DIXFIELD — Directors of the technology, special education and property departments for Regional School Unit 56 presented their budget proposals to directors Tuesday night.

RSU 56 Technology Director Brian Keene. Submitted photo.

Technology Director Brian Keene, Building, Grounds and Transportation Director Kenny Robbins and Special Education Director Heidi Connelly said they tried to keep amounts the same as the 2020-21 budget.

Keene listed four major goals: “improving parent and community communication; continuing to improve students’ access to online educational materials through our network; increasing effectiveness and reliability of our technology equipment; and continuing to provide quality one-to-one (computer) devices to all of our students, pre-K through 12.”

He cited “a little bit of an increase” in the technology program at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield to cover one-to-one computer devices for students. Since 2003, a Maine Department of Education program, the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, has provided seventh- and eighth-graders and any eligible teachers with computer devices, but this year the program is being redesigned and the state cannot guarantee funding, he said.

RSU 56 Building, Grounds and Transportation Director Kenny Robbins. Submitted photo

Robbins said he the water control system at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru needs to be updated and the roof repaired. At the middle school a new booster club shack, tree removal and roof repair are on the list for the coming year. And at Dirigo High School in Dixfield he listed tree removal, bleacher repair, sewer line replacement, roof repair and a fitness wall.

Connelly told the board there are 139 students enrolled in the special education program and 11 of them “have extensive enough needs to require out-of-district placements.” Five of the 11 students attend Margaret Murphy Centers for Children in Auburn and five attend the Western Foothills Regional Program in Rumford. One student is part of a program in New Hampshire, she said.

Her proposed budget “includes materials to support students and staff; really to use evidence-based programs so that our students are making consistent gains academically and functionally,” she said.

Other proposals include funding for extended school year services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological services, social work services, supplies and professional development, and staff salaries and benefits.


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