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Pelham - Windham News January 28, 2011 - 5

Legislative Robert Elliot There’s a New Sheriff in Town

I’m asking my constituents to remember these numbers, 19 to 5. That isn’t a football score, it’s the vote count last week of Senate Bill 1 (19 Republicans, 5 Democrats). The “Evergreen bill” is the one that keeps the old School District Contract in play whenever the School Board and the Unions have an impasse, which is exactly what is taking place now between the Windham Education Association and the Windham School Board. There are two major problems causing this. One is the problem facing all Americans today, namely the spiraling healthcare issue. The School Board might suggest a larger contribution from the teachers to help pay for the insurance increases, which is what the private sector does. Lockheed, where my wife worked for 29 years, used to give her a pension check of $800, including insurance. Now, her check is $400 less because the other $400 goes to pay for insurance increases over the last several

years. I don’t know whether or not the teachers will do this voluntarily. But I do know one thing for sure. When the new representatives recently elected, about 154 of them, vote on the Evergreen Bill, they will concur with the Senate, and it will be overwhelmingly defeated. The second reason for the impasse is

what Windham Superintendent Dr. Frank Bass politely refers to as “Performance Based Compensation.” It really means that hated word, “merit pay.” Having worked for almost eight years in North Andover as an English teacher, which is one of the best systems in Massachusetts, I can personally testify that many teachers simply despise that system, and I can’t say I blame them because someone has to judge them as to what “merit” means, and unless it is strictly written out by the School Board and not the Principal or the Superintendent, personalities could enter into the “merit” definition.

A third and final reason this year will be pension plans for all state and municipal employees. I must remind you that the reason the citizens of New Hampshire voted to send so many new representatives to Concord was to do just two things. One, balance the budget, and two, lower our property taxes. The highest expenses and increases in that budget are pensions and health care, especially health care. Believe me when I tell you, your state representatives will have to make terrible, ghastly cuts this year, as the public has ordered us to do, “or else.” What we do will have to be a bi-partisan effort, both by Democrats and Republicans. However, need I remind you that 40 percent of the voters in New Hampshire are Independents. They are the ones, not just the Tea Party, who sent us there, and they are the ones who will be watching us most closely, to see what we do. And they will remember it in the crucial 2012 elections. God help us!

Update Charlie with

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More Letters to our Editor continued from page 3

tempered by conservatism and fiscal prudence, and they have

delivered. Your tax dollars paid highly trained architectural and educational experts to design appropriate school structures based upon proven educational principles and with extraordinary fiscal restraint. Voters of Windham, your pen at the polls represents our future. A “yes” on the upcoming (Warrant Article 2) proposed Kindergarten addition, with its 75-percent state reimbursement, is the right start, affording our 5- and 6-year-olds a proper learning environment during one of their most critically formative learning years. Specific details of the overall School Facilities Building and Renovation Plan are available at the Windham School District Website, and will be featured in a communications campaign that will hopefully reach every Windham citizen of voting age to help dispel the “wild west” of floating rumors and half-truths. Look at the big picture, and consider that your “yes” vote for

the School Board’s recommended facilities plan is also a “yes” for the ongoing success of our new high school. You will be asked for your financial support for the school plan, and for patience while various construction takes place. Change is never easy. In this case, what is the alternative? An under-mined high school, under-educated students, and property values that reflect declining confidence in Windham’s educational opportunities will result if our school building needs are not comprehensively and expeditiously addressed. I hope these are consequences that the literate, intelligent people of Windham will take the necessary bold action to prevent. Thank you for your time.

Donna Bramante InDelicato - Windham PTA Thanks Volunteers

The Windham PTA ran a very successful electronics recycling

drive this past November. Packrats cleaned out their basements as we collected almost seven tons of material, ranging from old television sets (even some from as far back as the 1970s) to modern-day laptops and cell phones. A big thank-you goes out to the volunteers who braved the cold, windy day at Windham High School: Jen and Jackie Knight, Dawna Parent, Kari Husson, Christine Japy, Kimber and Connor Leuteritz, and Anne-Marie and Eilis O’Neil. A very special thank-you to PTA VP Dennis Senibaldi, who helped organize the event. The PTA would also like to recognize Dave Poulson, Warren Billings, LL&S Waste Wood Processing (Salem), Covanta Energy (Haverhill, MA), and the Environmental Resource Return Group (Epping).

Rosemarie Kelly, Windham PTA - Windham

Economy Challenges Should Be the Focus

Over the weekend, the National Organization for Marriage,

a Washington special interest group, sent a negative mailing to many of you attacking me, as House Majority Leader, because of the legislature’s decision not to make repealing gay marriage a top priority in our Republican majority agenda, instead focusing on the historic budget deficit in Concord. As a practicing Catholic, someone with a strong moral sense of right and wrong and as someone who voted against gay marriage in the past, I reject the accusation that I have abandoned or betrayed family values. On this issue, one of my favorite Biblical verses comes to mind, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” At this time, our legislative focus must be on our faltering budget.

We inherited a nearly $1 billion deficit that must be addressed immediately, as we are required by state law to have a balanced budget in place by July. Additionally, our citizens are suffering through the worst recession in recent times and our focus must be on getting them back to work. Given the scope of the economic problem we face and the significance of the challenges to pass a balanced budget without new taxes or fees, we necessarily had to make some very tough choices on our agenda. An agenda that attempts to stand for everything ultimately stands for nothing. To be clear, despite the fact that gay marriage repeal was not on the agenda, the legislation has been filed and it will be acted upon at the appropriate time. Given the nature of the current legislature and the fact that every piece of legislation is subject to a floor vote, it is almost certain that gay marriage repeal will be passed out of the House of Representatives in this legislative session. For anyone to say that the issue is not going to be addressed is blatantly inaccurate.

Again, there is a time for every purpose, and the same-sex marriage repeal discussion will have its time. Unfortunately, some Washington special interests are totally unconcerned with the economic issues facing New Hampshire. I believe that tackling the challenges facing our budget and economy first is the absolute correct course to follow. As a

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legislature, we must lead on all issues facing New Hampshire, not just a select few. I did not enter public life for popularity, but rather to provide leadership. I believe that tackling the challenges facing our budget and economy first is the absolute correct course to follow.

Ultimately, I am guided by the words of noted conservative philosopher Edmund Burke: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays you instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

Representative D.J. Bettencourt - Salem At the Editor’s request,

Representative Bettencourt cited the source Website,

Child Find Special Education Screening Reminder

Reminder to Pelham parents: The Pelham School District is conducting a free screening for Pelham children, ages 2.5 to 6, who may have vision, hearing, speech, coordination, or overall developmental concerns and/or an educational disability. The purpose of the screening is to identify children that may require special education and/or related services. Child Find screenings are taking place Friday, January 28, at the Pelham Preschool, 61 Marsh Road, Pelham, from the hours of 1-3 p.m. Appointments are required; space is limited. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Shirlee Sullivan or Jean Olson at 635-1145 or e-mail or

Jean Olson, Pelham Preschool - Pelham

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