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Facilities Report

11 months ago

Final Report of the Facilities Committee to the SAD #61 School Board
March 30, 2009


Introduction:


In recent years, two converging issues have created unprecedented challenges for SAD #61 policymakers, administrators, staff, and citizens.  First, as the State's mechanism for funding schools has evolved, local communities have fared rather poorly in comparison to other regional districts, resulting in millions of dollars in lost State subsidy.  At the same time, a number of District facilities have documented needs and will require significant investment over the next decade to maintain safe and effective spaces for student learning.  


These twin challenges have been the subject of several committee reports over the past several years, all of which have been reviewed and discussed by the District's Facilities Committee.  The Committee is now prepared to submit its draft recommendations and a 10-year comprehensive plan.  In its work, the Facilities Committee examined a number of key components with respect to the District's facilities.  The Committee's report suggests one set of strategies to address the various moving parts across existing and planned facilities; it is possible, even likely, that other options could be developed that address the same underlying challenges in different ways.


The Committee expects a robust Board and public discussion of these draft recommendations.  We anticipate that public meetings will be held in each of the four District towns, after which the Board will review all public input prior to acting on the Facilities Committee's report.   


Key Realities Regarding Budgets and Buildings:


Since the implementation of the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) school funding program three years ago, SAD #61 has lost over $3.5 million dollars in State subsidy and will continue to experience a continued downward trend over the next few years as well.  The District's projected total loss of subsidy from 2005-2010 will total over $5 million.  At the same time, local taxpayers are suffering through the most extreme economic conditions in recent memory, with rapidly falling real estate values, job losses, and unpredictable energy costs.  Recent conservative budgets over the past few years have helped to offset the subsidy losses, but recent State revenues have been far beneath earlier projections, leaving the Governor and the Legislature looking for solutions to a biennial structural deficit over the next two fiscal years of $800 million.  In short, SAD #61 cannot look to the State of Maine for any relief to local budget shortfalls.  In addition, the Stateís capacity to support either new school construction or renovation will also be extremely limited.  As recently as this past summer, Jim Rier, Finance Director in the Maine Department of Education, projected that it would be 2015 before any new school construction bonds would be forthcomingóand that was before the most recent State revenue projections!  Of course, if new federal dollars become available through new stimulus programs, the District will work aggressively to obtain funds through that mechanism, but that prospect is far from certain at the time of this report.


With less money from the State and local pressures on property taxes, District budgets will continue to experience extreme pressure.  Given that the vast majority of annual budgets are in people and programs, it will be an enormous challenge to avoid severe cuts in personnel and educational programs.  As previous study committees, school Boards, and administrators have examined this structural problem, the Districtís facilities have become a focal point.  The inventory of several older buildings and projections of stable or declining student enrollment over the coming years presents an opportunity for savings that could lessen the impact on the educational program is constrained budgets.


The strains on local and State budgets, however, could not come at worse time in regard to our high school, transportation, and vocational facilities. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) has identified air quality issues emanating from the Districtís bus repair facility as significant enough to jeopardize Lake Regionís accreditation status, and expects to see a plan in place this year if we are to avoid sanctions.  Other deficiencies were also noted by NEASC, including insufficient library, guidance, and cafeteria spaces.  Two years ago, based on identified needs, the Ad Hoc Facilities Committee commissioned a comprehensive study of all District facilities, which included a renovation plan for Lake Region High School and the Lake Region Vocational Center, as well as a plan for a new transportation and automotive vocational building to address the identified problems.


As noted below in greater detail, recommendations by earlier study groups have formed the basis for initial actions by the District's School Board.  Steps taken so far include the return of the Casco Memorial School to the town of Casco, moving all District 6th graders to the Lake Region Middle School into available space in the lower level, and the relocation of the District's Special Services offices to available space at Crooked River.  These initial steps have been successful in reducing both annual operating costs and avoiding longer term capital improvements that would have been necessary in coming years.  The approach, therefore, of finding savings through more efficient use of facilities has been verified as a means of controlling costs.


