SAD 70 vice chairman resigns, district accepts heat pump

10 years ago

HODGDON, Maine — The SAD 70 school board has one less member following Monday’s surprise resignation of vice chairman Tracy Rockwell.
Rockwell has served on the school board for the past five years, representing Hodgdon. Her term expires in 2015. The board was unable to come up with a replacement for Rockwell as vice chair and tabled the matter until the next meeting in September.
In her letter of resignation, Rockwell stated a change in her job now prevents her from meeting her obligations to the district.
“I will be acting director for the Houlton Higher Education Center for an interim period of the fall semester, while a formal hiring process will be put into action,” she wrote. “Due to the nature of this position and the duties, along with additional teaching commitments, I will be unable to serve the last year of my term as a school board member.
“I will continue to play an active role as a parent of a child in this great district,” she continued. “I have enjoyed my time on the board and being part of this wonderful district and community.”
SAD 70 has had difficultly filling its full slate of board members in recent years. The board has 14 seats, but after Monday night’s meeting, the group is now down to 10 members. There are now two vacant seats from Hodgdon and one each from New Limerick and Ludlow. The New Limerick seat has been empty for more than a year. Ludlow currently has no representative on the school board.
Members of the SAD 70 board include from Hodgdon, Joel Oliver (whose term expires in 2017), Tom Horton (2015) and Jared Carter (2017); from Linneus, Estela Lane (2017), Lisa Dangerfield (2016) and Mark Ganzel (2017); from Haynesville, Angie Howland (2017); from New Limerick, Darlene Theriault (2016); from Amity, Gordon Ledger (2015); and from Cary, Maureen Friel (2016).
Elections to the board are held in each community during their annual town meeting. Because those meetings typically are held in the spring, it falls upon each town’s board of selectmen to fill a vacated seat on the school board.
Anyone from those communities who is interested in serving on the school board should contact their town office or call the superintendent’s office at 532-3015.

District receives heat pump donation
In other business, the board accepted a donation from Harbison Plumbing and Heating of one commercial heat pump unit to be installed in a room of the district’s choice. Jon Harbison explained to the board Monday that his family’s company wanted to make the donation to the district as a show of gratitude for past work. He also stated he hoped the district might be interested in purchasing additional units to offer an energy efficient alternative to the district’s heating needs.
Harbison’s mother and sister are employees in the school district. He requested that the heat pump not be installed in either of their rooms to avoid the perception of nepotism.
The district is currently undergoing a feasibility study of its buildings to see what areas need to be addressed at Hodgdon High School and Mill Pond School. In the current budget, the district set aside $15,000 for a study to be done by Bunker and Savage Architects of Augusta.
However, the board learned Monday evening that the amount needed for the study was considerably higher. The cost of the feasibility study will be $23,500.
A committee has been created to study both buildings, as well as the central office located across from the high school. The last time the district did a complete study of its infrastructure was in 1986-87.
The facilities committee will meet with the architects on Sept. 10 at 5 p.m.
In other agenda items, the board:
• Approved Rachael Upton for a middle school math teacher position and Sam Hiscoe as a part-time middle school social studies teacher.
• Accepted the resignations of Joel Duff, bus driver; Noel Pratt, middle school math; and Dana Morrison, technology department.
The next regular meeting of the SAD 70 school board will be Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.