SAD 17 construction funding getting closer

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MEMORY LANE — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia told the School Administrative District 17 board of directors Monday that members of the senior class, many wearing caps and gowns, visited their elementary schools prior to graduation, much to the delight of the elementary school students, some of whom lined up and greeted the graduates with high-fives and cheers. (Leslie H. Dixon/Advertiser Democrat)

PARIS — Superintendent Rick Colpitts told the SAD 17 Board of Directors at its Monday night meeting that the Oxford Hills Middle School and Agnes Gray Elementary School  construction projects may be only a year or two away from state funding.

The State Board of Education has released its priority school construction list and has ranked the Agnes Gray Elementary School as number 6 and the Oxford Hills Middle School as number 7.

Colpitts said he called the architect who developed the plans for the Oxford Hills Middle School project when the district sought state funding some eight years ago and he estimated the district may have funding in the next year or two. The list must go through a 30-day appeal process waiting period before it becomes final.

“This is good news,” he said.

The district applied in March 2017 for funding for the two schools to alleviate problems ranging from inadequate space to lack of handicapped-accessibility. Some 75 school districts across the state applied for funding.

The district was ranked 26 on the last priority list in 2010-11 for a new middle school, but that number creeped up to 10th in line for funding because the state had funded the top 16 projects on the previous priority list.

In other news, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia reported on the successful Class of 2018 graduation . A total of $847,000 in local scholarships were awarded, he said.

This money comes entirely from community support.

“It makes me very proud ,” he said of being able to go to more affluent communities across the country that do not provide the type of support that the Oxford Hills community shows its students.

“It was a great graduation,” he said of the event while praising the work of his support staff in pulling it together.

Mark Bancroft spoke briefly to the board about concerns he and other parents have about proficiency -based education. Director Kathy Laplante and others also spoke up for more communication with parents and more information about the merits of the proficiency-based education, particularly the grading system.

Colpitts said there will be as many presentations as needed for both the board and the community to assure everyone is behind the proposal.

Other news

The board also approved the official Fiscal 2019 budget referendum results and signed the annual assessments. The action spurred Director Barry Patrie and other directors to comment on the Oxford Hills Technical School portion of the budget.

Several issues, including the outstanding amount in Fund Balance and the lack of oversight in spending, caused some concern among members.

“The Tech budget should come to our board for approval,“ said Patrie. The tech school has its own 11-member board which develops that budget.

The superintendent also informed the board that in light of the recent drowning of a Lewiston Middle School students at Range Pond in Poland, all water-based field trips were halted pending a reexamination of the district’s practices and policies. Many schools, including those in SAD 17m hold end of year field trips at the popular state park.

The board also approved a number of appointments for the 2018-2019 school year .
Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett, who heads the hiring committee, said they are “quality candidates.”

The new hires that were appointed by the board last night include Jessica Prue as reading recovery teacher at a school yet to be determined; Alicia Sadler, special education teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive School; Brian Burke, English teacher at the OHCHS; Richard Caughey, grade 5 teacher, Guy E. Rowe Elementary School; Dana Monbleau and Brook Wardwell, grade 4 teachers at Paris Elementary School and Brigitta Valente, pre-kindergarten teacher, Paris Elementary School.

Also appointed was Samantha Zak, kindergarten teacher, Paris Elementary School; Erika Fujimaki, grade 5 teacher, Paris Elementary School; Riley Chickering, social studies teacher OHCHS, Carol Coy, grade 6 STEM teacher, Oxford Elementary School; Sara Johnson, half time art teacher and half time world language teacher at Oxford Hills Middle School and Jennifer Cousins, pre-kindergarten teacher at Guy E. Rowe School.

Hartnett said there are currently eight more job openings district wide to fill.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net