What should SAD 61 do next? Public forum scheduled to seek input about schools

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

SAD 61 officials thought they had devised a solution to alleviating overcrowding at Songo Locks School, while reviving an old school that could meet Casco students’ needs for the next 50 years.

Taxpayers, however, felt the asking price was too high, and rejected a proposal in 2016 to renovate and expand Crooked River School.

So, what’s next?

District officials will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at Songo Locks School in Naples to find out from taxpayers how SAD 61 should proceed.

Many parents have voiced concerns regarding safety issues surrounding the new portable at SLS, brought in to ease overcrowding.

Meanwhile, Casco Director Phil Shane, who serves on the school board’s Facilities Committee, still firmly believes the answer remains repurposing CRES. Shane feels the board needs to do a better job explaining to the public what needs to be done in the 30-plus year old building and the costs associated with the work.

He voiced his disappointment with the final Casco vote regarding the proposed project, feeling more townspeople should have supported the plan.

In other school board action:

Contract extension. Following an executive session on Dec. 19 which directors reviewed evaluations, the school board voted unanimously Monday night to extend Superintendent of Schools Al Smith’s contract to 2020.

Directors also approved a 5% pay increase. Board Chairman Janice Barter noted that no pay hikes were given in Years 1 and 2 of the contract.

Light replacement. Through an Efficiency Maine program, SAD 61 will look to lower energy costs by upgrading systems by installing LED lighting, Shane reported.

Retirements. There will be several personnel changes at the high school next fall.

Assistant Principal Guy Stickney submitted his intention to resign his post effective June 30, 2017. Stickney has been in education for 42 years, 17 at Lake Region.

Teachers announcing their intentions to retire at the end of the school year include: Faye Levasseur, a LR graduate, who has taught at LRHS for the past 35 years; Brian Clark, another LR grad, will retire after 37 years here; and Linda Freese will conclude 30 years as an educator — 23 years at LRHS, while also working in Massachusetts (1 year), Pennsylvania (1 year), Arizona (1 year) and next door at Poland Regional High School (4 years).

Personnel. Mario Giampetruzzi was approved as a special education technician at Songo Locks School, replacing Jennifer Scales who transferred to another position.

Linda Bennett will retire at the end of the school year.

 

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