JAY — At the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors meeting Thursday night, Sept. 14, community members were asked to respect bus signals for the safety of the entire community.

“School bus drivers have been doing an absolutely wonderful job,” Phoebe Pike, director from Livermore Falls said. “I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work as well as the level of safety they keep in mind when taking care of the children and everyone else in the district.”

On Monday, the Sun Journal reported an incident on Sept. 8 where a student had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by a car while waiting for the school bus in Livermore Falls. That same day, a driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel and partially drove under a school bus in Kingfield, the Sun Journal reported.

Pike reminded parents, guardians and community members to respect flashing lights on buses.

“If you see the stop sign, please stop,” she urged. “It is not just for the safety of the students, it is for the safety of the community as well. If we don’t support our drivers on the road, then you are putting the entire district at risk.”

Slow down when driving, particularly during school hours, Pike stated. “We want our kids to be safe, our drivers, our teachers, everyone in the community to be safe,” she added.


Several administrative reports were also given.

A completed form, Parent/Guardian Economic Status form, new this year is being required by the state, Superintendent Scott Albert said. He spoke of the contacts he sent on Sept. 12 regarding the form which noted, “We need it filled out and returned immediately, if you haven’t already done so. Information from this form helps the State of Maine to decide how much state funds our school will get next year.

“At the moment the state is paying over 70% of our essential programs and services [EPS] school budget. If we do not get the forms in and we end up getting less money from the state next year, this will be damaging to both the school district and to the local taxpayers.”

Albert again asked for completed forms to be returned to the schools.

In her report, Laura Merrill said food service provided meals for six programs which ran for seven weeks last summer at five locations throughout the district. Staff served 1,620 breakfasts and 2,724 lunches or 4,344 meals during that time.

On Aug. 30, the first day of school, 43% of students in the district were served breakfast and 60% lunch, Merrill noted. The numbers rose to 57% and 67%, respectively on Thursday, she stated. She expected those percentages to continue to increase.


Transportation Director Norma Jackman told of the great job bus drivers were doing with all the road closures [created by flash flooding on June 29] and the extreme heat. She noted the mechanic at Bailey Bros. Ford in Livermore Falls helped another district when two buses being returned from service had mechanical issues on the Crash Road in Jay. He also located a source for fluid film, needed to undercoat buses to prevent rusting for about half what was quoted elsewhere.

Candy donations are being accepted for the second annual Trunk or Treat 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, in the Spruce Mountain Elementary School parking lot, Jackman said. Candy may be dropped of at the bus garage, 15 School Bus Road, Jay, she added.

Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education Director Robyn Raymond said in July she was told funding requests to Sen. Collins and King for Congressionally Directed Spending had made it to the next round. She isn’t sure how many rounds there are.

In March, representatives of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden met to discuss potential funding sources and plans for the Area Youth Sports building. Culinary arts students in the adult education program served a meal during the meeting, after which a tour of the AYS building highlighted the potential for larger, improved space for culinary arts and other classes offered through the program.

“They did say it was approved by the Appropriations Committee,” Raymond noted. Upgrades to the AYS building and workforce development initiatives of $5 million were applied for, she added.

In other business, directors approved an addition to the Spruce Mountain High School handbook regarding absenteeism.


Students were leaving school to go to the store, something during the day, Principal TJ Plourde said. “We weren’t able to correct that the way the handbook was written,” he noted. The addition should help keep students at school during classes, he stated.

“Students who are dismissed by parents/guardians must have an approved excused absence in order to return to school that same day. If a student returns to school before the conclusion of the day, the student must have documentation of excused absences as noted by Maine law. If a student returns to school prior to the conclusion of the day without evidence of an approved absence, the student will receive two office detentions,” the addition states.

Pike asked about students who don’t live with parents, who may be emancipated.

The school works with those students, they can sign for themselves, Plourde said. “It’s never an issue with those students,” he added. “They want to be in school.”

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