New Sebago School District hires a superintendent

Marc Gendron

By Allen Crabtree

Special to the News

SEBAGO — The process to form a new Sebago School District continues to move at a dazzling pace.

At their meeting on April 5, 2018, the Sebago District Board hired Marc Gendron of Biddeford as the district’s new part-time superintendent from a field of five candidates. Gendron has a great deal to put in place everything needed to get the new district up and running by this fall.

He immediately met with the several citizen Advisory Committees, which have been reviewing and making recommendations on all aspects of the new school system. There has been an enthusiastic outpouring of support from parents, teachers and Sebago citizens to get involved in developing recommendations for the new district over the last several months.

Six citizen Advisory Committees have been set up to review Staffing and Administration, Policy and Programs, Finance, Technology, Educational Programming, and Operations.

Gendron has an extensive background in the field of education, including nine years as superintendent at SAD 20 in Fort Fairfield, two years as assistant superintendent at SU 29 in Poland-Mechanic Falls-Minot, four years as adjunct professor-lecturer at the UMaine at Presque Isle and Husson University, and 24 years as a business-math-technology teacher at the Central Aroostook High School. He has been president of the Aroostook County Superintendents Association for five years, served on the executive committee for the State Superintendents Association, and has served on several boards of directors for educational and charitable organizations.

Hiring a part-time superintendent continues the two plus years of challenging work negotiating an agreement with SAD 61 to withdraw and for Sebago to create an independent district. This agreement was overwhelmingly approved by Sebago voters at a Nov. 7, 2017 referendum and keeps Sebago Elementary School (SES) from being closed. It allows Sebago to run its own elementary school as the town used to and insure a top-quality education for Sebago children.

Gendron and the Finance Committee have drafted an initial working budget for the new district, and a budget workshop was held on May 1. The draft budget includes funding for grades kindergarten through grade 5 at the SES, plus tuition funding for middle and high school students to attend SAD 61’s Lake Region Middle and High Schools. Older Sebago students will be tuitioned to middle and high schools of parents’ choice. Under the agreement, 20% of the Sebago MS and HS students would have choice in the first few years. Sebago is committed to paying tuition for 80% of MS and HS students to SAD 61.

A new prekindergarten program at SES is proposed in the new budget. Also, as Sebago’s debt service obligations to SAD 61 are paid off over the next few years, the $263,376 in this year’s Sebago budget will be reduced. The Sebago budget projections are for a slight 2.5% increase in funding for the local school district over what Sebago has paid to SAD 61 last year, or an increase of about $77,289. This amount is in line with projections originally stated to the town during the withdrawal process.

Following the budget workshop, the district board will review and vote on the proposed budget at their Tuesday meeting (May 8). It will, in turn, be presented to the Sebago selectmen at their May 15 meeting.  Sebago voters will cast ballots at a June 12 referendum on the budget and two new district board members. One of the two new board members will be for a two-year term and one for a three-year term.

Future district school board meetings will be posted on the Town of Sebago website, and anyone interested as the new district is created are encouraged to attend. Board meeting agendas and minutes will also be posted on the town website.

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