JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors voted unanimously Thursday to approve  a three-year teachers’ contract that includes pay increases for everyone.

Chief negotiator Julie Taylor said the agreement was geared to attract more new teachers, so their wage hikes will be more than veteran staffers.

The contract also has teachers paying more for their health insurance over the next three years. At the end of the contract, they will be paying 2.5 percent more than they are now, Taylor said.

In other business, Spruce Mountain Elementary School Principal Chris Hollingsworth told directors that improvements to the kitchen are nearly done and staff can begin cooking Monday at the latest.

Other upgrades include a new boiler, asbestos removed from classroom and new LED lights classrooms, hallways and the multi-purpose room.

School board director Doug DiPasquale of Jay said work would be done in the old wing after work in other schools is completed.

Hollingsworth explained the new Rocket Math program and gave directors a chance to try it.

“The national norm is to complete 40 problems per minute. Not every student can write at the same speed.”

Each director was asked to copy the number shown in the 54 boxes on the test. After one minute the number of boxes filled was counted. That number, Hollingsworth said, is used to set goals for each student and once that goal is met new goals are set. 

Director Phoebe Pike of Livermore Falls asked if it was sending the wrong message: getting it done fast.

Hollingsworth said it helps make sure teachers aren’t setting standards too high.

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Regional School Unit 73 directors meet in the newly renovated Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay on Thursday night. From left are Chairman Denise Rodzen, Superintendent Todd LeRoy and Directors Shari Ouellette, Shannon McDaniel, Tammy Frost, Scott Jackson, Robert Staples and Ann Schwab. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)