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Pelham~Windham News


Pelham~Windham News of Our Honored Dead


Volume 8 Number 45 June 3, 2011 16 Pages Pelham:In Memory Windham Remembers: Memorial Day ECRWSS


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Pelham’s highest ranking Girl Scouts salute after placing wreaths at the Gibson Cemetery: Kathryn Blais, Abigail Blais, Samantha Bowden, and Katie Ferrello. Behind the girls are Legion Adjutant Aram Jeknavorian, VFW Commander Mark McCabe, and Legion Commander Carl Roscoe


by Len Lathrop During a day of remembrance for those who


have died in our nation’s service, the Pelham Veterans of Foreign Wars John H. Hargreaves Memorial Post 10722 and the Pelham American Legion Post 100 celebrated with three events, gathering first at Pelham Veterans Memorial Park on Mammoth Road for a wreath-laying ceremony at 9 a.m., which was followed by a service at the Pelham Town Common (between the Congregational Church and the Fire Station), where members of the Legion marched to from their Post on Windham Road and the VFW members marched from their Main Street Post for a wreath placement. The groups then marched to the Village Green, where the Community Parade formed.


Shortly after 10 a.m., those gathered marched respectfully to Gibson Cemetery. The marches entered the cemetery and encircled the monument at the end of a tree-lined avenue. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, selectmen, firefighters, police officers, and residents were then greeted by VFW Commander Mark McCabe and American Legion Commander Aram Jeknavorian. The National Anthem was sung by the Claudia Coombs Choir, and Invocation was given by Reverend Ferguson of the Congregational Church. Reading and prayers were read by both military support groups= and the reciting of the Pelham residents’ names who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. After a gun salute from the American Legion


Pelham Band banjo player Tom closed the service with a Patriotic Hymn


Firing Squad and Taps by the buglers of Pelham High School, Reverend Matt Kyzer from Crossroads Baptist Church closed with a prayer and the parade reassembled to march back to the American Legion Post 100.


see more photos on page 6


Salem High student Chris Dipersio addresses our American Flag as he plays Taps


Te American Legion Firing Squad fires their rifles in respect of those who have fallen


by Doug Robinson The crowds increased the closer the parade


reached its destination, Cemetery on the Plain. Excitement was in the air as the marching bands, marching Boy Scouts, marching Girl Scouts, volunteer organizations, and police and fire trucks arrived at the cemetery on this solemn occasion. At the parade’s beginning,


the Windham School District sign simply said, “Thank you, Veterans.” And all in attendance at the cemetery were saying the same. “We must honor and remember our fallen, but that only is not enough. They died not just for their country, but for their comrades serving next to them. The United States would have survived if Corporal Yale and Lance Corporal Haerter fled from their post, but the Marines serving with them should not have. They died protecting those with whom they served. The lives saved are their legacy,” spoke Memorial Day speaker Major Kenneth Lewis of Windham. He continued, “As the unofficial day of summer, we must never lose focus of what Memorial Day means. It’s not about beaches, picnics, or auto races. It is a day to remember. We must never forget what these heroes have done and what their loved ones have lost. There are many ways to remember our fallen heroes. The traditional way is with flowers and flags for their graves or with observances such as this. More than one million American service members have died in wars that our nation has been involved in since the first colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775. Many of them died protecting one another, but they served so that we could keep the things that we love the most—God, country, and family. By remaining true to these principles, we honor their sacrifice.”


see more photos on page 7


Tuition Study Committee Recommends 10-Year Agreement, Windham Residents Protest


by Barbara O’Brien Approximately a year ago, at the urging of


Pelham School Board members, Windham School Board members agreed to study the feasibility of tuitioning Pelham students to the newly built Windham High School. Windham Board members said that looking into the possibility was “the neighborly thing to do.” Many Windham residents do not agree with the decision, though. At the direction of the Windham School Board, a committee was formed in October 2010, just one full year after Windham High School opened its doors to Windham students. On May 24, tuition study committee members convened at the now two-year-old high school and presented their findings. The committee was represented by its chairman, Richard Horrigan. There was also a large contingency of Windham residents, especially parents, assembled in the high school auditorium. There appeared to be very few residents from Pelham. Horrigan began by detailing the makeup of the tuition study committee, which includes seven voting members drawn from the Windham and Pelham School Boards, the Windham and Pelham Board of Selectmen, and community members from both school districts. There were also non-voting administrative officials on the committee, including Superintendent Franklyn Bass. Windham and Pelham, together, comprise SAU 28.


