SAD 4 moving forward with comprehensive high school application
GUILFORD — Officials with SAD 4 continue to work with their colleagues from the Dexter-based SAD 46 on the application process for an Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Educational Facility pilot project. Both school boards have formally authorized the superintendents to submit the Part II application due at the end of the year.
The second part of the application is the next step in pursuing a 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.
“We have had several meetings since our last meeting,” SAD 4 Interim Superintendent Ray Freve said to the school board on Nov. 14 at Piscataquis Community High School. He said the most recent session of the comprehensive high school committee featured area business leaders as well as representatives from the University of Maine-Augusta (UMA), Eastern Maine Community College and University of Maine-Fort Kent.
“It was a great conversation,” Freve said, saying the discussion will continue at the UMA Bangor campus. “Students can have college credit prior to leaving, they can have an associates degree before leaving.”
“What isn’t worked out is the finances,” Freve said, about the funding for the college-level classes in the proposed school.
“We must finish our work by Dec. 29, Dec. 29 is when we turn it all in,” Freve said about the Part II application deadline. He said SAD 4 and 46 could learn the state’s decision in February. This would be followed by three years of planning and two years of construction under a best-case scenario. The Maine Department of Education would work with the funding recipient to determine the best location for the school.
Board member Corey Hill said both the SAD 4 website at www.sad4.org and www.aos94.org contain information on the project. So should the directors wish to learn more they can go to these sites and they can also refer constituents to the pair of sites.
Freve said in October he and SAD 46 Superintendent Kevin Jordan spoke before the SAD 41 school board, as the Milo-based school district can also get involved in the comprehensive high school application process. “Milo I believe is very positive, the vote has been postponed,” he said, with the SAD 41 school board meeting being moved back twice to the evening after the SAD 4 board met.
On Nov. 15 the SAD 41 directors voted to send a letter of support and a request for more information, and this school board could take a formal vote to join the application during the Wednesday, Dec. 6 meeting.
In other business, Freve said, “We have started the budget preparation.” He said the administrators are working on compiling the various needs in their buildings and the superintendent is working on the personnel needs.
Freve said this work will be completed before Christmas. “The budget committee will then get that and we will start meeting.”
On the morning of Nov. 9 — the final day of school before Veterans Day — the district held its annual celebration to honor those who have served. PCHS Principal John Keane said this year the event was moved to the morning, and a breakfast was served before for the honored guests.
“I think the turnout was even better this year and the response from the students, parents and community was fantastic,” Keane said. “I think we had 65, veterans and their spouses,” Keane said about the meal, as more veterans may have attended the ceremony.
“I think that will be the same format we will use for future years,” he said. The principal said students “learn what it is to sacrifice for your country and how to honor that.”
The presentation featuring grades 3-12 included musical performances and speeches. U.S. Army veteran and school board member Brian Levensailor was part of the program as students submitted questions for the “Ask a Veteran” portion of the program.
Freve said those unable to be in the PCHS gym on Nov. 9 can view the presentation on the SAD 4 Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MSAD4. “You need to be proud of your kids, the kids were fabulous through the whole thing.”
Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
ASK A VETERAN — U.S. Army veteran and Guilford resident Brian Levensailor, who is member of the SAD 4 school board, was among the speakers during the annual SAD 4 Veterans Day celebration on the morning of Nov. 9. Students submitted questions for Levensailor in the “Ask a Veteran” portion of the event.