School Board approves staff raises
The SAD 44 School Board Monday approved raises for most district staff members.
There will be 1.5 percent raises per year for the next three years for teachers, increases of 2 to 2.5 percent per year for secretaries and educational technicians, and 2 percent for the next year for all but one administrator, according to Supt. Dave Murphy.
Two percent raises for one-year contracts were approved for Adult Education Director Jean Waite, District Technology Coordinator Peter Kuzyk, TMS Principal Clark Rafford, Athletic Director Gail Wight, THS Dean of Students Charles Raymond and Transportation/Maintenance Supervisor Ron Deegan.
A 1 percent increase was approved for Telstar High School Principal Dan Hart, with 0 percent for last year (retroactive), Murphy said.
All the votes were unanimous except for a 10-3 vote on Hart, according to Murphy. Bethel directors Tim Carter and Carol Everett and Newry Director Deb Webster voted in opposition, Murphy said.
He said Hart’s contract for last year had been tabled last winter, and the board did not give him an increase.
The votes came following executive sessions by the board.
Health benefits will remain the same for all groups, Murphy said.
Murphy told the board that SAD 44 has received the most recent Maine High School Assessment testing results and the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards in math and reading had increased by about 11 percent in each category.
He noted that past test results had been used in part to determine the “F” grade Telstar High School received last spring on a state-issued “report card.”
Murphy said a more detailed presentation of test results will take place at a future board meeting.
Directors scheduled an additional board meeting for Sept. 30 in Woodstock in anticipation of a possible agreement being reached with Andover on its SAD 44 withdrawal process.
A sticking point has been the district’s insistence that if Andover should vote to withdraw the town must tuition its older students back to SAD 44.
Andover wishes to have the option to send them elsewhere.
But Murphy said Monday that only minor items remain to be ironed out in the negotiations between the district and a committee representing Andover.
Murphy also reported on enrollment numbers for the start of the school year: 31 students at the Andover Elementary School; 241 at Crescent Park; 92 at Woodstock; 185 at Telstar Middle School and 250 at Telstar High School.
He said four THS seniors have enrolled in a special program at Central Maine Community College that allows them to earn high school and college credit at the same time.
Murphy updated the board on the progress of an effort funded by a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant.
The district was invited last spring to join a $25 million, five-year ongoing federal/state grant program that focuses on school environment, educator evaluation, professional growth and data management.
Murphy estimates that by the end of next June SAD 44 will receive $1 million.
The K-12 effort will be directed by a to-be-hired project director, and will also include such resources as teacher leaders/facilitators, technology support (including up to 20 iPads, video equipment and training), assessment, professional development, student and parent involvement/surveys, support from outside agencies and travel costs.
The program includes financial incentives for school staff for meeting certain goals. The funding will also pay for substitute teachers to allow staff to observe each other’s teaching methods.
Murphy said Monday that eight facilitators have been trained and they are working to develop student learning objectives in order to increase academic performance.
Training and support are provided by consultants and coaches from the state’s Maine Schools for Excellence program.
On a workshop day Oct. 11 the facilitators will provide information to district teachers on next steps in developing student learning expectations.
At the administrative level, state coaches will work with principals to develop evaluation systems for teachers, while Murphy will learn how to evaluate the principals.
“It’s going to be a learning year for everyone,” said Murphy.
In other business directors approved Brandon Hagopian as a physical education/health teacher at TMS.
The board also approved an annual contract with the Bethel Family Health Center to provide a school physician, as well as two hours of presentations on health-related topics and a discount for school bus driver physicals. The cost of the entire package is $500, Murphy said.