PERU — The Regional School Unit 56 board tabled a decision Tuesday on whether to join a Regional Service Center because they need more time.

“I will continue to put my feelers out there to see what we could possibly do,” Superintendent Pam Doyen told them.

State legislators passed a law setting up Regional Service Centers whereby school districts band together to share services, including programming, business and transportation, and administration, but services already shared will not count, Doyen said.

She said part of the problem is the first part of the application to for a center is due Nov. 30.

“The potential impact on RSU 56 is (a loss of) approximately $34,000 in the fiscal year 2018-19 and then $72,000 annually by 2019-20. But at this point we do not see savings, rather we see another layer of bureaucracy that will likely increase costs,” Doyen said in a letter to board members.

She also noted that Drummond Woodsum lawyers said “do not jump into this” because more thought and planning were necessary.

“I’m concerned about the extra costs associated with the administration overseeing a regional service center,” Director Natalie Sneller of Canton said. “We do need to be very careful not to join into something where we’re not fully clear on the long-term implications, positive or negative.”

In other business, Dirigo Elementary School Principal Charles Swan, along with several teachers teachers and six students, gave a presentation on Momentum, a state pilot literacy program run in conjunction with Apple computers.

The pilot provides iPads with computer applications such as eSpark, a literacy learning application, to students in grades kindergarten through 3 while their teachers are given professional development coaching throughout the year.

Swan told board members the computers with applications are “a tool that our teachers are now able to use to enhance the learning of our students.” He also said that the pilot program has caused more excitement and interest in literacy for students.

First-grade students Jake Irish and Ethan Knowles, second-grade students Zoey Bordeau and Lane Johnston and third-grade students Kaeden Swan and Marlee Gray brought their iPads demonstrated for directors how they use the eSpark application.

“It was great to see how excited the kids were with (their iPads),” Director Bruce Ross of Dixfield said. “I mean, they were dynamic and they were all excited to show what was going on and it shows a positive effect toward everything. And this is giving them the tools out there to really utilize things.”

Brian Keene, director of technology, said the amount of support from Apple computers and the state has been “really good. Anything we’ve had for problems, we can call the Apple engineers directly, they’ve been great.”

In other news, Oxford County Commissioner David Duguay of Bryon presented the Oxford County Spirit of America Award to board Chairwoman Barbara Chow. She was nominated by the town of Peru and recognized for her outstanding generosity and community service, Duguay said.

The board voted to discontinue flu shots for students. Doyen said that less than 60 percent of the student body had their flu shots at the schools and the amount of time needed to order, prepare and dispense the shots, along with the possibility of human error for getting permissions to vaccinate students presented a “pretty big liability” for the district, she said.

Also, a community work session called Future Search will be held Friday, Nov. 17, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dirigo High School. The purpose is to establish a mission, vision and goals for RSU 56. There will be a supper Friday night and breakfast and lunch Saturday, Doyen said.

Dana Whittemore and Gunnar Bradbury were hired as co-wrestling coaches for Dirigo High School and TW Kelly Dirigo Middle School.

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Oxford County Commissioner David Duguay of Byron presents the Oxford County Spirit of America Award to RSU 56 board Chairwoman Barbara Chow at Tuesday night’s board meeting. She was nominated by the town of Peru and recognized for her outstanding generosity and community service, Duguay said. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Dirigo Elementary School first-grader Ethan Knowles explains how the eSpark application on his iPad works to RSU 56 Directors Marianne Young of Carthage, left, and Becky Hall of Peru. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Dirigo Elementary School third-grader Marlee Gray explains how the eSpark application on her iPad works to RSU 56 Directors Edgar Parent of Peru, front, and Bruce Ross of Dixfield. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Dirigo Elementary School second-grader Zoey Bordeau explains how the eSpark application on her iPad works to RSU 56 Directors Barbara Chow of Dixfield, left, and Angela Varnum of Dixfield at the board meeting Tuesday. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)