BAR HARBOR — It is “absurd” that Mount Desert Island High School had to remain closed for three days for lack of electricity following last weekend’s snow and sleet storm, school officials said Tuesday night.
“It is totally inexcusable,” school board member Eric Henry said. “Schools should be second only to hospitals in terms of getting power back on.”
Power was restored to the high school around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, but school had already been cancelled for the day.
The high school board Tuesday night supported Chairman Charlie Wray’s proposal to send a letter of complaint to Emera and a copy to the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Wray said the letter would express the board’s “disappointment in the power company’s inability to bring our high school back online.”
Board member Kristi Losquadro said that with the large number of customers without power in eastern Maine, there might be a legitimate reason why the high school is not on Emera’s priority list.
“But I think they should give an explanation for why the school is down,” she said.
Board member Skip Strong noted that schools are designated as emergency shelter sites for people whose homes have lost power.
“You’re supposed to be able to get schools back up and running first of all, if everyone else has no heat,” he said.
Haney and Superintendent Howard Colter said they have already started talking about when to make up the three days of school that students have missed.
“I think the first choice would be to figure out ways to make up those days during the year and not add them to the end of the year,” Colter said.
Haney said he agreed, but he wants to discuss it with teachers before making a recommendation to the school board.
All AOS 91 schools were closed on Monday. Although some schools had power, thousands of area homes did not. Mount Desert Elementary School was closed again Tuesday. Power was restored midday Tuesday, and the school reopened Wednesday morning.