Assumptions and Principles:


As the Facilities Committee reviewed the work of previous study groups and prepared this long-range plan, it did so with a core set of assumptions and guiding principles in mind.  First, the Committee believes that the District must strive to provide the best possible education to our students for the many challenges that they will face in the 21st century, but that the District must do so in the context of severe resource challenges.  Second, the Committee believes that SAD #61 must act primarily as a district, not as four individual towns if we are to find solutions to the problems inherent in an inventory of smaller, older schools.  Put simply, the District cannot sustain either maintaining or building facilities so each town can have its own elementary school.


Third, from an educational standpoint, programming for students works better for both students and teachers when continuity over larger grade spans can be achieved.  The move of all District 6th graders to the Middle School, for instance, was predicated in part on the belief that three years of continuous programming and familiarity with school climate would help students be more successful.  The current structure of programming for only 4th and 5th grade students at Crooked River Elementary means that students transition to a new school in 4th grade then again in 6th grade, resulting in more frequent disruptions, adjustments to new school procedures and new staff than would be unnecessary if the District had three K-5 schools.
 
        Moreover, the needs of students who require additional support can be better met when special education and Title I staff remain constant over a longer period of time.  Teachers can also achieve greater continuity with curriculum and instruction, and are able to provide for more effective grade-to-grade monitoring of student progress.  A consistent K-5 approach across the District would also help provide for effective professional learning.


Fourth, the Committee's review of recent demographic studies of the region, which concludes that K-12 student enrollment numbers will continue to remain stable, remaining beneath 2000 through 2016-17, suggests that operating fewer buildings will remain a viable option for the coming years.


Finally, the Committee believes that its recommendations will be controversial and will spark disagreement.  However, the Committee also believes that change is necessary, and that the associated difficulties must be worked through to achieve manageable budgets over the coming years.


Previous Committees and Their Recommendations:


As noted above, the twin issues of budgets and buildings have been uppermost in the minds of local policymakers and citizens for several years now.   Beginning with the Ad Hoc Facilities Committee (2006), each has reviewed the status of the District's facilities and formulated recommendations for short- and long-term actions.  The Ad Hoc Facilities Committee took a comprehensive view of the needs of District buildings and developed a thoughtful set of recommendations spanning the following decade (see Appendix).  What that Committee could not foresee was the impact that Maine's regionalization and district consolidation law would have on District budgets.
 
The next committee, the Regionalization Committee (2007), would take up where the Ad Hoc Committee left off, and put the facilities question into a more complex set of budgetary realities.  From the Regionalization Committee's proposal to the State Department of Education (see Appendix for full report and proposal):


"The core issue is that the State of Maine is reducing its funding to our district in what we must anticipate to be permanent ways.  No district in Maine has lost more funding under the new EPS subsidy model that SAD #61.  This loss of funds is occurring at the same time that cost and complexity of providing educational services is rising and that residents of our district are becoming increasingly agitated over rising property taxes.  Simply put, we are in a perfect storm.  Tinkering around the edges will not achieve the necessary cost savings results. The number of facilities in our district is a much bigger driver of cost than the size of our district.  The fastest and most meaningful way to reduce cost is to consolidate operations into fewer, bigger schools and to reduce the number of facilities that are managed, staffed and maintained by the district."


        The final Board/community committee to review the buildings and budgets issues was the Facilities Review Committee (2008), which attempted to synthesize and update the recommendations and analyses from prior committees.  The Committee offered its report the District's Facilities Committee in September 2008.  In large measure, the Facilities Review Committee took the work of both previous committees and formulated a consistent approach to consolidating District facilities to address the underlying student population and budgetary realities.
 
All the above committees have recommended some form of consolidation, closures, and more efficient use of existing facilities in the District.  But meantime, the District's financial status has continued to go from bad to worse, as the Governor's curtailment program translated into $581,000 less in subsidy for the 2008-09 school year, and losses of that magnitude or more are expected for next year as well.  Necessary improvements in conjunction with shrinking resources will call for creativity, practicality, and vision.


