DIXFIELD — Directors of Regional School Unit 56 were told Tuesday that Peru Elementary School has a new hot water boiler and tests for lead in drinking water there and at middle and high schools have been completed.

Kenny Robbins, director of building, grounds and transportation, said the 12-year-old boiler started leaking recently. It was replaced at a cost of $24,317.

He said over the summer, his staff tested most of the drinking water sources at the three schools for lead as required by the state. Each spigot at Dirigo High School in Dixfield passed, and five or six faucets and kitchen sinks at T.W. Kelly Middle School, also in Dixfield, have been corrected and are “lead-free,” he said.

At the elementary school, over 95 sites were tested; four in the kitchen did not pass. Two of the four were corrected and test results for the others are pending, he said.

Robbins said results sometimes take five to six weeks.

He said tests for lead in the water supply will have to be done yearly.


Robbins said his staff is installing an air conditioning and heating unit at the elementary school, paid from the town’s allotment from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The gym floors at all three schools have been treated with a protective coating and all carpeting at the middle school has been removed. The  middle school freezer will be replaced soon.

In other business, Superintendent Pam Doyen said the first four storm days of the school year will “probably be just typical storm days” rather than students being expected to do schoolwork or attend classes remotely. One reason is the district would likely still complete the school year by June 16, Doyen said.

Another reason is students at Dirigo Elementary School are not issued laptops to bring home, but middle and high school students typically have their laptops with them, she said. “And so, a remote day at the elementary school looks significantly different than a remote day at the middle school and the high school. And we just want to make sure that we’re (first) getting every day possible with the best instruction possible for our students.

“We also know that after June 16, if we turn that corner, they’re not really high instructional days anyway because the weather is too hot, and kids are ready to be out for summer,” Doyen said.

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