SAD 46 directors approve second part of comprehensive high school application

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DEXTER — The next step was taken in the application process for an Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Educational Facility pilot project as the SAD 46 school board authorized Superintendent Kevin Jordan to submit the Part II application due at the end of the year, during a Nov. 1 meeting at the Ridge View Community School.

“The board had to authorize the Part I application and now you need to authorize Part II,” Jordan said. “This locks you into nothing other than the committee that is working on this.”

The second part of the application has been approved by the Guilford-based SAD 4 as members of both school boards are pursuing the comprehensive high school to offer a variety of academic programs from high school to college and trainings and certifications in various industries. Earlier in the year the initial application by SAD 46 and 4 was approved as one of three finalists for the state-funded project, with the other two finalists being in and around Fort Kent and Madawaska as well as Houlton and the surrounding school districts.

“I think we are making good progress, I think it’s looking good,” board and project committee member Doug Thomas said. Thomas said compared to the two Aroostook County project applicants, “This district makes more sense and I think we have a good application.”

“It is a real opportunity for our kids and this really could mean something to all the kids in the area,” Thomas said. He said a group from the region visiting existing comprehensive high schools in Massachusetts and a similar institution between SAD 46 and 4 would be greatly beneficial for students.

“I think it is going to be an environment where it is easy for all of our kids to learn,” Thomas said.

“We still have a lot of work to do but we are right on schedule,” Jordan said. “Our goal is to have the application done essentially at the end of November.”

The superintendent said a public hearing would be held in December prior to submitting the application.

The Maine Department of Education is scheduled to announce the awarding of funding in January. This would be followed by three years of planning and two years of construction under a best-case scenario. The department would work with the funding recipient to determine the best location for the school.

Jordan said in October he and SAD 4 Interim Superintendent Ray Freve met with the SAD 41 school board to see if they would be interested in joining the application process. The proposal was scheduled to be discussed by the Milo-based directors during their Nov. 7 meeting.

In other business, district administrators announced a grant and a donation.

Tri-County Technical Center/Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick O’Neill said a $10,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation will fund digital pressure cuffs, forehead monitors and patient lifts for health occupation and CNA students.

“This will help keep our expenses down,” Dr. O’Neill said.

Jordan said the Dexter Knights of Columbus gave a $642 donation to the special education program through funds collected in the organization’s annual Tootsie Roll Drive.

“I have been here since 1999 and this has been one of the most tremendous falls we have ever had,” Dexter Regional High School Principal Stephen Bell said about the past season’s sports teams.

Bell said after several down years the Dexter boys soccer team earned the fourth seed in the Class C North playoffs and hosted a quarterfinal game. He said the girls soccer team won two postseason contests to reach the regional final — for the first time since 1991.

The Tiger field hockey team continued a run of success by again reaching the Class C North championship.

Dexter’s football team advanced to the Class D North semifinal round for the second year in a row. Three days before the board meeting the Tigers “hosted the first playoff game, I think, since 1991,” Bell said.

“So a tremendous job by the kids across the board,” he said.

Ridge View Community School Principal Gerald Kiesman said athletic success was not limited to just the high school. “Our boys soccer team won the first, that they can figure out, league championship for Dexter for this school and going back to the school before,” Kiesman said.

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