According to Horrigan, the existing Pelham High School, which is approximately 40 years old, is already over-crowded and suffers from a lack of space for expansion. Both the physical building and the mechanical infrastructure are deficient, he said. “Pelham High School is at risk of losing its NEASC [New England Association of Schools and Colleges] accreditation,” he added.


As for the new Windham High School, Horrigan said that committee members feel as if there are not enough students to “gain efficiency of scale,” and, by adding Pelham students to the mix, there will be greater opportunity for offering more courses and other opportunities. Windham High was built for a maximum of 1,000 students, with core facilities capable of accommodating up to 1,200 students. Next fall, when classes resume, the high school will house approximately 750 students, in grades 9 through 12. This will be the first year that all four grade levels have attended Windham High School. When Windham High opened in 2009, there were only freshmen and sophomores in attendance. This year, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are on the roster. The final group of Windham seniors will graduate from Salem High School in the next couple of weeks. In 2012, Windham High School will celebrate its very first graduation ceremony.In a comparison between Pelham and Windham High Schools, Horrigan said there is an average of 14 students per class in Pelham, while 15 students are enrolled on average per class at Windham High. Furthermore, there are 49 courses at Pelham High that have less than 9 students and 39 courses that have less than 7 students. At Windham High School, there are 36 courses with less than 9 students and 18 courses with less than 7 students. The cost per pupil at Pelham High School is $12,022, Horrigan said. At Windham High School, the expense per pupil (including the cost of construction bonding) is $20,174. To build a new high school in Pelham would cost approximately $42 million. The cost of constructing Windham High School was just over $50 million.


According to Horrigan, there are five options


that were considered by the tuition study committee: • Do nothing • Institute a three-year or less tuition agreement (no voter approval required)


• Institute a 10-year tuition agreement (voter approval would be required)


• Create a Regional Enrollment Area Plan; similar to what is done at Salem High School on a tuition basis (voter approval would be required)


• Create a Cooperative School District (voter approval would be required). After reviewing all the possible options, committee members voted (6 to 1) to recommend that Windham and Pelham enter into a 10-year tuition agreement, with such an agreement to be negotiated by school administrators. To actually initiate such an agreement would require the approval of both the Pelham and Windham School Boards and voter approval in both school districts. Horrigan said tuitioning Pelham students


to Windham High School would require a $14 million capital expansion, including 22 additional classrooms and a “mini-gymnasium.” Combining the high school population of Pelham and Windham would result in a total Windham High School enrollment of approximately 1,600 students. By doing so, according to Horrigan, the per-student cost would be reduced to $11,864. This would save a total of between $1.7 million and $3.6 million per year, Horrigan said. “Overall, spending would be down by not having two high schools,” he said. “This is the best option for both school districts,” he added. Should this recommendation move forward, the timing of relocating Pelham high school students would need to be addressed, as well as busing


issues, existing Pelham High School teacher contracts, and parental/social/cultural concerns between the two school districts. “This is the best option to deal with all the


issues,” Horrigan stated. “This would have a broad-based positive impact on student education,” he said. “Class sizes would be optimal, there would more athletic opportunities, and the high school curriculum could be expanded from the current 137 courses up to 200 or more.” Money would also be saved, according to Horrigan, as only one principal be would be required and class sizes could be increased slightly, thereby saving money on teacher salaries and benefits. “There would certainly be lower overhead with only one high school to operate,” he said.


“It makes me very, very nervous when you start


playing with teacher-student ratios,” Windham School Board Vice Chairman Bruce Anderson commented. “I have a real concern about finding and keeping a quality faculty, all at once” with a newly expanded high school, he said. Speaking nationally, Horrigan said that many of the top 100 high schools in the United States have an enrollment that is greater than 1,000 students. “Too many students fall through the cracks in larger high schools,” one resident commented. Dr. Anderson said that the cost of any construction required to tuition Pelham students to Windham should be paid for solely by Pelham taxpayers. Windham School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher said he questioned whether or not any State building aid would be available for an expansion at this point in time. “With all that’s going on in Concord these days [with the budget], any building aid stuff is certainly in a state of flux,” Gallagher said.


continued to page 5- Tuiton Study


staff photos by Len Lathrop staff photos by Doug Robinson


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