BELFAST, Maine — After listening to impassioned resident testimony Tuesday night and holding a two-hour executive session, the RSU 20 board of directors unanimously voted to extend school Superintendent Bruce Mailloux’s contract for one more year.
More than 150 people jammed the cafeteria at Troy Howard Middle School during the meeting, at which the board also voted 13-4 to rescind its controversial December decision after an executive session not attended by Mailloux to open up applications for his position. Only 11 members of the 17-member school board were present at that meeting.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Mailloux said afterward. “It’s time to get going.”
The vote to extend his contract was contingent upon adding goals for him, which were unspecified.
Reasons for the original decision and then its reversal also weren’t discussed by board members during the meeting.
“Whatever the outcome of this decision, it wasn’t made lightly by any of us,” board member Denise Dakin, of Stockton Springs, said after the vote.
Of the 15 residents who spoke before board members and Mailloux disappeared for a private, lengthy job evaluation, all were uniformly supportive of the superintendent.
“Mr. Mailloux is very popular with the students and our community,” Zach Parker, a Searsport High School junior, told the board members. “Mr. Mailloux has done an outstanding job in some really difficult circumstances, and the last thing we want is to see Mr. Mailloux be forced to leave us because of the board’s decision.”
Dorothy Alling, of Searsport, went further in her condemnation of the school board’s initial decision.
“You cannot afford to make such gross mistakes and errors in judgment,” she said. “Bruce Mailloux is one of Waldo County’s finest, honorable, compassionate and fair-minded gentlemen … who would never do anything to malign or do harm to our school system.”
Some speakers emphasized the newness of Regional School Union 20, which began last year when SAD 34 in Belfast merged with SAD 56 in Searsport under the state’s school consolidation law.
“This RSU is barely 6 months old,” said Carol Fortin, of Belfast. “Bruce Mailloux deserves the time to grow, along with this new RSU.”
Before Mailloux was appointed superintendent of the RSU, he had headed up SAD 34 for the previous three years.
RSU 20 is composed of the former SAD 34 communities of Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Northport, Searsmont and Swanville and the former SAD 56 communities of Frankfort, Searsport and Stockton Springs.