At meetings on Monday, April 10, school panels for both Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District and Wiscasset School Department approved plans for Boothbay region seventh and eighth grades’ use of space at Wiscasset Middle High School to finish the school year.
The grades were displaced by a school flood and then attended school at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. The anticipated use of WMHS was announced last week, pending school committees’ approvals.
The Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District voted 4-0 to accept the offer to house their seventh and eighth grades for the remaining school year. On April 10, the CSD approved a reorganizational plan, which included using available space at Wiscasset Middle High School beginning May 1.
Boothbay Region Elementary School seventh and eighth grades will resume class via remote learning after April vacation for one week prior to moving to Wiscasset. Under the agreement, Boothbay is not required to pay rent.
“There will be some cost for food and other small items, but essentially it is rent free. This is an incredibly generous offer,” said AOS 98 Superintendent Bob Kahler.
BRES Principal Shawna Kurr explained the one week – April 24-28 – of remote learning following April vacation provides time for staff to familiarize themselves with the Wiscasset school prior to the transition. BRES teachers will provide remote instructions in the morning and familiarize themselves with the Wiscasset school in the afternoons.
Besides the attractive financial arrangement, CSD officials believe the Wiscasset offer had substantial educational benefits. Kurr explained Wiscasset was providing seven classrooms to meet all their students’ instructional needs. Breakout spaces are available for occupational therapy, speech and language services, and social workers.
CSD students may have access to the band room if the two schools’ schedules can align. There is a plan to use Wiscasset Community Center for physical education classes.
Wiscasset will provide use of the kitchen, cafe along with an outside area for breaks.
Kahler and CSD Board Chairman Peggy Splaine planned to attend the Wiscasset School Committee’s Tuesday, April 11 meeting to thank them for their assistance.
“It’s really amazing another community would reach out and make this kind of offer. This shows what an amazing community we all live in for something like this to happen,” Splaine said.
Also Monday night, before the Wiscasset committee unanimously approved the use of space, Wiscasset Interim Superintendent of Schools Robert “Bob” England Jr. described to the committee a set of plans he said were “semi-firm.” England said both school departments use the same law firm, Drummond Woodsum, and the hope was to get an agreement with help from that one firm.
He said plans so far call for the BRES students to arrive about 20 minutes after WMHS students have unloaded from buses; have lunch at their normal time, which is later than WMHS’ lunch; be amongst WMHS students on bathroom breaks or around the lockers; have their own teachers and custodian; and leave school about 25 minutes before WMHS students do.
“I think this is a prudent move for Wiscasset, for cooperating potentially on other endeavors,” such as one idea he said he talked with Kahler about “quite a bit of while ago; the possibility of sharing staff for some … advanced classes where we don’t have that many kids enrolled and they don’t have that many kids enrolled … That has not come to fruition yet, but it may … And it’s really focused more on, both schools are getting smaller … and maybe jointly we can offer what some kids wouldn’t be able to get other than totally online.”
On a question from the committee, England thought if a BRES student wants to join a Wiscasset sport this season while they are attending school in Wiscasset, they likely could.
(This article appears through a content-sharing agreement with the Boothbay Register.)