May 29, 2024

To:  RSU #74 Board of Directors

From:  Mark L. Campbell, Superintendent

Re:  June Board Report

Thank you for your support of the education of the children in our district.  I believe that the support we received at the District Budget meeting reflects the trust our communities have in the work we are doing with and for students.  Our budget faces the one additional hurdle of the referendum vote on June 11.   We would expect that with the local primary elections happening that the number of voters that will turn out will be greater than we saw last year.  But as we did last year, we will be utilizing our internal resources to communicate with voters on our budget.

Students and staff have been hosting a number of events including community members as guests and some as participants.  The first 3 Fridays of this month the K-5 staff held career awareness days for their students.  I caught the last one for students in grades 3 - 5.  Presenters included engineers, an auto body technician, and a law enforcement officer all from our communities.  The sessions I poked in on, I observed great questions being asked of the presenters by our students to gain further insight to the training necessary to do such jobs as well as what exactly they do on a daily basis.  I also was able to see first hand one of the STEAM nights held.   The displays showcased science studies completed by the students.  As well, Mr. Reichenbach had elegantly displayed student artwork for parents to view.  I expect the musical production this week (Thursday, May 30 at 6:30) at CCS will have a large population of the community here to hear their students perform.  On June 4th at 5 pm, the HS visual and performing arts programs will be hosting their own program for parents and community members.

We have a number of people who have stepped up in challenging times this school year.  Whether it has been vacancies left unfilled, resignations mid-year, or extended illnesses, employees and substitutes have done an amazing job filling in doing their very best to ensure students could get to school, came to school where clean classrooms were, where food was prepared, where they had an adult in front of them ready to teach, and rides home at the end of the day.  I realize on June 12, during our special Board meeting we will recognize a few of these individuals but the team effort this year has been outstanding.  I would like to invite Board members to join us on Monday, June 17 to assist with serving lunch to all RSU #74 employees and join us for a sit-down barbecue lunch honoring their hard work during the 2023-2024 school year.  I believe we said lunch was going to begin being served around 11 that morning so staff can get back into their respective buildings.

The Policy Committee met in May to review 4 policies to send before you next week.  Our goal was to finish up a couple projects (Use of Facilities and Naming of an area within a school or on school property).  We also have the Wellness Policy as recommended by the District Wellness Committee to review.  Lastly, the committee reviewed the Cellular phone policy due to concerns of current use at the high school.  I will speak to each later when I address the specific action items.  As well, the Academic Committee met to hear two presentations.  The first was a presentation done by CCS staff, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Ferrari, on the new resources approved in the 2024-2025 budget for use in mathematics and science grades 6 to 8.  The second presentation was by high school freshman and Mr. Baum on a request for the purchase of equipment to allow students to explore concepts taught in freshmen Physical Science.  The activities are hands-on experiments asking students to collect and analyze data relative to topics like velocity, acceleration, and friction to name a few.  Currently these topics are taught theoretically.  The hands-on experiments will allow students to see as they do the activities.


The first appointment will ensure the district is compliant with ELL expectations set forth for districts with student(s) where English is a second language.  Terri Hoops will assist the student and staff with bridging the gaps between the student’s first language and their studies in English.  The next group are staff who will be supporting students in our extended school program for student K-5.  The program is 3 weeks in July at CCS.  The funds for this program are from ESSER III.  We will need to look at district funding for the summer of 2025 if this program is to continue.  The next group is a variety of stipend positions currently held by the same personnel.  These are locally funded positions.

The last appointment is for Athletic Director.  The position was posted and we received only one application.  Peter and I support the nomination of Bruce Dostie to be our next Athletic Director.  As a former coach at the varsity level, Mr. Dostie has experiences to draw on to assist him with this new role.  I believe this form of connection between administration/AD has occurred in the past in RSU 74 but am unsure why the district stepped away from the combined position.   While I do believe some of the concerns raised about the current structure will be addressed, because of the nature of the position, there will be overlaps in the two assignments Mr. Dostie will have for the district.  I can tell you anytime you have to postpone athletic events that takes place during times when schools are open.   These times are infrequent but will happen.    


Michelle Stevens has submitted her retirement papers to the State.  Michelle has made Solon her home for 2 decades.  You walk into her room, no matter how big or small, she has her student’s attention.  During my tenure here I can say her lessons have been engaging as she is very effective in keeping that intrinsic curiosity going.  We wish to thank Michelle for her dedication to the students of Solon and wish her well in retirement.

Beth Higgins has decided to take her talents to her hometown district.  My work with Beth over the past two years has been closely related to one of her assigned duties as the McKinney-Vento liaison for the district.  With Beth, she often had the answers I was looking for even before I knew I needed to know said answers.  This winter our McKinney-Vento files were audited and because of her hard work and dedication to details, we passed with flying colors.  Thank you to Beth for that great work and good work she did with supporting students with their emotional needs.  Best wishes to Beth in her new district.

Cindy Currie has tendered her resignation as the grade 2 teacher at Solon Elementary.  What I have heard repeatedly from current and former co-workers is that Cindy has a way to get any struggling reader to be comfortable and to be able to read on their own.  We certainly want to thank Cindy and wish her well in her future endeavors.


Would like to have a motion of support for the nomination of Shawn Gross to the position of maintenance.  Shawn has years of experience with building maintenance in the public sector.  