The Long-term View of the District in 2017:


        The Facilities Committee, from its earliest discussions this year, was in full agreement with this past summer's recommendation from the Facilities Review Committee that a comprehensive 10-year overview of facilities-related changes should be presented to the public.  In this way, any single issue or recommended change could be viewed in the context of the long-term goal.  With that in mind, the Facilities Committee has developed a spreadsheet of annual savings and expenditures, and a set of facilities milestones to guide the Board's discussions from here forward.  The elements of the long-term vision are as follows:


  • Renovate Lake Region High School to meet all NEASC standards, with adequate library, guidance, office, and cafeteria space.  The bus repair facility and automotive vocational program should be removed to ensure safe air quality.
  • Renovate Lake Region Vocational Center, including renovation of space freed up from the automotive program.  Existing "white house" modular building should be removed.
  • Construct a new combined transportation and automotive / construction / or green energy vocational facility to be built on District-owned land adjacent to the High School.  
  • Plan for two or three K-5 schools, an expanded Songo Locks and Stevens Brook, as is and possibly Sebago, based on stable K-5 population.  The Sebago Elementary School could be returned to the town for community purposes.
  • Maintain the 6-8 middle school.
  • Keep Crooked River Elementary in the District inventory but use it for Special Services office, Adult Education, Southern Maine Community College, pre-K-12 instructional program's alternative middle and high school programs, pre-K or early childhood, etc., as well as conference and community spaces.
  • Maintain the Central Office in its current location.


The Committee believes this long-term vision is both educationally sound and financially feasible, but will require bold action along the way to achieve.  


Milestones Along the Way:


        With the long-term vision in mind, the following milestones can serve as markers along the way.  It should be noted that this plan puts the moving partsîtogether in one specific way; other strategies are possible, but given the interdependence of the parts, the overall plan would need to be adjusted in accordance.


  • 2009-10 - Return Bridgton Memorial to the town
  • 2009-10 - Redistrict K-5 students into three K-5 buildings
  • 2009-10 - Begin construction of a new transportation and vocational automotive / green energy facility
  • 2010-11 - Move Adult Education to Crooked River (including possible Southern Maine Community College programs and any alternative middle and high school programs, and/or early childhood or pre-K programs.
  • 2010-11 - Begin renovations at Lake Region Vocational Center
  • 2011-12 - Begin renovations at Lake Region High School
  • 2013-14 - Retire modular buildings at Vocational Center and High School
  • 2014-15 - Revisit K-5 facilities needs; adjust plans accordingly


Total Expenditures and Projected Savings:


Each of the facilities consolidations and closures results in immediate cost savings to the taxpayers, and will result in long-term savings as the costs are not included in District budgets over the years.  The District's older, smaller facilities, such as the Casco Memorial School and Bridgton Memorial School would require significant capital repairs over the coming years (roofing replacement, boiler replacement, asbestos abatement, etc.) which, if not needed, would free up resources for needed improvements to other facilities.  Consolidations also result in annual operating cost savings, from personnel to energy costs.  The 10-year projected savings of closures and consolidations are as follows:


  • Total 10-year savings by closing Casco Memorial:  $627,946
  • Total 10-year savings by moving 6th grade to LRMS:  $1.2 million
  • Total 9-year savings by closing Bridgton Memorial:  $870,305
  • Total 8-year savings by redistricting and creating three K-5 schools:  $2.4 million
    • Grand total of facilities related savings 2007-2017:  $5.09 million


Over the same 10-year period, 2007-2017, the District should be investing in much-needed facilities improvements.  The estimated costs of the improvements are as follows:


  • 2009-2017 costs of new transportation and vocational facility:  $2.5 million (total amortized cost of project = $3.73 million)
  • 2010-2017 costs of renovations to the Vocational Center:  $2.07 million (total amortized cost of project = $3.19 million)
  • 2011-2017 costs of renovations to the High School:  $1.87 million (total amortized cost of project = $4.47 million)
    • Grand total of facilities improvements 2009-2017:  an estimated $6.9 million (total amortized cost of all projects = $12.66 million  ( Note:  The savings and the improvement costs would both extend beyond 2017)


By aggressive facilities consolidation and closure, therefore, the District could offset a large portion of facilities improvements by using District facilities more efficiently.  It is important to remember that most of the Districtís budget is in personnel and programs.  The Committee believes that it is far better to find efficiencies through facilities changes rather than in personnel cuts or program reductions.  The total savings over the 10-year period are roughly $5.3 million, or 80% of the projected cost of facilities improvements, estimated to be $5.3 million.


