VASSALBORO: Board updated on school summer improvements

Vassalboro Community School (contributed photo)

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro School Board members began their fall/winter meetings on Aug. 29 with the usual updates on summer improvements; approval of new staff and other appointments for the coming school year; and financial report.

Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer summarized the work done on the exterior of Vassalboro Community School (VCS) by Standard Waterproofing, of Winslow: a complete power-washing (“You could just see the difference,” interjected assistant principal Tabitha Brewer), resealing joints, repairs where needed and a silicone spray that should last six years.

The superintendent called the work “long overdue.” He had not received a final bill, but expected the cost to be around $195,000.

Pfeiffer praised the VCS custodial crew for their work on the building interior over the summer, and thanked principal Ira Michaud, Brewer and special education director Tanya Thibeau for the many hours they’ve put in since classes ended in June.

Michaud’s report to the school board listed multiple training sessions for teachers, showing that they, too, have been working over the summer. He mentioned successful pre-school events already held, and thanked Don and Lisa Breton and the people who donated school supplies to the drive the Bretons organized.

School board members approved new hires, including a school nurse and two sixth-grade teachers. VCS still needs a part-time Spanish teacher (to succeed Monica Fallaw, who resigned to accept a high-school position, Pfeiffer said), and there are a few openings for educational technicians.

Finance director Paula Pooler summarized unaudited year-end balances for FY 2022-23, which ended June 30. Of Vassalboro’s $8.722 million in proposed expenditures for last year, all but $5,421.88 was spent, she reported – very close budgeting, but still in the black.

Revenues were lower than expected, so the school department had to use some of the funds allocated from the undesignated fund balance. The undesignated fund still totals more than $1.2 million.

The VCS food service program, which ran a deficit for many years, showed an excess of revenue over expenditures in 2022-23 for the second year in a row, Pooler said.

For the new fiscal year that began July 1, Pooler sees no budgetary problems so far.

School board members re-elected Jolene Gamage board chairman and Jessica Clark vice-chairman, and reappointed members of board committees.

The only item of new business on the Aug. 29 agenda was review of proposed updates to the document called “Vassalboro Community School Strategic Plan Goals.” Pfieffer asked board members to be prepared for discussion at their Sept. 19 meeting.

He offered two other items for that meeting agenda: the 2023-24 school board meeting schedule, including tentative 2024 dates for reviewing the 2024-25 budget with the budget committee; and preliminary discussion of cooling upstairs classrooms at VCS.

New staff members will be invited to meet board members at 5:45 p.m., on Sept. 19, at VCS, and the board meeting will begin at 6 p.m.


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