RSU 1 opens year with revamped Woolwich school
BATH — Regional School Unit 1 is starting the 2012-13 year with a largely brand new Woolwich Central School, and the district is also on the hunt for a new assistant superintendent.
"We're excited about the school; that will be a big thing," Superintendent Patrick Manuel said Wednesday, noting that an official opening of the building could be late this month or early September.
The new Nequasset Road facility is approximately 66,000 square feet, about twice the size of the former building. The original kindergarten through eighth-grade school was built more than 60 years ago. Later additions that housed classroom space have been preserved to contain administrative offices, while the existing gym has been expanded for incorporation into the new building.
Duing construction the Woolwich students were housed at the Huse School in Bath.
The new assistant superintendent will replace Wayne Dorr, who served a year in that position, Manuel said. Dorr's position was full-time, but his replacement will serve in an 80 percent of full-time capacity due to budget cuts.
"We interviewed last week and we're hopeful to have someone new on board soon," he said, adding that he would like to have a new assistant superintendent by the first of September at the latest.
Meanwhile, RSU 1's five communities have been reviewing the effectiveness of the district's cost-sharing formula, and seeing what other options might exist.
The review was triggered by concerns over the RSU 1 Board of Directors' unanimous vote April 23 to change the cost-sharing formula for the fiscal 2013 budget, so that a law that created the school district would apply to its entire local tax calculation.
The group could ultimately make a recommendation to the School Board about whether to keep the current formula or implement a new one. A recommended change could go to referendum in November.
RSU 1's pre-kindergarten program – Children Having Opportunities In Collaborative Early Settings, als known as CHOICES – was recently able to match a $25,000 challenge grant, allowing that program to expand its offerings beyond the current 71.
"We may have as many as 95 in the program this year," Manuel said. "... We're ecstatic that we can offer this opportunity to even more kids."
The superintendent said that RSU 1 has had significant professional development training this summer in the areas of literacy and math.
School starts throughout the district for kindergarden through ninth grade on Sept. 4, and for grades 10-12 the following day, Manuel said.