The RSU 78 Board of Education met on Tuesday, December 13th at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School. Two presentations opened the meeting. The first was from Levi Robinson or RHR Smith & Company who completed the 2022 financial audit. RSU 78 is in good financial standing and it has been a smooth transition from former business manager Sheila Raymond to new business manager Roxanne Tanner. The second presentation was from Shawn Russell on the RUS grant process and how it will be used to primarily address technology needs. This is a shared grant and the total amount will be shared out among participating districts. Applications are due by January 31, 2023 and decisions are communicated out by June/July 2023.

Kindergarten Teacher and ESL Coordinator Donna Brown presented the RSU 78 LAU plan, which is in accordance with federal law which ensures ESL students equal access to education. Because this is a state and federal requirement, the board unanimously voted to table the approval of the plan until it could be further reviewed by the Maine Department of Education.

The Board of Education also approved (8 ayes, 1 abstention) an overnight travel request for two students to attend the All-State Music Festival in 2023. This is a very big honor. Congratulations to the attending students, Daxxtyn Williams (‘23) and Torina White (‘23), and their music teacher, Mrs. Erin Smith.

Action items included a revision to policy CB-R: Superintendent of School Job Description (PreK added), rescinding of policy DFF: Student Activities Funds (already covered in policy JFF), and the approval of RSU78’s participation in the Saddleback Ski Tuesday program, with a noontime dismissal from school on Tuesdays from January 17th through March 7th. March 14th will be an all day, all school event at the mountain. This year, students will also be able to cross country ski or snowshoe at the Trail Center. Like last year, RLRS staff will stay in the building and use the additional time for professional development and planning.

Board Chair Mary Richards thanked the new student representatives Nichole Lemay and Cheyenne Avery for attending the meeting. Thank yous were also extended to Abigail Thompson for all her hard work taking minutes at the school board meetings for the past few years. Ms. Thompson will continue to provide a summary of the board meeting to the Highlander based on the minutes from the meeting. Rowenna Hathaway has stepped in to take minutes going forward.

Superintendent Georgia Campbell updated the board on the COPS grant and moving forward with a needs assessment, the updated 2023/2024 budget process for RLRS staff, and approval of RSU 78 as a member of CMCC, which allows us to collaborate with CMCC and access the Harold Alfond Center. This will provide additional training opportunities for staff. An email was recently sent to the board and all RLRS families regarding illnesses in the building. RSU78 is required to report to the CDC if we reach 15% of our student body absent due to illness. That marker was hit in December. At the time of the board meeting, the CDC has not responded with suggested protocols. At this time RLRS plans to stay open so long as there is adequate staffing. Lastly, the RLRS Staff & Board holiday party will be on December 22, 2022 at the Furbish House. The Board of Education unanimously voted to pay for all staff to attend. All attendees are encouraged to bring a canned good to donate to the food pantry.

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Student Representative Angelica Chavree-Woodward shared that the performance of Big Fish was a huge success. Celebratory banquet was last week and the varsity fall sports banquet was earlier in November. Interact is starting back up again and students are looking for community service opportunities. This month they will be volunteering at the senior citizen luncheon at Bald Mountain Camps. Art students have submitted their portfolios for the Scholastic Art competition. Student council has organized a food drive that runs through January 2023. Foster Tech is having a student recognition day on Friday, December 16, 2022.

Principal Seth Laliberte updated the board on new lockdown procedures. Further training for staff in ALICE procedures will occur in March 2023 in partnership with MSAD58. Portrait of a Learner meetings begin on January 26th at 4:00PM. Please email [email protected] if you want to be on the team. Lastly, Mr Laliberte updated the board on the state assessments for the 2022/2023 school year and the changes coming in the spring.

Committee Reports included Policy Committee updates which were addressed earlier in the meeting; Finance Committee which included budget updates; Facilities Committee did not meet in December; Negotiations Committee met on December 7, 2022 and received a preliminary proposal from teachers.

There was one new appointment: Karen Murphy as an Ed Tech III. Mrs Murphy had previously been the long term substitute for first grade teacher Rebecca Ellis.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35PM. The next RSU 78 Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 6:00PM at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School multi-purpose room.

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