School Liaison Committee Discusses Collaboration

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

On Tuesday, February 27th, prior to the School Committee meeting, the School Liaison Committee met. At the meeting the committee discussed the possibility of school collaboration or school consolidation between area schools. 

Part of the discussion was to work on a strategy to start combining services between the schools of Calais, Baileyville and Shead. The three schools currently work collaboratively with the St. Croix Regional Technical Center, and there is discussion on taking this cooperation further. Enrollment from the other schools is down due to scheduling conflicts for courses required. Superintendent Ron Jenkins brought before the committee the idea of potentially offering some of the required classes at Calais High School for students from the St. Croix Regional Technical Center, or collaborating with the other schools to create scheduling at all three schools that is similar enough to allow students to participate in these programs. 

The committee also talked about getting together with the Baileyville Town Council and School Board to see what their ideas on the topic of school collaboration are so they can better work together for the benefit of both communities. The superintendents will work together to come up with some dates and times when the two school boards can get together and start a discussion 

The city council members brought up school safety with regard to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. There was talk about creating a community committee that would be focused on ways to make Calais schools safer. The council members will reach out to Police Chief David Randall for his help. 

On May 9th, Bill DeLong, a Maine Homeland Security Officer, will be coming to Calais to present to the teachers and administration  ways to improve safety measures at the high school. The community committee would aim to reach out to DeLong to come back for another workshop with the this committee.

The last item on the liaison meeting agenda was a discussion on the results of the audit as well as a look ahead to the upcoming budget. The City Council stated that they would not raise taxes this year, which would require all departments to come in flat. This year the school  has negotiations for teachers’ contracts that will have an impact on the budget as well as other factors. 

“My intent is to bring something to you that we’re all happy with,” said Superintendent Ron Jenkins. “I will be advocating for education.” 

Both the School Committee and City Council members agreed that they have been working well together for the last couple of years and that the cooperation between the city and the school will continue. The school is hopeful that they will be receiving the $46,200 that was pulled from the budget last year by the state for the school’s health center along with continuing funds for the operation.