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Work continues on 2017-18 RSU 68 budget

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — With the initial meeting of the finance committee in the books, district officials are in the midst of their work to develop a 2017-18 academic year budget to bring forward to the voters of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec in the spring.
“We had our first one last week, the administrators shared their numbers for what they would like to see next year,” Superintendent Stacy Shorey said during a Feb. 7 school board meeting. “So we are in the process of putting together a first draft of the budget.”
Shorey said the district is still awaiting some information from the state concerning subsidies.
“Yes it’s budget season, I would recommend any and all board members attend,” Board Chair Rick Johnston said with the finance committee scheduled to convene next on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
“Everything’s up in the air, so we truly have no idea what revenues may or may not be,” he said.
The board chair said the finance committee meetings are open to the public. “Really anyone in the audience, this is the time,” Johnston said. “Don’t wait until the night we approve the budget.”
At last June’s referendum — which follows the annual district budget meeting in late May — residents of the four RSU 68 communities combined to approve a $10,515,086 budget for 2016-17 by a vote of 372-125.
In other business, Shorey said she spoke recently with Atkinson Select Chair Mark Kinney for an update on the town’s plans to withdraw from SAD 41 in the Milo-area and/or to deorganize.
She said Kinney told her that a withdrawal committee met and has requested a variety of financial information from SAD 41, with another meeting scheduled for later in the month. Should Atkinson withdraw then the community would look to send its students to RSU 68/Atkinson, and possibly join the district as a member town.
Withdrawal is a separate effort from deorganization, as Atkinson would cease to be a municipality and would become an unorganized territory under the jurisdiction of the county.
“They are waiting for the state legislature to convene to hear their case,” Shorey said. She explained should Atkinson disband the state’s unorganized territory education officials have stated that town pupils would be tuitioned to RSU 68/Foxcroft Academy.
The school board acted on a pair of personnel moves, including accepting the resignation of Food Service Director Kandi Hartford who had been in the position for just over a half dozen years.
“I’m sad to say Kandi Hartford has given her resignation, she’s leaving for A.E. Robinson,” Shorey said. “She’s going to be overseeing their kitchens.”
“We’re very sorry to see you go but it’s an opportunity you should not pass up,” Johnston told Hartford.
Melissa Higgins will be now be serving as food service director and Kathleen Gregory is the kitchen manager at the SeDoMoCha School.
The RSU 68 directors approved the nomination of Jennifer Noke as the school nurse.
Shorey said Noke comes to SeDoMoCha from Mayo Regional Hospital, and she is a graduate of Penquis Valley High School in Milo and Husson University of Bangor. Noke had been on the job for about a week before the meeting, working with outgoing nurse Emily Poland who left to accept a position with the Maine Department of Education.
SeDoMoCha Principal Julie Kimball said the One Book, One School finale of “Finding Dory” was scheduled for two days later but a snowstorm pushed the event back one week as now the end to the shared family reading program for elementary school families will be on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 5-7 p.m.
She said over the last month students and families have read a chapter a day together at home and activities based on the junior novelization of the film have been held at school. Kimball said 10 businesses throughout town have posted “Finding Dory” signs and students identifying these locations have entered this information into prize drawings.
Families have been encouraged to share reading photos — many of which include the student’s’ replica pet goldfish they were given for One Book, One School — through the program Facebook page as well as submitting these for a display at the Feb. 16 finale.
Kimball said a birthday package was prepared for “Finding Dory” star Ellen DeGeneres, which included a video greeting from the SeDoMoCha community. The principal said DeGeneres thanked SeDoMoCha on her talk show around her birthday late last month, and displayed a birthday card made by student Aidan Bryant (a link is on the SeDO OBOS Facebook page).
“We are in the works of potentially doing something large next year,” Kimball said, saying she did not want to reveal too much on what would be the eighth annual One Book, One School in 2018.

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