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After months of discussion, and seeing a floor plan for the proposed central office space in the Deer Isle-Stonington High School, on June 11 the Union 76 board approved the move of the central office 11-2 (Grindal, Hutchinson).
Union 76 board members, made up of school board members from Brooklin, Sedgwick, Deer Isle and Stonington, discussed the move. The central office includes the superintendent and special services director offices.
The move is likely to happen in October or November, depending on how long renovations take for the space—currently used as a teachers’ lounge and the computer lab and server room. Following concerns voiced by various members of the Union board about a lack of detail, architect and Brooklin school board member Mike Sealander was hired by the Community School District to create a design for the space.
The proposed renovation is estimated to cost $45,000 to $50,000. The CSD will pay for those renovations. Superintendent Robert Webster said the CSD will recoup the renovation costs in four to five years, as housing the central office in an Island school will save the CSD approximately $14,000 per year.
Brooklin and Sedgwick will pay $1,000 apiece per year, which is a small savings for each of those towns.
Concerns about the now-approved move related to the financial details of the three-year lease, the physical space and questions about how the move might affect a new superintendent and the services she or he is able to provide.
Frank Bianco, Sr. of the Brooklin School Board said he wanted to make sure the board was not “solving problems with problems.”
Both the CSD’s head of maintenance, David Pelletier, and its technology coordinator, Markus Ford, expressed concerns over the move.
Ford said he was worried that school was nearly over and there had been no word on where or how the relocation of the computer lab and server center will take place. CSD board members Linda Nelson and Vicki Zelnick said those concerns would be worked out with the superintendent and Todd West, the high school principal.
Pelletier said he would like to see things move a bit slower, perhaps over the course of a year rather than “rushed” over the next few months.
Nelson said she felt the move was doable and that the CSD had a “real interest in making this building viable.”
In other business, the board discussed consolidating the school policy manuals to a union-wide manual.
“One of the disincentives to a union [from the perspective of a potential superintendent] is that there are multiple school boards, policy manuals and contracts,” explained Nelson.
Sealander noted there might be some concerns with policies like school use policies, which tend to be individualized to how open to the community a school likes to be. The union will continue to discuss the possibility.
The union board also approved a contract extension for Special Services Director Josh Nichols.