School committee interested in participating in Christmas tree-decorating contest
The Edgecomb Economic Development Committee is being inspired by “The Peanuts Gang” this Christmas season. The committee is inviting local residents, businesses and students to participate in the town’s inaugural “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.” The holiday event is part of the Boothbay Festival of Lights and is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9.
Boothbay Festival of Lights debuted last year. Edgecomb is a member of the Joint Economic Development Committee, which sponsors the event. The contest was discussed during the EEDC’s Sept. 11 meeting. EEDC members Barbara Brennan and Janet Blevins attended the Edgecomb School Committee’s meeting later in the afternoon. The two invited Edgecomb school officials and students to participate in the community event.
“We’re thinking ahead and want to do our part in lighting up the peninsula. So we came up with the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Contest,” said Brennan during the school committee meeting. The EEDC will provide trees, lights, tree stands and electricity for the contest. The contestants are responsible for all decorations. The judging would take place at the Edgecomb Town Hall.
Edgecomb school officials liked the proposal and may participate in the contest. “This seems like a really fun community event,” said Edgecomb Eddy Principal Ira Michaud. “We will talk with the staff about participating.”
The Edgecomb School Committee also heard about recent roof repairs. In early August, the school paid $1,700 for some minor repair work, according to Michaud. But school officials reported more work is needed on the 15-year-old building’s roof. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Eileen King reported a recent roof inspection resulted in a recommendation for extensive repair work in the next two to four years. The school committee is considering adopting a capital improvement budget in anticipation of expensive repair costs.
“If you look up, you see some areas needing work,” King said about the roof. “We need to make sure this doesn’t come out of K-6 (kindergarten through grade six) education funds.”
In other action, King introduced the AOS’s plans to use a new method of linking the community to the four local school systems. AOS 98 is developing a smart phone app for communicating with educators, students, parents and the community about school committee meetings, school news, sporting events, school cancellations and other important notices. The app would replace a website as the main source of communication.
“AOS 98 is one of three school systems using this new technology. We are currently building the system by populating it with information about schools and classrooms. Every time information is loaded into the system, you will hear a ping,” King said.
The other school systems developing an app are Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 and Gardiner, according to King.
Eventually, the app will also alert community members about school closures. But that won’t happen until next year. “I’m still a little nervous about it so we will stick with Honeywell (the current system of sending text messages and phone calls regarding school closure) for the rest of the year. But once the app is ready, the public will have access to a specific school or classroom or everything going on in AOS 98.”
The new app will also be available on iPad tablets and desktop computers. Once the system is functional, AOS 98 would eliminate its website, King said.
Even though school has been in session for several days, the committee officially hired four new staff members. The new hires included Michaud, John Gosselin as a physical education teacher, first year teacher Allison Crocker who joins the grade four, five and six team, and educational technician Sarah Currier as a new classroom teacher.
The committee also appointed Chairman Tom Abello to meet with other elected AOS 98 leaders to decide allocations for personnel doing additional duties once performed by former Assistant Superintendent Shawn Carlson. King is scheduling an AOS 98 board meeting for later in the month.