BUCKFIELD — The percentage of students chronically absent has dropped in the first quarter of this academic year compared to last year in five of the six district schools, Superintendent Deb Alden said Wednesday.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, directors and Alden compared the figures, which showed only Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico had a higher percentage of chronically absent students this first quarter, 9.87%, compared to the first quarter of 2018, 8.78%.

The percentages for the others schools were:

  • Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, 11.38% last year and 8.85% this year.
  • Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, 23.13% last year, 15.56% this year.
  • Rumford Elementary School, 9.86% last year, 7.56% this year.
  • Meroby Elementary School in Mexico, 12.54% last year, 10.13% this year.
  • Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner, 10.86% last year, 10.39% this year.

Alden said the increase in absenteeism is due, in part, to students leaving the district but staying on the rolls until the district they go to sends for their records, and to students who leave in May or June without enrolling at other schools.

“So that all counts against us for attendance,” she said.

In other news, directors created three subcommittees to prepare for construction of a new elementary school approved for state funding in October. One subcommittee will choose an architectural firm, one will study possible sites in Rumford or Mexico and one will research which grade levels will be included.

In other business, the board hired Edith Blyberg as a fourth-grade teacher at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School and former Hartford-Sumner school librarian Michelle Cushman as a third-grade teacher at the school.

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