DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 directors tabled a decision Tuesday on whether to allow people to raise money to reinstate some sports programs not funded in this year’s budget.

The board will revisit the request at their Feb. 26 meeting.

Superintendent Pam Doyen said a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in any federally funded education program or activity may quash fundraising efforts to reinstate junior varsity baseball at Dirigo High School.

Title 9 of the Education Amendments of 1972 is “an equity law that says there must be an equal amount of access for females and males in the school system, and fundraising could impact the equity law because they’re not raising funds for softball, only for junior varsity baseball,” Doyen said.

At a school board meeting last month, varsity baseball coach Ryan Palmer asked the board for permission to reinstate the sport by raising money. He said it would cost about $4,000 for a junior varsity baseball team, and $2,000 had been raised through larger businesses in the community.

The district eliminated all junior varsity sports at the high school and junior high school by cutting about $30,000 from the 2017-18 budget, Director Barry Prescott of Dixfield said at the January meeting.

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Prescott asked whether the junior varsity baseball program should proceed as a booster program, instead of a school program.

Director Ronnie Hutchinson of Carthage said if it was reinstated, a girls’ softball program would have to be reinstated.

“If they can’t raise enough funds and they reinstate (junior varsity baseball) then we are splitting the bill for (both sports),” Hutchinson said.

Doyen said, “The fundraising money is turned over to the school which (goes toward) general school funding, so the school is then in control of the money and we may also have other sports or other extracurricular activities that come after this, if we allow one.”

After tabling the issue, the board held an executive session and afterward voted to give Doyen a 2 percent raise, maintain her benefits and increase the mileage reimbursement for out-of-district travel only, she said.

The board voted in January to extend her contract one year, to June 30, 2020.

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In other business, Director of Special Services Susan Moore told the board the district has about 281 students who are a part of special services. Areas of concern the department is addressing are bullying, anxiety, pregnancy and substance abuse, she said.

The board approved of a three-day student trip to Montreal in May. Dirigo High School French teacher Mary Kaubris and Mountain Valley High School French teacher Marie Russell presented the itinerary, which includes a guided walking tour of old Montreal and a visit to an authentic French Canadian sugar shack.

“This is at no cost to either school district,” Kaubris said. The estimated cost per student is $509 for 30 participants.

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Director of Special Services Susan Moore gave Regional School Unit 56 an update on special education at their meeting on Tuesday. Moore was hired by the board in July. Her previous position was with a charter school in New Orleans. (Submitted photo)


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