April 06, 2020

Education plans detailed for proposed new school> Deer Isle residents back K-8 facility in straw poll

DEER ISLE — More than 60 residents gathered Wednesday night to hear about the educational program envisioned for the proposed K-8 school.

At the informational meeting held at the high school, members of the local education committee talked about the facilities planned and how they would affect various grade levels.

“When you design a building, you have to know what you’ll do there,” said Superintendent Robert Webster, one of the presenters.

In describing the new facility, proposed to be built next to the high school by the year 2002, presenters said the campus concept would allow for the sharing of resources between the two schools, but also for autonomy.

According to Stonington Elementary School Principal Mark Hurvitt, core facilities would include: a 1,125-square-foot technology education room; a 1,400-square-foot music room, a 5,250-square-foot gym, a 3,000-square-foot stage and auditorium area, and a 2,500-square-foot cafeteria. A media center and computer lab also are planned.

Webster said performing arts historically has been one of the most challenging areas for the school system to initiate because athletic programs tend to use much of the available space. “In a new facility, I see performing arts as a K-12 opportunity, not just K-8,” he said.

Technology education would expand beyond traditional shop offerings into a broader array of skills training for grades 6-8, Hurvitt said.

Eight program areas, including art and foreign language, would need staffing increases for at least some grade levels, said Webster.

One woman was concerned with the cost of expanded programs. Webster said expenditures would be determined during the regular school budget process, as always.

Reading, writing and mathematics would continue to be the focus at the K-2 level, said Laraine Shute, principal of Deer Isle Elementary School. Meeting facilitator Skip Greenlaw added that pupils should learn to read by third grade.

In the first of two straw polls the state requires, 59 members of the audience voting at the end of Wednesday night’s meeting indicated their desire to continue pursuing a new K-8 school project. No one voted against the effort, but a few people abstained.

The second straw poll will be held following a public meeting on the school’s design in May. A final community vote on the project is expected in September.

A 66-page document detailing the proposed education program is available through the superintendent’s office, local libraries and the Internet.

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