Calais School Committee Awaits Referendum Vote

By Gwen Clark

The Calais School Committee met last Thursday evening at the Calais high School Library.  Members co-chairman John Hill, Katleen Caso, Lea Farrar, and Bob Greenlaw were in attendance.  The consent agenda and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting were accepted.   There were no communications to the school committee that had been received from the community.   Public participation was opened related to the specific agenda items when those agenda items were addressed by the Committee.  It was requested by the committee for people to speak only once for less than three minutes and that the committee had the option to respond to their concerns by answering through the Administration or by placing the item on a future agenda and that personnel comments be channeled privately via the appropriate administration.   

New business included the appointment of school committee members to the following committees, Finance:  Bob Greenlaw, Policy:  Lea Farrar, Audit:  Kathleen Caso,  Curriculum:  Kathleen Caso, and negotiations: John Hill and Bob Greenlaw.  Items B, C, and D were all tabled.   They consisted of a contract with Blackboard engage for $4,061.64 for a new hosted Internet website with Monies from the Title I program, a contract with the Maine School Management Association for development of new school policies for the Calais School Department  for $1,000 some of which are legally required by law for the school to have, and finally a contract with Computer Resources LLC for One Call Now, an instant communications system to immediately contact all families and staff members as it is integrated with the School Information System at a cost of $981.75.  

All of these items were tabled or failed to make a consensus vote by the committee saying they would not know what they would be working with for finances until after the November 5 Referendum.

The only item on the agenda that passed was the approval of the participation at the State Student Council Convention and overnight for those students on October 20,2013.    The Student Council has been active and done amazing things for the school and community as a whole.  They have State Student Council officers within their group and are consistently giving back to the school and community. They have earned thousands of dollars for their school. Including but not limited to the following: the Mission Statement banners throughout the school, the welcome mat at the  entrance of the high school, the marble school sign at the beginning of the entrance to the school building,   the school flag, the mascot costume,  picnic tables outside for the students use,  bleacher seats at the soccer field,   score boards in the gymnasium,   bulletin boards throughout the school, the Hall of Fame, the TV at the entry,  scholarship money for graduating seniors,  loam that replaced front lawn damage from winter plowing. 

Mrs. Ellis, their Advisor stated:  “They will be running this Conference not only attending it and they do not go then it will have a ripple down effect.”    

Committee member Kathleen Caso made the motion to allow these students to attend the conference with one stipulation:   “Before we let them go to this conference, I think we should elect them to the City Council since they have done some outstanding things.”   

The room erupted with applause and the committee voted unanimously that they will be allowed to attend.

Under Old Business: The progress on the bids for the conversion of the school buildings to propane  from #2 oil were discussed.  Superintendent Laser said that he had received one bid thus far from Dead River and was awaiting more. It was discussed that the high school would be converted first as it would be the cheapest and simplest with the elementary school to follow at a later date.