JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors received several updates Thursday night including possible grants for adult education initiatives and worsening student behavior on school buses.

Regarding the adult education grants, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have forwarded an Area Youth Sports application for federal funding to the Senate Appropriations Committee with a recommendation for a $1.7 million project that would allow for expanded adult education programming, according to Robyn Raymond, director of Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education.

“This is not a guarantee for funding,” Raymond said. “There are many more obstacles, but I am encouraged with how well-received this project has been.”

The funding would help improve infrastructure at the AYS building to allow expansion of adult education’s culinary arts and workforce training programs, while also assisting AYS with building upgrades.

In March, several local officials met with representatives for Collins, King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden to discuss potential funding for the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls area in light of the then-impending closure of the Jay paper mill.

Raymond and Kendra Baker, executive director of United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, had conversations about grant opportunities and “what we can do to bolster and strengthen our communities.”


At the same time, directors for Area Youth Sports were working to bring the building up to state fire codes. The issue was brought to light when the local United Way moved its Halloween fundraiser from Farmington to the AYS building. Sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers and exit signs and lights were among items either missing or not up to code.

Raymond said Thursday that Spruce Mountain Adult Education is included in an application with the Maine Development Foundation that has also been forwarded to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I am hopeful to hear by July,” she said.

Regarding student behavior on school buses in RSU 73, Norma Jackman, the district’s director of transportation, said it has gotten worse over the past couple of months.

She said most buses are at capacity, and officials and drivers must often deal with last-minute telephone calls that change where certain students are to go after school. Such calls sometimes come 20 minutes before the buses are to leave school, according to Jackman.

She said other challenges include substitute bus drivers who might not know the students, bus passes that are thrown out and students presenting fake notes.


“Middle and high school students need bus passes,” she said. “It’s not because we don’t want to take them. We are legally bound by law on the number allowed on a bus.”

Jackman said she and Superintendent Scott Albert plan to send a letter to parents at the beginning of the new school year.

Board Director Andrew Sylvester of Livermore asked if there was a plan in place to address damage done to buses by students.

Jackman said two parents have been sent bills for certain damages done. It costs $200 to cover a seat and the district has taken care of most of it, she said.

Jackman said she has had more cameras installed to record activity on the district’s buses. Most buses now have four cameras.

“The problem is the seating,” she said. “The cameras don’t always get at the problem. Some students know where to sit.”

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