Message July 23, 2015

Welcome to my Blog!  I will be posting various informational items about the district on this site regularly.  Thanks for visiting and visit often.  

The Teacher and Principal Evaluation stakeholder group, under direction of Sally Loughlin, has been meeting this summer and working through subcommittees to address the Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and then how to use these SLOs as part of a summative rating. Thanks to Pete Wilson and Karen Campbell, Board member reps. on the stakeholder group.

Many thanks to Foundation 51 for providing $11,528 for K-5 STEM education, in line with Strategic Plan Goal II, Objective 3.1. Thanks Ashley Caswell for working with Foundation 51 president Anne Robbins and the 51 Exec. Board in securing these funds.

Scott Poulin, Don Foster, and the facilities department have been very busy this summer cleaning all schools and working on larger projects. Some major projects include resurface work on the GHS floor, stripping, sanding, and new base coat completed. MIW has new sink tops in 15 rooms that will be completed. Within the next 2 weeks, paving will take place in front of the high school all the way down to the pool parking lot.

The district is expected to receive $373,179 in additional state subsidy as enacted by the legislature. We can’t spend funds unless approved by voters. The district received a legal opinion from Drummond/Woodsum explaining that the best course of action is to apply this additional revenue to the fund balance. Considering that the state could still issue a curtailment of funds during the year and that we would want to prepare for lower available tax revenue forecasted for the FY 17 year, it would be wise to heed legal counsel’s advice. This will go next to the finance committee for review and then to the full Board for a vote, hopefully on Aug. 3.

This morning, Karen and I met with Cumberland Council chair Pete Bingham Sr. and Town Manager Bill Shane to discuss the per pupil statistics as reported in the Press Herald on July 6 and commented on by several councilors at a recent council meeting. Scott Poulin and myself will be presenting an explanation of the per pupil costs for MSAD #51 at our Aug. 3 Board meeting so as to provide more clarification. One thing to note is that the per pupil expenditure is not the actual assessed value to both towns in the district, as our district receives roughly one-third of its budget through state subsidy.

As you may know, the state has decided to cancel their relationship with Smarter Balanced and is currently reviewing options for a new state assessment in light of statewide opt outs to the Smarter Balanced assessment. Joan Guild, English teacher at GHS, is serving on this state committee that will decide on a replacement assessment.

I had the opportunity to attend the AASA annual legislative advocacy conference in Washington DC in early July. AASA directly influenced the passage of bills in the US Senate and House regarding the reauthorization of ESEA, the Elem. and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as NCLB. For the first time in 8 years, it looks like reauthorization of ESEA has a real chance of passage. I also had an opportunity to meet privately with Sen. Collins to discuss several areas of priorities to public schools.

Finally, here’s an Exec. summary of the Strategic Plan for you. This will be widely disseminated to all staff members, town offices, and other public places.