JAY — Regional School Unit 73 board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to adopt a calendar for 2024-25 that includes late arrivals rather than the previous early dismissals for professional development time.

The calendar includes late arrival Wednesdays when there are classes. The only exception is Sept. 18, which will be an early dismissal for Farmington Fair. There will be no prekindergarten on late-arrival days.

Students in kindergarten through grade 12 begin classes Aug. 30. Prekindergarten begins Sept. 5. There will be no classes Oct. 11 and March 15 for teacher workshops. The last day of school is tentatively set for June 9 and will be an early release.

Two years ago, after a change was proposed in how professional development would occur, directors approved a calendar using early releases for professional development. Staff had suggested early releases would provide longer blocks of time and make it easier for staff from different buildings to attend group programs. The same format was approved last year.

RSU 73 students attend Foster Career Technical Education Center in Farmington so Spruce Mountain and Mt. Blue school district must coordinate, Superintendent Scott Albert said. “We are allowed up to five dissimilar days. With this calendar, we only have one.”

Albert consulted with the president and vice president of the Spruce Mountain district’s teachers’ association, which surveyed staff about professional development preferences, he said. “The response was exactly 50-50, there was no dominant side,” he said.


The administrative team wanted to go back to late arrivals, Albert said. Late arrivals line up better with technical center because it has late-arrival Wednesdays,” he said.

Director Elaine Fitzgerald of Jay asked if the snow day policy would be continued or if remote days would be used.

Six snow days were used this year; remote days have been found to be pretty effective in other districts, Albert said. “I don’t know how they do it because a lot of districts didn’t have power, let alone internet.” He suggested considering using remote days later in the year for exceptional years.

“We also need to remember we would need to set something up because the students need to be fed,” the superintendent said. Some districts send home packs the night before when a storm is predicted, similar to those for Meals on Wheels, he said.

“Probably 95% of the time we do have a storm the next day,” Albert said. Because the weather prediction isn’t always accurate, he prefers not calling school off the day before.

Director Jodi Cordes of Jay asked when the dissimilar day was between Spruce Mountain and Mt. Blue.


It’s the first teacher workshop day in August before students start, Albert said. “Their contract is 180 days, ours is 181.”

There are so many new regulations, that having that extra day at the beginning of the year makes sense, he said.

Director Holly Morris of Livermore asked how going back to late arrivals would impact professional development.

“We will still have professional development for the teachers every (Wednesday) morning,” Albert said. “The only thing being a little bit hard is when we try doing (things) between buildings, make sure when we have workshop days those days are more blocked out for interaction between buildings.”

The Professional Development Committee met and discussed it, said Chris Hollingsworth, curriculum coordinator/IT director. While some teachers liked the early release, as a group they felt late arrivals would be better, he said. Instead of waiting every two weeks things will be happening weekly, he said. “They thought it would be a lot more consistent.”

Director Roger Moulton of Livermore Falls disagreed about switching gears partway through the year for handling snow days. He asked if copies of what other districts are doing could be obtained and if feeding students on storm days was a state law.

Feeding students is a state law and copies could be obtained, Albert said. He agreed changing policies could be more difficult. The district averages four to six snow days, one year none were used by February vacation then six were used afterward, he said. The option of remote days in an unusual year is something to consider, he said.

“We are not supposed to go past June 30 to educate the kids,” he said.

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