REGION — SAD 44 board members unanimously approved allowing community organizations to use SAD 44 athletic fields at their March 8 meeting. The approval came with the understanding that these groups “will be responsible for enforcing and assuring strict adherence to all required COVID-19 protocols established by the State of Maine.”

“With little to no transmission occurring during sports, we think this is a good decision and way to get more kids outside,” Superintendent Murphy said.

“There will be expectations, we do not want anyone coming in and being careless,” Murphy said.

Public use of fields has not been permitted since last March, according to Murphy.

Organizations who want to use the fields have to schedule time with Telstar Athletic Director Gail Wight.

Member Maggie Davis asked if there would be punishment for groups that violate coronavirus guidelines. Murphy said a likely punishment would be no longer allowing that group to use the fields.

“The requirement that we are going to have in place is that the people responsible for organizing the programs are going to have some real significant conversations with the coaches and people that are running those programs,” Murphy said. “We don’t want some groups following rules and some groups not following them. That will be unacceptable.”

Member Sarah DeCato asked if masking would be required for both players and spectators.

“I want to make sure all families and children are going to a place that is in compliance with how they do school,” DeCato said.

Murphy said on top of requiring mask use, people will also use hand sanitizer and have to practice safe social distancing.

Other business

In other business, Region 9 Representative Norm Clanton said inductees for National Technical Honors Society were announced last week, with two being from SAD 44.

Murphy also informed board members that the district will not be losing $341, 775 in state aid, which he originally expected to happen. In February, Murphy told the board that he was anticipating a 40 percent loss of the schools state funding, since the overall percentage of SAD 44 students eligible for free and reduced meals was below the state average of 46 percent.

Since then, he has worked with the Department of Education which allowed the district to go back and see if anymore of its students at the secondary level were eligible for free and reduced meals. Murphy said three more students were identified as being eligible for free and reduced meals, saving the district from a massive reduction in state funding.

With the reduction the district was looking at receiving only $522,233 in state aid this year, but will now get $897,281, which is $33,273 more than what they got for funding last year.

The district received its updated ED279 in early March, according to Murphy.

The next board meeting is Monday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m.

 

 

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