DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — After five years on the job, RSU 68 Superintendent Alan Smith will be leaving the district at the end of the current academic year.
During the correspondence portion of an April 1 school board meeting, Vice Chair Jenny Chase read Smith’s resignation letter aloud. Smith wrote that he has accepted the superintendent’s position in SAD 61, the Lake Region School District in northern Cumberland County which is made up of the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago.
Smith wrote that he would be resigning from RSU 68 as of July 1. He thanked the board of directors, Foxcroft Academy representatives and members of the community he has worked with over the past half decade.
In other business, the initial draft of the 2014-15 RSU 68 budget was presented. “The budget meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 27,” Smith said. “After the budget presentation tonight it will come back to the full board to be voted on,” with this decision scheduled for the board’s May meeting.
“The finance committee is always trying to find a balance for educationally what’s good for students and what taxpayers can handle,” Chase said. She explained after the initial proposals made by administrators the school budget was up by about 5 percent from the current year. “As a finance committee we thought that was too much for taxpayers,” Chase said.
Smith said after some adjustments a preliminary budget total of $9,972,119 was reached, an increase of just under $180,000 or approximately 1.8 percent. The revenue and state contribution portions of the spending plan are both up from 2013-14. Revenues have increased by just over $26,000 to a figure of a little more than $4,849,000, while the state contribution of approximately $5,123,000 represents over $153,500 more than in the current budget.
While the total budget is up, the assessments for the RSU 68 communities of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec are all down from the current year. The decrease in the preliminary budget of what each town has to raise and appropriate for education is $1,770 for Charleston, over $46,000 for Dover-Foxcroft, about $14,300 for Monson and a little more than $11,300 for Sebec.
“It will be up to the board if this budget goes forward at our May meeting,” Smith said. The spending plan then goes to the annual budget meeting and the amount approved then is moved to the referendum ballot for June 10 in the four RSU 68 towns.
“It’s not great, but it’s better than seeing a plus,” board Chair Rick Johnston said about the assessments, with his town of Charleston having the smallest decrease of the four. “I feel great about the district at this time.” Johnston said test scores have risen, as has enrollment while other neighboring school units are losing students. He then thanked teachers and administrators for their efforts.
“I want to say thank you very much to Al for all you have done to bring Foxcroft Academy and RSU 68 together,” Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey said about Smith before presenting his report to the board. “It is a team and I really feel it is because of you.”
“We are planning to go before the planning board,” Shorey said about a new electronic sign the secondary school is looking to erect on West Main Street. “We are planning an unveiling on Aug. 1,” he added, for the school’s Alumni Weekend festivities. “With the capital campaign we still have a little more to raise but we are on track.”
Shorey also said an International Food Night is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at Foxcroft Academy. “It’s wonderful food, really awesome food, and our students really love cooking for the community,” he said.
The evening of dishes from around the world enables some of the school’s boarding population to share a taste of their culture with the community. Proceeds will benefit Pine Tree Hospice, as Shorey said the International Food Night enables some pupils to work on their community service requirements. He said in future years the evening will benefit a different area nonprofit.
On Friday, April 11, students at SeDoMoCha Middle School will showcase their abilities in a school talent show at 6 p.m. “It’s always a good time to see our students perform, and sometimes our teachers,” Principal Julie Kimball said.