CSD joins Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor in supporting charter changes

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 8:30am

    The Community School District School Board voted 4-1 on Jan. 10 to support proposed changes to the school charter. Last summer, Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor selectmen began exploring the possibility of updating the nearly 70-year-old document.

    The two towns were eventually joined by school officials in developing a “repeal and replace” approach to updating the document’s language to match current state statutes and change from the current budget meeting format to a budget validation referendum for approving the annual school budgets. Members Peggy Splaine, Stephanie Hawke, John Bertolet and Abigail Jones voted for the updated language. The only “no” vote came from Bruce MacDonald.

    Superintendent Bob Kahler reported Boothbay Harbor and Boothbay selectmen already supported the new charter language earlier this month. The proposal still needs legislative approval. If the new charter is approved, it would be the sixth revision since 1953.

    In other action, Kahler reported February would be a busy month for Fiscal Year 24 budget preparation. He has begun meeting with school principals to seek their priorities. Besides the budget, school officials are also working on the nearly $100 million building project. The CSD is developing plans for building a new high school, renovating the elementary school and adding a middle school wing. The building exploratory committee meets next on Jan. 25 to continue its budgetary, design and fundraising discussions.  

    CSD board members tabled a $1.2 million architects’ design and development phase. Kahler called it the project’s “third and final pre-construction phase.” The building exploratory committee will likely vote on it next month. “A couple wanted more time and a couple others wanted more information prior to voting,” he said.  

    The CSD is also considering reviewing its cell phone policy for high school students. Kahler reported a member had concerns about “impact of screen time on kids.” 

    The committee hired Renise Pires Fung as an elementary school educational technician III effective Jan. 3.