MEXICO — The after-school program in Regional School Unit 10 faces significant financial challenges, but is “surviving.”

At the RSU 10 meeting Monday, Program Director for the Western Foothills Kids Association Barbara Radmore gave the board of directors an update on the struggling after-school program, which serves more than 180 low-performing students at Mountain Valley Middle School and Dirigo Elementary School, which are part of RSU 10.

Through the program, students have an after-school snack followed by academic support time and enrichment activities such as improv acting, computer coding, robotics, art and music.

“This is the fourth year of the five-year grant (for the program), so life’s gotten challenging,” Radmore said.

Funding for the program has decreased from $300,000 a year to $225,000, and will be down to $195,000 next year, she said.

Funding for this year covered only the after-school bus transportation costs and salaries, so the program director and site coordinators took pay cuts, Radmore said.

“We had no material and supplies, but we’re surviving,” she said, adding that the program’s community partners were what helped the program survive.

Some of the community partners listed by the program are the Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine 4-H, Healthy Franklin County, River Valley Rising and 5210 Let’s Go.

Radmore asked the board of directors if any of them would consider joining the board because they “need a strong advisory board for sustainability.”

Other considerations to fund the program in the future are to file for non-profit status, which would open up additional funding opportunities for the program.

In other matters, director Janet Brennick of Mexico told the board that all branches of Bangor Savings Bank in Maine and New Hampshire are collecting jars of peanut butter, marshmallow and jelly during the month of May to donate to food pantries. Brennick is the assistant manager at the bank’s Rumford branch and she said the food donations at that branch will go to Rumford Elementary School’s food pantry.

Resignations and retirements noted at the board of directors meeting included: Richard Blodgett, custodian at Mountain Valley High School, who resigned effective April 30; Roberta Cote, Hartford-Sumner Elementary School ed tech I, who resigned effective May 4; Jennifer Perry, Meroby Elementary School fourth-grade teacher who resigned, effective at the end of the school year; and Marsha Burns, MVHS teacher who will be retiring at the end of the school year. This is Burns’ 40th year teaching.

New hires for the district: Phillip Therriault as bus driver/custodian at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, and Stuart Corlett as special education ed tech III at MVHS.

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