JAY — Regional School Unit 73 Directors approved a van purchase for Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education using COVID-19 relief funds on Oct. 8. On Monday, Oct. 19, Superintendent Scott Albert announced the district is in need of substitutes and has increased their pay due to COVID-19.

Albert said the new teacher sub pay is $124 per day for those without a degree, $131 with two or more years college and $138 for those with a Bachelor’s degree. After 10 days in the same position, those with a degree will be paid $159 per day and those with two or more years college $138. Anyone who is certified will receive $205 per day and the pay for education technician substitutes is $112 per day.

“I was notified in late summer that we were getting our own pool of money,” Director Robyn Raymond told the board, “We are up against a big challenge. All money has to be obligated by October 15.”

Adult education program participation has dropped because of COVID-19, Raymond said.

“We have a lot of students who don’t have the skills to learn remotely,” she said. “It’s difficult to do car pooling at this point. I want to purchase a van to get the numbers back to where we were before.”

The adult education program received about $22,000 in grant funds, Raymond said.

The second round of COVID-19 relief funds would pay for the van with no local funds being used, Albert said.

“They’ve given us a very quick turn around,” he said. “In my personal opinion, I think the federal government wants that money back.”

It’s difficult for districts to spend the funds and even more so for adult education, Albert added.

On Monday, Albert emailed that the funds are part of the CARES Act.

“Adult ed. was not under the first CRF but were given a separate, much smaller fund which most of this is coming out of. The CRF 2 that just came out and we are waiting on approval for, does cover Adult Ed this time,” he wrote.

“I have to have documentation that we’ll be doing business with a dealership returned to the state by Oct. 15,” Raymond said.

Of the five dealerships contacted, three are willing to work with her, she added.

A used van for $15,000 and a new one for $20,000 have been found, Board Chairman Robert Staples said.

“I’d go for the better van,” he said.

Board member Joel Pike asked how many students would be using the van.

“Right now, eight students are impacted,” Raymond said. “Where there is such a short turn around, this could be a great opportunity to be able to take people to the voting polls, working with remote Department of Motor Vehicles on picture applications for people to get licenses.

“There’s a great need for our program.”

“We were able to purchase a 2016 Ford Transit for $20k which will be outfitted with protective Plexiglass/adjustable clips for the driver thanks to Wilton Hardware Store and Expenet Technologies, Raymond said in an email Monday, Oct. 19.

In other business, Albert said the district would be following traditional snow date cancellations.

“If we need to make up days, if there are a lot, we may make changes at that time,” he said.

Remote learning expectations for each school are now posted on the district’s website. Each day, attendance forms should be completed plus emails and Google Classroom sites checked. Families should plan to set aside two to three hours daily for school work, with high school students advised to set aside 30-40 minutes per class.

It was also noted that Spruce Mountain Elementary School is accepting snowshoe donations.

“Last year, we participated in the Winter Games program,” SMES Principal Pat St. Clair said. “The kids really enjoyed snowshoeing, some had never done it before. We’re looking at getting kids outside this year, doing healthy things, enjoying the great state of Maine. It will help them mentally and physically.

“It’s a big win for everybody.”

 

 


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