Regional School Unit 73 voters from Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls approve joining Western Maine Regional Service Center. Doing so will bring the district about $61,000 in added state subsidies for office administration and $10,000 for Power School, the district’s student information system. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Voters of Regional School Unit 73 voted Thursday to join a service center designed to lower costs through consolidating services and reducing state subsidies for central office administration.

The Western Maine Regional Service Center includes school districts headquartered in Bethel, Carrabec, Dixfield, Farmington, Fayette, Lisbon, Madison, Rumford and Strong.

The deadline for joining a service center is Nov. 12.

Interim RSU 73 Superintendent Robert Webster said in April that the district — which includes Jay, Livermore Falls and Livermore — would gain about $61,000 in subsidies for central office administration by joining the center. The state would also pay for each district’s student information system, which manages student data, saving the Spruce Mountain School District about $10,000.

Curriculum Coordinator Chris Hollingsworth said having the state pick up the cost of the information system would free up money for other expenses. It would make it possible for all student data to be in one place, making it possible to aggregate and analyze the data to tell which students are at risk or have behavior issues.

“The data has always been separate, making it difficult to look at,” he said. “We’ll be able to follow students from kindergarten through grade 12.”

In school board action Thursday night, directors voted to increase the cost of all school lunches by 5 cents. The increase will be for full-cost lunches only. The reduced-cost price will not change.

Student lunch at the primary, elementary and middle schools will go from $2.45 to $2.50. The student price at the high school will be $2.70. Adult lunches will increase to $4.05.

Superintendent Scott Albert said Laura Lorette, the district’s new food service director, had talked with the state about meal prices. There is a tool used for prices and the state suggested raising the cost of student lunches by 5 cents.

“If we don’t come up with about $1,900 by raising the price, it will look like we’re taking federal funds to cover the local amount,” he said. “I did the math. If a student eats lunch every day it will be $8.75 more than last year. That’s for 175 days of school.”

Also on Thursday, board Chairman Robert Staples announced the first day of school in the district will be Wednesday, Aug. 28. It will not be a late-arrival day, so students should be at school by 7:30 a.m.


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