MEXICO — Superintendent Deborah Alden told Regional School Unit 10 directors at their meeting Tuesday that her biggest concern is how fast the state wants to push schools to join regional service centers.

The new law is aimed at efficiency and streamlining student services by bundling purchases and services. 

The RSU 10 board will discuss the issue at its next meeting Oct. 23. Whatever decisions directors eventually make on working with other districts could be overridden by voters’ of the seven district towns next June, Alden said.

Those towns are Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Buckfield, Sumner, Hartford and Hanover.

Alden said the first part of the application is due Nov. 30. RSU 10 would have to share services with other school districts or lose $46 per student in state aid next year, she said.

In other business, Special Education Director Clarissa Fish gave the school board a presentation with Assistant Director of Special Services Bethany MacDonald.

According to paperwork presented by Fish, 26 percent of students in RSU 10 have Individualized Education Plans and 38 percent require extensive resources for autism and for emotional, intellectual or multiple disabilities.

Out-of-district placement costs for students range between $32,000 and $50,000. The district pays for one student’s services from Future Builders, two students at the Collaborative School, three at the Margaret Murphy Center for Children and one at the Central Maine Learning Center.

“Part of the system that isn’t working is that we find out about some of these (Child Development Services) students in April, when we’ve already gone through most of the budget,” Fish said. “They are either improperly identified or they had an identification that appears minimal and it is not at all (minimal).” 

Alden said a couple more staff members were needed in the special education department.

Also on Tuesday night, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Leanne Condon told the board about the all-day workshop for teachers this past Friday. The workshop was organized by Condon and teacher leaders across the district.

“I think it went really well,” Condon said. “Our kindergarten through grade five teachers did work on (standardized testing) and grades six through 12 teachers met in content area groups. All the (language) teachers met and all the math teachers met, and there were some really great conversations.” 

Also, Mountain Valley High School senior Lauren Sterling joined the board as a student representative Tuesday.

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Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

Mountain Valley High School senior Lauren Sterling joined the RSU 10 board as a student representative Tuesday.

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