Longtime Bath-area school business manager to retire

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BATH — Ruth Moore, who started as a payroll clerk for the city three decades ago and later became business manager for area schools, will retire next June.

The Phippsburg resident worked as payroll clerk for about two years. At that time, Bath schools were part of School Union 47 and fell under a city department. When a bookkeeping position opened there, Moore started her long career in the realm of school finance.

Soon afterward, Bath separated from Union 47, and Moore remained with the city. She continued as a bookkeeper through 1997, then was budget manager for two years before advancing to business manager in 1999.

From 2003-2009 Moore spent 40 percent of her time as Bath’s deputy finance director, and 60 percent as the school district’s business manager.

“I had the bright idea that I could do both jobs,” Moore said with a laugh.

It was during that time, in 2008, that Bath rejoined most of its former School Union 47 partners to form Regional School Unit 1. Moore has served as full-time manager for RSU 1 since July 2009.

“Ruth has been an invaluable asset to the school district,” RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said Tuesday via email. “She has been a tremendous help to me in the three years I have worked with her. She is admired and respected for her professionalism, knowledge school finance, and her work ethic. She will be greatly missed by the district and we wish her the best in her retirement.”

Watching the evolution of the school district since the 1980s has “been an interesting journey, let me tell you,” Moore said. “But one of the things that amazes me is, looking back to the amount of work that I had to do at the beginning, when I became business manager, and what technology has done to help.”

So much work was done in longhand, “and now it’s so streamlined, it’s just amazing,” she explained, noting that a tedious and meticulous annual 12-page report of all the district’s expenditures is now a computer file that can be quickly created.

Moore has watched the ebb and flow of the economy, and the impact on people’s lives and the educational system when cuts must be made.

“The ’80s probably were a little bit easier; it seemed as though you had some of everything,” she recalled, noting that there were struggles in the 1990s, with state subsidy cuts that stymie administrators to this day.

But her journey as a whole has been a good one. “It’s a fabulous group here to work with, and the central office is just my second family; they’re a good bunch,” Moore said.

And while she said she will miss them, Moore, who is 64 and has two children and two grandchildren, is looking forward to retirement.

“While I still have my health, let me get a chance to do what I want to do,” she said. “And I really don’t have any major plans at the moment, but if I choose to do something, I will be able to do it.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Ruth Moore, longtime business manager for Regional School Unit 1, will retire next June.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.