SALEM TOWNSHIP — RSU 58 directors Thursday approved hiring a dean of students who will also serve as athletic director for Mt. Abram High School.

They also approved at $9.09 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

Jeff Pillsbury served as assistant principal and athletic director for the high school two years ago. When he became principal of Phillips Elementary School this year, the high school staff have tried to absorb those duties.

At Thursday’s meeting, teacher Merit Bean presented a letter signed by the high school staff asking the board to reconsider a supervisory position. He said teachers and support staff “understand your concern for fiscal responsibility, but believe the safety and well-being of students are also important responsibilities.”

Bean said teachers will be incorporating new mandatory core curriculum standards high school Principal Marco Aliberti will have sole responsibility for the design and implementation of those new graduation requirements.

“When he is the only one able to handle certain disciplinary issues, that important work may not get done,” Bean said.


Secretaries are overwhelmed with the additional jobs that they have been expected to do in order to cover for the lack of an assistant principal and athletic director, he said.

“The district is taking tremendous risk of liability,” he said. “If something occurs, we would face devastating lawsuits.”

The letter also suggested that the district will lose quality staff members.

“We feel the school will slowly come unraveled if we don’t have (the assistant principal) position,” Bean said.

Aliberti and Pillsbury also addressed the board about the importance of having a second supervisory position. Aliberti said Pillsbury was a significant part of the smooth operation of the school each day when he was assistant principal and athletic director.

“I was hopping constantly,” Pillsbury said. “I don’t know how (Aliberti) does it.”


Directors last month decided the district could not afford to hire a certified assistant principal for 2014-15, but did approve $10,561 for an athletic director.

After Bean’s presentation, the board agreed to budget an additional $43,500 and search for person to be dean of students and athletic director.

Business Manager Luci Milewski told directors the emergency funds are dangerously low. Earlier this school year, the board approved a line of credit to cover major unexpected costs.

Milewski said the district is required to maintain adequate reserves for emergencies.

The school board decides how much to appropriate from available funds to reduce the amount from taxpayers. That money can come from unassigned funds from the previous fiscal year or from the current fiscal year.

In 2011-12, directors allocated $650,000 from unassigned funds; in 2012-13, $700,000; in 2013-14, $350,000 from unassigned funds and $200,000 from the 2012-13 budget, plus additional revenues, for a total of $550,000.


Milewski said that has left a dangerously low financial cushion.

“Due to the reduced amount available for carry-forward, reduced amount anticipated for tuition revenue, and additional amounts required from the towns to get state subsidy, the amount requested from the towns has increased,” she said.

Directors voted unanimously for a $9.09 million budget for 2014-15. That is $18,062 more than this year. They also agreed to use $250,000 from unassigned funds and $50,000 from the 2013-14 budget to lower the amount to be raised from taxes.

Even so, towns will pay more in the coming year to replenish the undesignated funds.

Avon will pay an additional $31,365; Kingfield, $56,367 more; Phillips, $57,627 more; and Strong, $62,331 more.

Comments are no longer available on this story