Augusta Schools Superintendent James Anastasio during a Board of Education meeting in 2017. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Superintendent James Anastasio had his contract renewed for another two years by the school board Wednesday night during a special meeting. The meeting was not livestreamed and no members of the public were present.

The new pact was approved unanimously, along with two teacher appointments, by the board. Board Chairperson Ed Hastings said the vote on all three took less than five minutes.

No discussion about the contract or appointments took place Wednesday, Hastings said, adding that the contract had been discussed during past executive sessions. He said the approval votes took place during the open session of Wednesday’s meeting.

While the meeting was open to the public, no one attended, Hastings said. Why it is wasn’t livestreamed, he said, was a function of where the special meeting took place — the cafeteria at the Capital Area Technical Center.

“… The facility is not set up for a livestream,” Hastings said. “For the most part, we only used it for workshops. In order to vote on the two items, I needed to have a special meeting.”

He did say the meeting was intended as a “workshop,” but according to the agenda, it was noted as a “Special School Board Meeting and Workshop.” According to agendas on the school board website, all prior special meetings were livestreamed on the internet or CTV-7. Augusta schools have a contract with CTV-7 to broadcast district meetings.

The special meeting portion, Hastings said, was to approve the contract and appointments sooner than the next meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 7. Noting that such a vote can’t take place during a workshop, he said making Wednesday night’s gathering a special meeting allowed the approvals to take place sooner, “rather than push it out another three weeks.”

“If there was any question, the board is very sensitive to making sure the public is aware and available for important informative issues,” he said. “That’s why I hate to use the word formality (when discussing the meeting) because all the work had been done.”

Details of Anastasio’s renewed contract, which is extended from July 1, 2021, to June 23, 2023, were not available Thursday. Hastings said he did not have the salary number “at the top of his head,” and the district had not provided that information by press time.

When his last contract was approved in 2017, Anastasio was given a 1.5% pay raise for the 2018-2019 school year from about $118,000 to a little more than $120,000. That increased by about $2,000 each year, and he is being paid a little less than $124,000 for the current school year.

Augusta Public Schools are currently using a hybrid learning model, with two days of in-person education and two days of at-home instruction each week, though the district currently has a “green” designation from the Maine Department of Education’s color-coding system.

The Oct. 7 school board meeting, Hastings said, will take place at the Augusta Civic Center and will be livestreamed.

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