Pelham - Windham News 6 - April 22, 2011
More Letters to our Editor Public Kindergarten Effort
Dear Windham Legislators, We write to you to express our grave concern and disappointment over recent developments in the legislature that have potentially removed pledged monies from the State budget for Kindergarten construction. The Windham School Board has worked long and hard to develop a facilities master plan that takes into consideration all of the space needs facing the Windham School District, which loom all too large at this critical time. Moreover, the economic austerity we faced in the last few years has yet to abate, making our task of convincing the voters to support a warrant that will have a significant impact on the local tax base much more difficult.
In compliance with the 2008 mandate from the State of New Hampshire, the Windham School District initiated half-day kindergarten to over 180 students. The inaugural and important first stage of our plan was to put an addition on Golden Brook School (K-2), which will permanently house our entire Kindergarten population as early as January of 2012. As many of you supported, we worked with then-Senate President Sylvia Larson to amend the legislation and allow for a timely transition (three years), so that our town and school district could properly prepare for the Commissioner of Education’s goal of permanent housing for all Kindergarten programs throughout the State of New Hampshire. We now ask your help once again in lobbying the NH Senate to restore the Kindergarten construction monies into the State budget. We pledged our support, our voters have pledged their support, and now we ask that the State of NH continue their support with the legislation they enacted to ensure that every child in New Hampshire has the opportunity to attend public Kindergarten.
Please let us know what we can do to assist
you in this effort. Our superintendent, business administrator, board chair, and others, if necessary, will testify as needed about this very vital effort to ensure public kindergarten for all NH children. We implore you to seek whatever means necessary to make this happen, as the Windham School District is facing a critical time with our space needs. We sincerely seek your help to address this
very important kindergarten issue and restore the funding that had been described when we took this to our voters.
Ed Gallagher, Chairman; Bruce Anderson, Vice Chairman; and Jeff Bostic, Michelle Farrell, and Stephanie Wimmer, Windham School Board - Windham
Restoring Kindergarten I recently received a letter from the Windham
School Board asking for my help lobbying the NH Senate to “restore” Kindergarten building funds to the NH State operating budget. The letter stated that the School Board was concerned and disappointed that pledged money had been removed by the legislature. This letter is based on many false assumptions. Now, as I recall, Governor Lynch signed a bill into law that would mandate that all school districts must provide Kindergarten. I have read our State Constitution and it says that if the State mandates it, then the State must pay for it. Governor Lynch responded with a deal. Though the State is unwilling to cover the operating costs of Kindergarten every year, it would be willing to pay 75 percent of the building costs if a district had not been providing public Kindergarten. Indeed, two years ago, the operating budget presented by the Governor did have money to help several districts with approved plans. This term, the Governor did not propose any funds in the operating budget for Kindergarten building aid. He did, however, remove the two Regional Vocational High Schools from the capital budget and replace them with funds for building Kindergartens. I serve on Public Works & Highways and we created HB 25 the Capital Budget from the Governor’s recommendations and many hours of public hearings. We could not in good conscience use the State’s long-term bonding for district school buildings while leaving unfunded our commitment to maintain and restore two RVHSs each legislative term.
Can you imagine that the Governor would have
us pay interest on bonds that would go into our SAU’s bank account, earning less interest, while Windham builds its addition? Today, I received e-mails from many Windham
residents and each has echoed the implication that the NH House of Representatives removed Kindergarten building funds from the operating Budget and implored us convince the NH Senate of our just cause.
I will indeed speak with Senator Morse of Salem regarding Governor Lynch’s “promise.” I will ask him to search the budget for a few million dollars more to cover for another of the Governor’s mistakes.
Imagine instead that without a State mandate, dozens of small businesses across southern NH providing Kindergarten. As a parent, you would send your child for one year and you would be done with it. As a business, they would enjoy older children they could actually make a profit from rather than just serving the younger kids that produce little profit due to State regulations on teacher/pupil ratios.
