JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors have approved class days for next year but tabled a decision on when professional development time would occur.

Opening days, seminars and teacher workshops are the same for Spruce Mountain schools, Superintendent Scott Albert said at Thursday’s board meeting. The district calendar is aligned with that of the Foster Career and Technical Education Center at the Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington.

One proposal for next year keeps late-arrival days to allow professional development opportunities for staff. Another uses early releases for that purpose, something Albert said some staff mentioned.

“A couple hours would be beneficial compared to the late arrival,” he said. “Trying to work across different buildings, an hour is not a lot of time.”

Surveys were sent to staff and parents, Albert said. Among staff, 99 of the 169 responding preferred 11:30 a.m. early dismissals almost every other Wednesday throughout the year with professional development time set to start at 12:30 p.m. The remaining 70 responses were evenly split between keeping late arrival days and no preference.

On the district website there are 277 staff listed for the four schools, some of whom are cafeteria workers, secretaries and other support staff. There are 1,373 students enrolled in those schools.


Of the 373 parent responses, 165 preferred early release days, 124 favored late arrival days and 84 had no preference. There were 71 comments with many noting early dismissal would be a challenge with work schedules and child care. Some felt early release of classes every other Wednesday would be confusing. The impact on extracurricular activities and after-school programs were also mentioned.

Some parents favored early releases on Fridays.

For students attending Foster CTE Center, Albert said he checked with transportation and spots can be set up to drop those students off, similar to what the late buses do. He noted Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde said a lot of the tech center students are juniors and seniors who provide their own transportation. Those students would miss part of their fourth period class but there are no concerns at this point according to Plourde, Albert added.

“We are not going to cut time at Foster (CTE Center),” Albert stressed. Those students need those hours for certifications and classifications, he said.

A study hall could be offered at the high school if students involved in after-school activities have no way to get back for them, he said. Some coaches might be able to start early, depending on their work commitments, he added.

The 21st Century program through Franklin County Children’s Task Force — already in place for kindergarten through grade eight — could be expanded Albert said program coordinator Doug Saunders advised, and a couple more staff could be brought in.


Director Joel Pike said he is all for professional development. One of his biggest concerns is the number of instruction hours missed.

The early releases would result in 33 hours lost instruction time, Albert said Thursday, but in a later email said his figures were not correct. In an email Friday he wrote, “The calendar that has the late arrival option uses 40.5 hours of academic time for professional development. The calendar that has the early dismissal option uses 50 hours of academic time.”

Letting kids sleep in an extra hour midweek was a benefit, Pike said. “I like what we have now.”

Director Elaine Fitzgerald said Turner has done early dismissals the past three years and she has heard no complaints. She has worked with both (options) while teaching, she noted.

“Staff can accomplish so much more with two hours,” Fitzgerald stressed. In the morning their heads are in the classroom already, she noted. “Look at this from the benefit of the teachers, which benefits our students,” she added.

Director Brandi Galgano noted there were 20 half days in the proposed calendar and some months had three. She asked if there is a way to reduce the numbers so there would be less impact on parents and their day care concerns.


Director Chantelle Woodcock asked if a two-hour delay would be weird. The biggest concern of parents is after school, of teachers is getting a two-hour chunk for professional development, she said.

“Anything can be talked about,” Albert said. “Kids at Foster (tech center) would have to come in early.”

“Three (early dismissals) a month may be too many,” Fitzgerald said. She asked that a decision be tabled to give administrators time to look at the alternatives.

Spruce Mountain Primary School is in Livermore. The elementary, middle and high schools are in Jay. Students from Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls attend them.

Opening day for the 2022-23 academic year is scheduled for Sept. 1 for most students. Prekindergarten students would start Sept. 8. The last day of school is set for June 9, 2023, with graduation Sunday, June 11, 2023.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.