RUMFORD — A Regional School Unit 10 director said Monday that she wants students of all backgrounds and ethnicities to feel welcome and valued.

Abbey Rice of Rumford shared her thoughts with board members about the current protests against racism in Maine and throughout the country.

“I recognize the need for people in leadership at every level to acknowledge the systemic racism that permeates much of American life and the effect this has on our children,” she said at Monday’s board meeting. “I believe and hope that RSU 10 is a welcoming place of learning for students of all backgrounds and ethnicities.

She said as a board member, “I would like to publicly proclaim that Black Lives Matter. I want all of our students in RSU 10 to know that they are seen, they are valued and they are supported.”

Rice said, “If any of our families or students have any ideas or concerns, I encourage you to speak to anyone in leadership: building administrators, the superintendent or your school board representative.”

Directors Travis Palmer of Rumford and Charlie Maddaus of Sumner thanked Rice for her statements.

In business matters, Superintendent Deb Alden said Rumford and Mexico police departments have received federal grants to pay for staffing.

“That’s something that will benefit us,” Alden said.

According to an email from Rumford Town Manager Stacy Carter to the Rumford Falls Times, the Police Department received a four-year $125,000 grant to pay for the school resource officer to work full time instead of part time. The fourth year is to be paid by the town and RSU 10 and is being being negotiated, he said.

Mexico police Chief Roy Hodson said Tuesday that his department’s $266,073 federal grant would pay for a fifth officer for three years. The town would have to pay for a fourth year.

In another matter, the district will hold an online informational meeting on the $29.4 million budget for 2020-21. It’s scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 24 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School on Route 140 in Buckfield and will be livestreamed on the RSU 10 Facebook page.

However, the usual preliminary budget vote will not be held because state rules prohibit gatherings of 50 people or less, Alden said.

“This is different this year because of COVID, but we have to have an informational meeting,” she said.

“We got the word late Thursday that we would not be having the in-person annual budget meeting,” she said.

Voters in the RSU 10 towns of Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner and Hanover will go to the polls Tuesday, July 14, to cast their ballot on the school budget.

The board held an executive session and voted afterward to restructure Leanne Condon’s position of director of curriculum, instruction and assessment to an assistant superintendent position for one year. The assistant superintendent position will incorporate the responsibilities of the curriculum position with additional duties and responsibilities. Condon will receive a 2% raise, bringing her annual salary to $102,588, according to an email from Alden on Tuesday.

The board also voted, after an executive session, to extend Business Manager Leah Kaulback’s contract to 2022 and increase her salary 2% to $81,600 per year.

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