Superintendent's Report Sept.

Superintendent Report

From: Mike Tracy, Superintendent of Schools

Date: 11-01-17

To: RSU # 74 School Board

I. Legal/Risk:

A. Current Legal Update:


II. Governance / Policy:

A. Current Local Update:

1. Next REGULAR RSU #74 Board Meeting is scheduled for December 6, at 6:00 pm.

2. Building and Grounds, and Transportation Subcommittee Meeting November 15th, at 5:00 pm.

3. Academic Subcommittee Meeting November at 5:00 pm.

B. a. MSMA Updates:

Diploma Rules will be Re-done:

The Department of Education announced earlier this month it was withdrawing the current proposed rule around proficiency based (PBE) diplomas and will be soliciting feedback from stakeholders, including school boards and superintendents, on how to proceed with a new proposal. The rule, Chapter 134, Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma, is supposed to help define how the proficiency-based diploma law, passed in 2016, will be implemented. School superintendents and others in the education community raised concerns about the first proposed rule, questioning whether it would assure all students, including those with special needs, have a pathway to graduation. Other concerns were around the capacity of school districts and the department to do the work outlined in the proposal; sections of rule that go beyond statute; and, local control. The DOE issued a statement saying after review of the oral and written comments on the first proposal, it would start a new rule -making process for a “substantively different Chapter 134” after it gets feedback from stakeholders in October and early November.  Recorded public hearing and the written comments received by September 8, 2017 for proposed rule Chapter 134 submitted by September 8, 2017. - For more information on proposed rule Chapter 134 and the diploma based on proficiency, contact Maine Department of Education Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at

Question 4 - “To Stabilize Maine State Retirement Payback”:

The Maine Public Employees Retirement System asked for the legislation that created Question 4 on the November 7 ballot. If passed, it would help smooth out the ups and downs in pension investments by increasing the length of time investment losses must be recovered. Currently that is 10 years and this initiative would lengthen that to 20. This proposal, which would amend the Maine Constitution, received bipartisan super-majorities in both the House and Senate. Proponents say that spreading out any possible investment losses of the retirement system over 20 years instead of 10 will help reduce the impact of such losses on the state budget. They go on to say the 20-year payback period proposed in Question 4 will ensure a sound retirement plan for current and retired state workers and teachers, in a manner that also would ensure the state can meet its obligation for public service. (Source: Bangor Daily News, OpEd by Representatives Tom Winsor, R-Norway, and Rep. Aaron Frey, D-Bangor, both members of the Appropriations Committee.) MEPers Executive Director Sandy Matheson is quoted in that OpEd as saying: “The current 10-year provision has served the plan well, but in actuality is lower than the currently recognized actual standards of 15 to 20 years.” Question 4 on the ballot reads: “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to reduce volatility in state pension funding requirements caused by the financial markets by increasing the length of time over which experience losses are amortized from 10 years to 20 years, in line with pension standards?”

C. Legislative Update:


III. Budget and Finance:

A. State Level:  


B. Finance Local:

The Finance Subcommittee met on October 11th, 2017 where Mr. Tracy went though and exhaustive powerpoint presentation on building a  school budget.  There was much discussion.  He plans to take the presentation to the local selectmen's’ meetings in all 4 towns.

IV. Operations:

A. Regional Collaboration Efforts:

Mr. Tracy and Mr. Richards met with the Superintendents from Bingham and Madison as well as their respective High School Principals.  There, they discussed bringing the High School’s course catalogs to our next meeting, as well as committing time during the “first block” of the high school day to explore shared course opportunities for the inter-district  students.  Their next meeting to continue the collaboration discussion is November 7th.  The hope is that we would find ways to expand opportunities for students, without adding to the taxpayers.

B. Food Service:

5-2-1-0 -”The Walking Bus” - Mr. Tracy was fortunate enough to spend the morning, October 18th, walking from the High School to CCS with the entire school!  As part of the 5-2-1-0 Wellness initiative, everyone made the healthy trek, and it was great to see the commitment from students and teachers!

C. Facilities Department:

We are getting ready for winter, and have been working to get buildings winterized including work on our boilers and air exchange systems.  Ms. Agren has given countless hours to our district and has really earned her way respectfully among our administrative team.  Mr. Tracy will be making the recommendation to have Mrs. Agren become the facilities Manager.  Dually, we recognize that she needs some internal support at CCS, we will also be making the recommendation to add a part time custodian to the ranks at CCS.

D. Transportation Department:

Bus Driver Appreciation!  “Take a moment to Hug a Bus Driver today!”  -Last week, Mr. Roy held a nice breakfast meeting with all of the drivers, and thanked them for their service to our district!  It was well received.  We have a great crew and that department is doing a great job this year.

D. Negotiations:   Support Staff Negotiations has begun.

V. Academics and Instruction:

Principals will report on individual school reports as requested.

Academic- Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment:

Local STEM Program and the KVSA SHOWCASE:

You are cordially invited to an interactive event with students and teachers from across 15 school systems in the KVSA (Kennebec Valley Superintendent’s Association) who will showcase some of the excellent programs offered to students.  This year, we will be “showcasing” our shared STEM initiative that has received rave reviews since it’s inception in Bingham (MSAD #13) this fall. -This shared STEM coach program has been paid for with grant monies from Maine DOE this year, and is shared between MSAD #59, MSAD #13 and RSU #74.  The shared STEM Coach will begin her programing in our district this month (November).

Quarter One Report Cards:

It is hard to believe that we are already almost through the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.  Please keep in mind that the freshmen class will begin to see a new report card this quarter.  Again, it will be a dual report card hosting both a traditional grade and proficiencies ranked on on a 1-4 scale.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports:

My hat goes off to our Elementary Principals and teams of teachers working on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Initiatives.  The district leadership team met recently to discuss training and implementation.  Be sure to ask Mr. Desjardin or Ms. Butler about this.

Mid Year Board Data Workshop:

Mr. Tracy will be holding a workshop prior to the January Board meeting on the same evening.  At 5:00 pm we will set up stations where our district administrators will sit and be ready to present and share district wide academic data, and board members will be able to have a more intimate discussion about the great things going on individually in the different schools.  The administrators will have data to discuss as well as any action plans for their school’s improvement.

Upcoming dates:

November 6th - Embden Selectmen’s meeting on Budget @ 6:00 pm

November 7th - Election Day

November 8th - SOlon Selectmen’s meeting on Budget @ 3:00 pm

November 9th - KVSA Showcase in Augusta @ 9:30 am

November 10th - Veteran’s Day observed

November 15th - Facilities and Transportation Subcommittee @ 5:00 pm

November 16th - Academic Subcommittee @ 5:00 pm

November 22-24th - Thanksgiving Break