Pelham - Windham News September 10, 2010 - 9
School Board Members Consider Capital Improvement Plan
by Barbara O’Brien With only a couple of weeks left before the Windham School Board has to present a proposal to the town’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee, Board members are still weighing how much taxpayers might be able to bear in an economy that finds many still out of work and in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. School Board members met to discuss the issue of what to
include in requests to the CIP Committee on August 30. The school district’s proposal for next March is due to the CIP Committee on September 22. School Board Vice Chairman Ed Gallagher, who also serves as the
School Board’s representative to the CIP Committee, said, “There are no big looming town projects on the horizon.” The only projects being considered by town administrators at this time pertain to road maintenance. A discussion among selectmen as to whether or not to propose a new town hall was voted down by the majority of members. “These are extraordinarily tough [economic] times,” Gallagher said. School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson concurred with Gallagher, saying, “The economy is such right now that we’re not going to go out and ask for a big bond.” If the School Board were to put forth a large construction bond next year, Anderson said he felt “It would go down in flames.” The two issues that might move forward as proposed warrant articles in March 2011 include a possible capital reserve fund (CRF), to put money away for future building projects, and a continuance of the current architectural design phase. This past March, Windham voters approved spending $160,000 to work on coming up with a master building plan for the school district. School Board members are considering asking for the remaining $240,000 that is needed to complete the architectural plans.
As for the possibility of setting aside future construction money in a CRF, School Board member Michelle Farrell said, “We need to educate people in explaining what the money is for.” A CRF is compared to a savings account for a specific purpose.
Voters must approve spending any money put aside in a CRF before it can be taken out of the account. They must also approve setting the money aside in the first place. Fire departments frequently set up CRFs for the purpose of purchasing fire trucks, putting aside an incremental amount each year for several years, until there is enough money to buy the equipment and not have to take out a bond to finance the purchase. School Board members are concerned about where the year-old
kindergarten program will be located once State aid runs out for the existing portable classrooms. The State of New Hampshire allocated money for the portables for a period of three years, anticipating that a permanent structure would take their place by the end of that time. The 2011-2012 school year will be the last year that Windham is eligible for State aid for the portable classrooms, currently located on the grounds of Golden Brook Elementary School. Superintendent Frank Bass said that the Windham School District could take out a bond to construct a permanent kindergarten building. Bass said that the State Department of Education is still offering 75-percent funding for this purpose. “The State wants us to do this,” he told School Board members. Windham is one of the last communities in the entire country to establish a public kindergarten program. “We have to be pragmatic about what can and cannot be funded,” Gallagher cautioned. “What about capital improvements for existing buildings?” he questioned. Such projects as a new roof for the Windham Middle School, additional bathrooms at the Middle School, new energy-efficient windows and doors at existing schools, and a new boiler system were mentioned. Gallagher said he feels that establishing small CRFs for such projects would be preferable to voters in the current recessive economy. “Trying to get anything improved right now is going to be heavy, heavy lifting,” he said. Farrell said she thinks understanding CRFs and how they work “is confusing to people.” “We need to include tangible items to be purchased with the money.” School Board member Jeff Bostic added that “People really don’t understand this stuff.” Business Administrator Donna Clairmont said, “It is in our best interest to have as much information available to provide voters.” She said she is definitely in favoring of asking voters to approve the remaining $240,000 needed for the architectural design studies. As for a CRF being established for next year, Clairmont said, “We need to determine what is reasonable to set aside.” The options open to School Board members in regard to making requests to the CIP Committee for next year are: to do nothing, to ask voters for $240,000 to continue the architectural studies for future building projects, to establish a CRF(s) for specific purposes, or to ask for a bond to construct a kindergarten facility using 75-percent State aid.
While there is support among School Board members to move
forward with taking the request for $240,000 for additional architectural planning to the CIP Committee, Board members feel they need more information that will allow them to focus on the
Windham Schools Keep Busy
by Lynne Ober Summer vacation officially ended in Windham last Wednesday
when schools opened for the first day. Unlike many surrounding school districts, which found that several families extended their vacation until after Labor Day, Windham’s students returned in droves. Windham enrollment is up, but Superintendent Dr. Frank Bass noted that the real enrollment date is October 1, when schools have to report student enrollment to the state for the calculation of state aid.
