SAD 4 may share administrative services with Union 60  

GUILFORD — In addition to her role as SAD 4 Superintendent, Kelly MacFadyen may be returning to the Greenville-based Union 60 but in a different capacity than before. SAD 4 officials are considering a potential service agreement between the district and Union 60 for superintendent services and other functions in the 2020-21 academic year.


During a June 10 school board meeting at PCHS MacFadyen, who is in her second school year leading SAD 4 following a half dozen years as principal in Greenville, said Union 60 Superintendent Jim Chasse “took a position in Hermon and he approached about providing superintendent services for Greenville for one year while they figure out what they want to do.”


Late last month the Union 60 board gave its approval to an agreement with SAD 4.


MacFadyen said the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has encouraged districts to form Education Service Centers to save money and in turn receive more ED 279 funds. “If you have one of these you get more money,” she said. The superintendent said it is too late to set up an Education Service Center for next year, but 2021-22 may be a possibility.


“We already provide transportation for Greenville so we would provide a superintendent, transportation and special education,” MacFadyen said about a full potential agreement between SAD 4 and Union 60. The two units could also share costs on staff development, purchases and see if other cost-saving measures could be established 


“For me it would be an exploratory year to see if it’s beneficial for us,” MacFadyen said. “I like it because it’s a try year, I would serve in an interim role.”


She was asked how working for Greenville might impact her workload for SAD 4. “I did discuss this with them and it would be an agreement to provide services, not days,” MacFadyen said. She later said that much of the work for Greenville could be done remotely and at various meetings, such as for the Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC) in Dexter, she is already there as SAD 4 superintendent.


Another question from the directors concerned salary and benefits. MacFadyen said this would be determined in an exploratory year “because we have our budget set and they have their budget set.” She said monetary amounts, such as salary, expenses and benefits, would be shared in some capacity


Board Vice Chair Brian Levensailor said during previous discussions about SAD 4 sharing administrative services with other districts some concerns raised centered on SAD 4 being the smaller district and a superintendent coming into the Guilford-based unit while still overseeing the same district as before. “This year if we were to do it, she is our superintendent helping them,” he said.


“My personal opinion is let’s see if it’s even feasible because there could be cost sharing down the road,” Levensailor said. “The thing for me is it is one year, no commitments beyond that.”


When asked, SAD 4 Special Education Director Nicki Greene said she would be comfortable handling a similar role for Union 60.


Another question posed to MacFadyen asked if she wants to work for Union 60 or if she is considering it as a cost-saving measure? “I think it’s doable, I wouldn’t want to commit to more than one year because I would know fairly soon if it works out or not,” she responded.


MacFadyen said if after several months it becomes clear that the arrangement is not working, she could then assist Union 60 with the hiring of an assistant superintendent. 


“I think it would ease a lot of minds if there’s an escape clause,” Levensailor said.


The board decided to table a motion on a service agreement with Union 60. MacFadyen is planning to bring forward a formal contract for a vote at the next meeting, which should be Wednesday, July 15 the day after the school budget referendum.


In other business MacFadyen said, “The budget meeting we are going to do (Thursday) June 25. I will do the information meeting at 6 and the district budget meeting will be at 7.”


“We thought we would do it here in the gym because we could spread the chairs out,” she said. The superintendent said last year 40-plus attendees voted, a sum under the current public gathering limit of 50.


Last month the directors approved a 2020-21 budget totaling $7,397,862. The near $7.4 million total represents an increase of about $283,000 from the current year’s figure of $7,174,825.


The proposed 2021 budget includes a local assessment of $3,815,943 for the half dozen SAD 4 communities, a figure that is down by approximately $142,000 from the current combined $3,957,885 assessment. Individual town assessments are based on valuation numbers.


MacFadyen said she is also awaiting guidance from the DOE on how school may look like in the fall — summer school will have students in the building with social distancing protocols in place. She said school officials across the state are planning for remote learning, in-person classes and/or a combination of the two methods.


Classes held on campus with social distancing measures in places are what MacFadyen said she believes will be used during the fall. She said in addition to students staying six feet apart from one another, they may be split into groups to attend for half days or possibly some days in school and some days off. 


The superintendent said some parents may not feel comfortable sending their children to school “so we are thinking of some sort of remote learning plan regardless.”


She said about a week and a half before she received a call from the Secret Service, initially being unsure if it really was a member of the agency on the other end of the phone. She quickly realized that the purpose of the call was access to SAD 4 facilities for President Donald Trump’s visit Puritan Medical Products that Friday.


“The rest is history and it all worked out,” MacFadyen said, with the presidential visit taking place during the day and the PCHS graduation being held in the evening.


PCHS Principal John Keane mentioned he met with the Secret Service the day of MacFadyen’s first call, and the President’s visit provided an incredibly memorable experience for the seniors after having the last two and half months of their final year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


He said when Marine One was set up on the soccer field, students and staff could pose for pictures by the aircraft. 


“The people involved in graduation this year deserve as much credit as possible,” the principal said. “I can tell you I only received positive things from students, parents and attendees.”


Videos of the drive-thru graduation are posted on the SAD 4 Facebook page.


MacFadyen said “Brian Leavitt accepted the position of TCTC director.” She mentioned he is a 1983 graduate of Dexter Regional High School and returns to his home area after having been principal of Machias Memorial High School and director of the Coastal Washington County Institute of Technology in Machias. 


Leavitt, who will succeed the retiring Dr. Patrick O’Neill, will have a 2-year contract from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022 with an $83,000 annual salary which is part of the TCTC budget paid proportionately by the member school districts. Dr. O’Neill will be remaining as assistant superintendent of the Dexter-based AOS 94.


MacFadyen said Carolyn Haskell will be the new director of the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative (PVAEC), taking over for the retiring Thelma Regan. Haskell will have a $65,000 salary in 2020-21, which is a part of the PVAEC budget split proportionally among the four member school districts.


“She’s done just about every position there is in adult ed except director,” MacFadyen said as Haskell comes to the region after having most recently been program coordinator for Belfast Adult Education.


The superintendent said there is no physical adult education graduation this year, but graduates are posing for photos in their caps and gowns to be part of a video. 


MacFadyen said administrators across the region were saddened by not being able to recognize Regan with a formal retirement recognition. “It’s bittersweet for her, she’s ready to retire but she’s going to miss that position,” MacFadyen said.

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