LIVERMORE FALLS — At their meeting Thursday, the RSU 73 Board of Directors voted to extend the school day by one hour on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from May 1-31 in order to make up three snow days.

Five cancellation days had been built into the RSU 73 calendar. Due to stormy weather in the fall and this winter, RSU 73 has used nine cancellation days.

The board noted that Spruce Mountain High School seniors, who graduate June 10, would need to make up one of the cancellation days on a Saturday to meet their required 170 days of school this year. The rest of the RSU 73 students will go to school until June 15, with the fourth cancellation day being added onto the end of the school year.

On Wednesdays, students normally come to school one hour later than other days to allow teachers professional development time. On Wednesdays in May, professional development will occur at the end of the school day to allow students a full day of school to make up cancellation days.

The board voted to accept a proposal to raise pay rates for substitute teachers, bus monitors, substitute custodians, substitute bus drivers, substitute educational technicians, and substitute secretaries. Superintendent Kenneth Healey explained that this was so RSU 73 would be fully in compliance with Maine’s minimum wage law, and also to attract more interest in substitutes to fill the positions.

Board member Shari Ouellette asked why substitute secretaries were only being paid minimum wage, and substitute bus monitors considerably more than that. Healey responded that he wouldn’t be opposed to increasing the substitute secretaries’ pay, “but it wasn’t one of the things that came to the forefront when I put this together.”

Deb Roberts, founder of the Hollandstrong Community Foundation, addressed the board about improvements to Spruce Mountain High School (SMHS) athletic facilities. Her son, Michael Holland, a Jay High School graduate and athlete, passed away Oct. 1, 2015 when the SS El Faro sank. The Foundation was created in his memory.

“If there is one thing positive that I learned after going through this experience, it was how much love and support these communities provide for anyone who is going through a life changing event such as our family did,” said Roberts. “This foundation was created to provide our family with an avenue to give back to the communities that supported us during and after the El Faro tragedy.”

She said that over the past several years, she had worked with a committee of community members to develop a conceptual plan to improve the high school’s athletic facilities. The recommended first phase is to raise funds to replace the tennis courts near Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay to allow the high school teams to practice and have meets there.

“The existing tennis courts haven’t been used in several years due to their poor condition,” said Roberts. “Tennis is a life-long sport that not only students, but also community members enjoy participating in.”

She said she was looking for the board’s concept approval before moving forward with fundraising. Directors said they would consider the proposal at their April 26 meeting, after having some time to look it over.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the SMHS Junior Prom on Saturday, May 26.

• Accepted the resignation of SMHS social studies teacher Brian Fielding.

• Scheduled the next board meeting at 6 p.m. April 26  in the Superintendent’s Office in Livermore Falls.

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RSU 73 Superintendent’s Office. (File photo)


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