LEWISTON — The School Committee voted 6-1 Monday night to spend $90,000 for a nurse practitioner.

A grant that had paid for the position was eliminated by the state.

Community Clinical Services, which is affiliated with St. Mary’s Health System, has provided counseling and medical support to the Lewiston school system since the early 2000s, according to Community Clinical Services Director Joan Churchill. 

With the cutback in funding, she said they could still provide counseling services but would not be able to staff a nurse practitioner. 

“I think this proposal qualifies as an emergency need for our School Department. This is an absolute necessity for our students,” School Committee member Thomas Shannon said. 

Churchill said some of the cost may be offset by insurance reimbursements. 

City Council representative Kristen Cloutier said, “This is really important, especially to get set up before the school year starts.”

Board member Luke Jensen added that he was very upset with the state for voting to cut funding. 

The committee also approved a one-time parent-teacher conference extension for kindergarten through ninth grade. 

Assistant Superintendent Shawn Chabot presented two options, which would both extend conference time by seven hours, doubling the current availability. The options were:

• Have a rotating day off for students in kindergarten through ninth grade at the different schools while teachers were there all day for conferences; and

• Have two half-days with the other half open as conference time. 

The committee approved the first one, saying it would interfere with only one day instead of two. 

Superintendent Bill Webster said this would keep the School Department from having to pay teachers overtime. 

Chabot said longer conference time would allow for more in-depth conversations between teachers and parents. 

“Parents wanted it; teachers wanted it,” Chabot said. 

He said this would be a one-time deal for the fall, then the committee can see how it goes. 

The School Committee also approved funding for a new system to record its meetings. 

Pro AV Solutions could livestream and record the meetings at the same time, as well as allow viewers to hear more because of wireless microphones. 

The new system of cameras, streaming equipment and microphones would also be entirely portable. It could also be used to record and livestream events such as graduation, sporting events and meetings held in other locations. 

Committee member Francis Gagnon said this would “be an asset in many facets of the school system.”

The committee approved the expense, and the School Department’s technology team will take bids for the best option. 

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