A week before the first day: News and notes from Mount Anthony Union

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BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony Union School Board held its first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year last week.

Superintendent Jim Culkeen introduced Renee Gordon, who was hired to replace Rick Pembroke as the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union's director of finance, and was attending her first meeting in that role. "I'm happy to be here," said Gordon, "For those of you that don't know me, I've been working for the SU since March of 2014 in human resources, dealing a lot with salaries, which comprise a huge portion of our budgets, so there's a lot of familiarity there."

"We have a lot of challenges right off the bat," she said, "such as Act 46, collective bargaining agreements expiring, and health insurance changes."

Mount Anthony Union Middle School Principal Tim Payne said the school will have 14 new teachers this school year. They will report to school next Tuesday, a day before the other teachers, to get acclimated to their new workplace. The first day for students is next Monday, Aug. 29. He reminded parents that the school day will be starting later this year, with first bell at 8 a.m. The school's doors will open at 7 a.m. The bus schedule, which was published in the Banner last week, is not expected to change by more than a few minutes from last year, despite this change, as students will arrive at the high school first and the middle school second, rather than the other way around, as it has been in the past.

The middle school will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day this week. Students and families are encouraged to visit the school with their schedules in order to familiarize themselves.

Mount Anthony Union High School Dean of Students David Beriau delivered the high school administrator's report in place of Principal Glenda Cresto, who could not attend the meeting due to a last minute family obligation. He said the band and football team have already begun practicing, and that the school's 13 new teachers have all been paired with existing staff members to help them learn the ropes. He said the only position that has yet to be filled is that of a reading specialist, which opened up due to a retirement. That position is currently being posted for the third time, after the applicant pools for the first two postings were "thin."

The board also has a new student representative for the new school year. Sophia Prandini said she finds the meetings very interesting, and said, "I'm involved in a lot of different sports and clubs, so I get to see a lot of the stuff that's going on in the school, so I think that I can help give a good idea of the student perspective."

The Mount Anthony Union School Board meets the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Mount Anthony Union Middle School library. Full recordings of the meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

— Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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