February 12

Board votes to move Mt. Blue sixth-graders from elementary to middle school buildings

The unanimous decision came after open meetings with parents and teachers that hadn’t generated negative feedback, Superintendent Tom Ward said.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Mt. Blue School Board unanimously voted Tuesday night to shift sixth-grade classes to Mt. Blue Middle School from the school district’s elementary school buildings.

Teachers and principals from Academy Hill School, Cascade Brook School, W.G. Mallet School, Cape Cod Hill School and Mt. Blue Middle School told the 50 teachers and parents in attendance that the move was needed to relieve overcrowding at the lower levels.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the elementary schools are putting students in rooms not intended to serve as classrooms, and by moving the sixth grade to the middle school, the rooms could be used for their original purposes.

He said meetings will be held to plan the transition, and teachers will be creating plans to help the students adjust to the changes.

Before the decision, Ward said they had open meetings at which the public could ask school board members questions, and he also held talks with the teachers to get their feedback about the move.

“I really have not received negative feedback,” Ward said.

He said several parents asked questions about what effect moving children out of the elementary schools in their communities would have, but Ward said he and other district officials explained why the transition was needed.

“I think we’ve proven these are good moves,” he said.

The transtition’s cost would be an estimated $10,000 for technology upgrades and $5,5000 for maintenance and renovations.

Ward said the district’s budget committee also will be considering requests to hire additional half-time teachers for art and physical education, and a half-time guidance counselor.

Ward said those costs would be incurred fill needs that have existed in the district for years.

“We’ve been very lean for many years. We have many needs,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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