FARMINGTON — RSU 9 school directors reversed a decision made Sept. 9 and voted Tuesday to not pilot a restructuring of the district’s Special Education Department.

The plan was to have a special education teacher in each of the district’s seven schools become a building-based coordinator for this school year.

Instead, directors decided to go back to the original plan and hire a half-time assistant director at Superintendent Tom Ward’s request.

The proposal approved earlier this month would have eliminated the half-time director position, which was not filled.

Ward said that after talking with all involved, including special education teachers, it was recognized that the teachers’ case loads are at a maximum. They wouldn’t have time to take on the additional duties of being building-based coordinators.

The teachers had thought it was a great idea, he said.

The pilot restructuring will be reviewed next year.

The half-time assistant director will help interim Director Christine Gatto-Shea, who only works four days a week.

The money for the assistant is in the budget.

In other business, directors voted 11-1 to hire a literacy educational technician III for one year for Cascade Brook School in Farmington. Director Richard Hargreaves of New Vineyard voted against. He favored hiring an additional literacy specialist to help students at the school, which he said appeared to be the need.

The four third-grade classrooms at the school each have 24 to 25 students, Ward said.

The greatest need at the school is literacy, he said. The educational technician will help the reading specialist.

Larger class sizes are occurring because more students are moving in to the district. There are several pull-outs each day, which help keep the class sizes down.

Educational technician IIIs work under the supervision of a teacher and are able to work with students without a teacher in the room, said Leanne Condon, assistant superintendent/director of curriculum.

An educational technician III has 90 hours of college credits, Director Jennifer Pooler of New Sharon said.

“We have one literacy specialist in the building,” she said.

The difference in pay between a teacher and an educational technician III is about $15,000. The cost of adding an educational technician would be $30,000 to $35,000, depending on the benefits, Ward said.

If they were to add another third-grade teacher, Ward said, they would have to redo all of the specialists.

It would be disruptive to add a new classroom teacher at this time in the year, Condon said. The classes are already established, and students would have to be removed from each classroom to go into a new classroom with a new teacher, she said.

The educational technician would work with kids who need literacy help, Ward said. There is a need in grade three for more literacy help. Adding an educational technician III would most likely use up the remainder of the district’s contingency budget.

Director Ken Charles of Farmington amended the motion for the position to be a one-year position because he said it would be a better idea to hire an additional teacher next year.

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