Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District School Committee members logged off Zoom April 17 without approving recommendations to continue distance learning until June 10. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Keith Laser made the recommendation based on Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin’s recommendation for all school districts to continue remote learning to the last day scheduled for students.
The agenda and recommendation for the meeting listed May 29 as the last day of school, but Laser’s office changed it to June 10, the last day of the 2019-2020 approved calendar.
“We are trying to figure out the best way to end the school year … Our attorney directed everyone go to the end of the school year,” Laser said.
Laser said deviations from the original schedule might create too many discrepancies with teachers’ unions and with districts’ tax bases. “I didn’t want to risk legal action … and the legal advice was don’t go there because you don’t know what the legal ramifications will be.”
The local teachers’ union Boothbay Region Education Association (BREA) met earlier in the week to discuss end-of-year details with school administrators, said BREA representative and Boothbay Region High School English teacher Mark Gorey.
“It’s been a blizzard of activity going on about the end of this year. We had a meet and consult with the principals, we had a really good discussion, and the upshot was that all teachers and administrators were on the same page,” Gorey said of the May 29 date. Gorey noted teachers would likely accept a memo of understanding ironing out details on a new date.
As committee members discussed the merits of ending the school year and a possible date, the most popular idea was June 5 with teachers continuing to June 10 for professional development. The main concern about ending any earlier than first scheduled is that the lunch programs end with the last day of school.
Laser said the day students are dismissed would be the last day for school-provided meals; however, the summer meals program would pick up immediately after. Boothbay Region Education Foundation, a nonprofit which accepts donations toward school programs, has $26,000 in donations, said Laser. “So either way, the kids will still get fed.”
The committee meets next at 2:30 p.m. April 30 via Zoom. For the Zoom meeting information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org