JAY — Regional School Unit 73 board of directors on Thursday night, May 9, voted unanimously to adopt a school calendar for 2024/2025 that includes late arrivals rather than early dismissals.

The approved calendar includes late arrival Wednesdays on days students attend 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 on Aug. 30. Prekindergarten begins Sept. 5. There will be no classes on Oct. 11 and March 15 when teachers will have workshop days. The last day of school, tentatively set for June 9 [depending on number of snow days used] will be an early release.

Two years ago, after a change in how professional development would occur in the district was proposed, 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.

“We send our students to Foster Tech so we have to line up with Mt. Blue,” 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 district’s teachers’ association. The association surveyed staff about professional development preference, he noted. “The response was exactly 50-50, there was no dominant side,” he stated.


The administrative team was consulted, wanted to go back to late arrivals, Albert said. “Late arrivals line up better with Foster Tech because Foster Tech does late arrival Wednesdays,” he noted.

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

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

“We also need to remember we would need to set something up because the students need to be fed,” Albert stated. Some districts send home storm 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 about the one dissimilar day between Spruce Mountain and Mt. Blue.


It is the first teacher workshop day in August [before students start], Albert replied. “Their contract is 180 days, ours is 181,” he noted. There are so many new regulations, things needed before starting the school year, that having that extra day at the beginning of the year makes sense, he stated.

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 replied. “The only thing being a little bit hard is when we try doing 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, Chris Hollingsworth, curriculum coordinator/IT director said. 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,” he added.

Director Roger Moulton of Livermore Falls disagreed about switching gears partway through the year on how to handle 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, copies could be obtained, Albert replied. He agreed changing policies could be more difficult. The district averages four to six snow days, one year none had been used by February vacation then six were used afterwards, he noted. The option of remote days in an unusual year is something to consider, he said.

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

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