The Regional School Unit 13 board voted Sept. 4 to hold off hiring a technology integrator to replace a library and media specialist position in order to gather public comment.

During the 2014-2015 budget talks, the library and media specialist positions were cut. At the budget validation hearing in May, several residents spoke in favor of placing money back into the budget for the position. Under state law, voters can only add dollar amounts to the budget and cannot demand it be used for specific items.

Superintendent John McDonald said at the board meeting Sept. 4 there are two openings for library and media specialists, one at Oceanside High School East and one at West. To date, he said, applicants have been minimal because the job requires a master's degree and a specialized authorization from the Department of Education.

McDonald said after meeting with Director of School Improvement Neal Guyer and other administrators, he would like to see the district hire a technology integrator. It would give the district a way to support the libraries and make the move toward use of various media.

Chairman Steven Roberts of Rockland said the library and media specialist positions were ones the public asked to put back in the budget, which the board did in June. He suggested gathering public comment on the idea before making the move.

Board member Loren Andrews of Cushing said he supported the change in the position because the administrative team has reviewed it and the move stays with the spirit of keeping library services going.

After a motion by Roberts to table the vote, board members voted 6 in favor and 4 opposed. Board members Andrews, Donald Robishaw Jr., Esther "Tess" Kilgour and Sherman Hoyt voted against the motion.

The board is expected to meet Thursday, Sept. 18, at 5:30 p.m. to make a decision.

Staff hired/resigned

The board also voted to appoint seven new staff members. They are: Charissa Daigle, South School first-grade teacher; Molly Protheroe, Gilford Butler School second-grade teacher; Susan Fossett, Individualized Education Plan coordinator and assistant special education director; Jennifer Whitney, Rockland District Middle School special education teacher; Mark Leavitt, physical therapist; Gretchen Kuhn, Rockland District Middle School and South School nurse; and Stephen Hensel, McLain School special education teacher.

The board also acknowledged the resignation of: Krystal Gamage, Oceanside High School East social studies teacher; school nurse Annabelle Schierman; Maurie Stockford, library and media specialist at Oceanside East; Catherine Jackson, special education teacher at Oceanside East; and Sheri Cohen, speech therapist.

Parent's group

More than 18 people have expressed an interest in being a part of a superintendent, parent and community group being organized by McDonald. The superintendent said the group plans to hold its initial meeting in October.

McDonald plans to hold informal meetings to find out how people are feeling about current topics and issues.

If interested in being on the committee, McDonald can be reached at 596-6620 or by email at jmcdonald@rsu13.org.

RSU 13 includes schools in Rockland, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Owls Head, St. George and Cushing.

Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at klincoln@villagesoup.com.