SALEM TOWNSHIP – The MSAD 58 School Board gave a standing ovation for Coach Darren Allen and the Mount Abram boys’ soccer team during the school board meeting Thursday night.
During presentations, Coach Allen showed the board the gold trophy that the boys team brought home from the state championships.
Winning the state championship for the first time was not something he and his coaching team planned on at the beginning of the season. “I don’t think there’s a word in the English language to describe what happened,” Allen said.
He reiterated how incredible it felt to see the stands and the fence alongside the field packed, shoulder to shoulder, with MTA fans.
Superintendent Laura Columbia informed the board that board member Becky Croteau of Strong had stepped down from the board. The Strong Select Board is expected to fill the position at their next board meeting at the end of November. There is still a vacancy on the board for Kingfield.
James Danala approached the board to ask permission for an Outdoor Club outing to Maine Huts and Trails the weekend of December 8 – 10. The group will leave Friday after school and hike into the hut. Saturday, they plan to conduct workshops with members of Franklin Search and Rescue and Mount Abram alumni who have outdoor experience such as raft guiding.
There is no cost to the district. This is to replace a hike and camping trip planned earlier in the fall, which had to be canceled due to the rain.
The board approved the field trip request.
The Educational Policy Committee worked on policies in their meeting early in November, and presented two policies to the board for first readings. The committee recommended removal of the policy specifically for 8th grade field trips.
Sue Pratt said that the regular field trip policy covers all field trips from elementary to senior trips and there is no need to have a separate policy. Pratt said the policy was created to ensure equality between the three schools when planning the eighth grade field trips; with the consolidation of the middle school, there is not a need for a policy other than the regular field trip policy.
This does not mean that the 8th grade class trip will not occur, Mary Nodine said.
Adam Bilodeau said that he thinks the 8th grade trip is a ‘huge thing’ for the kids.
The board approved the first reading and the policy will come back for a second reading. The board also approved the first reading of the Public Participation at Board Meetings document, which has no changes other than updated legal references.
Columbia presented the board with a plan for using excess food service funds. The State Department of Education is requiring that school districts develop a plan for using excess funds beyond three months of operational expenses. Due to a frugal food service department and increased state and federal funding, the district has about $386,000 in excess funds that need to be used.
Columbia presented a preliminary plan which the board approved. This plan includes upgrading necessary kitchen equipment, hiring a ‘floater’ staff person to assist in all the kitchens in the district as needed, wage increases for kitchen staff to help with filling vacancies and retaining employees, cafeteria upgrades at Mount Abram High School, and other kitchen or food service related expenses.
Columbia also said that they would be looking to provide better food and more fruits and vegetable options.
Some of the items in the plan are one-time expenses, while others are ongoing expenses. Columbia and Business Manager Jennifer Pooler said that the ongoing expenses should be covered under the funding they currently receive and result in less excess funds at the end of the year, rather than increasing the local budget.
The plan presented is not finalized and some things may change as the district starts implementing it, depending on the actual costs of projects.
Due to winter break, the December meeting for the MSAD 58 School Board will be held on Thursday, December 14.