RUMFORD—Regional School Unit 10 board of directors proposed a $29.4 million budget for its 2021 school year during their online meeting on Tuesday.

The budget is a 5.3% increase from this year’s budget ending June 30 and it’s an average decrease in tax assessments of 1.65% to the seven towns of the district; however, the town of Hanover’s tax assessment would vary the most from the other six towns and increase to 23.24%.

The other towns of the district are Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Buckfield, Sumner, and Hartford. The board plans to vote on the 2021 school budget during their meeting on May 11.

At their Tuesday meeting, the board reviewed some budget reduction possibilities and discussed whether or not to repair the basketball court at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico and a storage shed used by the Mountain Valley High School theater group in Rumford.

The total cost for repairs to both projects together is estimated at $8,000, although Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Director Scott Holmes said that repairs for the basketball court could be done for less money.

In other business, the board of directors approved a remote learning plan for students which began on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Leanne Condon, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, told the board that students and staff are now in the third phase of long-term remote learning which will extend to the end of the school year in June.

During the first phase of remote learning in March no new learning was expected from students as they began working on school work from home via internet or worksheets for younger students, Condon said.

Beginning April 6, students had a “soft roll-out of new learning” scored with pass or fail grades and the ability for fail grades to be made up by students.

Currently, in the third phase of remote learning, Condon said grading for students during this time will be recorded as pass or incomplete, with the ability to make up prior incomplete work, and they will also receive a grade for their work prior to March 13.

Principal of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School George Reuter explained that graduating students will receive their grades prior to March 13 on their college transcripts and Mountain Valley High School Principal Matt Gilbert said that students taking Advanced Placement courses for college will be required to take an AP exam to determine whether or not they’ll be eligible for college credit for their AP classes.

“Those exams are going to be 45 minute online exams around the country on assigned dates,” Gilbert said.

In other news, Superintendent Deb Alden gave an update from the district’s Building Advisory Committee for the new school building set to begin construction in 2023. The building will house students in prekindergarten to grade 5, and possibly up to grade 8.

Harriman Associates staff met virtually with principals and staff from Rumford Elementary School, Meroby Elementary School and Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico during the week, Alden said. “They have site maps that they’re going to go over with the principals so that they can get a very detailed account of what’s in the current buildings; what space we have and what it is used for,” Alden said.

Following school vacation week the architectural staff will meet remotely with school staff from various departments to find out about their needs and requirements for their working space and “if there is something missing” or if “there is something that you’re not able to do in the current space you have,” Alden said.

Also, 20 Mountain Valley High School students who participate in the Jobs for Maine graduates program received $100 gift cards from Hannaford paid for by the Jobs for Maine Graduates organization.

Mountain Valley High School’s JMG Job Specialist Larry Thornton told the board of directors on Tuesday that the organization recently raised $300,000 from its corporate partners which include local businesses such as Hannaford and Bangor Savings Bank.

Two thousand dollars was given to each Maine school with JMG students and Thornton obtained 20 $100 Hannaford gift cards for his students with the funds. “JMG is more than a class, it’s this great organization that looks after each other and looks after its students. The entire organization cares so much about kids and their well-being.

“I was so excited to be able to give those out especially after the week we had last week with the storm and such,” Thornton said.

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