LIVERMORE — A misunderstanding and mistake that impacted a recent school board of directors’ election and questions over funding a summer recreation program drove the discussion during the Select Board meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

“I made a mistake,” Administrative Assistant Carrie Judd said, referring to an error in the director’s election process. “We had opportunities for seats for the RSU 73. I did not realize that that was part of my job. I am in the process right now of correcting that error.”

Director Andrew Sylvester had turned in paperwork to seek another three-year term on the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors, but ballots for the Livermore seats were not prepared by Judd for the April 23 vote. Town Clerk Amanda Tyler said April 25 that Judd thought that election would be part of the school budget vote.

There will be a ballot for Sylvester’s seat at the June 11 primary election, Judd said April 25. Director Holly Morris did not take out nomination papers [for the two-year position she had been serving] because she said she wasn’t happy with what was going on, Judd said then. Morris was expected to make a decision soon about serving another year on the school board; if she agrees, the selectpersons will vote at the next meeting afterwards, Judd had said.

Chair Mark Chretien said that steps were being taken to rectify the situation, emphasizing Sylvester’s candidacy and the potential for appointment to the position.

“We just have to correct it. We still have one seat open,” Chretien explained. “If we decide to appoint Sylvester for one year, our lawyer will contact the school’s lawyer to make sure they know what is going on.”

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The board said it could appoint Sylvester, but it would only be for one year. Judd said she will reach out to Sylvester to ask if he is OK with running again next year.

In other business, the Select Board discussed funding for the Livermore Falls Summer Recreation Program, now the Spruce Mountain Summer Recreation Program. This was the first year voters were asked to approve $5,000 to help fund the initiative. The program, which had operated in Livermore Falls but also includes children from Jay and Livermore, faced scrutiny over pricing discrepancies and scholarship confusion.

In January, the Select Board by consensus  agreed to add an additional $5,000 to the Budget Committee for the program.

Livermore Falls and Jay approached Livermore about the program, Selectperson Scott Richmond said in January. Livermore Falls funded most of the program last year, budgeting $38,000 towards it with Jay contributing $13,000, he said then.

Livermore was asked to provide $8,637 towards the program this year, he had said.

With a $5,000 budget allocation from Livermore, children were facing a registration fee of $192 each. Chretien stated that the rate for Livermore residents had been reduced to $132. There was an error made in Livermore’s application form, so the cost was listed as $132 instead of $192. 

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The board received some feedback over camp fees, including this one: “I am Mellette Pepin, Stephanie Lovewell’s mom. I live in Jay, Stephanie lives in Livermore. We have a dilemma. My grandson is eight. Finding day care when there is no school is quite a feat. I am curious why Jay and Livermore Falls are $60, and Livermore is $132.”

“In the past, Livermore didn’t contribute,” said Selectperson Scott Richmond explaining the cost increase. “Livermore Falls footed the bill.”

There will be scholarships, but there seems to be some confusion regarding eligibility. Concerns were raised by community members, including Pepin, regarding the affordability of the program for Livermore residents compared to neighboring towns.

Lovewell said she wasn’t sure how to know if her son would qualify for a scholarship or not. She said she was told to fill out the paperwork and mark the top with the word “scholarship.” Lovewell said RSU 73 sent home a form with her son, which didn’t explain the scholarship process.

Judd said, “The scholarship part is something new,” and the details are still being determined.

Pepin expressed frustration with the higher rate for Livermore residents. “Now I have a grandson that can’t go, who wants to go, and could benefit from the program,” she said. She was concerned her grandson would miss out if the price is $132 and they don’t get a scholarship.

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“I think their goal is to try to help as many kids as possible,” Select person Joshua Perkins responded. “I wouldn’t stress out about it.” Perkins reassured Lovewell that he felt it would work out for her son.

In a phone interview after the meeting, the new director of the summer recreation program, Emma DiPompo, shed some light on the scholarship process. She said she is concerned the summer recreation program is becoming inaccessible as the price increases. DiPompo said she was looking into ways to help children afford the program. “I didn’t realize how many people were going to email me about the scholarship,” said DiPompo regarding the high interest in a scholarship program.

“This is my first year running the program,” DiPompo said. “The reason I put in the flyer to contact me if you need a scholarship was because I was trying to figure out how many people were in need of some kind of a scholarship. We are trying to figure out how we are going to do this.”

DiPompo said her goal for the program is to have it be as accessible as possible. She said a lot of the summer recreation program revolves around playing, which is social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning is needed more than ever, noted DiPompo. “They learn how to be around other kids at the recreation program,” DiPompo said. She said it has been a struggle for kids since COVID, “it kinda messed everybody up, and we are just trying to bounce back.”

Donations are another way DiPompo is hoping will help children attend the program this year. She is planning on putting up little coin jars at places like her grandmother’s store, the Riverside Qwik Stop in Jay. She asked her grandmother for donations to sponsor a few children. She said there are some teachers interested in sponsoring some children as well.

The flyer sent home with the children stated that the summer recreation program would run from June 24 to August 2, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The six week summer recreation program is accepting applications through May 31. The drop off and pick up will be next to the gym.

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There will be field trips incorporated into the program. DiPompo said they aim for two per week. She said the field trips aren’t typically for all ages each field trip. Over the course of the program each child will experience around five field trips. They will go bowling, the movies, and the big field trip is Funtown/Splashtown. She said they have arranged for someone from a bowling league to teach the children how to really play a round of bowling when they go bowling.

DiPompo noted the summer recreation program will be held at the Spruce Mountain Middle School this year.

Carrie Castonguay, town manager of Livermore Falls, said she was going to meet with DiPompo later this week. Castonguay said both she and Jay’s Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere have a few residents willing to sponsor a few children. She said that is how the local “scholarship” came about. Castonguay shared that there is funding available through United Way Hope Fund that the parent/guardian can apply for.

In other news, Richmond gave a shout out to Jessica Woodcock and the 4–H Club for cleaning up trash at Brettun’s Pond.

Judd announced that on May 15 flags would be placed around Livermore’s cemeteries for Memorial Day.


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