News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 12, 2023
School board raises substitute pay
Makes plans for electric school bus

by David Avery

The school board met on January 4 at Adams School and voted unanimously to increase substitute pay to $125 per day. The increase was proposed to make Castine’s pay rate similar to other schools in Union 93, according to Superintendent Reg Ruhlin.

There was some question as to what the current rate of pay is. Principal Fred Cole referenced $90 per day, but other board members recalled raising pay last year to $110 per day.

If that pay raise was never implemented, “we should make good on what we should have paid” the substitutes over the past year, said Temple Blackwood, board chair.

Three vendors are readying bids to provide an electric school bus to Castine, according to Ruhlin. Meanwhile, the town of Castine and the board have entered into discussions to find a site for the charging station and a place to house the bus.

Blackwood suggested that by the next board meeting, there should be some answers to these questions.

Talk of what to do with the old bus ensued. Options include trading, donating or selling outright.

Ruhlin also reported changes at the Union 93 offices. To begin, the Curriculum Coordinator position is to be eliminated and replaced by an Assistant Superintendent. The position will be advertised in-house first, Ruhlin said, and will begin in 2023.

In addition, the Union has had difficulty filling the job of Special Education Coordinator. To take some of the burden of administration off of teachers, a special education administrative assistant position is being created, Ruhlin said.

Blackwood also reported that the search to replace Ruhlin, who is leaving Union 93 in June, is underway. A search-related listening session for the community is to take place Thursday, January 19, he said.

The playground committee continues to work to upgrade the Adams School playground. Blackwood said the goal is to have a plan and a target number for fundraising by the end of April.

Principal Fred Cole reported on the efforts to get a full-day pre-kindergarten program at Adams School. He plans to continue talks with board member Johanna Barrett. The two intend to conduct a survey of the community to learn of the needs for pre-K.

Cole also reported that he will meet with the Round School in Castine, where a pre-K program is in place. The Round School is the Community Childhood Learning Place.

The budget cycle has begun, Ruhlin reported. By the February meeting of the board, there should be a first draft of the 2024 fiscal year budget for Adams School.

Teacher Tracy Lameyer was in attendance. She talked of some fundraising efforts by students. She also said that the yearbook will sell ads to local businesses this year, a practice that was suspended during the pandemic.