DIXFIELD — A book in the Dirigo High School library has received three complaints and will be reviewed by a five-member committee, Regional School Unit 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen told directors Tuesday.

The book, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe was brought up by Liz Kelly of Dixfield during public comments at the board meeting. Kelly said she was “concerned about the appropriateness of (a) book that is in the library,” and requested that it be reviewed.

“I have it in my possession and I’ve read it,” she said. “It seems to be the diary of a young woman or person who has questioned her gender identity. The book for the most part might be OK, but I found 11 pages that I thought was soft porn.”

Books for the district’s school libraries are ordered through the library media specialist, Doyen said. According to district policies, a five-person committee will review the book and write a recommendation on whether the book should remain in the library, she said. If community members disagree with the committee’s findings, they may appeal to the board of directors, who would decide whether it would remain on the shelves, she said.

The identities of the other two complainants were not revealed at the meeting.

In other business, directors voted to change the property and casualty insurance company to Maine School Management Association for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The district solicits bids for insurance every five years. It has contracted with Kyes Insurance of Farmington for many years, Doyen said.

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Director Carl Lueders of Canton reviewed bids from Maine School Management Association and Kyes.

“It was basically roughly almost $20,000 cheaper to go with the Maine School Management,” he said.

Board Chairwoman Barbara Chow of Dixfield and Director Don Whittemore of Carthage agreed with Lueders that it was a good idea to switch insurance companies to take advantage of better rates and savings.

“After you’re insured with the company for so long, they don’t give you the breaks that new companies will give you, so if we can save $19,000, I would think that would be a good thing to do,” Whittemore said.

In another matter, directors chose Bangor Savings Bank to provide a $500,000 revenue anticipation note for 2022-23 at 3.52% interest.

Business Manager Mary Dailey said 15 banks were invited to bid but only Bangor Savings Bank and Androscoggin Bank did.

In other news, Nick Karavas, high school athletic director and assistant principal, reported the school’s athletic teams had a very successful winter season. There were 10 Nordic ski competitions, three cheering events, 13 wrestling matches, 21 girls’ basketball games and 27 boys’ basketball games.


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