  • 2007-2017 Savings as a percentage of the total improvements:  65%


Process Steps From Here:


The Facilities Committee and administration are mindful of the fact that implementing these recommendations would result in significant changes to the expectations held by parents, citizens, and staff.  The Committee believes, however, that the worsening financial news from Augusta requires special urgency in addressing the long-term reality of declining State aid.  Change is always hard, but the result of no change is either asking taxpayers to shoulder annual budgets with 10% or greater annual increases, or making drastic cuts in personnel and educational programs.  The Committee encourages the Board to direct the administration to conduct public discussions in each of the towns to solicit public input and commentary.  The Committee also realizes that its recommendations represent only one approach among many, and welcomes other alternatives.  These should, however, not begin with a long-term commitment to the status quo, but rather focus on alternative strategies that arrive at similar cost savings.
 
In broad strokes, the Committee anticipates and recommends a process similar to the following:
  • Board and public discussion at January 22nd Board meeting
  • Administration and Board present facilities report and 10-Year plan in each town and at Board of Selectmen's meetings
  • Board assembles and synthesizes public feedback
  • Board reviews feedback and develops, then votes on final plan
  • As needed, voters in Casco and Naples vote on school closure
  • Implementation phase, final cost analysis



Additions to the Facilities Report after the
Public Meetings


        At a Special Board meeting on January 22, 2009 the SAD #61 Board heard a presentation from the Facilities Committee on a draft 10-year master facilities plan.  It had been expected that several aspects of the plan would spark vigorous public discussion, and, indeed, quite a large group attended the January 22ndmeeting and voiced both support for and opposition to the plan.  After engaging in Board discussion and public input, the Board directed the administration and Facilities Committee to seek further public commentary by conducting four meetings, one in each of the towns, and to report back to the full Board after completing the process.  This supplemental report responds to that charge.
        
        To respond to the Board's direction, meetings were conducted in the four towns as follows:  Sebago on January 29th (approx. 25 people), Crooked River on February 3rd (approx. 20 people), Songo Locks on February 5th (approx. 80 people), and Stevens Brook on February 10th (approx. 25 people).  The Facilities Committee then scheduled a meeting to review the administration's summary of public comments on February 25th at 5:00 p.m.  


        It should also be noted that specific details of a federal stimulus bill, signed into law by the President on Tuesday, February 17, have hovered around the edges of the public discussion, and have come into somewhat sharper focus with the enactment of the law.  Although much remains to be understood about the impact on our local budgets for the next two years, it does appear that significant federal funds are forthcoming, and this will have an effect on the feasibility of various options.  See below for additional details.   


Summary of Public Comments:


        It would take a video record (available upon request) and/or a report of considerable length to capture every emotion and nuance of the entire public discussion, but suffice it to say that only a handful of issues took center stage in the discussions.  The following summary is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather representative of the highlights of the public input.


  • Redistricting:

    • This aspect of the comprehensive plan drew the most heated opposition.  While some members of the public expressed the view that children are resilient or that budget realities warranted taking extreme measures, the vast majority of the public input on redistricting was negative. 
    • Parents spoke in dramatic terms about how their children would be impacted by being separated from their current classmates and friends.  Citizens worried about the impact on the town of Naples, which would bear the brunt of proposed student re-assignments, arguing that a sense of community would be lost.
    • Others expressed the concern that the proposed plan would pit elderly taxpayers against young families, and, in fact, many parents spoke out in favor of higher taxes if that were to be the deciding factor.
    • Overall, those attending the meetings appeared to agree that the human costs of moving just a handful of students away from their friends outweigh any potential savings.
    • Moreover, some argued that moving all the students from a town would be vastly preferable to moving just a few.  
    • Many suggested that adding a portable to Songo Locks would be a practical way of dealing with the need to use Crooked River for other purposes.
    • While many accepted the logic of keeping students in one school for six years (in a K-5 school setting), others stated that the current arrangement had not produced negative consequences.
    • Many voices expressed the worry that any boundary lines that would be established would by necessity have to be flexible to deal with population changes.  Some parents stated that their families would be motivated to sell their house or rent in order to avoid being impacted by the redistricting plan.
    • The issues of daycare and after-school recreation programs were frequently mentioned as ways that families would suffer negative consequences.  (Note:  Patrick met with the four recreation directors during the last few weeks to discuss concerns and possible solutions.)  
    • Many expressed the perspective that their property values would be negatively affected if the plan were to be implemented.