Bass said that his experience with the Hollis School District led him to believe that Windham would see an increase in student population. “We have a new, excellent high school and that attracts parents,” he said. That influx could be felt at Windham Center School, which had an increase in student population this year. At the high school, students are increasing as a third class joins the high school. This year, only seniors are being bused to Salem High School. The other three classes are in residence at Windham High School, where Principal Tom Murphy, who was the Assistant Principal last year, is already making arrangements to assist Windham’s first graduating class in continuing their education. Bass said that work with parents and juniors would begin this
year. “It is really important that students think about the year after high school while still a junior. They will need a plan of action by the time they become seniors and Principal Murphy is going to make sure all of our students have such a plan.” This will be a new year for athletics at Windham High School as they will compete on the varsity level for the first time, but that’s not the only change.
Students will report at 7:52 a.m., which is a later start time.
Political Advertising Sign Regulations
submitted by Tim Corwin, Zoning Board of Adjustment/Code Enforcement Administrator, Windham The political season is here, and many of you are working hard to get
your candidate elected. Erecting signs in spots visible to motorists is a great way to advertise your candidate. Be aware, however, that there are some important rules that must be followed in choosing where to place your signs. Under state law, political signs are permitted on private property, but the property owners’ consent must be obtained before erecting the sign. Political signs are also permitted on public property within the right-of-way; however, the advertising must not obstruct the safe flow of traffic. Keep in mind that the both the State and the Town are authorized to remove any political signs deemed unsafe for proper traffic flow. Finally, be aware that defacement of any political signs by any one other than the owner of the property on which the sign is placed is strictly prohibited under state law! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Tim Corwin, Zoning Board
of Adjustment/Code Enforcement Administrator, at 432-3806 or tcorwin@w indhamnewhampshire.com
, or stop in Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Happy politicking!
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• Vote to bring fiscal responsibility to the state
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Research shows that later start times in high schools are better for high school students who tend to stay up later. Bass said that Windham teachers do not have start times written into their contracts, so he was able to juggle the school start time without disruption at any level. Murphy is also working on a program to enable students to have a
voice in their school. “I’m expecting some exciting things this year at the high school,” said Bass. At Golden Brook School, the second year of kindergarten has had an impact. According to Bass, this year, there is only one readiness class and he expects to see that program disappear, as kindergarten will fulfill that educational need. “We are excited to see how our first grade students do this year after the first year of public kindergarten,” Bass said. Bass said that the first day of school went very smoothly, and he is looking forward to a school year filled with challenges, opportunities, and student growth.
school district’s “critical needs” and their related cost before they can determine the advisability of establishing a CRF for any specific purpose.
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To the Voters of Salem and Windham:
As a member of the Finance Committee, my first responsibility is to provide the full House of Representatives with a balanced budget by July 1st, 2011.
Second, it is our responsibility as State Representatives to produce more jobs for the 50,000 people currently unemployed in NH. We will do that by creating and supporting new business. Then, we must reduce the business profits and enterprise taxes, which are the highest business taxes paid in America; knowing that 35% of the general budget (3.5 billion dollars) is paid for by the small business people of NH.
State Representatives must create new sources of income, which is why I favor gambling. Not only will it provide thousands of jobs; it will be the only new source of revenue available. Unless you want a sales tax, which I will oppose. We will be able to use the $200 million dollars that goes to Connecticut every year to help cut the deficit.
I will defend the 2nd Constitutional Amendment (the right to bear arms). I believe in a strong separation of state and church.
I believe in local control of education, knowing that 35% of our state budget is spent on providing the best education possible for our children, and I will continue to support that budget.
I believe in strong parental control, and less government interference in family affairs. I love the natural beauty of our NH environment and I will continue to protect it.
I support the Constitution of America and I will vote against any bill that takes away our individual liberties and freedoms guaranteed by that constitution.
If you believe as I do, regardless of your party, I would appreciate your vote.
Fiscal Agent- Barbara Elliott, 44 Centerville Dr., Salem, NH
Paid for by Russ Ingram
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