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Rates increase for nurse subs
DIXFIELD -- After a lengthy discussion at their meeting on Sept. 10, the RSU 10 board agreed with a recommendation by Special Services Director Clarissa Errington that the rate of pay be increased for substitute nurses used in the district.
Currently, nursing subs are paid the same as teaching substitutes -- $75 per diem if certified and $65 if non-certified.
"We can't get nurses to sub for that rate of pay," said Errington.
After asking for an increase in rate, she added "We have kids with high medical rates in schools."
Supt. Tom Ward said he polled other districts where nursing subs are generally paid between $120 and $140 per diem, or $20 per hour. The lowest figure he found was $92 to $94 per day.
"Each nurse has two buildings, depending on the size," he said. "The need for subs is not great, but we have nurses coming when they should stay home (due to illness)."
Ward suggested trying $100 per diem for nursing substitutes. Director Betty Barrett made the motion for that, which was seconds and passed by all but three directors.
In other business, the board voted to increase the scope of a study that aims to project student enrollment numbers to determine space needs for each area of the district.
The board agreed to spend an additional $2,500 or a total of $5,000 for the study by Planning Decisions, Inc. of Portland.
Ward said they can cover the expense within the budget with savings on other projects.
When making the motion to approve, Vice Chairman Bruce Ross said that although he didn't like spending extra money, it was important to look at enrollment projections. “Do we stay where we are? We need to follow through and get information."
“I don't think we can move on without spending the money,” added Chairman Jerry Wiley.
The study will show enrollment trends and projections by grade and grade grouping for the 12 member towns combined, as well as the projected enrollment by grade and grade grouping for each of the 12 towns separately.
The board is in the process of looking into the most economically feasible ways to educate its children in the district's 10 school buildings. Part of the study may show that some students should be moved from where they currently attend school to another building that may be closer to their homes.
Ward reiterated that town boundaries won't necessarily dictate where a child will attend school.
Director Shawn White asked whether the board should contract for the study when Dixfield has filed a petition to start the possible withdrawal of the town from RSU 10.
Ward said withdrawal from a region is a long process, probably a year and a half away, if a town's residents decide to go ahead.
“We need to move ahead and keep these things out on the periphery. We need to stay on course,” he said.
The board also authorized the purchase of two 77-passenger buses at a total cost of $161,000. The interest rate came in at 1.79 percent. Ward said the state reimburses the district for most of the cost.
New staff hired included Evan Fellman, originally from the Farmington area, as MVMS music teacher; Craig Milledge, who had previously taught at Thornton Academy, as an eighth grade social studies teacher at MVMS; and Janet Wicks, who had previously taught in RSU 9, as a business teacher at Buckfield Junior Senior High School. Wicks' salary is paid by Region 11 School of Applied Technology.