DOE advances two County groups in school pilot project

7 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine – Commissioner Robert G. Hasson announced July 11 that the Maine Department of Education has authorized three applicants — consisting of partnerships between school districts and their CTE, higher education and business partners — to proceed to part 2 of their application for an Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot project.

Two of the chosen are in Aroostook County, one in the St. John Valley and the other in the Houlton area.

One finalist is the tri-district area of Fort Kent Community High School and Valley Rivers Middle School (MSAD 27), Wisdom Middle/High School (MSAD 33), Madawaska Middle/High School, and St. John Valley Technology Center. The application seeks to combine the three high schools and create one high school and CTE center.

The second group is Houlton Middle/High School (RSU 29), Southern Aroostook High School (RSU 50), Katahdin High School (RSU 50), Hodgdon Junior/High School (RSU 70), East Grand School (RSU 84), and Region 2 School of Applied Technology. The application includes five schools, spanning three counties, and seeks to combine with Region 2 School of Applied Technology.

The third finalist is in Piscataquis County: Dexter Regional High School (MSAD 46), Penquis Community Secondary School (MSAD 41), Forest Hills High School (RSU 82/MSAD 12), Greenville Consolidated School, and Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC).  Dexter Regional High School would merge with Pisctaquis Community Secondary School in Guildford and the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter, likely resulting in the construction of a new building. Those schools would partner with Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman and Greenville Consolidated School for distance learning and online programs.

“As we have traveled the state to discuss this unique and innovative opportunity for regional collaboration and construction, we have seen communities embrace the opportunity to imagine new possibilities for higher student achievement,” said Commissioner Hasson. “It is my hope that the pilot project that is eventually selected will set a new standard for regional approaches to high school, for expanding access to career and technical education, and for higher education and industry partnerships.”

In January, Hasson and the State Board of Education invited partnering districts to submit plans to create and/or upgrade education facilities, integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System. The commissioner and other representatives held information sessions in Presque Isle, Biddeford, Bangor and Augusta.

Part 1 of the application focused primarily on identifying the partners in each project. Those advancing to Part 2 will have six months to submit a more comprehensive proposal for each project, an overview of the proposed model, specific technical and financial supports needed from the Department and evidence of approval votes by the various partners involved.

Final scores will be established by combining Part 1 and Part 2 scores, and will be used to present a recommendation to the State Board of Education. The Department reserves the right to recommend more than one final project or to reject all applications.

Once the successful pilot project is selected, the DOE will fund required planning work. Decisions about renovation, expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

All three projects will enter into work sessions with the Maine DOE; their next steps in the application are due Dec. 29.

More information is available on the Maine DOE’s Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot web page.