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RSU 68 assessments set

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — A week after a $11,784,238 RSU 68 budget for the 2019-20 academic year was approved by a combined count of 249-50 across the four district communities, the school board set the assessments for Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft and Monson and Sebec during a June 18 meeting at the SeDoMoCha School.

The four RSU 68 towns have a combined local assessment of $4,704,087 for 2019-20, $69,518 more than the current year. The assessment is made up of local contributions, additional local monies and funding for adult education — items all approved during the district budget meeting in late May.

The four total proposed assessments are each slightly up, with Charleston’s rising $4,322 to $632,840; Dover-Foxcroft’s share is up by $39,318 to $2,819,954; Monson would see a $13,093 assessment increase for a total of $577,837; and for Sebec a $674,052 figure is $13,382 more than in 2018-19.

File photo courtesy of April Taylor
LOTS OF DOG EARED PAGES — Erma is a Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ), as she and her handler April Taylor have gone through training to assist children working on their reading skills. Erma will be part of summer school at the SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft as participants will be able to read aloud to her.

In other business, Superintendent Stacy Shorey said, “We have 50 students attending Title I summer school which is amazing.” She said another 10 middle school students would be taking part in the grant-funded summer school.

The younger students will have the opportunity to get more comfortable and confident with their word skills thanks to “READing with Erma.”

“She is a dog our students will be able to read to,” Shorey said.

Erma is a 7-year-old German shorthaired pointer and her handler April Taylor is a resident of Lakeland, Florida who summers in Sebec. Erma is registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. and she is a Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ). Founded by Intermountain Therapy Dog in Utah, READ handlers and their registered therapy dogs go through testing and continuing education in order to provide the free service to children in the community.

“During the summer school we would like to help kids who are having a difficult time with reading,” Taylor said. She said students’ work with Erma has helped them make a noticeable improvement, as they can read aloud freely without being corrected or judged. READing with Erma is designed to help children increase their self-confidence while reading aloud. Reading to the pet increases participant’s interest in books and potentially their reading ability.

“Reading is very important to me and I want to see a book in every kids’ hand,” Taylor said about the “Erma’s Books on the Bus” program she is planning for the fall. Students would have a selection of titles to read on the ride to and from school, choosing from a rotating selection of containers.

Taylor said she has about 200 books for kindergarten through grade 8 and she is working to collect around 500 prior to the start of school. She said she also plans to have Erma visit kindergarten and grade 2 classrooms before the pair heads south for the winter.

“We are rolling out a new website,” Wendy Berce of the district office said about the forthcoming revised www.sedomocha.org. “I think we are ready to roll it out mid-July, late-July.”

“We wanted something fresh and with the times,” Berce said. “We are trying to streamline it so that everything’s going to be easy to find and it’s going to look a little better on your phone because everyone looks at it with their phone.”

She said an app is being developed which would include the school calendar, lunch menus, cancellations and more.

Summer vacation may just be starting, but many fall sports coaches for SeDoMoCha Middle School have been appointed. The appointments include Max Andrews as head football coach with Dave Henderson assisting, Laura Moors leading the field hockey squad with Carolyn Newhouse assisting, Alexis Dumont for girls A soccer and David Murray as the boys B soccer head coach, Cecila Dube with cross country and Erwin Dellaire to serve as the golf head coach.

Shorey said school officials are still looking to fill the boys A and girls B soccer head coaching positions.

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