TOPSHAM

School Administrative District 75 will have missed an entire week of school, thanks to the tropical storm remnants that knocked out power across the Midcoast on Monday.

“We have waited to make a decision each morning in hopes that somehow schools would be able to open,” said Superintendent Brad Smith in a statement Thursday night. “But the latest tour of the district and reports from local officials make it clear that we will not be able to open tomorrow. So, no school tomorrow, Friday, in MSAD 75.”

Smith said it is the district’s intention, however, to open schools on Monday and provide bus service to areas it can access safely. The district will have additional information about that, including a Sunday afternoon update regarding bus routes.

Though there is no school today, SAD 75 planned to again open Mt. Ararat High School from 4-8 p.m. as a warming center as it has since Wednesday.

Smith said there are many people still without power, “and our focus continues to be on supporting all four communities as best we can in this difficult time. Thanks to all of you who are helping one another.”

SAD 75 serves Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham and has seven schools — four in Topsham and an elementary school in each of the other three towns.

Smith said in a phone interview Thursday that the most recent tour of the district revealed there are many areas where the school buses “absolutely could not travel.”

Harpswell, and especially Route 123, is very heavily impacted, he said. The town’s fire chief expressed concern about people being on the roads there. There were also issues traversing Foreside Road and Pleasant Point Road in Topsham, where there were still a significant amount of people without power.

As of Thursday, Smith was hoping power would be restored to Bowdoinham Community School, the last of the schools in SAD 75 without power. Route 24 in Bowdoinham was open by Thursday. Smith didn’t want to open school when some students wouldn’t be able to access education as everyone’s situation is different, but eventually there’s a tipping point where if the district can get kids safely to school, “lets make that available.”

With a week of school cancellations already under its belt, Smith said SAD 75 will go over the allotted storm days the district built into its calendar for this school year — unless it is an unusual winter so the district doesn’t close school. However, the district does have a couple of different options.

There are some professional development days scheduled as non-student days the district may be able to use and do something different with professional development. The Maine Department of Education allows school systems to increase the school day to a certain point to recover some of the time lost. SAD 75 will also look at scheduled vacation times.

There are already some preliminary conversations underway and when school is back open, building administrators will look at this closer and likely make a recommendation to the district’s calendar committee.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

Things to know

THE MAINE EMERGENCY Management Agency urges caution and offers safety tips concerning any natural disaster. See page A13 for suggestions on the following:

• The proper use of chain saws as people clean up their property.

• The dos and don’ts of using portable generators.



Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: