CSD seeks waiver for lost 10 instruction days due to flooding

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 5:00pm

    The Community School District Superintending Committee is seeking state approval not to make up the 10 days elementary students lost due to the flooding. On March 14, the committee voted, 4-1, to seek a Department of Education waiver to avoid making up the days. Boothbay Region Elementary School Principal Shawna Kurr cautioned committee members, if the district did not seek a waiver, school attendance until July 7 would be required. “Right now, the last school day is June 23. If we extended the school year, it would take us into a new fiscal year,” she said. “And I can tell you, instruction in July wouldn’t be pretty. It isn’t a good time on the calendar for instruction.”

    But Boothbay Harbor committee member Stephanie Hawke believed students had already lost too much instruction time due to the pandemic. She supported a proposal which would avoid school extending into July, but also made up lost time. “I personally wouldn’t want to see kids lose any more instructional time. We should try to make it up somewhere else. We’ve lost too much time, already,” she said.

    The waiver only impacts elementary students. High school students only lost one day due to flooding-related issues. The committee approved a proposal which will recoup nearly two days of school instruction. Early release days will not be every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Instead, early release will continue on the first Wednesday of the month, but remaining Wednesdays will have a 2:30 p.m. release time. School officials estimate the change will result in 11 hours of additional instruction time. 

    In other action, Superintendent Bob Kahler updated members on the elementary school cleanup. He reported Facilities Director Dave Benner assembled an “easy-to-read” chart regarding 29 elementary school rooms and indicating contamination removal. “Some rooms have been cleaned and been cordoned off, so no cross-contamination happens while construction continues,” he said. 

    Kahler is planning for a phased re-entry into the building after April vacation. The plan remains for seventh and eighth graders, who are currently attending class at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, being the first to re-enter. While returning students back to BRES is a high priority for administrators, Kurr reported seventh and eighth graders are in no hurry to return. She recently talked to students about the long travel times and off-campus environment. “They are very happy, especially with food,” she said. 

    High School Principal Tricia Campbell reported her student population is glad to return back to the campus after a short remote learning period. Students lost their winter carnival due to the classroom realignment caused by the flooding. They are now planning another weeklong celebration. “Winter carnival is now the spring fling. It will take place March 27-31,” she said. “High school students are trying to involve the kindergarten through grade two students who attend class in the north wing.”

    The committee approved hiring Erika Landry as an educational technician III. Her start date was Feb. 27. Jasmine Alley was hired as an ed tech II. Her start day was March 6. The committee accepted the resignation of ed tech III Christina Morley, who resigned on March 3.

    The committee approved the following policies after a second reading: weapons, violence and school safety; student discipline; use of physical restraint; suspension of students; expulsion of students; disciplinary removal of students with disabilities; immunization of students; administration of medications; and child abuse reporting, prevention and education.
    The committee meets next at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 in the high school library.