Teaching jobs in flux as student ed. program moves from Old Town to Bangor

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- A program for special needs students around Bangor is now changing locations and that in turn could mean some of the people who work there could find themselves out of a job.

The Southern Penobscot Regional Program serves roughly 40 kids who come from schools around Bangor, and each one struggles with a severe emotional or behavioral problem. Now directors of the program have decided to change where it hosts classes.

Beginning this fall students will no longer be going to class in Old Town but to a newer building near Bangor International Airport. Directors of the program say the move is necessary because the old building is in bad need of repair and the cost to renovate it outweighs the cost of leasing a new building.

Yet for the program's staff, including teachers, counselors and social workers, the move will not be simple. They will all be be working in a new school district, which means they will once again have to apply for their jobs.

School directors in Bangor say they still have to figure out just how many people they'll need to hire.

"These employees have expertise and knowledge," said Bangor school superintendent Betsy Webb, "they've been working in the program and we hope that they'll apply."

"There are adjustments to staffing year to year as the program has gained numbers and lost numbers," said Murray Shulman, who is the executive director of the program, "Right now it's functioning in the mid 30s in terms of population...that program has served historically as many as 50 students in that building."

Currently Bangor schools are already working with Southern Penobscot Regional as the city's high school works with students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The program is expected to get as much as $400,000 in order to prepare the new building for classes.


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