JAY — Thursday Regional School Unit 73 Board Chairman Robert Staples announced that the first day of school in the district will be Wednesday, August 28. It will not be a late arrival day so students should be at school by 7:30 a.m.

Earlier, a district wide meeting was held to act on joining Western Maine Regional Service Center (WMRSC). With no discussion beforehand voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls approved doing so.

Regional service centers are intended to lower costs through consolidating services and reducing state subsidies for central office administration. The deadline for joining is Nov. 12.

In April, RSU 73 interim Superintendent Robert Webster said the district 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.

At that time, WMRSC was tentatively to include school districts headquartered in Bethel, Carrabec, Dixfield, Farmington, Fayette, Lisbon, Livermore Falls, Madison, Rumford and Strong. Lisbon is no longer part of WMRSC and Fayette is still pending, dependent on an affirmative district vote.

After the vote, curriculum coordinator Chris Hollingsworth said having the state picking up the student information system cost would free up money for other areas. For the first time all student data could be in one place, making it possible to aggregate and analyze the data to tell staff who are at risk or have behavior issues.

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

The board voted to increase the cost of all school lunches by five 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. All adult lunches will also 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 student lunch prices by five 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.

Albert also suggested that all lunch prices, not just those for students, be increased.

“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,” he said.

Albert noted that district board meetings would now be recorded and posted on the website. Plans are to live stream meetings as well.

“It’s important that those in the community who can’t attend meetings be able to see what’s happening,” he said.

Spruce Mountain Primary School Superintendent Kevin Harrington said the school had received a series of donations. One was from Auntie’s Camp in Raymond.

“They found us from the Red Nose television program and donated to the food pantry last year. This year they did a similar thing,” he said.

Spruce Mountain High School Athletic Director Marc Keller gave an update on work being done on the tennis courts located near Spruce Mountain Elementary School. Fencing around the courts was removed August 16. The two courts there currently will be demolished and replaced with three new asphalt lined courts.

A large bulletin board showing a rendering of the project will be erected at the site in September.

Keller said he had spoken with Doug Beck who told him funds from a Land and Water Conservation Foundation grant were used to install the courts originally.

“That grant was a lifetime grant. We will meet with Beck Monday, August 26 to deem that the courts are obsolete. It’s a stumbling block but also puts us in line to get money from the foundation. RSU 73 will get extra points in the grant scoring process because the district has accessed the grant before,” he said.

According to Beck the track and baseball field were also funded by LWCF grants. A similar process will be needed to upgrade those facilities.

Keller also shared information about the July 20-24 Moose River canoe trip that was approved last spring.

“Two students planned to go but one got sick and couldn’t go. Evan Hamblin and I went with 19 students from Mt. Abram High School and five chaperones.

“Evan had a fantastic time. He has a list of students to take with him on our own trip next year. He’s already planning it,” Keller said.

SMHS Principal TJ Plourde told the directors Darin Gilbert, the new school resource officer has a safe in his office. Gilbert wants to add four monitors so every entrance will have one.

“I want everyone to be aware there is a gun in the building now,” Plourde said.

As part of the Gear Up Program, a community barbecue will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4.

“The middle school/high school barbecue will be on the Route 4 side of the Community Building. There will be hamburgers, hot dogs and everything else,” Plourde said.

As part of Homecoming Week, a barbecue is also planned Wednesday, Sept. 25.

“That will be a big week at Spruce Mountain,” Plourde said.

New Spruce Mountain Elementary School Principal Pat St. Clair said a dinosaur-themed motor course has been added outdoors to increase movement.

“If kids get antsy, they can use that. There will be an education technician from the Behavior Room to supervise. A trampoline and bike are also available,” he said.

In other business, the board approved a memorandum of understanding for Day One Substance Abuse, pending approval by the district’s legal counsel.

The program was not included in this year’s budget and will cost about $25,000. The program will include three days at the high school with middle school students able to take advantage of the services there.

When asked by director Lynn Ouellette, Spruce Mountain Middle School Principal Greg Henderson said the principals were in the loop. The program would help get to more students in need.

Plourde added, “It’s definitely an avenue we should be going down.”

Director Tammy Frost said, “$25,000 isn’t that expensive for these services.”





Pam Harnden — 207-780-9051

[email protected]

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