  • What to Do With Crooked River:  

    • A clear theme in the public responses was to ask, "Why would we close, or use Crooked River for different purposes, when we could more easily justify closing Sebago?"
    • Some argued that using Crooked River for adults (or in one case "dropouts") was in effect taking away a valuable resource from young people and giving to those who do not need it as badly.
    • One participant suggested that we turn the gym at Crooked River into a bus repair facility.  A number of people suggested that the Central Office be moved there.
    • A town official questioned our interpretation of the Maine statutes that govern school closures, suggesting the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) lawyers had advised him that we were incorrect.  However, after consultation with DOE officials, and seeking an Attorney General's Office clarification, our interpretation of the statute was indeed correct, meaning that if Crooked River were to be used for purposes other than K-6 instruction (the purpose for which it was built) the voters of both Naples and Casco would have to approve.  Likewise, the two towns would have to share the additional cost of maintaining the school should the voters reject the ballot measure to close the school.  

  • Adult Education Considerations:

    • The most often cited concern regarding the Adult Education program was the possible impact on SAD #72 participants in the program and the possible impact on Bridgton's participants and the future development of the Depot Street area.  The proposed move of the Adult Education program to Crooked River might, it was argued, jeopardize our working relationship with SAD #72.  The distance from Bridgton was also cited as a possible obstacle to continuing high quality programs that have combined to make an effective cluster of services to Bridgton residents in particular.
    • It was mentioned, consistent with earlier considerations by the Facilities Committee, that a better location for the Adult Ed program would be the current Central Office facility,  which would lessen the geographic issues for SAD #72 and Bridgton.

  • Options for the Central Office:

    • Several comments were expressed regarding the use of the Central Office.  One person implied that the superintendent was being selfish by not moving the Central Office to a less expensive facility.  Others suggested that the office should be leased to generate revenue.
    • We did explore the possibility of leasing, and in conversations with the Boulos Company in Portland learned that the current going rate for professional lease space (with a significant margin of error due to the economic climate) is $8-$10 per square foot.  Leasing the space might also require the District to take responsibility for modifications to the space to meet the needs of a lessee.  At $10 per square foot, it would be possible to generate roughly $35,000 per year.  It is legal for Districts to enter into a 10-year lease for such purposes.
    • Depending on how Crooked River would be used if Adult Education moved there, space might be available on the first floor to house the Central Office, which might lead to certain efficiencies if we shared secretary and receptionist positions.
    • Other suggestions included moving the Central Office to Stevens Brook or the High School.

  • Short and Long-Term Options for Sebago: 

    • Faced with the prospect of 67 students from Naples being transferred to either Stevens Brook or Sebago, the resounding opinion of the participants in the public meeting at Songo Locks was to close Sebago and close it now.  Those few Sebago residents in attendance took issue with this alternative, as one might expect.
    • We were left with a rather unclear picture of the public sentiment regarding the long-term viability of Sebago Elementary.  While some agreed that the building would not last forever, what to do about that fact remains an open question.  It was suggested that we take money that is included in the plan for improvements to Songo Locks and spend it on renovating Sebago.  Others suggested closing the school eventually and moving all the students to Stevens Brook, or closing the school and dividing the students between Songo Locks and Stevens Brook.
    • Many emotional comments were made about the benefits of a school as small and caring as Sebago.  Several people said they had specifically moved to Sebago to live in a community with such a school, and would either consider moving or home-schooling to avoid having their children bused to other communities.
    • Bus routes and time on buses was of particular concern throughout the discussions, but especially so in Sebago where distances to other schools would require some ride times approaching an hour.

  • Vocational and Transportation Facility:

    • By clearly linking this project with the High School and Vocational Center renovation, the public comments were essentially supportive of the project.  Of course, concerns were voiced about the cost and complexity of the project, while others worried that the transportation facility, on its own, had been rejected twice before by the voters.  
    • It was interesting to see the positive reaction to thoughts about including "green energy" vocational programs in the facility and to link such programs with local economic development initiatives.  (Note:  SAD #61 has been invited, along with only one other District in Maine, to participate in a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to explore teacher leadership in sustainable energy curriculum.  Patrick will report to the Board on this prospect soon.)
    • With news of the passage of the federal support for States and Districts, we have been watching closely to see if one or more aspects of our facilities work could be eligible for support.  Unfortunately, it appears that new construction is not eligible, and that the State of Maine will oversee any dissemination of "modernization" funds that could potentially be used for aspects of the High School and Vocational Center renovations.  More details will follow from Maine officials in the coming days and weeks.  

