DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 10’s three high school principals told the school board Monday night that the many steps needed to undergo the reaccreditation process often takes time away from the classroom, while also costing the district money.

Superintendent Craig King said more than $140,000 is needed for each 10-year cycle for the three schools.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is the organization that provides accreditation.

Right now, all three schools are accredited. However, each is in a different phase. Dirigo High School is about to begin its next 10-year process; Buckfield Junior-Senior High School is midway through its 10 years; and Mountain Valley High School is close to midway.

All three principals said Maine colleges do not require high school accreditation for acceptance.

The principals were asked to check with a number of out-of-state colleges to learn whether accreditation is required.


Although Dirigo High School Principal Michael Poulin said it’s a good thing to have an outside group review the schools, he questioned whether the time and money required was worth it.

“It’s a very demanding process and takes a tremendous amount of time and resources,” he said. “When I started (in education), there was not a lot of oversight by the state. There are other ways for oversight of our schools now.”

Among them, he said, are the state’s requirement that all districts devise a teacher evaluation tool and a mandate for all graduating students to meet proficiency standards.

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School Principal George Reuter said many of the items addressed by NEASC are already taken care of through other programs.

Mountain Valley High School Principal Matt Gilbert outlined the process that schools’ seeking accreditation must follow, including a self-study, which each school already does, and a visit by a NEASC group.

That visit results in a list of commendations and recommendations, along with a time line to meet each requirement.


Board members took no action on whether to maintain pursuing ongoing accreditation for each school but many questions were asked, such as whether being non-accredited would affect the ability to apply for and receive grants — it wouldn’t — and whether it would affect state funding, which also would not be affected.

At least 25 Maine high schools, including Portland, Deering and Cony, are not accredited, according to list presented at the board meeting.

Superintendent Craig King said the matter of accreditation and the associated costs have come up in other high schools.

Board Chairman Bruce Ross said his biggest concern with accreditation is the time taken away from students by teachers and administrators.

“It looks like a great process, but it’s quite a burden,” he said.

King said if the district chooses not to seek accreditation, it can return to the process at a later time.

The board may take action on the matter at its Jan. 26 meeting.

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