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RSU 16 to intervene with struggling students
MECHANIC FALLS — On Monday, a meeting of the RSU #16 school board began with Elm St School Principal Mary Martin explaining the progress of the Response To Intervention (RTI) team that is in its beginning stages at all schools in the district.
According to Martin’s handout and presentation, “this is an effort by the teachers to help all students at risk of behavioral and academic difficulties. It requires a multistep process of providing interaction and supports students who struggle to meet appropriate benchmarks, and it is a preventative measure that provides assistance to students early, when they begin to struggle.”
“The schools in the district have set up teams that meet once every two weeks in an effort to reach kids that used to fall through the cracks, as well to talk about the kids that need early intervention” said Ayesha Farag-Davis, principal of Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland.
School Superintendent Dennis Duquette and Rick Kusturin, the business manager of RSU #16, talked about and answered questions about the financial statement of the school district at this time.
“The current budget seems to be in the red at this point,” Kusturin said. “But it will not stay that way. Dennis is meeting with administrators to see where there are some line items that can be moved around. These figures are due to incumbents that were not figured in when we wrote the budget," he stated.
Duquette added “there are some expenses that we did not foresee. For example, a number of ed techs had to be hired this year, which was unexpected”.
Duquette assured everyone that the school year will not end in the red. “We just need to go over some things in the budget and see where we can move some things around. I will be doing that at the meeting on Dec 6th with the administrators.”
School board member Terry Arsenault asked Kusturin if he would be sure to keep a running list of where the monies are pulled from so the members can see how the current overages are covered. Both Kusturin and Duquette assured her that this would be done.
One board member also brought up the issue of the school lunch program. He asked if it was in the red, in the black or breaking even. Duquette said that at this time it is about $31,000 in the red. This was in part due to the fact that a new steamer had to be bought for Minot Consolidated School to replace a rusted out unit there.
“The new steamer cost $10,000 and this was not budgeted. And there are some glitches that need to be worked out”, Duquette said, “such as more training on registers and better inventorying which are being done, and hopefully we’ll get closer to even by the end of the year.”
Duquette talked about the fact that the school has already had a snow day., after a storm knocked out power to the school on November 8th.
Instant Alert, which will alert the community when such things happen, has not been fully operational yet, and was not expected to be needed until closer to snow storm season. The system should be up and running the by 2nd or 3rd week of December.
Duquette pointed out that the wood chip boiler has been delayed. It is being shipped right now and is due to be installed around December 18. He mentioned the fact that the new building to house the boiler is completed and is “an attractive addition to our high school. Be sure to check it out,” he said.
Jill Cramp, a PSC parent requested an executive meeting with the school board to talk about an issue with the special education department. This will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.