip to Boston for the seven alternative education students, which replaces the usual white-water rafting trip. The class and chaperons will stay in a Portland hotel and travel to Boston by train, which will save on expenses. The trip will include the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium and Quincy Market. The students have raised funds toward the trip through bottle collections, seed sales and a spaghetti dinner. The board unanimously approved the trip.

At the start of budget discussions, Steve Dudley proposed to freeze staff hiring and budget increases. The board defeated the motion after many members said that the upcoming budget discussions would offer chances to consider such actions, and that the budget needs to be based on students’ needs.

The board discussed the need for a counselor in the schools. Pratt said that Tri-County Mental Health will post a Rangeley counseling position, but it is unlikely to be filled before next year.


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