JAY — Regional School Unit 73 Food Service Director Laura Merrill is encouraging families to complete the meal benefit application because it will determine if the district gets extra funding.

“We’re pushing hard to capture as much of that data as we can,” she told directors at Thursday’s meeting. “A lot of our grants and funding are based off if we meet the threshold.”

A letter to parents, meal information and the application are available on the district’s website under Information Food Service.

Last year, the federal government stepped in to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students, and it plans to continue that program through the 2021-22 school year. Maine plans to continue offering free meals in 2022-23 and beyond.

Director Lynn Ouellette thought the Maine School Board Association was assisting with the data collection.

“We’ve worked cooperatively,” Merrill said. “Put an information packet out to send a consistent message throughout the state, approach it in a positive way.”

During the eight-week summer feeding program that ended Aug. 12, 4,600 breakfasts and 5,159 lunches were served, she noted.

“The supply chain shortages and distribution issues are going to be harsh in the Northeast,” Merrill said. “Expect to be paying a premium.”

Students from Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls attend Spruce Mountain schools. The primary school is in Livermore while the elementary, middle and high schools are in Jay.

In other business…

In other business, the guidance counselor position at Spruce Mountain High School was renamed to social worker and academic adviser with a new job description approved by the board.

The high school has had an open guidance counselor position for some time, Principal TJ Plourde said. There are no applicants and one college in the area doesn’t even have a student in the program, which will mean fewer applicants in the future, he noted.

A team developed the job description for the renamed position, Plourde said.

A master’s degree in social work is preferred. The job goal listed is to promote the ability of students to access their educational program and future career aspirations.

“Great job,” Director Elaine Fitzgerald said. “Anything we can do to support academics, students’ needs.”

“It’s going to be a great addition to our school,” Plourde said.

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