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Pets at school activities debated
DIXFIELD -- Should people attending school-sponsored activities, particularly sporting events, be allowed to bring their pets?
That was debated during the first of two readings of a revised policy called "Animals in School and at School-Sponsored Activities."
Director Barbara Chow read the recommended legal revision, banning all pets, citing them as a hazard and a liability.
But looking at a policy where no pets would be allowed did not sit well with several board members, noting that for many people, animals are part of the family.
Asst. Board Chair Bruce Ross noted, "We've kind of let it slide up to now. Do we want to stand hard fast or have it that the pet owner is going to be responsible?"
The responsibility would include use of a leash and picking up after their pet.
Regarding the fact that pets are not allowed at Hosmer Field, board member Brad Gallant, a police officer, said that when a school event is going on there, "it's the school's field."
Chow, chair of the policy committee, said they will revisit the wording of that revised policy.
In other business, following a lengthy discussion, the board voted to restore the funding for the teacher leadership stipends, at least for another year.
Supt. Craig King said the leadership team is extremely important as they work with Asst. Supt. Gloria Jenkins to move forward curriculum work and other educational requirements.
King said the year will give him time to determine specific job descriptions and duties required of those holding these positions. In reassessing this, he believes that they can do this work with fewer people from the eight schools.
He noted that he'll present a plan for this work over the next year will be presented at Monday's board meeting.
Chow said she was uncomfortable with putting back something that had been cut from the budget.
Back on July 8, the board voted to cut $77,417 in the leadership team stipends. The board vote restores $61,784.72.
The source of funding will be made by removing a half phys. ed teacher, saving $23,000 (7 to 6.5, leaving 1.5 phys. ed teachers at Dirigo High), $15,000 from curriculum and instruction material. The remaining $24,000 will be a site based reduction -- $3,000 from each of the eight schools.
The board learned that RSU 10 is one of the school districts in Maine that has been named to repay MaineCare for services provided by the district’s schools.
King said the Department of Health and Human Services says $400,000 is owed.
However, RSU 10, along with the other half-dozen or so districts that have also been identified as possibly owing funds for non-eligible services, are challenging the DHHS assertion.
King said RSU 10’s lawyers, Drummond and Woodsum, are working with DHHS on the issue.
King said the Buckfield Withdrawal Committee has 30 days to hold its first meeting. A move was approved by a majority of voters to explore the requirements needed to withdraw from the district, if such a move is deemed beneficial to the town.
One of the Buckfield board members, Jerry Wiley or Michelle Casey, will be selected at the Aug. 26 meeting to sit on the committee.
The next step would be for board Chairman Jerry Wiley, whether he is selected as the board representative or not, to initially convene the withdrawal committee. That group would then begin work on what is needed to withdraw, as well as draw up an educational plan for their town’s students if residents should vote to leave RSU 10.
Accepted were the resignations of Dirigo High School teacher Charlie Maddaus, physical education teacher W. Jack Rioux, Hartford/Sumner Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Angela Jordan, Meroby Elementary School kindergarten teacher Sonya Arsenault, and Rumford Elementary School guidance counselor Amelia Craven.
New hires include Larissa Cayer as Meroby school fourth-grade teacher, Wendy Morrill as Buckfield Junior-Senior High School English teacher, and Veronica Decker as part-time art teacher at Rumford Elementary School.