DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors approved Tuesday an educational technician III position for a high-needs student transitioning to the district full time in the fall.

Special Education Director Heidi Connelly speaks Tuesday to Regional School Unit 56 directors about the need for an educational technician III to serve a special needs student coming to the district in the fall. The board approved her request. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Speaking at the board meeting at Dirigo High School, Special Education Director Heidi Connelly made the request during her budget overview for 2024-25.

Superintendent Pam Doyen said the position will cost $54,000 compared to $82,000 paid this year send the student to Margaret Murphy Centers for Children in Auburn.

Connelly said the special education department has 126 students and 24 referrals so far this year. Last year there were 19 referrals for the year, she said.

“Typically, we do get quite a few in the spring,” she said. “Out of those 24 referrals we’ve got 10 that have qualified, five that do not qualify, and nine that are in progress at this time” to see if they qualify.

Also speaking about the 2024-25 budget, Kenny Robbins, director of building, grounds and transportation, said he is requesting replacing the original carpets in two rooms at the high school because of a tripping hazard. “I’d like to replace it this summer,” he said.

Regarding transportation, Robbins said, “We do run 12 daily buses in the district, we have four daily van runs to deliver students to Western Foothills Regional Program in Rumford,” and one bus that takes students to Margaret Murphy Centers for Children in Auburn.

The department has two mechanics who maintain 21 buses, five vans, one food van, two plow trucks and three tractors. And staff maintains 23 acres of athletic fields, he said.

Other increases in the budget include $12,000 for PFA filters at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru that may need to be replaced next year, and a new global positioning system GPS for buses for $25,000, Robbins said.

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