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Pelham~Windham NewsDespite the Weather, Pelham Strawberry Festival Still an Exciting Day
Volume 8 Number 49 July 1, 2011 16 Pages State Aid for
Kindergarten Addition Slashed
by Barbara O’Brien The Windham School District will not be getting the full amount of state aid that was anticipated when voters approved a $2.9 million kindergarten addition this past March.
Due to the budget crisis at the state level, less than half of the money school administrators thought they would receive will actually be forthcoming. Initially, the State was expected to provide 75 percent of the costs for kindergarten construction, which would have netted the Windham project about $2,175,000 from state coffers. That amount is now expected to be only $1 million; a decrease of $1,175,000. Originally, based on the warrant article voters approved earlier this year, Windham taxpayers would have needed to raise $750,000 to put toward the kindergarten addition, slated to be built onto the existing Golden Brook School on Lowell Road. As it stands now, however, the cost to local taxpayers could be in the vicinity of $1,975,000. No bond was expected to be issued for the kindergarten construction. It was meant to be a one-year pay as you go project. There was a contingency included in the warrant article, however, which could make the vote null and void if the State money didn’t materialize. If the project were
to be abandoned, however, the serious space constraint issue would remain unsolved. The financial dilemma was discussed, once again, during the School Board’s June 20 meeting. “When do we decide if we fish or cut bait?” School Board member Jeff Bostic asked. Henry LaBranche, interim superintendent for SAU 28, said the school district’s legal counsel has been contacted and asked to advise school administrators of all options “to protect taxpayers.” “We need to have a definite direction by Labor Day,” LaBranche added. School Board members could petition the New Hampshire Superior Court for permission to hold a special school district meeting sometime in the next couple of months, so that voters could reconsider the warrant article approved this past March, SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel said. Steel also said that even with the anticipated unreserved fund balance at the end of the 2010- 2011 school year (June 30), there would still be a significant “gap” in the money taxpayers would need to come up with to complete the kindergarten project as proposed. Initially, plans were to have the addition completed and ready for students by January of 2012.
School Bus Contracts Extended for Another Year
by Barbara O’Brien
On the recommendation of SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel, Windham School Board members voted unanimously (5 to 0) to continue contracting with the same two transportation companies that have been used for the past two decades. Steel also requested, however, that an outside firm be hired at the cost of $10,000 to perform an investigative study of the school district’s transportation system and recommend options to the status quo. Steel pointed out that approximately $2 million is spent annually on transporting students to and from school and that spending $10,000 on the study would be money well spent and would likely result in long-term savings. First Student, the largest school
bus transportation company in New Hampshire, is contracted to transport regular education Windham students and has done so in excess of 20 years. Safeway, which transports special education students both within the school district and elsewhere, has been contracting with Windham since 1992.
According to statistics presented
by Steel, during the June 20 School Board meeting, the extended contract with Safeway decreased by 3.9 percent, while the extension with First Student went up by 2.75 percent for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. As for the possibility of hiring an outside firm to study the transportation situation in Windham, School Board members said they wanted more information. Steel has recommended hiring Transportation Advisory Services of New York, a company used previously by the Manchester
School District. According to Steel, following a study in that city, Manchester was able to save a significant amount of money on transportation costs. Suggestions that might be made regarding changes in the way school bus transportation is handled in Windham include: outsourcing both the leasing of buses and the operation of the system; Windham purchasing its own school buses, as well as hiring its own transportation director and drivers; a “hybrid” system, whereby the buses are leased, but an outside firm is contracted with to provide supervision and drivers; or any combination thereof. “Whatever we do, there has to be improvement,” School Board Vice-Chairman Bruce Anderson commented. School Board member Stephanie Wimmer commented, “We need to find opportunities to do better.” Several board members said they had received various complaints from parents regarding transportation issues.
Interim Superintendent Henry
LaBranche said the first thing that has to be done is to “identify the core problems with regard to regular education,” especially at the elementary school level.
am very protective of my school children,” LaBranche said. LaBranche took on the duties of SAU 28 superintendent, following the resignation of Franklyn Bass, on June 20. LaBranche also served as SAU 28’s very first superintendent, when Pelham and Windham joined forces as a school administrative unit. The issue of whether or not to hire an outside firm to study the pros and cons of the current transportation system is expected to be brought up again at a future School Board meeting.
