Orono-area school board votes to look internally to find new middle school principal

Posted May 23, 2012, at 10:06 p.m.

VEAZIE, Maine — The RSU 26 board of directors officially accepted the resignation of Orono Middle School Principal Robert Lucy and voted to begin an internal search for the school’s next lead administrator during Monday’s board meeting.

Lucy’s last day will be June 30, but he will take the remainder of his vacation days starting June 4, according to Superintendent Douglas Smith. He has accepted a position as the assistant superintendent of Bangor schools.

The structure of the administration at Orono Middle School and Asa C. Adams School was a contentious issue during school district budget discussions, with the board voting in March to eliminate the principal positions and then hire one administrator to head both schools.

The board later reversed its vote, reinstating the principal positions in April after the board found the school district would have more money available than originally thought.

With Lucy’s departure, the board reconsidered the single-administrator idea. The idea of changing the structure again wasn’t popular and most members expressed a desire to stick with the two-principal plan that the board approved during budget discussions.

“With two communities trying to pull out, we’ve got enough of a hornets’ nest,” Veazie representative Julia Hathaway said, referring to the efforts of committees in Glenburn and Veazie to withdraw from the school district they share with Orono.

Smith said the position, which will start as a one-year post, could be filled by the end of June.

The board voted that the search would start internally and only be advertised or expand outside the district if no suitable candidate is found inside the district. Smith said there were four or five individuals already within the school district who would be good candidates.

Smith said he met with teachers at Orono Middle School this week to get a feel for their priorities. All 16 teachers backed a list of requests, which included filling an eighth-grade language arts position.

He said that the district had enough money to either hire the teacher or maintain its administrator position, but probably not both. However, he said the district might be able to afford hiring one teaching principal to fill both positions.

The board also voted to have Smith send letters to 11 district employees notifying them that their positions were either being eliminated or cut back. The board weighed the cuts during a long series of contentious discussions that started last fall as the members tried to close a significant budget gap.

“I would just like the board to acknowledge that we send these letters with great sadness,” Glenburn representative Susan O’Roak said.

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