FARMINGTON – On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Regional School Unit 9 Superintendent Christian Elkington shared with the Board of Directors an update on the condition of the well water at Cape Cod Hill School [CCHS] and the test results of PFAS levels that were taken in June.

According to the Report, PFAS levels came in at 8.4 parts per trillion [ppt]. The standard in the state of Maine is 20 ppt, which means CCHS’s well water is well below the state standard. A second set of tests has been submitted to the state to rule out the possibility of a false positive.

“One of the biggest things is it could be a false positive. Does it have something to do with maybe a couple of the farms that are not necessarily close to [CCHS] or is there something else in we just don’t know that at the moment,” Elkington stated.

In April, Maine Legislature passed LD 1911, “An Act To Prevent the Further Contamination of the Soils and Waters of the State with So-called Forever Chemicals” prohibiting “the spreading or composting of industrial or municipal sludge after farms where sludge had been spread through a state-licensed program – some dating as far back as the 1970s – began to test positive for high levels of harmful forever chemicals, or PFAS,” the Portland Press Herald reported.

Despite the test indicating PFAS levels at CCHS are low enough where no further action beyond annual testing is required, RSU 9 will continue to take extra steps in ensuring the safety of students and faculty at the school until the second test results come in. These steps are:

• Cooking with bottled water in the CCHS kitchen


• Providing, and requiring, bottled drinking water for students and staff

• Working with consultants to develop a filtration plan, if needed, to ensure that PFAS levels remain below state standards.

Direction Richard Ruhlin of Industry commented further on PFAS testing.

“For those of you that have been involved in this, there are between 26 and 32 different chemicals that make up perfluoroalkyl chemicals, PFAS,” Ruhlin stated. “The Geographical Survey based on the aquifer and the way to the water moves within the aquifer could be from one farm. It could have been one firefighting exercise that leaves a forever chemical from one of the persistent bio accumulative toxins.

“Fairfield is greatest example. Worst example possible where for them to avoid being classified as a brownfield site, which will be a forever designation, they’ll have to go to piped town water, that would be continuously filtered and measured.

“So, for us for one school, these are the right options. But we should all be aware of the board. This is a moving target,” he stated.


Three administrative reports were presented to the Board. The first of the evening was Nichole Goodspeed, principal of Cascade Brooks School. In her report, she shared a fall overview of activities, which included a fall festival, outdoor club, crochet club, a mock election, a vaccination clinic, and a visit from the Farmington Historical Society during the election week to talk about the Suffragette movement.

Also in the report were their Fall 22 State Assessment [NWEA] results, which showed that over 50% of our students scored at or above grade level mean scores for math and reading.

Director Gloria McGraw asked Goodspeed if these scores were acceptable.

“I think it depends on what you’re looking at. I honestly don’t think that’s bad. I think that’s about where we should be. But if you look at where we were in October, [we had] only been in school maybe two months. Probably more like six weeks because we take the test the beginning of October”

Director Alexander Creznic of Farmington asked regarding student absenteeism, “You mentioned that with the cold season, flu, influenza-like illness is being prevalent right now, and that may contribute to that. Other than that, what’s the leading indicator for absenteeism at your school and what’s being done to address it?”

“It’s illness,” Goodspeed responded. “For two years, we told everyone to stay home when they were ill.”


Following Goodspeed was Melissa Williams, Director of Foster Career and Technical Education center, with her report.

“In our programs, we’re up over 100 students this year, which is the highest enrollment that we’ve had in forever, as long as I can ever remember, which is outstanding,” Williams stated.

Also in her report, Williams highlighted 50% of their programs have participated in career related field trips and some of their new programs.

“We’ve added our new program, Outdoor Leadership, this year, and we’ve added more career exploration for those ninth and tenth graders. So, we’re focusing on trying to broaden our audience and our reach.”

According to Williams, FCTEC has been working with Day Mountain Middle School to bring CTE to students that did not previously have the opportunity. This includes programs such as commercial arts, culinary arts, building construction, pre-engineering, automotives and digital media.

“We’re putting a lot of focus right now with fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. And we’ve got some career exploration opportunities that are going on there,” she said.


Williams also highlighted in her report:

• Base platform on the outdoor leadership yurt has begun construction

• Building construction has completed framing on the new FCTEC storage building

• Social media presence on Instagram has increased 34% Since September

• Culinary Arts hosted the Franklin County Retired Teachers Association

The final administrative report came from Richard Joseph Jr., Director of Transportation and Custodial Services. In his report, he highlighted a workshop that was held on Oct. 7, where bus drivers, custodians, bus aides, mechanics and maintenance attended CPR, First Aid, AED Certification & Training, as well as school bus driver appreciation day, which was celebrated on Oct. 21 with a buffet of food provided by the district for the drivers after their bus runs.


Joseph also mentioned that supply issues continue but they were able to order and receive parts.

“We have two programs, Foster Tech & Special Ed, waiting on buses that were ordered in May,” he said in his report.

One of Joseph’s workers, Andrea Wing, was RSU 9 Support Staff Member of the Month for November 2022.

“She just does everything and with a can-do attitude,” she commented. “When you ask somebody to do something, she says, ‘I can do that’. One more can you ask for?”

In new business, the board voted unanimously for the building committee that will oversee the construction of the new CTE center at Mt. Blue Middle School. This committee will include Elkington, Williams and MBMS principal James Black as well as John Bogar of the Bjorn Foundation.

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