LIVERMORE FALLS — At the December 20 Regional School Unit 73 directors meeting, snow days were discussed.

There have been three school cancellations in the district due to weather conditions.

Superintendent Todd LeRoy said, “Seniors have to have 170 days. We can go one week beyond the current calendar without having to make up days. Thursday, June 6 is the last day now, so Thursday, June 13 would be the latest we could go before making up days. We’ve used three so June 11 is the last day now. We can have two more snow days. After that, we’ll need to make them up.

“The teachers association wants to know how days will be made up as soon as possible rather than waiting until May. The association is in favor of the extended one hour option, which really works the best. No one will come in on Saturdays.”

Jay Director Shari Ouellette asked if the snow day remote pilot program could be used.

LeRoy said the state isn’t going to extend it.

Livermore Falls Board Chairman Denise Rodzen said the students have to have work at home.

“If materials are sent home today and there are no snow days for two weeks, the work may no longer apply. The students may have moved beyond that. The state is finding fault with it.”

LeRoy said there are questions about how rigorous the assignments are.

Jay Director Dale Leblanc asked if the school’s computers have the capability of doing FaceTime.

Jay Board Vice Chairman Michael Morrell said, “Only if the kids have internet access at home. That’s a huge issue with a lot of kids.”

Jay Director Joel Pike said five hours are needed to make up one day. He asked if the plan would be to have five weeks of one additional hour on certain days.

LeRoy said three hours a week would be made up if needed. Students would have Monday and Friday off, go an extra hour on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Livermore Falls Director Ann Schwab asked if switching out late starts was being considered.

LeRoy said the time has to be outside of the regular start of the school day to the regular end of the school day. Late start days have fewer hours, but that doesn’t count.

“Once it hits, we’ll start making up for the sixth snow day onward as they are happening rather than waiting until the end of the year. Kids don’t want to be sitting there then anyways. How much learning is taking place,” LeRoy said.

Jay Director Doug DiPasquale asked if the board could authorize LeRoy now to make up the days or if the board had to do it.

Rodzen said that would be trying to approve something that isn’t known yet. It would take away board member’s option of discussing it or offering alternatives.

Spruce Mountain Middle School Principal Scott Albert said the district waited until April last year because of the possibility of more snow days.

“We were all surprised. We need t look at things earlier. It’s a work in progress,” Rodzen said.

DiPasquale asked if there were better options for notifying people when school is cancelled or delayed.

LeRoy said the district’s database is set up to notify by phone, text or email. The phone is the fastest method.

When asked why the calls go out so early LeRoy said, “The teachers’ contracts say they have to be notified prior to 5 a.m. People can opt out of receiving the calls.”

Albert said if there are more than 160 characters, the notice can’t be sent as a text. Calling is most effective.

Livermore Director Sarah Hughes has three children in district schools. She gets notifications from all three methods, but doesn’t remember how she signed up for them at the beginning of the school year.

LeRoy said he will research the options and what had been used before.

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