“…each town may not witness the full savings (621K, 577K, 515K or 110K) because we want to add educational
offerings into the budget. This is crucial for people to understand, there will still be savings along with increased options provided for students. …”
“I have been or will be involved in the following activities in preparation for our next board meeting. I am in hopes these meetings will move our upcoming time together from conversations to decisions on the consolidation options still left on the “table”.
Phil and I met with Sherman, Stacyville, Mt. Chase, and Patten selectmen, community members and town officials last week.
This was a very productive meeting in my opinion. We explained the potential savings for the different consolidation options and the decision making options still before the board. This was very similar to our other meetings with individual towns, we appreciate the effort of the towns to come together for a combined meeting. We also received some information on the withdrawal plans from Patten and Sherman, in my opinion, those towns are not in a hurry to leave the district and this is very good news. It is important to note that town officials want us to communicate that each town may not witness the full savings (621K, 577K, 515K or 110K) because we want to add educational offerings into the budget. This is crucial for people to understand, there will still be savings along with increased options provided for students.
I will be meeting with Oakfield and hopefully Smyrna and Merrill in the middle of November in order to continue the conversation with all towns.
I will be meeting with Shelly Lane the director of education for the unorganized territories today to discuss our consolidation options with her and to see how we can work together on any potential issues further reorganization would have on the EUT.
We are publicizing our community forum prior to our next board meeting. I hope board members and the community take advantage of this opportunity to hear what is on peoples’ minds in terms of the decision the board may make on the consolidation options.
Also, in preparation for the next board meeting, both the education and buildings and grounds committees will meet. I hope that we can shift the focus to what educational opportunities can be enriched as we look at consolidation during the education committee meeting. This conversation is open to all board members and I hope we discuss things like transportation for students that want to be involved in activities, class offerings, staffing, etc as we move forward.
At the buildings and grounds meeting I hope to prepare a list of priorities for this committee to focus on in the short term and then a longer term look at how we will continue to take care of our facilities. I think that “the will of the board” is to move away from talking about which building is better than the other to what needs to be done to each building and do the buildings meet our needs in relation to the decisions that need to be made.
Robin, Phil and I attended the MSMA annual fall meeting in Augusta. I am sure they will fill you in on their learning. There were many sessions on continuing the conversation around proficiency based education. I also attended a Farm to School session, this is a grassroots effort to educate/involve students in the process of how their food comes to the table. I feel we have an excellent opportunity to bring this program to our schools.
Overall, I feel very encouraged that we can bring the conversation toward enriching what we are already doing for our students and to provide economic stability to the taxpayers.
One last thing, I know I used the term Mountain Brook Complex as an option for further consolidation – this is to notate that there will be changes for both sides of the district if further consolidation is considered by the school board. (there has been no new committee or focus group that has been tasked with rebranding anything; that will be for the students to do)