PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The MSAD 1 board of directors voted to reinstate a three week harvest break for high school students Wednesday, while superintendent Brian Carpenter resigned from his post effective Jan. 18.
The school board voted 12-2, with one abstention, in favor of a harvest break, following an effort made by board member Carol Bell to bring the issue back to the board’s consideration. In February 2018, the board voted 9-7 to end the high school’s harvest break as of 2019 with a provision allowing students to take time off to work for a farmer with parental permission.
Lucy Richard, chair of the MSAD 1 board, said Thursday that two board members Steve Sutter and John Johnston voted against reinstating the break, while board member Jane James abstained because her family owns farmland that is rented.
Richard, who voted last February to phase out the harvest break, said she changed her mind to support the break along with a several other board members on Wednesday.
“I get it when they talk about the workforce,” Richard said, referring to testimony from farmers who said they rely on high school students to complete the annual potato harvest.
“It’s hard to get nurses where I work,” said Richard, a nurse practitioner at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle.
“We do have to support the agriculture in our community. I believe it teaches us a sense of community. I don’t know if kids would get that in a bigger city like Portland. That’s a lesson too that the kids learn.”