Spruce Mountain School District Sets Budget Meeting April 7


Richard Wilde, counselor for the Blue Crew robotics team at Farmington’s Foster Career and Technical Education Center, speaks to Regional School Unit 73 principals Thursday night at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, while members of the Spruce Mountain and Mt. Blue high school team stand behind him. Spruce Mountain High School teacher Rob Taylor, seated left, and student Lily Bailey, front row, are collaborating with the Blue Crew this year. Pam Harnden / Livermore Falls Announcer

JAY — Principals of Regional School Unit 73 announced Thursday that a public meeting on the proposed $22.17 million budget will be held at 6 p.m. on April 7 at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay.

It will include a first vote on the proposal.

The spending plan for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is $1.42 million higher than this year. About 75% is for wages and salaries, Superintendent Scott Albert said in February. Special education spending increased by 16% while health insurance increased by 13% and liability insurance by 23%, he said then.

Each city is being asked to pay $60,000 for food services, up from $80,000 last year, and $66,000 for adult education, the amount approved last year.

An article on the mandate will ask for $45,000 for the improvement of the tennis courts at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay.

Another article will ask for an agreement with Fayette to pay tuition to allow her high school students to attend Spruce Mountain High School.

Voters will also decide whether or not to continue with the district budget meeting and initial vote, followed by a second vote at the polls a few days later.

This year, the second vote on the budget and other items will take place on April 26 at polling stations in Livermore, Livermore Falls and Jay.

Since the state lowered Jay’s assessment due to changes at the Androscoggin plant, the amount paid by Livermore and Livermore Falls will increase.

In other business Thursday, administrators allowed students at Spruce Mountain High School working with the robotics program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center in Farmington to attend out-of-state competitions this year.

The Tech Center Blue Crew team has five students from Spruce Mountain, with teacher Rob Taylor as a mentor. The students began collaborating with the Farmington-based team after January.

Blue Crew team adviser Richard Wilde said Spruce Mountain students encourage his team to try for the President’s Award, which is part of every competition. Lily Bailey and Ava Coates of Spruce Mountain and Emily Hammond of Mt. Blue High School in Farmington represented the team for this portion of the competition. The team won the President’s Award at the New England Pine Tree District event held at Thomas College in Waterville earlier this month.

At this event, RSU 73 manager Joel Pike of Jay, also a Blue Crew mentor, won the award for runner-up Woodie Flowers.

This year’s game was called Rapid React with the theme of transportation. He focused on airports and airplanes.

“There is no other program like this,” Wilde said. “I would really like to see you have your own team again. Until then, Spruce Mountain will always be welcome in the Blue Crew.

Spruce Mountain High School had to suspend its robotics team after longtime counselor Daniel Lemieux retired from teaching.

“It was a great experience for me personally,” Taylor said, referring to her participation in the robotics program again. “COVID has been difficult. It was really hard to walk away from some of the things I had done. It’s the one I really like. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. »

Spruce Mountain students joining Team Blue Crew was one of the reasons they won the award, Taylor said. COVID-19 has leveled the playing field, he said.

During the pandemic, robotics teams weren’t able to mentor LEGO League teams the way they used to. Blue Crew team members and advisors worked with Spruce Mountain crews last fall, mentoring middle schoolers and collaborating to form a combined team, all of which impacted the win, said Taylor.

“They gave the (Spruce) kids an experience they wouldn’t have had,” Taylor said.

“Rob has been a great addition to this team,” Pike said.

Manager Patrick Milligan of Livermore Falls said the future is in innovation and technology. He noted the importance of women in science and that girls would be sought after in these fields.

As Chairman’s Award winners, Blue Crew qualified to compete in the New England District Championship April 13-16 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The team will also participate in the New Hampshire Pease/Seacoast Event, March 31-April 2, in Durham.

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