  • High School and Vocational Renovation Project:

    • As the public meetings unfolded, it became increasingly clear that the public understands the need and supports the plan to improve the High School and Vocational Center.  Repeatedly, citizens and parents stated their support for making those renovations, but not at the cost of disrupting the education of elementary students to do so.
    • Some discussion took place on the extent and cost of the renovations to the High School and Vocational Center, and it was clear that the public would expect this to be conducted in a cost-effective manner.  Likewise, the proposed vocational and transportation facility came under the same kind of questioning.  The public, it became clear, expects the District not to waste money on "bells and whistles" (in spite of Patrick's assertion that in schools bells and whistles are not extras).
    • It was also reassuring to hear the widespread agreement that the NEASC report should be taken seriously.  Though a few voices raised questions about the seriousness of the report and the threats to take away the school's accreditation, overall the public accepted that the risk of doing nothing to begin improvements was too great, and that we should move forward.

Discussion of Suggestions for Alternative Strategies:


        While some of the suggestions pushed our thinking to very creative alternatives (Crooked River gym becoming a bus repair facility, for instance), most proposals focused on options that would address the need for cost savings without necessitating the move of 67 Naples students to other schools.  The following summary includes the viability of the most commonly and most feasible of the proposed alternatives to the current plan:


  • Add a Portable to Songo Locks:  The most often cited alternative to the human costs of redistricting was the suggestion that we add a portable (2-4 classrooms would suffice; 4 would probably be more prudent) to the back of Songo Locks, thus making sufficient space to accommodate all of the 155 4th and 5th graders at Crooked River.  While some argued that we should keep Crooked River open and use it for its current purposes, many accepted the need to find savings through closing Bridgton Memorial and saving staffing and some operating costs at Crooked River.  Andy has begun conversations with both Schavi and the Maine Department of Education to explore total costs and any State support for which we might be eligible, and will have a more comprehensive update at the Facilities Committee meeting on February 25 at 5:00 p.m. at the Central Office.  Several aspects of this plan must be considered:

    • Possible Program Moves:  In order to make space for the 155 students, it might be necessary to relocate one or two programs currently housed at Songo Locks, an autistic program and a behavioral program.  Space currently exists at Sebago for the former and at Stevens Brook for the latter.  If we install a four-room portable, rather than a two, itís possible that those moves might not be necessary.
    • Long-term Options:  The immediate installation of a portable at Songo Locks, which could be lease-purchased for either five or seven years, would not interfere with the proposed addition of a bricks and mortar wing six to seven years into the future to accommodate Sebago students when and if the District were to consolidate into two K-5 elementary schools.  However, the portable would give us the maximum flexibility in both short- and long-term perspectives, leaving until another day the public discussion of the future of Sebago Elementary.
    • Logistics:  It would make the most sense to add a portable to the rear of the building, basically north of the back wall of the P.E. supply room, which would involve adding a new door to the back of the building and converting the P.E. room into a hallway.  On the positive side, there are two bathrooms and a drinking fountain close to the location, which would allow the portable to be installed without plumbing.  However, if we attach the portable to the building (the preferable approach), we would need to install a fire sprinkler system to keep it consistent with the school as a whole.  A key question is what type of foundation (frost wall, sauna tube posts, or paving) would be most workable in both short- and longer-term views.  We would also need to ensure that accessibility requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act were met through ramping or elevation adjustments.

  • Keep Crooked River Open; Find Alternative Space for Adult Education:  Proposals ranged in this set of options from leaving Adult Ed where it is, through either keeping the building or leasing back space from the town of Bridgton, to moving the program into Stevens Brook or moving it to the current Central Office.  It was also mentioned that we could move Adult Ed to Sebago were it to be closed soon.

