2011-12-22 / Front Page

Drug searches with dogs planned at Morse

BY BETH BROGAN Times Record Staff

BATH — Hoping to add another deterrent to their arsenal of anti-drug measures, Regional School Unit 1 administrators and the Bath Police Department will soon bring drugsniffing police dogs through Morse High School to conduct random searches.

Superintendent Patrick Manuel updated the board of directors about the initiative at their meeting on Tuesday.

Manuel said plans for the “proactive” searches are still under way, and meetings and practice drills will take place before any actual search takes place.

But school administrators and representatives of the Bath Police Department observed a similar search at Brunswick High School recently, Manuel said Wednesday, and updated the board on Tuesday to see if they had questions.

“The point here is not to catch people,” Manuel said. “The point is to send a message. This is another deterrent.”

Also on Wednesday, Manuel said the board of directors is forming a School Reorganization Committee to begin to look at how the district’s facilities are used, and “whether we can continue in the future to operate these facilities.”

The committee is still forming, and along with Director of Facilities Dave Richards, two board members have expressed interested in serving. Manuel said the board is seeking community members to participate as well.

The district will also likely hire an outside consultant.

But despite an anticipated budget gap for the 2012 school year of approximately $1 million, any changes that could result from recommendations for reorganization would not affect the 2012 budget.

“We want to be very transparent,” Manuel said. Budget cuts “are something all schools are wrestling with ... and when someone stands up at a school committee meeting and says, ‘Have you looked at this,’” administrators should be able to say, “Yes.”

ALSO, THE BOARD of directors is forming a School Reorganization Committee to begin to look at how the district’s facilities are used, and “whether we can continue in the future to operate these facilities.”

bbrogan@timesrecord.com

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