JAY — Per Governor Mills’s Executive Order 56, Regional School Unit 73 directors voted Thursday, June 11, to rescind the District Budget Meeting scheduled for June 15 and the July 14 Budget Validation Referendum and replace them with a remote informational meeting June 23 and a July 14 budget referendum.

The June 3 Executive Order suspends school budget meetings this year, provided an opportunity for public comment is provided. It is part of the Governor’s plan to keep meetings to under 50 during the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting will be held remotely via Zoom, with access information posted on the district’s website by Monday, June 15.

Traditionally voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls vote on each article of the RSU 73 budget at the budget meeting, then vote on the entire budget through the validation referendum. This year voters will only vote on the budget as a whole.

“The Governor doesn’t want us to have district budget meetings. She wants us to have hearings instead, go straight to referendum for a vote after we have a hearing explaining to people what’s actually in our budget,” Superintendent Scott Albert said. “They will not get a chance to vote (at that meeting).

“I’m kind of disappointed. Our country is based on people having a chance to express themselves by voting. To have that diminished in any way, but that’s what our Governor has decided for us to do at this point in time.”

School board chairman Bob Staples noted there would be a vote on the entire budget this year, just not on each individual warrant article.

“I agree with Scott Albert. This is a terrible precedence for not having an open floor with public comments, voting on people’s taxes and education,” Director Andrew Sylvester said.

“The meeting is now informational only,” Director Michael Morrell said. “People will still get a lot of good information.

“I hope we can get a better turnout than we have in the past.”

Albert notified the board the district had received a $1.21 million 21st Century grant through the Franklin County Children’s Task Force in Farmington. The grant will be used over four years to provide after school and summer programming.

“We haven’t had this the last three years,” he said. “It’s been greatly missed. I’m happy to work with Doug Saunders again, who was able to secure this big grant for us.

“It’s a big deal”

Programming has been waved this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In other business the board approved the hiring of new staff.

  • Carolyn Luce of New Sharon, principal at Spruce Mountain Middle School. She currently teaches at Skowhegan Middle School and has 12 years of teaching experience.
  • Kelsey Brann of Jay, first grade teacher at Spruce Mountain Primary School. A first year teacher, she did her student teaching at the primary school.
  • Jessica Jewett of Jay, school nurse for the middle and high schools. She worked the past 12 years at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington.
  • Scott McDaniel of Livermore, special education teacher in the behavior program at Spruce Mountain Middle School. A Livermore Falls High School graduate, he currently works at Mt. Ararat Middle School.

 

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