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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Flewelling

Minutes December 7, 2023

MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ MEETING OF December 7, 2023

 

Current Board Members- 

        North Berwick-  Lauren Janousek, Kate Whalen, Joshua Tabor

                           Berwick- Travis Doiron, Elva Lovejoy, Peg Wheeler

                           Lebanon- Victoria Travers, Jeridene Basko, Nancy Neubert


         

A meeting of the Board of Directors was held in person in North Berwick, Maine on December 7, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. with all members attending except Ms. Whalen. 

There were 14 in the audience.


Ms. Nancy Neubert, the vice chair read the public input statement.


Public Input: 


Mr. Jeremy Kasten of Berwick shared his concern regarding the open position of the Excel teacher at the Knowlton School. He shared his support of Ms. Sahaigian who is filling in temporarily and encouraged the board to fill the position as soon as possible. 


Mr. Kenneth Dutch of North Berwick, shared his concerns regarding his grandson and how he and his daughter in law are being treated.  He feels that the school and administration are threatening when they make statements about the law regarding truancy and implying that they will enlist the North Berwick police to visit the home. He was very unhappy with the whole situation. 


Minutes:  

Ms. Wheeler  made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Neubert to accept the minutes of the November 16, 2023 meeting as amended.  All members voted in favor except Ms. Travers and Mr. Doiron who abstained and the motion passed. 


The Superintendent shared a donation from the Friends of Knights Lacrosse of $11,747.36 to the district 6-12 Lacrosse program. Mr. Tabor asked if a donation such as this is typical, it was noted that this happens occasionally to support programs and is greatly appreciated. Ms. Wheeler made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Janousek to approve the donation. All members voted in favor and the motion passed. 


The board heard from Sheriff Bill King and Officer Robert Pellerin regarding the potential of a SRO in the Lebanon Elementary School. Sheriff King and Officer Pellerin gave an overview of the benefits through the delivery of a powerpoint.   sro.pptx The board asked some questions regarding the funding and what the ongoing costs would be beyond the 3 years of the grant funding. They also asked about the costs of the current SROs that are in place for Berwick and North Berwick. We will provide that information as we move through the budget process. The board then asked several questions about the call volume in Lebanon at this time and how those calls relate to the schools. One of our Lebanon members noted that there are many well armed residents in Lebanon and would be willing to support the schools in a crisis.  Another board member expressed concern about armed citizens being relied upon for safety in our schools. Heather LaFrance Principal at the Lebanon Schools spoke to her belief that an officer to support the Lebanon schools would be incredibly helpful for a multitude of reasons. 


Ms. Janousek noted that with the situation that occurred in Sanford last year, it would have been beneficial to have had a police presence in Lebanon for overall peace of mind.  Ms. Basko, shared her opinion that the citizens, who are well armed and many of whom listen to scanners, would be pulling out their guns to support the schools, that Lebanon is not as isolated as people believe.  Other board members spoke to the fact that they wouldn’t want our residents to be relied upon to provide a safe environment for our students if something were to happen. 


Ms. Lovejoy asked about a survey for families regarding the importance of an SRO in Lebanon. Ms. Lafrance said that she could do that and provide some feedback at a future meeting for the board to reflect upon.


The board held a straw poll to determine who feels comfortable moving forward with getting more information regarding an SRO in Lebanon.  Board members indicated that they would like to gather more information. Funding is always a concern and there needs to be consideration for what will be removed from the budget if we determine that an SRO is necessary in Lebanon. 


Presentation: 

Mr. Eustaquio Dones shared the work that he has been doing on the website over this semester.   He’s been standardizing the site across the many different pages, updating all of the staff information, etc. He’s added buttons to make it easier to navigate some of the most utilized aspects of the site. He’s simplified the ability to find the most vital information.  Still some pieces to refine and finalize, but a definite upgrade. Check it out for yourself: www.rsu60.org

The board thanked Mr. Dones for his hard work. 


Budget Timeline Update:

The Superintendent shared an updated budget timeline with the board for planning purposes. 



Employment: 

Ms. Kristen McKenzie, teacher at the Knowlton School, is requesting to take a leave of absence after her maternity leave. Ms. Wheeler made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Janousek to approve the leave of absence for Ms. McKenzie. All members voted in favor and the motion passed. 



Superintendent Update:

Transportation update… still down two drivers but have a couple of potential employees in the pipeline. If someone out there is interested, please reach out to our transportation director, Brenda Cravens at (207) 676- 2856. 


The Superintendent shared with the board that illnesses are upticking among staff and students. We will keep an eye on things as they go along. 


Parent conferences were well attended in all of our schools.  The next round of parent conferences is in March, 2024. 


Fall athletics ended and Winter athletics is underway.  Our Rocket League, the E-sports team for Noble, has earned the title of Maine State Champions for E-Sports for their second year in a row. 


Little Shop of Horrors was presented by the theater department. Well received and a fun play. 


Other:

The Assistant Superintendent shared an overview of the meeting that took place Wednesday which was a community forum with approximately 25. We discussed the community issues that are flaring up in the community and on social media. We have one group that will be working on community awareness focusing on ways to support families in our community. We have one group working on mentoring programs to provide and build positive relationships.  The third group is going to focus more on the intense situations that are taking up quite a lot of resources to address how we can as a community work together. Board members shared their thoughts and ideas about how it is important to bring the community on board and for the district to take this positive focus on the majority of students. 

 

Public Input: 

Lauren Janousek shared that the PTOs have collected over 500 boxes of cereals for the MSAD 60 Backpack Program. The cereal boxes are earmarked to be sent out prior to lengthy vacation weeks. 


North Berwick and Berwick parades were fun and well attended by our board members and administration. 


Mr. Cahoon of North Berwick, shared that he feels that we should value the life of the children first. If you have an incident in school, it would be wise to have an SRO. He noted that our governor, Janet Mills, has excess funding and we should reach out to her for funding. 

He also noted that he feels that the MSAD 60 administration is bullying others at these meetings.

 


Mr. Travers, of Lebanon, shared the US News and World Report that Noble was ranked 47th out of 111 schools. That puts us just above average. He shared the statistics… NHS 94% of students. Science 56% Reading 54% and Mathematics 34%.  These are all above the state average however that means that many students are well below.  


Mr. Dutch, of North Berwick, shared again his concerns about his grandson. 


Ms. Berger of Lebanon shared her thanks for the follow up with the SRO. She shared her statistics that the response time in Lebanon can be between 20 and 40 minutes which is can be scary when facing difficult situations.  She noted that she asked Sheriff King to come in to do a  threat assessment of Lebanon and he noted that there were some safety concerns that are being addressed. 


Ms. Rouillard of North Berwick shared that her belief in the SRO as a good but she’s concerned for the taxpayers and the bottom line. She asked that we keep in mind those considerations as we make decisions going forward. 


Adjournment: 

Ms. Janousek  made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Wheeler to adjourn the meeting. All members voted in favor and the motion passed. 


Adjourned at 8:46 pm. 


Respectfully submitted,

Audra Beauvais

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