FARMINGTON — A new Regional School Unit 9 Director of Support Services will come on board beginning March 2. Superintendent Tina Meserve said William ‘Bill’ Greenlaw has been hired to fill the position previously held by Jonathan Chalmers.

Chalmers’ resignation was announced at the Jan. 28 school board meeting. He left the position on Feb. 7 but is expected to return in March to present the facilities and transportation budget, Meserve said.

Greenlaw is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and holds a degree in marine engineering. He currently oversees planned maintenance systems for Carnival Cruise Line, headquartered in Miami, Florida, Meserve told directors Tuesday, Feb. 9.

He and his family have moved to Carrabassett Valley, she said.

Meserve also reported approximately $40,000 worth of updates were to be made to The Forum at Mt. Blue Campus during the week of Feb. 17.

“We are getting a new microphone system for the school board and updates to the system,” she said. “I don’t know when or if we will be able to livestream again but the work is being done.”

The board voted last year to suspend livestreaming board meetings for a year while solutions to challenges were being explored. The decision was due in part to lack of paid staff to set up equipment, availability of advance digital media students at the Foster Career and Technical Education Center to run the equipment, and an outdated microphone system.

Funding for the sound system overhaul comes from e-rate grant funds and $15,000 that had been budgeted for the district’s student data system. Since RSU 9 joined Western Maine Regional Service Center in June, the cost of the student data system is paid for by the state, Meserve said.

In other matters, school administrators announced several staff members who were nominated for Maine Teacher of the Year. Nominations include G.D. Cushing School kindergarten teacher Heidi Luce, W.G. Mallett School first grade teacher Emily Beaudoin, Mt. Blue High School language arts teacher Alicia Wolfe and Mt. Blue Middle School teachers Kim Gurney, Fred Conlogue and Hillary Gibson.

County finalists are expected to be selected in March. The Teacher of the Year from each of Maine’s 16 counties will be announced mid-May.

Finally, Matt Allen, Mt. Blue High School mathematics teacher, addressed the board regarding the March 3 special state referendum. The question put before voters asks, “Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?”.

“I teach in a classroom where, if a student is absent, they miss a lot,” Allen said. “It has happened twice in the years I have been here that a student has been absent because of illness that could have been prevented by vaccines. I’d like for everyone to become well informed as to the science of vaccines and vote for what you truly believe in. I believe in science.”

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