TOWNSEND -- The North Middlesex Regional School Committee approved the hiring of an additional fifth-grade teacher at Nissitissit Middle School Monday.

The new hire will address increased enrollment, due to 12 fifth-graders moving into the school district since the beginning of the year.

"We're also seeing an increase in students who need intervention, whether through special-education programs or 504 plans, so I have been meeting with the administration and analyzing class sizes throughout the district, and I recommend approving the hiring of a fifth-grade teacher," Superintendent Joan Landers said.

Landers said the new position would be paid for through savings in the substitute and hiring portions of the budget.

The motion passed unanimously, with one abstention.

The committee also approved the renewal of the lease of the Peter Fitzpatrick School, which is serving as headquarters for the district offices, through June 30, 2015.

Landers said she has been in discussions with officials from the town of Pepperell, which owns the building, and is planning on attending their next Board of Selectmen meeting in early December.

"We're asking for a year and a half extension, and if we need an extension beyond that we will go back before the Board of Selectmen," Landers said.

Discussions with the town have included talks about what should happen if the district needed to leave the school building for any reason in that time period.

Committee member Anne Adams said she was concerned about who the responsibility would fall on for maintenance and repair of the building if it were to be damaged.

"My concern is what would happen in a catastrophic situation where something should suddenly happen that we're not prepared for," Adams said.

"I don't want to speak for the town of Pepperell, but I'm confident that we'd sit down with the town and make those decisions," Landers said.

In about five years, the roof of the building will most likely need to be replaced, Landers said.

Approval is pending review of the lease by district counsel.

The committee also approved two policies on second reading, making them official policies of the district.

The meal charge policy establishes a set of guidelines for how the school will collect on overdue balances.

Measures include filing in small claims court for charges exceeding $10, or prohibiting students from participating in any fee-based program for charges over $50. Parents or guardians will be notified by the school before such actions are taken.

The personnel goals policy lists six personnel goals, including "to provide for a collaborative and interactive approach to education" and to "establish annual staff assignments to benefit students first."

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