September 19, 2008

SADs 36, 52 Share $425,118 Federal Grant

By Donna M. Perry

LIVERMORE FALLS - SAD 36 Superintendent Terry Despres announced to school directors Thursday that the district and its partner, SAD 52, have been awarded a $425,118 federal grant to improve education opportunities.

Despres said he learned of the award about 20 minutes before the meeting. The two districts together are one of 105 recipients in 41 states to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture distance learning and telemedicine grants totaling $28.2 million.

In SADs 36 and 52, the grant will be used to improve infrastructure and distance learning opportunities through technology, Despres said.

For SAD 36, it means the elementary, middle and high schools will be on a common link that goes all the way from telephone to high speed data, he said.

He credited SAD 36 Technology Director Colleen Akerman for working with her SAD 52 counterpart in the Turner area to get the grant.

What he liked about it, Despres said, was the collaboration between the two school districts.

SAD 36 Chairman Ashley O'Brien also commended middle school Principal Ted Finn on his decision to suspend fundraising at the school this year.

Finn advised parents of middle school students that due to recent layoff announcements at Wausau Paper Paper's Otis Mill in Jay and Livermore Falls, that all fundraising will be suspended, O'Brien read from the Sun Media's Livermore Falls Advertiser Thursday edition.

In the article, Finn explained "that while other area schools are continuing their fundraising efforts, Livermore Falls Middle School will not be one of them," O'Brien read.

"I can't in good conscience send a catalog home with their child and say even though you've lost your job, we still need your money,'" Finn stated in the article.

Wausau announced in August that it was shutting down its No. 10 paper machine and nearly 150 workers would lose their jobs.

Carrie Castonguay, director of SAD 36 adult education programs, said that she has been in contact with representatives from the state Department of Labor and College Transition Project to be ready to help affected workers by the end of the year.

Event though layoffs are not expected immediately due to some recent orders, three workers have visited the center to looking into options, Castonguay said.

"They're starting to trickle in," she said.

Castonguay said she plans to be in on the state's rapid response team visits to the mill in October to learn workers needs and let them know what type of programs that are offered.

Despres said rather than adult education, he would like to think of the program as continuing education because that's what it is.

In another announcement, O'Brien said that Ranor, a mechanical contractor in Jay that provides a master plumber to teach a plumbing course at Livermore Falls High School, will be recognized by the Maine School Management Association on Friday, Oct. 24, at the Augusta Civic Center as a large business for its significant contributions for education.

SAD 36 nominated Ranor for the award, he said.

Originally published by Staff Writer.

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