2018-02-23 / Community News

News Briefs

Illness policy clarified for middle school parents

It has been a tough year in terms of the flu and the illness and earlier this month Scarborough Middle School principal Diane Nadeau sent a note to parents and guardians clarifying how students illness during school should be handled.

“As a reminder, any student who becomes ill during the school day must report to the clinic. If the situation warrants dismissal, a parent/guardian will be contacted from the nursing staff accordingly,” she wrote in the Feb. 9 letter to Scarborough Middle School families.

Nadeau went on to say “a number of students have been independently texting family during the school day to dismiss them, and subsequently, parents are arriving at school to pick up their students, unbeknownst to school staff. Not only is this problematic because it violates our student cellphone use policy, but it also does not allow the opportunity to know that students are well enough to be at school, something that going to the clinic can ensure.”

Nadeau noted students are typically dismissed when they have a fever of 100°F or higher, are vomiting or have diarrhea, an injury that requires further medical attention, chronic medical issues or a condition “that staff determines a medical evaluation is necessary,” such as chicken pox or conjunctivitis.

“Clinic services go well beyond emergency first-aid and medication administration,” Nadeau said. “In fact, a major role of our school nurses includes providing nursing assessments, interventions, and comprehensive nursing care; promoting health, safety, and emotional well-being; and serving as liaisons between home, school, and community.”

Community Services tweaks childcare for next year

As residents from both sides continue to share their reasons for supporting or opposing the school board’s April 2017 decision to adjust the start times at Scarborough Middle School and Scarborough High School to give teenagers more time to sleep at night, the Scarborough Community Services Department has tweaked the way it will offer childcare next school year as a result.

In a letter to parents, Audra Keenan, the department’s intergenerational program manager, said community services will continue to offer care before school and after school at Blue Point, Eight Corners and Pleasant Hill primary schools and Wentworth School, as well as offering extended care during the late start Wednesdays next year. The department will continue to offer care after school for Scarborough Middle School, but will add before school care “as part of the package at no additional cost.”

Child care for February vacation (Feb. 18 to Feb. 22, 2019) and April vacation (April 15 to April 19, 2019) will continue to be included in the costs for children enrolled in after-school care or combined before school and after-school care. As is past years, care during no-school days (teacher in-service days or December vacation) will not be included and families registered for that service will be charged additionally.

Hourly care will not be offered.

“Challenges such as staffing, numbers, space and feedback we received from other communities who offer this option, have led us to this decision,” Keenan wrote. “We are not willing to risk the integrity of our program based on these challenges.”

As a result of the change in start time, the costs for before school and after-school care has been tweaked, with care in the morning being slightly cheaper and care in the afternoon being slightly more expensive.

The proposal for K-5 before school care (7 a.m. to 8 a.m.) would range from $70 a month for two days to $150 for five days of care. After-school care (2:25 p.m. to 6 p.m.) could range from $225 (two days) to $375 (five days). If a family needs both before and after-school care, that cost would range from $240 to $445 based on how days a child attends. One option for the middle school childcare for before school (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and after school (3:25 to 6 p.m.) could be $280 a month.

Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is set to begin next month and will, once again, be offered in person on a first-come, first-served basis.

Council OKs application for community block grant

The town council has given its blessing to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland to apply for a $18,000 community development block grant to put a final coat of paving on the street at Carpenter Court, a 13-lot low and moderate income housing development at 75 Broadturn Road.

Construction on the project began in December 2015. Five homes have been completed thus far, with three more scheduled to be completed this spring. The final five homes will be completed in 2019.

Planning Director Jay Chace said previous community development block grants were used to plan the project and extend the sewer line onto the site.

The block grant would fund 80 percent of the cost of the paving. The additional $4,500 has been secured through loans from Gorham Savings Bank and Genesis Fund.

According to the application, “the road will be paved without (block grant) funds, but the additional $18,000 that (Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland) would need to fund will delay the completion of the Scarborough community and the start of the Habitat community in Gorham that is in the early planning stages.”

If block grant funding is not awarded and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland needs to raise the funding some other way, the price for the remaining six homes may be increased by $3,000.

Getting low and moderate income housing has been a longterm goal of the town. In fact, the town bought this property from the Maine Turnpike Authority in 2006 with the intention of one day finding a way to develop a third of it into housing and leaving the rest as open space.

The need for such housing in Scarborough is great. According to 2016 Maine State Housing data, close to 65 percent of households in Scarborough cannot afford a median priced home in town ($342,625). Giving support to the application was a unanimous choice for councilors

Proposed affordable housing project gets boost from council

The town council agreed earlier this month to award $100,000 from the town’s affordable housing initiative fund to strengthen the merits of a proposed affordable housing facility on Route 1.

The additional funding would mean Bessey Commons II could build more affordable housing units and receive one extra point on the Maine State Housing Program rubric, which would increase its potential for success.

Marj DeSanctis, chairman of the Scarborough Housing Authority said there is a big need for senior housing in town and there is currently a three-year waiting list to get an apartment in Bessey Commons, which opened in 2008 in a renovated Bessey School building.

“Clearly we have a need for the Bessey Commons expansion,” DeSanctis said.

Councilor Will Rowan, who serves as a council liaison to the Scarborough Housing Authority, said even with the construction of Bessey Commons II, a proposed 13,000-square-foot, three story, 40-unit facility that is in the planning board review process, the wait list will still continue. “There is an insatiable demand for this type of housing,” he said.

DeSanctis said the Affordable Housing Initiative Fund has a $308,500 balance, including $100,000 from the Residences at Gateway Commons project Devine Capital is constructing on the corner of Payne Road and Haigis Parkway.

Town Manager Tom Hall said the rest of Devine Capital’s $700,000 affordable housing in-lieu fee is expected within the next year based on their construction schedule.

Compiled by Staff Writer Michael Kelley. He can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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