Brunswick has 5 potential partners for school district collaboration

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BRUNSWICK — Five nearby school districts have expressed interest in collaborating with the Brunswick School Department.

West Bath, Lisbon, School Administrative District 75, Regional School Unit 5 and Regional School Unit 1 are all interested, Superintendent Paul Perzanoski told the School Board Jan. 10.

The Chebeague Island School Department has declined to discuss combining services, Perzanoski said, and there has been no response from Wicasset.

The Maine Education Department has offered financial incentives for school districts that collaborate to provide services such as summer school, in an effort to form between nine and 12 regional educational service centers throughout the state.

The centers would provide uniform professional development, technical help and other administrative services to the schools involved.

SAD 75 has seven schools in Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham, and RSU 5 has seven schools in Freeport, Pownal and Durham. RSU 1 includes seven schools in Bath, Phippsburg and Woolwich.

Perzanoski said he would begin setting up meetings with the superintendents and School Board officials in each district and report back to the School Board with more information.

Also Wednesday, the superintendent said he has been working on a draft academic calendar for the 2018-19 school year with RSU 5 and SAD 75.

A state statute requires the three districts to have no more than five dissimilar days in their respective calendars, because all three send students to Region 10 Technical School.

District 3 Board Member Theresa Gillis said she hopes Brunswick schools can recognize Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 8, when Columbus Day is traditionally observed.

In September, the Town Council decided the town would observe Indigenous People’s Day on the same day as Columbus Day.

“(The council) adopted a resolution to recognize that day as Indigenous People’s Day and I hope we can add that,” Gillis said.

Perzanoski said the addition is “certainly fine” with him, and the board could vote on it when the final draft of the calendar is ready.

Gillis also asked whether the day after New Year’s Day might be granted as a day off next year, sincereturning to school mid-week this year felt “abrupt.”

Perzanoski said he would check with the other districts about their policies, but noted adding more days off would make the school year, which is typically already extended because of inclement weather, longer.

“We build in five storm weather days,” he said. “We’re already up to four, so we also hear from people when we go way too late into June.”

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

Edited Jan. 22 to clarify the school districts are not discussing consolidation, only collaborating to provide services.

At the Jan. 10 Brunswick School Board meeting, Superintendent Paul Perzanoski said five school districts have expressed interest in collaborating with Brunswick.