WATERVILLE — Eight people have applied for the assistant superintendent’s position, public schools Superintendent Eric Haley told the Waterville Board of Education on Monday.

“We’re very pleased with the quality,” Haley said.

He reported that the assistant superintendent search committee hopes to interview candidates by the end of this week.

Haley serves on that committee with Waterville Junior High School Principal Don Roux; schools professional development and curriculum coordinator Jen Allen; schools Finance Director Paula Pooler; school board member Pam Trinward; Samantha Delorie, a school social worker; and Cassie Ferris, a parent and member of the Waterville Planning Board.

The board on June 13 voted 4-3 to hire an assistant superintendent following a long debate in which proponents said the superintendent’s job is beyond what one person can do and opponents maintained a vote should be postponed.

Haley had planned to retire this year but a search committee turned up no applicants who officials deemed were a good fit for Waterville. Haley agreed to stay on for one more year and a new search process for his job is expected to start in the fall.


Board Chairperson Joan Phillips-Sandy and board members Trinward, Patricia Helm and Elizabeth Bickford voted at a recent meeting to hire an assistant, and members Greg Bazakas, Maryanne Bernier and Spencer Krigbaum voted against.

Haley said recently the assistant’s position would be funded with federal CARES Act money. The new assistant would be free to apply for the superintendent’s position, but it would be a competitive process, he said.

The board on Monday also voted 6-0, with member Spencer Krigbaum absent, to amend a vote it took June 13 to approve a proposed $28.6 million school budget for 2022-23.

The amendment lowers the amount of the proposed school budget to about $28.4 million.

“That would then bring us to an ‘ask’ for new taxes of $940,000 which is what the City Council approved at their meeting last week,” Haley said.

The board’s vote June 13 was the first of two votes needed to finalize the school budget. While the council will vote on the proposed municipal and school budgets, the school board always takes its final vote on the school budget after the council’s final vote.


The board on Monday scheduled the second, final school budget vote for 8 a.m. Wednesday in the media center at Waterville Senior High School at 1 Brooklyn Ave., where it met Monday as well.

In other matters, Allen reported on an administrators’ retreat held last Wednesday at which they shared school data and decided the No. 1 educational challenge is lack of engagement. Allen said they worked on articulating a goal in that regard, which was increasing learning opportunities for staff and students.

She reported that pre-pandemic, the absentee rate for students was 21% and that number later rose to 46%.

Administrators talked a lot about behaviors, attendance and getting everyone back and reengaged, according to Allen. She reported that 82% of students in kindergarten missed more than 10 days of school.

Toward the end of the meeting, Phillips-Sandy asked a school trivia question for which she had asked Waterville Senior High School Principal Brian Laramee to research the numbers.

The question was, how many seniors who graduated from the high school this year had been in the Waterville school system since kindergarten? The answer is 35%, according to Phillips-Sandy.

“I think it speaks to the transient nature of our student population,” she said.

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