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Rockland area schools to receive huge financial boost

By Stephen Betts | Jan 11, 2021
The Regional School Unit 13 Board met Jan. 7.

Rockland — Federal aid is coming to the rescue of school districts, including the financially-strapped Rockland area school system.

Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald told board members at their Jan. 7 meeting that the district would receive $2.4 million in additional money from the most recent federal pandemic relief package.

The additional $2.4 million must be spent by 2023.

"I consider this excellent, excellent news," McDonald said.

RSU 13 Board Chairperson Loren Andrews thanked the federal government for coming through for schools.

"What we can do for struggling kids to help them catch up, is potentially huge," Andrews said.

In addition, the superintendent said concerns last year about possible cuts in state education aid are far, far less dire. While there are no specific figures yet for individual school districts, he said he does not expect a severe cut in state aid.

Gov. Janet Mills' proposed two-year budget would include $45 million statewide to make progress toward a minimum statewide teacher salary of $40,000 and funds to help school districts manage services during the pandemic. The minimum salary for 2021-22 would be $37,500 and $40,000 for 2022-23.

RSU 13's teacher contract has a base pay of $40,000 for 2020-2021 and $40,225 for 2021-2022.

The district also discussed other items at the Jan. 7 meeting.

The number of students in the district who will take courses strictly online rather than both in-person and online with the district is projected to be 83 in the upcoming semester that begins at the end of the month.

This compares to 189 in the current first semester. Eighteen students who were taking online classes through the contracted private Edmentum program have changed to strictly home schooling.

The board also agreed to send a letter to Rockland, saying they would talk with them about turning the McLain School over to the city once the district no longer has use of it. Board member Doug Curtis said he would oppose turning the building over since the school district needs the space, pointing out that the South School is too crowded to move McLain School offices to that building.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 12, 2021 22:45

or maybe not!

Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 11, 2021 16:03

It would be very nice if someone could explain how this may or may not impact the budget sent to the towns. Will this money in any way be used to lower out taxes, at all. If not specifically what will the money be used for. I am sure Steve Betts can do a great article on this subject.

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