Instead, we hire more public school teachers, administrators, and staff. Now, we don’t get a choice of where our preschoolers are educated. We harm small businesses and we are stuck paying salaries and benefits in perpetuity. I would like to thank Governor Lynch for solving a problem that Windham did not have. On behalf of the unions representing these additional public employees, I would like to thank Governor Lynch. Finally, on behalf of the municipal bond holders, I would like to thank the Governor for consistently trying to spend money we don’t have and just putting it on the credit card.
Rep. Kevin Waterhouse - Windham Thanks to Girl Scout Leaders
Windham has 32 Girl Scout troops serving over 300 girls from kindergarten to seniors in high school. While most people notice Girl Scouts during the brief cookie-selling season, Girl Scouts are active all year round—learning about their world, reinforcing positive values, and serving their community in many ways. Some examples of Windham Girl Scouts serving their community are Scouting for Food and collecting hats and mittens for Sheppard’s Pantry, collecting supplies for animal rescue shelters, picking up litter from the town’s parks and fields, and planting flowers at the cemetery for Memorial Day.
Of course, behind every girl-led effort is a Girl Scout Leader. Leaders give endlessly of their time and effort, their care and consideration, to provide a wonderful Girl Scout experience to as many girls as possible. They are role models and mentors, organizers and cheerleaders. They help the girls discover and develop their talents and potential. The 50-plus Girl Scout leaders in Windham (and additional 50-plus adult volunteers) make a difference in so many girls’ lives every day. April 22 is National Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day. On behalf of parents and girls in Windham, we would like to thank our leaders. This program could not exist without you. Parents and girls, please make sure to thank your leaders this week. They deserve our gratitude every day. Don’t miss this opportunity to show them how much they mean to you, because we know you mean the world to them! To join Girl Scouts, become a leader, or learn
how you can share your talents to support Girl Scouts, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thank you for letting us be a part of your girls’
Sandi Kane, Dawna Parent, Robyn Harris, Laura Hooper, Nancy Perkins, Sue Rochford, and Tricia Hughes, the Windham Girl Scouts Service Team - Windham
Easter Egg Hunt Thank-You
On Saturday, April 16, the Town of Windham’s Recreation Department hosted the Annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event was well attended by hundreds of children eager to find eggs. There were over 4,200 eggs around the Town Hall! The Easter Bunny hopped in for a visit with the children, and the Windham Presbyterian Church hosted activities as well. I would like to thank those who made the event a successful one. Thank you to Boy Scout Troop 266; Paul Gosselin, Jim Dreyfuss, Lauren Rogers, Sarah Chau, and Melissa Prunier. Also, thank you to Chris O’Neil, Eilis O’Neil, Bill Brennan, Al Barlow, Debbie Mackenzie, and the Windham Presbyterian Church. Wishing you all a very happy Spring!
Cheryl S. Haas, Recreation Coordinator - Windham DEA to Hold Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
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submitted by U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) for New England, as well as community, public health, and law enforcement partners are reminding the public of the second nationwide Prescription Drug “Take-Back” Day. DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous—no questions asked. To find the nearest location, go to www.dea.gov
. Last September, the New England Field Division collected 25,810 pounds of prescription medications during the DEA “Take-Back” initiative. In New England, there were 401 return sites and 340 participating agencies. Nationwide, over 242,000 pounds of unwanted or unneeded prescriptions were recovered.
“Last September in New England, we recovered over 12 tons of unneeded and unwanted prescription medications. Removing these medications from our homes makes our families safer,” said Special Agent in Charge Derr. “Many teens’ first drug use experience is a no-longer-needed prescription that was left unused in a medicine cabinet. Take advantage of this program and rid your home of these potential poisons.”
Some staggering facts concerning prescription drug abuse: • In
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2009, there were 7 million
Americans aged 12 years and older who abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past month—more than the number of people who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants combined.
• In 2008, on average, 5,965 persons per day abused prescription pain relievers for the first time. The total number of individuals that took any controlled substance pharmaceutical (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) for the first time exceeded the number of individuals that abused marijuana for the first time.
• Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get “high” for the first time.
• One in seven teens admits to abusing prescription drugs to get “high” in the past year. Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.
• Fifty-six percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.
• Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than illegal drugs. Further, three out of 10 teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.
• Sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends’ and/or family’s medicine cabinets.
Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and the Partnership@drugfree.org
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