PARIS — Directors of Maine School Administrative District 17 voted unanimously Tuesday to ratify the negotiated contract with Oxford Hills Education Association.

The agreement calls for teacher salary increases to make Oxford Hills more competitive with other school districts in Maine. It also allows personal time, an area that had widely differing practices between the two previous district superintendents, and use of leadership stipends for K-12 teachers going forward.

During the question and comment period for board members, Director Robert Jewell of Paris suggested the district consider hiring an outside consultant to review school security and advise on making buildings safe for students.

“We should see what it would take to make our schools safe,” Jewell told his colleagues. “I don’t want to be on the school board that had an incident happen that has happened somewhere else. I think we owe it to the taxpayers and the students to at least tell them what it would cost to protect their schools.

“I think we should put it out there in a referendum vote and let the taxpayers decide if they are going to take that step or not,” he said. “That way it would take it off us. Quite frankly, I can’t come up with a good enough excuse for why our schools aren’t safer if something like that should happen.”

Jewell suggested having a report ready for a vote during the November elections.


Other directors agreed, although Gary Smith of Oxford and Lew Williams of Hebron said the cost for meeting that timeline would be unbudgeted and could run as high as $100,000 to complete.

In other business, the board approved $36,600 to excavate for a new portable classroom at Otisfield Community School.

Directors also voted to contract with Oakhurst Dairy for milk and with Lepage Bakeries for bread. While rates were not secured, both vendors have supplied SAD 17 for years and were the only ones to submit bids.

Williams told directors that Oakhurst would be favored over other suppliers because it is the only dairy company that is willing to deliver to all schools in the district; others will only deliver to one location.

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