Marshfield: School superintendent addresses town employee use of high school student construction program

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The Marshfield School Committee is reviewing the policy regarding a high school construction program that sends students out on construction projects and which has been used by both town and school employees.

The Marshfield High School Boat and Construction Program is a word of mouth program that sends out kids to do free labor construction jobs for 2 hrs a day.

Some of those jobs have been at the residences of town and school employees.

School Superintendent Dr. Scott Borstel was on the defensive, after a town resident recently inferred in a blog that he may have had some pull in getting students to work on his neighbor’s home. But Borstel said he wasn’t even working for Marshfield Schools at that time.

“That work was done in 2003, at a point in time when I was the Principal at the Cedar Elementary School, in Hanover,” Borstel explained.

However, School Business and Finance Director Tom Miller did use the kids to completely refurbish his barn.

Miller said, “It was sitting there – it was in kind of disrepair – that was back in probably early 2008. I didn’t hear from Tom, (the program instructor),  for a couple of years. Then he sent me an email saying ‘you remember about talking about that project?’ I said yup, come out and take a look.  So he comes out and takes a look and he determines every project, on what it’s going to bring to the kids. That was my primary goal.”

The school superintendent said changes to the high school student construction policy should include periodic advertising of the program.

However he also said that under the state ethics law, if a board member or town or school employee uses the program it’s not the school district, but the individual’s responsibility to disclose that information.

The school committee is expected to vote on changes to the policy March 12.

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