Article and photo by Janet Schultz
The Lewiston-Porter Board of Education accepted, with regret, the resignation of Don Rappold, assistant superintendent for administrative services. Rappold joined Lew-Port on Aug. 1, 1987 and will leave the district at the end of business on June 30.
"I was fortunate to be able to come to Lewiston Porter Aug. 1, 1987, and after more than a quarter of a century I'm leaving June 30. I can't tell you what an honor, a privilege, it has been to serve thousands of students at Lew-Port. I'm very appreciative of being able to say that," said Rappold during his administrative report.
In an opposite move, the board granted tenure status to Middle School Principal Andrew Auer.
"You have been an incredible addition to Lew-Port," said BOE President Jodee Riordan of Auer.
Speaking during the community comments portion of the meeting was Gordon Nelson, a former school psychologist. He urged the board to consider "appropriate responses to increase the relative safety of children and staff" in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.
Nelson asked the board to be proactive by "providing sufficient, school-based, mental health support which would increase the relative safety of the community over time."
Currently, Lew-Port has three school psychologists and one school social worker, and Nelson recommends that they should have a mental health team in each building, which would mean increasing the staff by one school psychologist and three social workers.
In a special presentation to the district, Superintendent Christopher Roser presented Phase II of a proposed capital project.
Roser explained that there are renovations and upgrades that are priorities based on health, safety, physically handicapped accessibility and energy savings.
In the wake of Sandy Hook, there is also the issue of increasing security with more surveillance cameras and limited entrance to the schools by redesigning foyers at the entrances so that visitors must go to main offices.
As he went though a pictorial tour of the middle school facility, he noted that many of the areas are in disrepair, worn out and need to be redesigned for efficiency.
Among the projects are upgrades to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, redesigning locker rooms for better supervision and accessibility, redesign and reuse of the kitchen area, as well as upgrading equipment, replacing wooden doors which no longer would meet building codes, making areas more handicapped accessible, window and univent replacements, upgrades to the music and fine arts areas (including a new/renovated instrument storage area) and a reconfiguring of the office area for more efficiency.
"There are many areas that just need some paint and repair and there are many items which can be reused," said Roser.
"There would be no adding of space, just redesign and upgrading," he continued.
Roser admits the money may be difficult to gather and some projects may have to be put aside for another time, but there are things that could be done. The project is estimated at $26,217,955.
Roser will have an architect present a design proposal to the district at the next board meeting. The proposal would go to the district voters in May.
The board also presented certificates of appreciation to the counselors and joined the nation by proclaiming Feb. 4-8 National School Counseling Week.
In other business, the board:
•Approved a contract with the Confucius Institute for exchange and support, which provides students with opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese in the district and provides for a continuing exchange between Lew-Port and Tianjin No. 2 High School.
•Accepted the retirements of Filomena Yankelunas, and Dorothy Lehman, both senior typists at Lew-Port, effective June 30, 2014.