From the Superintendent
Last week, I began a series on school safety and will resume this topic in next week's newsletter. In the meantime, I felt it was important to provide an update on the new school project as a substantive development has occurred.
The path to finding a permanent long-term solution to the district's enrollment growth-past, current, and projected-has been a long and winding one. Since 2019, with the pandemic affording a brief interlude, the Board and administration have sought the right location and school size that would meet the needs of students and staff, while also being acceptable to the voters and taxpayers.
As you know, the project designed for 80 Gray Road in North Yarmouth failed at the polls in November 2022. Since then, the project budget has subsequently increased by $10 million due to inflation, and efforts have been made to remove $8.5 million from the original design to bring it down to $74.5 million, still more than a year ago, but with fewer features.
In July, the SAD closed on the voter-approved 2.3 acres of abutting land to the campus, requiring us to update our master site plan. I asked that part of this site plan update include a definitive answer as to whether or not a school building could be placed on the newly acquired property. This exercise confirmed that a small school building of approx. 65,000 sqf could conceivably be built if other improvements were made to traffic patterns, parking capacity, and play space on campus.
On November 6, with this new information in hand, I recommended to the Board of Directors that an on-campus school project be fully vetted, given the many benefits of such a plan proceeding:
- Retains a one campus model that has been in place since 2014
- Aligns with the 2019 Steering Committee’s small school model for the district's youngest students
- Shared services PK-12 has worked well over the last decade
- Proximity to first responders, such as police, fire, and EMT
- Removes modular classrooms at all facilities
- Transportation convenience and efficiency
- Moves 4th grade out of GMS
- Designated expansion areas at MIW and GMS could counteract any unforeseen enrollment growth and respond to changing enrollment conditions
- Project cost and annual operating expenses expected to be considerably less than the 80 Gray Road plan
I realize this may appear to be a flip-flop from the 80 Gray Road plan that has been the focus of our efforts over the last two years in finding a solution to our schools' growing enrollment. However, conditions have changed and new information is available that requires us to do our due diligence about this potential new site. The MSAD #51 Board of Directors will be debating this recommendation and its accompanying steps over the next few weeks. To review the entire recommendation, click HERE.
Next week: Safety series resumes: Coordination with first responders and school-based law enforcement.
Site Plan rendering with proposed new primary school placement.
2.3 acres of adjoining land was added to the MSAD #51 campus by voters in June 2023
Notices from the Office of the Superintendent
As you know, due to the tragic circumstances in Lewiston and ongoing safety considerations, school was cancelled on October 26-27. The Board has requested a waiver from the Maine Department of Education for these two days. If approved by the state, June 11 will remain the last day of school, notwithstanding further cancellations due to weather, etc. this school year.
Joshua Seal, a father of four, was one of 18 people who was tragically killed on October 25 in Lewiston. Josh was a pivotal and beloved member of the deaf community in Maine and has several ties to MSAD #51. Before his death, Josh had been working to support Camp Dirigo in Rome, Maine, in order to provide children who are deaf and hard of hearing attend this program at no cost. The Pine Tree Society is accepting donations in honor of his legacy. If you are interested in contributing to Camp Dirigo, please visit Pine Tree Society's websiteand indicate that your donation is in honor of Joshua Seal so that it directly supports Camp Dirigo. Donations can also be mailed to Pine Tree Society at:
Pine Tree Society
c/o Noel Sullivan
71 US 1
Scarborough ME 04074
*Please make a note that the donation is for Camp Dirigo in honor of Joshua Seal.
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MSAD #51 Board of Directors Information
All meetings will take place at 6:00 pm in the Gyger Room at Greely High School. For those of you unfamiliar with that room, the Gyger Room can be accessed from the GHS parking lot (the side without the electronic sign).
November 20 - Regular Meeting
Our Community Partners are strong supporters of various areas of the school. Without them, our students would not have manyof the wonderful opportunities and experiences that they receive.
Parent Power Appeal
Please help us reach our goal of $15,000 by this FRIDAY, November 10! All donations directly support the schools by helping to provide wonderful and impactful enrichment opportunities. The Power Appeal is FUELED BY FAMILIES. Thank you for your support!
Greely Gear Sale
The Greely Gear shop is NOW OPEN! Check out all of the fantastic options in our webshop, from hoodies and joggers to water bottles and umbrellas. Sale runs November 7- November 17, and orders will arrive in early December.
Community Notices are not affiliated with MSAD #51. Please contact the organization directly with any questions. For a full listing of Community Notices, please click HERE.
If you would like something included in our weekly newsletter, please send a brief write up with title along with a JPEG or PNG image of your flyer (if applicable) to Melissa Porter for approval. The deadline each week is Sunday. Any requests received after Sunday will be reviewed for possible submission in the following week's newsletter. All approved submissions will be posted on the district's website.
Not all items in this email are MSAD #51 sponsored programs. If you need more information, please contact the group or organization that is sponsoring the event.
357 Tuttle Road, PO Box 6A, Cumberland, ME 04021
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