PARIS — A request final week made to Faculty Administrative District 17 board to approve two Oxford Hills faculties’ discipline journeys placed on show the challenges going through experiential training throughout Maine.
Ten years in the past the Maine Division of Schooling eliminated pupil discipline journeys as an expense line merchandise for varsity budgets. The consequence has been that faculties capable of fundraise have a inequitable benefit over faculties in communities with monetary hardships. SAD 17 board members debated the difficulty and mentioned potential workarounds to make sure extra college students are capable of take part going ahead.
Oxford Elementary and Otisfield Group college principals submitted requests for sixth grade college students to attend the Schoodic Schooling Journey (SEA) Program at Acadia Nationwide Park on Sept. 28-30.
The Thompson Lake Environmental Affiliation donated $4,000 in the direction of offering transportation for all college students from each faculties.
An nameless donor pledged $8,000 to cowl discipline journeys for OES college students; funds from this donation can be allotted for in a single day lodging at Acadia Nationwide Park.
Nevertheless, Otisfield has no discipline journey benefactors for its college students, who can be required to fundraise to cowl bills, with their households requested to pay $30 and supply no less than one bagged lunch (different meals are coated by SEA).
The problem is being compounded by the truth that no customized coach transportation is out there for the return journey residence on Sept. 30.
Director Lew Williams of Hebron rapidly addressed pupil inequity when the journeys got here up for consideration at Sept. 6’s college board assembly.
“Oxford has a fairly good grant that enables all the scholars to go. Otisfield want to go, and they need to. But it surely seems to be like the scholars must put in some cash to go,” stated Williams. “I consider, and I’ve stated this earlier than, that any time we sponsor a college exercise, no pupil ought to pay. Whether or not we take it from contingency, or we arrange particular funding for it. It appears to be an issue for the smaller faculties.”
Director Bob Jewell of Paris agreed with Williams however spoke in favor of approving the journeys anyway.
“I believe we must always approve this,” prompt Jewell. “And perhaps they will discover buses again in time to put it aside. I additionally agree 100% with Lew. This needs to be funded.
“Perhaps we go a step additional. The board ought to maybe sit down with administration and determine what discipline journeys we wish for all faculties all year long. So each college has the identical discipline journey and the district pays for it 100%.
District Chief Monetary Officer Carrie Colley knowledgeable the board that due to MDOE’s funds coverage adjustment college districts are not capable of pay for them.
“We will take non-public donations however can’t use native (district) funds,” Colley stated.
Board Vice-Chair Jared Money of Norway additionally spoke about the necessity to make discipline journeys extra accessible for all Oxford Hills college students.
“We’ve bought a difficulty to verify it’s inexpensive, that we have now the operations to help it, that curriculum ties into it and there’s fairness for college kids,” he stated. “There are sources and personal donations. We now have a multifaceted curiosity. I’m going to ask that the assembly notes summarize all of the challenges completely different faculties are going through on discipline journeys.”
Earlier this 12 months, Oxford Hills alum Rob Campbell established a discipline journey fund for Oxford Hills Complete Excessive Faculty college students with $10,000 and a pledge to match $15,000 in different donations. That program, referred to as OHCHS Educational Boosters, is just not accessible for different faculties to take part.
Director Kitty Winship of Waterford proposed making a board committee to supervise discipline journey fundraising and allocation. Jewell prompt that by eliminating discipline journeys as particular person tasks by college and making them a district program the board may add flexibility to protecting their prices.
“If a quote unquote discipline journey got here from the board and impacts all faculties, it may change into a tutorial program and could possibly be funded as a result of now it’s throughout the district,” he stated. “The sphere journey title may perhaps go away and it’s funded as a tutorial journey.”
Williams was amenable to such an answer however requested that the movement for SEA discipline journeys for Oxford and Otisfield college students be tabled till there isn’t any related monetary burden to any pupil.
“I say we approve it and determine (financing),” Jewell stated. “We’ll get to (the plan).”
“My concern remains to be the financing. We didn’t add something for financing,” Williams instructed administrators.
Administrators then voted on the SEA discipline journey requests, with all administrators however Williams approving.