School Committee Looks at Adding Director of Special Services

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

On Tuesday night, the school committee heard a presentation on the possibility of adding another position to the Calais Alternative School [CAS] and Special Education Departments. The position would be the  Director of Special Services, and their work would be divided between the CAS and the Special Education Department. Jodie Greene, the Director of Special Education, was on hand to answer questions that the committee had. 

Greene advised the council that the position would eliminate some of the cost of outsourcing some services for the Special Education Department. Currently, the Special Education Department uses AMHC to conduct their testing for students, which carries a cost each time it is necessary. The position, which would require a masters degree, would eliminate this cost because the new director would be able to conduct those tests for all the Calais schools themselves. 

The position would also help at the Calais Alternative School by providing an administrative-level person on site three or four days a week. Currently, Calais Elementary School Principal Sue Carter splits her time between the CAS and the elementary school. The person hired for this position would be able to help with some of the duties Carter has when she isn’t at the CAS. 

The position, according to Greene, wouldn’t increase the Special Education budget at all and wouldn’t cost any current employee their position.  The money is coming from eliminating the costs of outsourcing the testing for students as well as cuts to several other areas that will not affect the services the students in the Special Education Department receive. The committee decided that until they had looked at the budget further they wouldn’t approve the addition of the position but were not saying no to adding it. 

The Committee also continued talks from their previous budget meeting held on April 10. Superintendent Ron Jenkins presented the Committee with an updated budget that included the Director of Special Services position as well as some corrected numbers. Currently the budget stands at a proposed $9,358,905, an increase of $321,137 over last year. The School Committee took no action on the budget on Tuesday. They decided to move the item to the May 1st meeting for further discussion and possible adoption. 

The School Committee looked at the possible options for making up time due to snow days. The schools will have to make up one day worth of time. There were three possible options to make up the time; add an extra hour a day every day for a week, add an extra hour one day a week for five weeks, or add an extra day at the end of the school year. They heard the opinions of present staff and administrators. After debate they decided that they would add an extra day on the end of the year, making the last day of school Monday, June 18 as opposed to Friday, June 15. The Committee voted 3-2 for the addition of the day as opposed to adding an hour.  

The senior class made two requests to the School Committee. The first was to travel to Six Flags for the Grad Night that they host. The trip would last from May 18-19. They also asked for approval to hold the prom off site at the Calais Motor Inn. The prom march in to the dancing would be held in the upper part of the Motor Inn. Both requests were approved by the committee. 

Special budget meeting: May 1st. Committee: May 15.