The Pelham~Windham News and the Area News Group Offices are on Vacation.
There will be no newspaper on July 8th.
Volunteers Susan Boucher and Melissa Dinkle High school balloon people Dan Robey, the cook
Cub Scout Packs 610 and 25 Team Up to Raise Funds for New Pinewood Derby Track
by Robyn Hatch The Annual Strawberry Festival at the Pelham Senior Center took place last Saturday, even though the weather was not that nice, to close to 300 attendees, who enjoyed raffle baskets, Girl Scout face painting, music by DJ Ray Tremblay, a bounce house, games and prizes for the children, and free balloons. A Yard Sale and the Penny Pincher Barn were open for the attendees to browse and shop at as well. Tasty refreshments included grilled hot dogs (also offered as a combo with chips and a drink), cotton candy, and strawberry shortcake—all at affordable prices. The Council on Aging and the Pelham Senior Center took the opportunity to kick off and introduce the Seniors Sharing Program, which is a series of community-spirit projects. The initial project was a food drive to help supplement the Pelham Food Pantry. Non-perishable food items or household paper products were also requested for the food drive. This was a busy and impressive day for all in Pelham, and its
strawberry shortcake was something to remember. Also, Pelham’s eldest resident, Herb Currier, just celebrated his 96th birthday!
Ethan Soucy, Molly Peters, and Zachery Peters ECRWSS
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
HUDSON, NH 03051
PERMIT NO. 33 Postal Customer
Avery Gogs gets her face painted
Herb Currier, age 96, Pelham’s oldest resident
Adults: Randy Cook, Erick Wright, Kevin Haley, Mike Rollins, and Wendy Williams. Boys: Joseph Haley, Connor Rollins, Peter Alborghetti, Dylan Hunt, and Kevin Williams (center)
submitted by Lucy Wilkerson It takes invested adults to develop the character of boys in Cub Scouting, but it takes two Cub Scout Packs filled with energetic boys to feed a fundraiser! On Friday, June 10, the town of Pelham saw that happen. Pack 25 and Pack 610 combined their talents, cooking skills, and serving savvy to treat their 140 guests to a wonderful Spaghetti Supper. The Supper was the culmination of a nearly two month- long fundraising effort from both packs to raise the money necessary to purchase a new Pinewood Derby track. The Pinewood Derby is one of the most anticipated events in a Cub Scout’s year. This race is held every January and it is a great opportunity for Cub Scouts and their parents to work together. Inspired by their imaginations, the Cub Scouts take a simple block of wood that they cut, saw, sand, and paint to transform it into a racecar. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a track. The previous 35-year-old track was no longer functioning. For the past two years, the Packs have been using borrowed tracks and it was finally Pelham’s time to drop the checkered flag and ramp up the fundraising effort. Leadership from both Packs mailed letters, then personally contacted over 50 local merchants and businesses for sponsorship and donations. Over 26 merchants, businesses, and groups pledged support and Pelham Cub Scouts will be
racing on their new track for years to come. The dinner would not have been possible if it weren’t for the generous donation of food and food stuffs from the following local establishments: Suppas, Brando’s, Bertucci’s, Hannaford, Pelham Fish and Game Club, St. Patrick’s Men’s Group, Hershey’s, and Nestlé. Our heartfelt thanks goes to to St. Patrick’s Church in Pelham for allowing us to use their dining hall. For their generous donations, we’d like to thank each one of the local merchants and businesses that answered the call for help. The boys are grateful to each and every one of them. Next time you visit one, thank them, too: Gold Level Donors – Groundhog Landscaping, Netanium Network Security, Santo Insurance, Northeast Coal Sales, and RGA Tire and Auto; Silver Level Donors – Collins Dentistry for Children, Davalen, Alfa Aesar, PJ Keating, Woody’s Auto, Salon 38, and Fire Alarm and Safety; Bronze Level Donors – Pelham Saddlery, Beauty Cottage, Harris’ Pelham Inn, True Value Hardware, and Beaver Valley Farm. For their generous gift, we thank Crossroads Baptist Church and the Law Offices of David Groff. Many thanks to the leadership team members and the parent volunteers for sharing their cooking skills, resources, and sauce recipes. It was a delicious meal. Of course, our heartfelt thanks to the boys who helped to serve, clean up, and keep the evening fun and entertaining!
Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July!
staff photos by Robyn Hatch
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