DIXFIELD — Spending proposals for Regional School Unit 56 include $138,300 for school repairs and $45,000 a year for three years to upgrade 250 Apple iPads at Dirigo Elementary School.

Kenny Robbins, director of buildings, grounds and transportation, is proposing $138,308 in site improvements in 2019-20, including roof repairs at Dirigo High School, a new boiler at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School, repairs to the heating controls and roof repair at Dirigo Elementary School and cameras and an alarm system at the district’s central office.

Brian Keene, director of technology, said at a board of directors meeting Tuesday that one of the district’s goals is to continue providing a computer device for each student in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Keene said the computer upgrades at the elementary school would have all of the students and staff on new iPads, “with the same versions of hardware and software so everything is compatible.”

Keene has also proposed a district-wide computer network upgrade at a cost of $135,000, with 80 percent of that likely to be paid by the federal government.

The upgrade would replace all network hardware, including switches, access points, wireless, backups and some cabling, Keene said.

He said federal funding for the network upgrade should apply this year because “it is at the end of (its) five-year funding cycle.”

E-rate funding, officially known as the federal Schools and Libraries Program, provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.

In other matters, the board voted unanimously to use $4,500 in “leftover” funding from two accounts to help subsidize travel so the Dirigo High School speech and debate team can go to competitions.

Along with the funding, the board said, the team should make efforts to raise between $1,500 and $2,000 to help pay for students’ meals and other activities during the team’s travels.

The team plans to travel to two national tournaments this spring, in Milwaukee in May and Dallas in June.

Those traveling to the tournaments include coach Brad Conant, assistant coach and judge Cassie Quinn and five students: Will Hines, Adrianna Belskis, John Conron, Jennifer Decker and Reese Couture.

“(Conant) has had a very successful program, and he has done it through (many) years,” board Chairwoman Barbara Chow said.

Kenny Robbins, standing, director of buildings, grounds and transportation for RSU 56, presents an overview of his budget requests Tuesday to the district’s board of directors at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

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