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Pelham - Windham News October 1, 2010 - 5

School Board Still Undecided on CIP Proposal

by Barbara O’Brien September 20 wasn’t their first debate of which proposals to put forth to the Capital Improvement Plan Committee (CIP) for next year’s ballot, but School Board members still haven’t come up with any concrete conclusions to put forth. As a result, the Windham School Board’s presentation to the CIP committee has been delayed until Wednesday, October 6. The presentation was originally scheduled for September 22. School Board members repeatedly expressed concern about the willingness and/or ability of Windham taxpayers to approve any additional large expenditures, due to the continuing poor state of the economy. As a result, most of the discussion on September 20 revolved around whether or not certain issues were urgent enough that they need to be addressed within the next year. The CIP committee discusses and makes recommendations for both town- and school district-related issues. The purpose of having a CIP is to level out large expenditures over several years and, hopefully, avoid large tax rate spikes along the way. In order to accommodate the CIP, 75 cents of the annual tax rate is dedicated to paying for designated capital improvement projects. That 75 cents is divided between school and town proposals, although the percentage of the division is not pre-determined. One of the major issues being dealt with by the School Board at this time is planning for future facility needs. A sub-committee to address that specific issue has been formed and is currently holding regular meetings. Sub-committee members are working in conjunction with the architectural firm of Lavallee/Brensinger, the same company that designed the new Windham High School. This past March, Windham voters approved spending $160,000 for phase one of a facilities needs study, which includes developing conceptual design solutions, based on the school district’s assessed needs. The money for phase two of this project will most likely be requested this coming March, when voters once again go to the polls. Phase 2 will carry a price tag of approximately $240,000 and is expected to result in a specific schematic design, as well as a guaranteed maximum cost to accomplish any recommended construction and/or renovations. School Board members said they want more information on what residents will get for their $240,000 and also want to make sure facilities planning committee members and the architects, who were hired to develop the plans, “are on the same path to finding solutions.” School Board members are also worried about what will happen with the new kindergarten program in Windham if a permanent location for the program isn’t constructed before the three-year, State-paid lease expires on the portable classrooms presently being utilized. The kindergarten program debuted in Windham in September 2009. School Board member John Hollinger said he’s concerned about the timetable, as it is unlikely that any building project will be approved in Windham prior to March 2012. The cost of leasing the portable classrooms for an additional year would

carry a price tag of about $120,000, Business Administrator Donna Clairmont said; an expense that taxpayers would have to pay. Superintendent Frank Bass said he had recently spoken with State officials regarding State building aid and been told that there is still the possibility of Windham receiving 75-percent construction aid for kindergarten classrooms once the existing moratorium is lifted. Windham could also be eligible for 30-percent State building aid on other school construction once the moratorium is lifted, he said. Bass said he has been asked to testify on the building aid issue at a future hearing in Concord. There are no guarantees that this money will become available at the right time to benefit Windham, however, School Board members cautioned. School Board members also haggled over whether or not to propose establishing a $250,000 capital reserve fund for future building needs. Chairman Bruce Anderson said he wants a specific purpose tied to the establishment of a capital reserve fund; one which voters can fully understand. He doesn’t want residents to think that school officials can just spend the money as they please, Anderson said. School board Vice Chairman Ed Gallagher emphasized that a capital reserve fund is not a slush fund to be used for whatever needs come along. It is comparable to a savings account intended for something specific, such as sending a child to college someday. School Board member Michelle Farrell agreed. “We need to show what we’re saving for,” she said. “We have to make people understand.” The third issue discussed by School Board members was the replacement of the roof on Windham Middle School. This project was recommended by School Facilities Coordinator Warren Billings. The estimated cost of the new roof is about $100,000. “I’m not assured this roof is a definite need,” at this point, Gallagher said. “It’s a question of timing and urgency.” “Roofs don’t typically just fail without warning,” Hollinger said, adding that he believes more documentation of the need should be forthcoming from Billings and the architects. Farrell questioned whether or not any future additions to the Middle School might negate any work done to the roof beforehand. “Would it be a waste of money to replace the roof first?” she asked. Hollinger said School Board members could “argue about when

and what” to do, but the one thing that can’t be changed is that operating the school district and maintaining its facilities “is going to cost money.” Gallagher said that putting forth proposals that total about $600,000 for next March’s ballot “might just be too rich for this economy.” “We need to grab the selectmen and get them in here,” Hollinger

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said. “We need to stand shoulder to shoulder” with the selectmen in developing proposals that Windham residents will support and can afford to fund. Expenses are only likely to increase even more in the future, he said, as more and more people move into town. “The population growth in Windham is not going to go away,” Hollinger said. “It’s only going to increase with the widening of I-93.”

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1x3 Alcohol-Related Arrests Made in Windham

submitted by Windham Police Department During the past weekend, the Windham Police Department arrested several people for alcohol-related incidents. On Saturday, September 25, at approximately 11 p.m., Officer

Eddy arrested Christopher Williams, 23, of Derry, for Driving While Intoxicated (second offense) and Disobeying a Police Officer after Williams attempted to flee from Officer Eddy and crashed into a tree on Meetinghouse Road. Williams was released on personal recognizance bail and scheduled for arraignment in Salem District Court on October 25. On Sunday, September 26, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Windham

Police Department received information concerning an underage drinking party in the area of Deer Run Road. Sergeant Clark and Officer O’Loughlin responded to the area and determined there was a party at 5 Deer Run Road. Arrested at the party were Alex Gomez, 17, of Salem, Unlawful Possession of Alcohol; and Jared Matthews, 18, of Windham, Protective Custody. Three Juvenile subjects were also arrested at the scene and

released to their parents. A large quantity of alcohol was seized by the officers at the scene. On Sunday, September 26, at approximately 7:15 a.m., the

Windham Police Department responded to a motor-vehicle accident on Route 111 at the intersection of North Shore Road. The investigation at the scene determined the driver was the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Arrested at the scene was Susan A Goldsworthy, 48, of Haverhill, MA. Goldsworthy was charged with Driver Under the Influence of Drugs or Liquor, Operating after Suspension, and Possession of Controlled Drugs. Goldsworthy was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in Salem District Court on November 8.

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Section of Johnson Street Accepted by Town

by Barbara O’Brien It was a long time in the making, but the cul-de-sac portion of Johnson Street in

Windham has finally been accepted as a public town road. Selectmen voted unanimously (5 to 0) to accept the cul-de-sac during a public hearing on September 20. Planning Board members had already signed off on the road construction prior the selectmen taking the issue under consideration. Prior to the public hearing, the stretch of roadway had been inspected both by Community Development Director Laura Scott and Highway Agent Jack McCartney, who reported that “all outstanding issues had been fully completed.” McCartney said the final topcoat on the road had been completed approximately three months earlier. The work was done by Century Builders, which maintains offices throughout the United States. Since taking on the job of Community Development Director last

year, Scott has been working toward clearing up a backlog of new roads in Windham that have not yet been accepted as town-owned public roads. She informed selectmen that progress is being made, but that it is a difficult process, as some of the developers are no longer in business.

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