SALEM TOWNSHIP — RSU 58 voters Thursday night slashed spending on instruction to $1 in light of the ongoing lack of a teachers’ contract, and Kingfield directors walked out of the meeting.

The district’s turmoil is reflected in the recent resignations of four administrators, including the principal of Mount Abram High School, who announced his resignation at Thursday night’s meeting.

Voters eventually reduced the proposed $9.43 million spending plan to $255,955, an amount that will pay debt service on Maine municipal bond bank loans for building construction and $6,000 for the local share of the adult education program run by RSU 9.

About 115 voters began the review of the 18 articles that made up the board’s proposed budget for 2015-16. Starting with the first article, which asked voters to authorize expending $3.3 million for regular instruction, a group of taxpayers changed the tone of the meeting.

Teacher Christi Mitman asked that voters approve $1 for the warrant article. Teachers have not had a contract for three years, and a vote for $1 would reflect the lack of support the board apparently had for their profession, she said. According to teachers’ union President Sally Bean, the district has spent $200,000 on legal fees and still has not come to an agreement with the union.

“It is evident that the board has other priorities that run contrary to the goal of providing a quality education for the children of our district,” Mitman said.


The sum of $1, she suggested, should adequately cover the quality of education the board is “working so hard to achieve.”

Students have been protesting in front of the school since Monday.

“We want change,” said Mt. Abram High School student Brandon Haines. “Try to meet in the middle, people.”

Merv Wilson, a selectman from Kingfield, has been active with the Kingfield committee researching the option to leave the district. Selectmen at their most recent meeting agreed to commit $20,000 to start the process, he said, whether or not Kingfield voters decide to leave the district.

Wilson questioned the continuation of the budget approval process with $1 authorized for instruction for the coming year, and the four Kingfield board members stood up and left the budget meeting.

RSU 58 includes the towns of Strong, Kingfield, Avon and Phillips.


One voter asked Superintendent Erica Brouillet to name the staff members who had resigned recently. Brouillet said she is one of the administrators not returning next year. She confirmed that Business Manager Lucy Milewski, Technology Director Angel Allen, and Dean of Students and Athletic Director James Black would not return to the district next year.

Later in the meeting, the audience learned that Mount Abram High School Principal Marco Aliberti had submitted his resignation. Brian Twitchell, a math teacher at the high school, addressed the audience, noting that he, too, had been applying elsewhere and would be going to an interview Friday.

“It’s not about the money for me,” he said.

Twitchell said he was not getting the support from the board and the community that made him willing to receive a lower salary than he would be paid in other school districts.

On Wednesday, the Mt. Abram Teachers’ Association issued a Declaration of No Confidence in the school board. Of the teachers and educational technicians, 93 of the 94 individuals presented with the declaration agreed to sign the document.

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