Edgecomb school committee discusses precautions for coronavirus

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 4:30pm

    Alternative Organizational Structure 98 schools are formulating plans for handling the coronavirus. Superintendent Dr. Keith Laser reported during the March 9 Edgecomb School Committee meeting the district is sending out letters to staff and parents updating precautions regarding the virus which originated in the People’s Republic of China and is spreading worldwide. Globally, 114,000 cases have been confirmed with 4,028 deaths reported by LiveScience.com since the virus occurred in December in Wuhan, China. The first American case surfaced in Washington state Jan. 20. So far, the U.S. has 755 coronavirus cases with 26 deaths.

    Laser told committee members about his recent meeting with other school superintendents in Augusta regarding the state’s response to the infectious virus. “We’ve sent a letter to our staff and are working on one to parents, which will be forwarded shortly to the newspapers soon,” he said. 

    In other action, the committee voted unanimously to recommend a $3,356,416.36 fiscal year 2020-21 school budget. The proposed budget reflects a 5.56% increase in spending, but local taxpayers would only see a 2.24% increase in their local assessment. Laser explained a larger state subsidy combined with more tuition students and using surplus funds to lower taxpayer contributions resulted in a slightly higher municipal contribution. “Our state subsidy is increasing from $224,632 to $404,823. We’ve increased revenue due going from six to 10 tuition-paying students,” Laser said. 

    The committee unanimously approved changing March 13 from a teacher in-service day to one for regular instruction. The change was made to make up for one of the previous storm day cancellations. The committee is currently updating school policies. Twenty updated proposals underwent their first readings. Laser explained policies should be reviewed every three to five years and some of Edgecomb’s hadn’t been updated for nearly two decades. 

    Principal Ira Michaud updated the committee about future school events. The school received a $500 LincolnHealth “mini-grant” which bought physical education supplies. “Some were used today for our field event. At recess, we used 14 flyers,” he said. Other newly purchased items were four new indoor/outdoor basketballs, an air compressor, 60 yarn balls, 35 pool noodles and 24 rubberized tossing and throwing rings.

    On April 2, kindergarten through grade three students will attend a “Kinderkonzert” at Boothbay Harbor Opera House. Portland Symphony Orchestra invited local students to the free mid-morning musical performance. Michaud reported plans for the school’s benefit spaghetti supper were receiving widespread community support. School officials and staff had received numerous donations from local businesses, individuals and organizations for the May 15 dinner and raffle. Proceeds benefit the school’s playground fund.

    Michaud announced teachers would review Maine Educational Assessment testing materials with students prior to the testing window for grades 3-8. The language arts and math window begins March 16 and ends April 10. The fifth grade science assessment begins April 27 and ends May 8. 

    Edgecomb School Committee meets next at 6 p.m. Monday, April 6 at Edgecomb Eddy School.