School committee considering options for making up lost days

Wind storm, power outage result in five cancellations
Posted:  Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 8:30am

With the wind storm over and power restored, local school committees are now looking toward making up for lost time. In Edgecomb, the school committee began discussing possible ways for recouping five days lost due to the recent storm. During the committee’s Nov. 6 meeting, Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Eileen King reported based on the current school calendar, the last day is June 7.

But the five recent cancellations would move school’s end to June 14, and the possibility looms of three to four snow days moving the last day to June 20. So King advised the committee to begin considering ways to recoup two to three lost school days prior to the upcoming holidays.

King wants to discuss possible calendar changes  with staff before officially proposing any changes, but she mentioned a couple possibilities. King is contemplating using days before the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks in recouping two days.

Edgecomb Eddy begins Thanksgiving break on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Christmas break on Friday, Dec. 22. King is considering making Nov. 22 a half day and Dec. 22 a full day.

“Just looking at the calendar, those two are easy,” King said. Other options include eliminating early release days on Wednesdays beginning on May 2 and ending June 6. Keeping students in school for an additional hour would gain an extra day. The superintendent is also considering eliminating a couple of in-service teaching training days, but she was advised by Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hassan, Jr. to retain those professional development days.

“I spoke to him about possibly applying for a waiver, but he discouraged me from using (teacher) in-service days. He thought they’re important for professional development and we had time to address options before seeking a waiver this spring,” King said.

According to Maine law, public schools must provide 175 days of instruction. Public schools may seek a waiver, but first must make a valid attempt at making up missed schools days.

In other school news, Edgecomb Eddy continues to shine in standardized test results. The 2016-17  ELA (English, language arts)/Literacy and Mathematics assessment showed Edgecomb students scored significantly higher than the state average. In English, language arts, and literacy, 71 percent were at or above state expectations. The state average was 52 percent. In mathematics, 62 percent of Edgecomb students were above or at state expectations. Only 39 percent of Maine students met state expectations or above.

Principal Ira Michaud provided committee members  with results from the assessment test. The ELA/Literacy test showed 11 percent of Edgecomb students were well below state expectations, 17 percent were below expectations, 43 percent at state expectations, and 28 percent above state expectations. For Maine, the results showed 19 percent well below state expectations, 29 percent below state expectations, 34 percent at state expectations, and 18 percent above state expectations.

In mathematics, four percent of Edgecomb students were well below state expectations, 28 percent were below state expectations, 46 percent at state expectations, and 22 percent above state expectations. Maine students were 25 percent well below state expectations, 36 percent below state expectations, 29 percent at state expectations, and 10 percent above state expectations.

The committee is considering entering into a long-term agreement with Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 for Westport Island and Alna tuition-paying students. Edgecomb has a one-year agreement with SVRSU 12 with a set tuition payment based on five pre-kindergarten students. King is negotiating to eliminate the cap in exchange for charging  SVRSU 12 a rate based on the previous year’s tuition. She also is working on an agreement which changes the contract’s term from one to multiple years.

The committee is also considering moving forward with a regional special education program. Last year, AOS 93, 98, SVRSU 12, and Wiscasset and Bath school committees received a grant for establishing the program. On Nov. 13, the regional boards will look at a potential interlocal agreement to see if money is saved in providing regional special education services.

The committee is considering Monday, Dec. 4 for its next meeting, but officials haven’t confirmed the date.