SAD 72 building project concept starting to take shape

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — How SAD 72 plans to address constructing a new C.A. Snow School and address other space needs in the district is becoming clearer.

Directors at their Dec. 11 meeting voted on several key project points:

• They voted unanimously to take the idea of consolidation of elementary schools as part of the project off the table. No discussion of the motion was needed.

Residents across the district soundly rejected the idea of creating a central elementary school campus on the Molly Ockett Middle School site, which would have resulted in the closure of elementary buildings in Denmark and Lovell.

• Citing lack of space and poor working conditions, directors approved including the SAD 72 Central Office (all staff members) as part of the building project. The vote tally was 10 for, one against, one abstention.

• To meet the state’s insistence to eliminate the use of portable classrooms across SAD 72, directors voted 9–3 on measures that would move Grade 5 at Brownfield/Denmark Elementary and New Suncook School to the Molly Ockett campus.

Directors have heard a mixed reaction from parents regarding moving all fifth graders to Fryeburg.

• By a unanimous vote, directors support consolidating special education programming as part of the project. Space will be included for elementary “essential skills” and “Bridge” programming. Presently, the “Essential Skills” classroom is located at New Suncook, while the “Elementary Bridge” program is at Molly Ockett.

• Whether or not SAD 72 decides to add a Pre-K program, two classrooms will be figured into the new construction plan. If the rooms are included, a director wondered if SAD 72 would then be locked into offering the program. The answer, “No,” unless state education officials mandate the addition of Pre-K programming.

Mark Schrader, principal of C.A. Snow and Brownfield/Denmark Elementary Schools, met with kindergarten teachers and found that less than half of students currently in SAD 72 have had a Pre-K experience. While many day care centers exist, there are no Pre-K programs. Would a Pre-K conflict with a Head Start program? Principal Rhonda Poliquin said Head Start eligibility is based on family income, thus making some families ineligible.

If SAD 72 adds Pre-K and funds the program in Year 1, the district is eligible for state reimbursement at the end of the first year.

Directors voted 13–1 to approve the Pre-K space.

• Finally, directors voted 11–3 to replace the Snow School and Central Office, and to include upgrades to Molly Ockett Middle School.

Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson met with Department of Education officials in Augusta on Nov. 26 regarding the building project. One given is that the Molly Ockett property is the site the state will approve. State officials were looking for more “specifics” regarding the project, which SAD 72 directors addressed on Dec. 11.

A future timeline for the project is as follows:

December: Discussion on programming, heating, staffing.

February/March: Concept plans.

March/April: Concept approval.

April/May or September: Referendum.

Superintendent Robinson informed the board that letters had been sent out to selectmen of all district towns seeking two people from each town to serve on a school construction Cost-Sharing Committee. Responses were received from all towns except Sweden and Denmark. A mediator to facilitate those meetings has been selected — former SAD 17 Superintendent, Dr. Mark Eastman. The committee will also include school board directors from each town.

The next SAD 72 board meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

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P1 w51 sad 72 meeting

 

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — How SAD 72 plans to address constructing a new C.A. Snow School and address other space needs in the district is becoming clearer.

Directors at their Dec. 11 meeting voted on several key project points:

• They voted unanimously to take the idea of consolidation of elementary schools as part of the project off the table. No discussion of the motion was needed.

Residents across the district soundly rejected the idea of creating a central elementary school campus on the Molly Ockett Middle School site, which would have resulted in the closure of elementary buildings in Denmark and Lovell.

• Citing lack of space and poor working conditions, directors approved including the SAD 72 Central Office (all staff members) as part of the building project. The vote tally was 10 for, one against, one abstention.

• To meet the state’s insistence to eliminate the use of portable classrooms across SAD 72, directors voted 9–3 on measures that would move Grade 5 at Brownfield/Denmark Elementary and New Suncook School to the Molly Ockett campus.

Directors have heard a mixed reaction from parents regarding moving all fifth graders to Fryeburg.

• By a unanimous vote, directors support consolidating special education programming as part of the project. Space will be included for elementary “essential skills” and “Bridge” programming. Presently, the “Essential Skills” classroom is located at New Suncook, while the “Elementary Bridge” program is at Molly Ockett.

• Whether or not SAD 72 decides to add a Pre-K program, two classrooms will be figured into the new construction plan. If the rooms are included, a director wondered if SAD 72 would then be locked into offering the program. The answer, “No,” unless state education officials mandate the addition of Pre-K programming.

Mark Schrader, principal of C.A. Snow and Brownfield/Denmark Elementary Schools, met with kindergarten teachers and found that less than half of students currently in SAD 72 have had a Pre-K experience. While many day care centers exist, there are no Pre-K programs. Would a Pre-K conflict with a Head Start program? Principal Rhonda Poliquin said Head Start eligibility is based on family income, thus making some families ineligible.

If SAD 72 adds Pre-K and funds the program in Year 1, the district is eligible for state reimbursement at the end of the first year.

Directors voted 13–1 to approve the Pre-K space.

• Finally, directors voted 11–3 to replace the Snow School and Central Office, and to include upgrades to Molly Ockett Middle School.

Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson met with Department of Education officials in Augusta on Nov. 26 regarding the building project. One given is that the Molly Ockett property is the site the state will approve. State officials were looking for more “specifics” regarding the project, which SAD 72 directors addressed on Dec. 11.

A future timeline for the project is as follows:

December: Discussion on programming, heating, staffing.

February/March: Concept plans.

March/April: Concept approval.

April/May or September: Referendum.

Superintendent Robinson informed the board that letters had been sent out to selectmen of all district towns seeking two people from each town to serve on a school construction Cost-Sharing Committee. Responses were received from all towns except Sweden and Denmark. A mediator to facilitate those meetings has been selected — former SAD 17 Superintendent, Dr. Mark Eastman. The committee will also include school board directors from each town.

The next SAD 72 board meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

 

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