RUMFORD — Regional School Unit 10 will receive $8.48 million from the American Rescue Plan, Superintendent Deb Alden told the board of directors Tuesday.

The money is part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package designed to facilitate the United States’ recovery from the devastating economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 20%, or $1.69 million for RSU 10, must be used specifically for projects such as high-quality tutoring, enrichment programs, students’ course credit recovery, an extended school year and summer programming, among other programs.

The money must be spent by September 2023.

“Examples of the projects that we’re working on currently have to do with, for example, how we’ve really expanded our summer programs (and added) on additional staff for this coming year to reduce class sizes so kids can get more attention,” Alden said. The district also added more staff to help with students’ learning interventions and for tutoring.

The remaining 80% will be used for “additional technology to make sure we continue with one-to-one technology (for students) at our middle school level, building upgrades with heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and additional transportation for summer programming and meal deliveries,” Alden said.

In other business, directors voted to purchase solar energy billing credits from Revision Energy. Alden noted the 20-year contract with the Montville-based company will mean a 17.5% savings in electricity costs for the district.

Of the 10 directors voting at the meeting, Michelle Casey of Buckfield and Justeen Lapointe of Roxbury, were opposed to the solar energy credits. Newly appointed director Bill Hobson of Rumford abstained from voting.

Voting for the purchase were Jerry Wiley of Buckfield, Gail Parent of Hanover, Bonnie Child of Mexico, Charlie Maddaus of Sumner and Abbey Rice, Dan Hodge and Greg Buccina, all of Rumford.

The purchase of solar energy credits “starts as soon as this particular solar project gets going. I believe it (will be) near the end of 2022,” Alden said.

The board also included an amendment that they did not want any prohibitions toward “pursuing other solar options” in the future. Alden assured them she would review the contract for any prohibitions toward other options before signing it.

Mountain Valley Middle School Principal Ryan Casey and Building, Grounds and Transportation Director Scott Holmes told the board about their work on committees studying site design and needs for a new school building. It’s proposed for prekindergarten through grade 8 students at the site of Meroby Elementary and Mountain Valley Middle schools in Mexico.

If voters approve the project — at the earliest in November — construction would likely begin in the spring of 2023 and take more than two years.


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