    • Stevens Brook Alternative:  Moving the entire Adult Education program into Stevens Brook would require extensive remodeling of the interior spaces and considerable reworking of exterior, parking, and entrance aspects of the current building.  Moreover, the combination of programs for high school students and adults with elementary programming would pose some major challenges.  However, used as an auxiliary Adult Ed site in the day and used more extensively in the evenings, Stevens Brook could be part of a solution that addressed some of the geographical issues of moving to Crooked River.
    • Stay at Bridgton Memorial:  While this alternative would be appealing to those who worry about proximity to Bridgton and SAD #72, if the District were to either retain ownership of the building or lease back space after its return to the town, the District would likely see no immediate or long-term savings necessary to fund other high priority facilities projects.  


Update on Budget Factors:


        Though it might be tempting to consider the influx of federal support for education as a basis for suspending or abandoning our long-range plans for facilities-related savings, it is the considered opinion of the administrative staff members to the Facilities Committee that we do not.  Indeed, the long-term situation for local budgets will not change much or at all by virtue of this two-year grant to States from the feds.  Two years from now, we will be facing a decline in State aid to schools and minimal capacity among local taxpayers to absorb higher town assessments.  Given the uncertainty of how long or how deep the current recession will be, it would make more sense to continue with our plans for savings as a means of funding the necessary improvements at the High School, Vocational Center, and combined Vocational and Transportation Facility.  The presence of federal funds might help us manage the long-term reduction in State aid without severe cuts, might permit us to find solutions to our current situation that involve spending some money up front, and perhaps make it possible for us to take advantage of renovation funds that could lessen the impact on local taxpayers of the overall plan.
        It will be important for the Facilities Committee and the Board to present a long-term strategic perspective on this issue of federal funds to the public.  It is likely that we would hear from some both internal and external voices that the imperative for finding savings over the next two year has been removed.  The Board, however, should remind the publics that just as previous "cushions" have disappeared, this influx of money is temporary and will not alter the long-term trend line and the need for living within a smaller annual expenditures budget.  We therefore recommend that no additional long-term operating expenditures be created with the new federal dollars.


Recommendations for Modifications to the Existing 10-Year Master Plan:


        Given the real and perceived human costs to redistricting, and given the recent news regarding federal support for States and Districts, the administrative staff members to the Facilities Committee recommend the following modifications to the existing 10-year facilities master plan:


  1. Install a 6-room portable classroom building on the rear (north) of Songo Locks Elementary, which would allow all current students at Crooked River Elementary School to be transferred in the 2009-10 school year to Songo Locks.  Include in the financial spreadsheet both costs of the portable and any offsetting revenues from the State of Maine.
  2. Suspend any further discussions of immediate redistricting, but continue to plan for the long-term with Sebago Elementary.  Retain considerable flexibility, however, to include changes in local budgets, costs of renovation, and student enrollments District-wide in any final decisions about the school.  Indeed, the revisiting of the future of Sebago Elementary should be cast as a review of all K-5 educational and facilities needs.
  3.  Sharpen our planning for the move of Adult Ed to Crooked River to include modifications that would accommodate the needs of SAD #72 and the town of Bridgton, but include a possible move as early as fall of 2009.
  4. Consider the viability of leasing the current Central Office and moving the functions to Crooked River Elementary.


Songo Locks School Modular Building Arrival

9 months ago

By Andy Madura

Classroom Modular Arrives:


Songo Locks School New five classroom Modular arrives on August 12th.

Crews are busy putting classrooms together for opening day August 31st

Building arrives in seven sections

Building sections are on wheels and go together like a jig saw puzzle.

Trucks lining them up

One by one the are hooked together.

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Mobile Experience

No need to download an app! To view the mobile experience, please shrink your browser window by undocking the browser in order to make it resizable then resize the browser to be the size of an iPad then an iPhone.

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Mobile Navigation

When your browser’s width conforms to a tablet or mobile phone, the menu bar changes to be mobile optimized.

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Login

Login to view additional information on features available to registered users.

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Login

Login to view additional information on features available to registered users.

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By clicking on your name, you find your personal tools including a combined calendar, feed and more.

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By clicking on your name, you find your personal tools including a combined calendar, feed and more.

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Admin Button

This admin button appears wherever you have rights to alter a set of blocks. To add a block, click “Add Block” to see the options.

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SchoolBlocks offers a unique and powerful personalized search system. A member of the public, searching for "homework" might see an announcement from the school as the first result. However, if the user is logged in, they would see their teacher’s latest homework assignment as the top result.

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