January 13

Waterville School Board re-elects Cabana as chairman

Proposed 2014-15 budgets presented to board after new members sworn in.

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Lee Cabana, longtime chairman of the Waterville Board of Education, was re-elected to his position Monday night in a 6-0 vote.

Cabana has served on the board more than 16 years and has been chairman for most of that time.

“I appreciate your support and I’ll try to do my best this last year — and it is the last year,” said Cabana, 77. “I know I’ve said this before, but it is my last year — honest.”

Eric Haley, superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools, congratulated Cabana, with whom he has worked his entire 13 years as superintendent.

“Looking forward to another year,” Haley said.

Board member Sara Sylvester was re-elected executive secretary to the board in a 6-0 vote. City Clerk Patti Dubois administered the oath of office to Joan Phillips-Sandy, an 18-year veteran of the board, and newly-elected member Tiffany LaLiberty, who fills a seat vacated by Victoria Duguay. Duguay chose not to seek re-election in November.

Carole Dodge, principal of Waterville Junior High School, Allan Martin, principal of George J. Mitchell School, and Susan Tuthill, director of Waterville Adult Education and English Language Learners, presented first drafts of their proposed 2014-15 budgets.

The proposed $2.9 million junior high budget represents a 3.54 percent increase over the current $2.8 budget.

“With salaries alone, the percentage is over 6 percent, so we’re coming in pretty lean,” Dodge said.

AOS Maintenance Director Shelley Phillips said schools are using more heating fuel this year than last.

“It’s been horrendously cold this year and the consumption is up,” Phillips said.

The junior high already has used about 1,000 gallons more than it had by this time last year, she said.

“So it’s adding up quickly as we go along, and it’s only halfway (through the school year),” Phillips said.

The Mitchell School so far has used about 1,300 more gallons than last year, she said.

Haley said school officials will look at whether switching to natural gas and converting systems would benefit schools. Waterville Senior High School, as well as the Mitchell School and junior high, are possible sites for conversion, although there may not be an incentive to convert at the high school because that building uses both fuel and a wood pellet burner, he said.

The School Board and City Council are scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mid-Day Cafe at the high school to discuss city and school capital improvements, as well as what the city and schools are facing for revenues and expenditures in the upcoming budget, Haley said.

Meanwhile, the School Board and Albert S. Hall School Principal Barbara Jordan congratulated Hall School fifth-grader Sarah McNeil, who won the school’s National Geographic Bee for the second year in a row. McNeil, 10, also was named Student of the Month for November at the school. She attended the meeting Monday with her parents, Cindy and Tom McNeil, as well as her sister, Meghan.

“Congrats, Sarah — that’s quite an honor,” Haley said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247 acalder@centralmaine.com Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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