Edgecomb school committee member resigns

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 10:30am

The Edgecomb School Committee is searching for a new member. George Chase, who was elected two years ago via a write-in vote, notified school officials about his decision to resign. Chase is also Edgecomb’s code enforcement officer and a candidate for selectman. If elected selectman, Chase couldn’t continue to serve as CEO or school committee member. 

Chairman Heather Sinclair reported April 8 Chase had notified her and Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Bob Kahler of his decision. She requested Chase send her an official resignation letter. The two remaining committee members, Sinclair and Nichole Price, voted, 2-0, to accept Chase’s resignation. “We will miss his voice and expertise in this room, but his voice will continue to be heard at the town level,” Sinclair said.

Chase is running for a three-year term as selectman. His opponent is Timothy Harrington. Incumbent Mike Smith decided earlier this year against seeking a fourth term. Chase could’ve remained on the school committee until the May 17 municipal election. “I wanted to give the two remaining members time to find a replacement. So I decided to resign now so a replacement could be found before the town meeting,” he said. In the meantime, Chase said, on April 9, he would continue as CEO for a while longer. 

The school committee plans on appointing Chase’s successor in May. Sinclair wants to hold the next meeting on May 6, but she needs to check with AOS 98’s central office before confirming a date. The committee also discussed Special Education Director Chris Baribeau’s resignation. He will remain in the job through the school year. 

Sinclair reported Baribeau wasn’t able to attend the April 8 school committee meeting, but she wanted to acknowledge his contributions. “In his absence, I’d like to thank him and recognize his service. It is very challenging work, and we were lucky to have him,” she said. 

In other action, Kahler reported about the school generator situation. In December, the generator needed new parts. School officials decided to rent a generator for a “few days” as a back-up. The decision proved fortunate as the new parts still haven’t arrived. The rented generator was used during the recent power outage. The generator powers the kitchen, boiler room, some lights, electrical outlets, well water system and fire sprinklers. The generator does not run anything on the classroom side of the school, no electrical power, so the auto flush toilets do not work, and the HVAC units in the mezzanine, on the classroom side, do not run as there is no power. AOS 98 Facilities Director Dave Benner wrote in a report, “There is no electrical power there, so the auto flush toilets don’t work. We found that out the last time we lost power.”

The director also recommends finding a qualified generator installer and electrical person to review the school’s current set-up. “I have reached out to Travers Electric and I’m waiting for a reply,” Benner wrote. “I’m hoping they will have interest in engineering and designing a generator that would run the whole school.”

Principal Tom Landberg reported NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Assessment) testing would take place in May. The test is given twice a year, once in the fall and once in spring. Landberg said NWEA data is a valuable tool used by staff in monitoring instructional goals in reading and mathematics. He also updated committee members about the first grade’s Performance Festival March 21 and pre-kindergarten’s and kindergarten’s  April 1 show at the Merry Barn. “Everyone did a great job,” he said.

The committee approved 2024-25 school calendar. The school year starts Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2024 and ends Thursday, June 12, 2025. The school year has 175 days. The committee also discussed how to handle 2024-25  snow days. This year, Edgecomb Eddy students received work packets when inclement weather and other unplanned school cancelations occurred. Sinclair and Price support continuing the practice. Landberg praised the program, but he wants additional feedback from staff and parents before making an official recommendation. 

Price has a daughter attending Edgecomb Eddy. “Here is some immediate feedback from a parent, it was awesome,” Price said. “She had her own desk beside mine, and did her work. It was just like she was going to work at home with mom and dad.”

The committee also approved a 2024-2025 meal service agreement with the Community School District. The committee later entered an executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Following the session, committee members voted, 2-0, to approve a three-year contract with Edgecomb Eddy Educational Support Professional Association.

The committee’s next scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13 in the cafeteria.