Vassalboro school board discusses various topics

Vassalboro Community School (contributed photo)

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro school board members discussed various topics at their Feb. 14 meeting, excluding the 2023-24 budget. The budget will be the topic of a Tuesday, March 7, workshop, set to begin at 5:30 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. at Vassalboro Community School (VCS).

Principal Ira Michaud reported on both ends of the student enrollment. Eighth-graders made their annual visits to high schools they might attend – Erskine Academy in South China, Waterville and Winslow high schools – and are excited about their prospects. Screening for next year’s kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes is scheduled for May 3 through 5.

Michaud commented that since Feb. 14 was celebrated both as Valentine’s Day and as the 100th day of school this year, “to say the energy was boiling over is an understatement.”

On another in-school note, Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer reported that “Our lost and found is robust.” If students or parents do not claim their missing items by March 31, they will be donated to charity; board chairman Jolene Gamage recommended sending them to the Olde Mill, in North Vassalboro.

Pfeiffer said the school received a $10,000 gift willed by the late Mary Vannah, of Vassalboro. He recommended a committee be set up to recommend use of the money.

The overall budget remains in good shape, finance director Paula Pooler reported, and the school meals program, which ran in the red for several years, has a surplus of over $60,000 so far this school year.

During the extremely cold spell Feb. 3 and 4, water pipes froze and burst in three places, Pfeiffer said. Flooding was confined to the kitchen, where drains got rid of the water. After an immediate repair, more work was to be done over the February vacation week (Feb. 20 – 24), with the goal of preventing a recurrence.

Assistant principal Tabitha Brewer shared information on truancy and absenteeism. Attendance has not recovered fully from the covid-caused turmoil, but is improving, she said; school staff work with families to get students back to classes.

Pfeiffer and Michaud both praised the VCS Parent-Teacher Organization.

A VCS parent asked about the school’s Gifted and Talented Program. Pfeiffer recommended she talk with Brewer and curriculum coordinator Carol Kiesman.

Board members accepted the resignation of kitchen manager Mary Dumont. She and art teacher Susan Briggs are retiring at the end of the school year; Pfeiffer said both positions will be advertised soon.

Pfeiffer expects to need to schedule another budget-focused meeting after the March 7 one. The next regular Vassalboro school board meeting will be the evening of March 21.


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