Officials provide updates on RSU 68, Foxcroft Academy

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Two months after the start of classes at the SeDoMoCha School and Foxcroft Academy, the Dover-Foxcroft selectmen learned about the start of the 2019-20 academic year from the respective heads of school during an Oct. 28 meeting.

Speaking on the pre-K to grade 8 SeDoMoCha School, RSU 68 Superintendent Stacy Shorey said, “Our enrollment has been holding steady, we’re at 699 this year.” She said the split is 344/355 between the elementary and middle schools.

“We are getting ready to think about the building, the addition is 10 years old now,” Shorey said. She said district officials want to be proactive and are looking to hire a firm to come in and review the facilities for potential capital improvements.

“We are super, super pleased with the work Officer (Pete) Dennis is doing at our school,” Shorey said about the school resource officer from the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department who splits his time between SeDoMoCha and Foxcroft Academy. She said he has been able to handle a dozen issues that have come up in the building, including one student who left school during the day but was safely located several hours later at a friend’s house.

“This year we started a few new after-school programs,” the superintendent said. She said a metals program began the week before in the new space in the art room for these materials.

SeDoMocha now has afterschool STEM programs for elementary and middle school students, reading programs for both age groups, a robotics team, offered a middle school golf team for the first time and the inaugural Eagles unified basketball team will take to the court later in the school year.

Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey said the secondary institution enrollment is at 392. “We are below 400 for the first time in a while,” he said, saying this is due to a decrease in boarding numbers which is a nationwide trend.

Shorey said the board of trustees have anticipated a dip in enrollment and measures to help boost the numbers include offering the IB diploma program, the opening of the Piscataquis County Ice Arena and the forthcoming fieldhouse addition to campus.

“We had a very nice opening and we had a great alumni hockey game with 300 people watching and 45 people skating,” Shorey said.

He said there are some more things to be taken care of at the arena before there will be an open house in several weeks. Shorey said an advisory council will start meeting and the members reside around the region.

“That’s the message, this belongs to the community,” he said, not just Dover-Foxcroft.

The head of school said a groundbreaking on the fieldhouse is scheduled for May 1.

“The resource officer program is going awesome it really, really is,” Shorey said. He said students have also seen Police Chief Ryan Reardon and Sgt. Matt Grant on campus when they stop by to check in with Dennis, and this is building more relationships between students and the department.

“They are not only reacting to issues but being proactive,” Shorey said.

In other business, the selectmen approved summer and winter maintenance for the Highland Road starting this season and to be subject to periodic review by the board.

Travelway property owners had made the request via a petition and at a meeting earlier in the month. Highland Road was accepted as a public easement in 2007, not a town way. As such, municipal maintenance is at the selectmen’s discretion and not required by law.

The public works committee discussed the request on Oct. 23 and recommended the town carries out year-round maintenance on the Highland Road.

Resident Charlie Merrill thanked Clukey, the selectmen and public works committee for granting the request.

To avoid a conflict with the Piscataquis County budget public hearing on Monday, Nov. 25, the selectmen’s second meeting next month will instead be held on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The board typically meets only once in December and this session has been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16.

In his report Clukey said three old buildings owned by the town at Monument Square adjacent to the Moosehead property are on track to be removed by the end of the year. He said the fire department is planning to conduct a training exercise there in December.

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