Would like to have a motion of support for the nomination of Josh Nichols to the position of maintenance.  Josh has 8 years of experience with building maintenance in the public sector.

Would like to have a motion of support for the nomination of Shannon Richards to the position of classroom teacher in grade 5 at the Carrabec Community School.  Shannon is a 2024 graduate from the University of Maine in Farmington.  Shannon came to CCS to do her student teaching in January and quickly settled into a long-term substitute position for the role we are asking you to appoint her to full time.  Shannon has provided her students with engaging learning opportunities.  Over the semester, Shannon defined and implemented effective classroom expectations.  

Action Items:

Item 6:  As required yearly, we are asking for your support of the continued partnership between RSU #74 and the Madison Health Center by recognizing them as our School Physician for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Item 7:  This request is permitted by statute to ensure when the opportunity to fill a position is present, the Superintendent can issue a contract and not have to wait for the School Board to vote on the nomination before issuing the contract.  This helps literally sign people on so we are less apt to lose them to other districts.  I will introduce the new teachers/ed - techs at the next scheduled board meeting and ask for your support.

Item 8:  Each fall, the two teachers (Ferrari and Carey) with 8th grade homerooms take the students on an overnight camping trip to Flagstaff.  Because the trip happens in September they are requesting it now.  A summary of the trip is in the packet.   Your support is appreciated.

Item 9:  In your packet you will find a description of the Financial Literacy course designed by the high school Social Studies teachers to address the Board Policy on graduation requirements.  The class of 2027 will be the first to be required to satisfactorily complete the course.

Item #10:  We received 3 bids for a bus to replace a bus in the fleet we feel is or is likely to cost us the most to continue to keep it on the road.  2 of the 3 bids were on a 2026 bus meaning we would be getting their buses in the Spring of 2025.  The third, WC Cressey has 2 buses (2025 at $134,837) in stock and can make delivery in July 2024.  Although not the lowest bid, we are recommending the Thomas bus Cressey has in stock.  The difference between high to low is roughly $4,500.  We would pull one of the two from the fleet that is in the most need for repairs to even be operational.  For example, we have a bus sitting with 16 known repairs needed for an inspection sticker that also has a rotten cross member.  We were told these immediate repairs may get us one more year of use.  I am confident the $4,500 extra is a better investment for the district than the cost to get this 2010 inspectable.    Once we have the new bus, the bus needs to be equipped with cameras and a communication system as well as have the underside undercoated.  This is work we would be able to complete prior to school starting in August 2024.

Item #11:  We received 3 bids to completely replace the tar driveway and walks in front of Solon Elementary.  Based on the bid amounts, we are recommending ProSeal out of Waterville who was the low bidder  ( $63,498 ).  All three could do the project this summer.  All three bid the same work and materials.

Item #12:  We received 3 bids for the floor replacement in the K-5 section of Carrabec Community School.  Again all three companies bid the same work and same materials so we are requesting acceptance of the low bid from Floor Master North in Skowhegan ( $38,290 ).

Item #13:  We received 3 bids for the installation of new lights on the existing poles and locations of Carrabec High School for exterior lighting in the back.  Again, all three bid the same work and materials.  We are asking for support of the bid from High Voltage of Skowhegan (  $3,143 net after rebate from Efficiency Maine).  High Voltage was the only company who offered to do the rebates for us.

Item #14:  You thought I was going to say 3 bids again…no…we received only one bid to do the mowing for the 2024 summer.  The bid does include using our mowers and fuel.  Mr. Carey will be asked to sign a document acknowledging that this work is not as an RSU 74 employee but as a subcontractor.  This document will also address damage to our equipment due to operator negligence.  We ask for your support in awarding the 2024 mowing to Erik Carey.  Going forward, this is a bid we need to do in the fall.  Speaking with someone who would have bid the project had it been posted in the fall, didn’t because they would not have had the manpower to take it on.  Doing it in the fall would allow businesses to plan.  Lesson learned.

Item #15:  This policy is new to RSU 74.  This policy will put structures in place to give the Board a say in the naming of properties owned by the district.  The policy gives the district assurance that due diligence has been done on researching an individual before bestowing an honor upon this individual.

Item #16  This is the Use of Facilities policy discussed in March when questions arose around Golden’s Driving School using the building without assessing the business any fees as it was deemed the company was providing our students an opportunity to get their drivers’ permit at a lower cost and more convenient location.  While the Board retains the right to waive fees if the person/company is providing a service for students or staff, the revised policy does require anyone who uses the buildings to have someone from trained school staff on hand if they are using a room such as the kitchen.  Costs for this and janitorial services will be billed.  Employee(s) can offer to volunteer their time.

Item 17:  Cell Phone use at the high school prompted discussion by the Policy Committee.  The policy was left as is.  Discussion of use and enforcement of will be discussed again at the August meeting when the Board will approve Student Handbooks for the schools.

Item 18:  Our Wellness Committee is recommending a few changes to the District Wellness policy.  Our policy has been used as a model for other districts.  The gist of the changes reflect the beliefs we as a district need to model healthy eating choices.  The staff will be asked to present healthy snack options for parents to donate if they wish to support teachers' effort to reward excellence or celebrate positive happenings.

That concludes my report.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions as there are a number of items that may.