Residents of Regional School Unit 10 vote Monday night in favor of building a prekindergarten through grade 8 school in Mexico. The straw poll was held by the board of directors at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors on Monday hired Tom Danylik as principal of Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

Danylik has been the assistant principal and athletic director the past four years and interim principal since Matt Gilbert resigned last September.

The board also held a straw vote on building a prekindergarten to grade 8 school in Mexico, with 93 residents of Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Sumner, Hartford, Hanover and Buckfield in favor. Two were opposed.

According to Lisa Sawin of Harriman Associates architectural firm in Auburn, the state will pay about $91.46 million of the $92.68 million cost.

The project will require $10,000 in locally funded bonds for permits, Sawin said.

A proposal for $1.2 million in donations and grants for a fitness room will be a separate question on the June ballot.


The school would replace Rumford Elementary School and Meroby Elementary and Mountain Valley Middle schools, both in Mexico. It would be near the Mexico schools: Meroby at 21 Cross St. and the middle school at 58 Highland Terrace.

The state Board of Education is expected to consider the proposal April 13. If approved by the state and RSU 10 voters, the school would be ready by August 2025.

Reggie Arsenault of Mexico said it was “just (incredible) for a fitness center or workout room for $1 million for one room … I find that hard to swallow, personally.”

A woman attending the meeting online asked how students would continue classes during construction.

Sawin said the two schools would stay open.

“We’ve even looked at how the drop-offs will be maintained and parking while the contractors get access to the field in the middle of the site to be able to start building the school,” Sawin said.


In another matter, Assistant Superintendent Leanne Condon and Director of Technology Brian Carrier addressed what they and others are doing about recent social-media allegations of harassment from some students and staff at Mountain Valley High School.

Carrier said he had created a QR code for community members to scan if they want to report a school-related harassment or discrimination concern, which will go directly to Condon, who is the district’s Title IX coordinator. Title IX represents the Department of Education in matters related to federal laws against discrimination based on sex.

The QR code was also included in a March 1 letter to the community about reporting harassment and has also been posted on social media pages and websites for Mountain Valley High School and Mountain Valley Middle School.

Condon said she had received 10 different allegations of harassment and has met with between 17 and 22 people, listened and taken notes and met with the district’s lawyers and went over all of the allegations.

“The lawyer said it, and I agreed, that nothing really rose to the level of a Title IX sexual harassment,” Condon said. “But there were a lot of accusations, a lot of complaints and a lot of students feeling like they were trying to be heard, but they didn’t know quite where to go.”

During public comment, Heather MacDonald said she has “concerns over the increased violence, racism and sexual harassment and the use of the gender unicorn” at the schools. She read her statement addressing concerns about “implementation of (Critical Race Theory) in this district,” and that a Social Emotional Learning class “is the delivery system being used for CRT.”

Following MacDonald’s comments, Carol Daigle said, “I learned about the gender unicorn, and I cannot express my alarm at involving such a thing with children, not just children, but other people’s children, not yours, not the school system’s, other people’s. I am horrified that my tax dollars are paying for such things,” she said.

Board Chairman Greg Buccina of Rumford said, “I certainly respect that opinion. And we will get to the bottom of this. I will work with the superintendent, the assistant superintendent to see how we can look into this and see how justified it is how we are presenting that to our children. …”

Superintendent Deb Alden said, “I would like to say one thing, and that is, one of the things we have to do in public schools is to make sure all of our students feel safe and are accepted. We have to make sure our children are safe, and we can always do a better job. We can. But we also have to accept all children that come to us.”

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