Calais Schools to Receive Additional $88,000 in State Funds

By Lura Jackson

The Calais school committee met on Tuesday, July 7th for a brief meeting with newly-appointed interim superintendent Ray Freve at the helm. Freve took the opportunity to discuss additional funds that the school will be receiving from the state as part of recently passed legislation, as well as to recap the July 1st Robbinston school committee meeting.

Earlier in June, the state legislature passed a bill that will result in an extra $80 million being assigned to education over the next two years. Because of that bill, schools throughout the state will receive extra funding. Freve explained that for Calais, the extra amount will translate into a total of approximately $88,000 due to the combination of state subsidies and reduced local minimum. Freve said that he expected the amount would be applied toward the school’s debt of $134,952 with the city. 

Freve said that the Robbinston school committee meeting had gone favorably and the bulk of the 48 people in attendance were not opposed to the Calais school system in general. However, Freve noted that most of the audience consisted of faculty and parents, and that there was considerable interest from the public in keeping the Robbinston School open. The school committee voted to close the school, prompting the public to hold their own non-binding vote, which came out largely in favor of keeping it open. A petition of signatures was collected by the public and submitted to the school board; a hearing will be held on August 5th followed by a public referendum on August 19th. 

Freve stated that a valid budget has not yet been put together for the Robbinston School and that he would be preparing two budgets for review (one with the school open and one with it closed). The Robbinston school committee is expected to negotiate a tuition contract with the Calais school committee in an upcoming meeting.

The tuition of students of the town of Crawford was also briefly discussed. Upon recognizing that the school committee members had not yet had the opportunity to review the associated contract, Freve recommended setting it aside until the next meeting. The school committee questioned Freve if it appeared out of line in any way, to which he replied that it was a standard contract. The proposed contract was accepted by the committee.

Kati Grass was nominated and accepted for the position of secretary at the Calais High School, with Chairman Bob Greenlaw abstaining from the vote due to familial relation.

Stephanie Griffin, government teacher at CHS, presented a proposal to the school committee that outlined a framework of integrating the state-mandated Proficiency Based learning program. The proposal was put together through the efforts of several teachers and faculty members of the school system at the request of recently-departed superintendent Bob Moholland. Griffin said that the teachers had created several promising initiatives including alternative pathways to success (such as offering internships and senior capstone projects). The proposal will be discussed in detail at the next school committee meeting, to be held on August 18th. 

 

The school committee is continuing to search for a long-term superintendent. The search committee for the position was confirmed as Sue Carter, Faye Donovan, Jennifer Fleming, Lori Ellis, Bob Greenlaw, Dale Earle, Arnold Clark, and Billy Howard.