Pelham - Windham News August 19, 2011 - 5
by Barbara O’Brien The opening of school is quickly approaching and school administrators and other officials are scrambling to make sure everything is ready for the day students arrive. One of the most vital issues being addressed is what to do about
Windham Schools and Police Dealing With Traffic Issues Moulis said that the students who would be leaving later would
stay in a classroom with a teacher present at all times. Moulis said he feels that the exodus from Windham Middle
traffic concerns surrounding the time students are dropped off at school in the morning and picked up again in the afternoon. The greatest concern at this time, according to Windham Police Captain Carol Wagner and SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel is the current situation at Windham Central School on Lowell Road, particularly in the afternoon. The present situation involves traffic backing up onto Route 111 and school buses being forced to cross in front of one another. Steel said they have looked at a dozen possible changes, but have not yet come up with a final solution to the dilemma. The problem at Windham Middle School involves parents
showing up at the same time that school buses are loading students. School officials say the 20-foot wide driveway is too narrow to allow for the safe passing of cars. According to Middle School Principal Dan Moulis, a staggered dismissal time will be enacted. School buses will leave at the regularly scheduled dismissal time, while student pickup by parents in vehicles, as well as walkers and students who ride bicycles, will be allowed to leave 15 minutes later.
School will be completed by 2:25-2:30 p.m. He does not believe that it will interfere with Golden Brook’s dismissal. Under the new plan, there will also be a set time for picking up
any students who must go to after-school appointments or other obligations. Interim Superintendent Henry LaBranche will be preparing a message for parents, as to forewarn them of the changes. During the August 9 school board meeting, one parent spoke of possible difficulties for parents who must pick up a student at both Golden Brook School and Center School. As a result, Dr. LaBranche spoke about the possibility of having separate dedicated buses for each of those schools. Currently, there are both Golden Brook and Center School students on the same bus. Captain Wagner also suggested that no parking be allowed along that stretch of Lowell Road, due to traffic safety concerns. The issue is being considered by members of the Windham Highway Safety Committee. Anyone who has any input on any traffic issue at one of the
Windham Schools should contact either Dr. LaBranche at SAU 28 (425-1976) or Captain Wagner at the Windham Police Department (434-5577).
School Bus Transportation Study to Be Done Jointly
by Barbara O’Brien Both the Pelham and Windham School Districts have used the same school bus companies the past two decades. And it might, or might not, be time for a change in how things are handled. According to SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel, the
two towns that comprise the school administrative unit have been using First Student for regular school bus transportation and Safeway for special education transportation at least since 1990. The most recent contracts have now expired with these transportation firms and Steel feels it is a good time to launch a study of possible options. School bus transportation will continue with First Student and Safeway for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. Steel listed possibilities that might be made regarding changes in
the way school bus transportation is handled in Windham/Pelham, including: outsourcing both the leasing of buses and the operation of the system; the two school districts purchasing their own school buses, as well as hiring their 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.
When the discussion came up during the Windham School
Board’s August 9 meeting, it was the third time Steel had brought the topic forward. The first two times, board members had said they wanted additional information, which Steel provided. On August 9, Steel said that the Pelham School Board had already agreed to hire a consultant to develop a ten-year school bus transportation plan
and was waiting for Windham School Board members to make a decision. By doing the study jointly, each school district will save about $5,000 in costs. By a vote of 4 to 0, Windham School Board members approved
hiring Transportation Advisory Services of New York to conduct a comprehensive study of school bus transportation options. Voting in favor were School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher, Vice Chairman Bruce Anderson and school board members Jeff Bostic and Stephanie Wimmer. School board member Michelle Wimmer did not attend the meeting where the vote was taken. The $10,000 total cost of the study will be paid equally by both
Pelham and Windham. Steel said the study is expected to be completed in time for the 2012-2013 school district budget process to get underway.
Steel said he feels confident that the school board’s decision to hire an outside consultant is in the best interest of both school districts. “Currently, the buses being used are way beyond what is typical.” Steel said, referring to the age of the buses on which Windham and Pelham children are being transported to and from school. He said he believes strongly that money will be saved long- term by hiring this consulting firm. Currently, school transportation costs, just for Windham alone, total approximately $2 million annually.
Steel said he believes that the study will wind up with potential
savings for taxpayers in both school districts and safer buses for all students.
Saving Money on Electricity
by Barbara O’Brien In this economy, in particular, every cent saved by town officials helps battle the ever-rising tax bills facing local property owners. In order to save some of those cents, which can add up to dollars,
Windham Selectmen have once again decided to contract with Constellation Energy Group as the supplier of electric service for town buildings and facilities. This past year, the Town of Windham saved about $1,600 over what it would have cost to have the same amount of electricity supplied by Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH).
As a result of the significant savings during 2010, Windham Assistant Town Administrator and Finance Director Dana Call recommended that the town contract with Constellation Energy Group for the upcoming year, as well.
According to Call, the current cost of energy through PSNH is Kindergarten - continued from page 2
Steel said there are no hard numbers in place at this point in regard to how much money can be sliced off the original $2.9 million project, but school officials are presently looking at a reduced price tag of about $2.6 million. There also might be additional savings realized when the project goes out to bid, Steel explained. Based on current calculations, including a possible 2010-2011 unreserved fund balance of approximately $500,000, plus the $1 million in State aid and the $900,000 already promised by taxpayers last March, the remaining amount of money needed to reach $2.6 million would be approximately $200,000. Steel said the final amount of the unreserved fund balance should be known by October 1.
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be a prudent idea to reduce the size of the kindergarten addition to six classrooms, rather than the seven-room addition that was proposed originally. “I could not do that in good conscience,” Interim Superintendent Henry LaBranche replied. “Seven classrooms is what is needed.” Currently, kindergarten students are housed in portable classrooms on the grounds of Golden Brook School. This is the final year that the State Department of Education will pay for leasing those portables. If a permanent kindergarten addition is not completed by this time next year, Windham taxpayers will have to pick up the bill for renting classroom space. The new school year marks the third year of public kindergarten in the Town of Windham.
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.08460 cents per kilowatt hour, while it is only .07790 cents per kilowatt hour through Constellation Energy. Constellation Energy Group is a FORTUNE 500 company that is headquartered in Baltimore, MD. Constellation Energy had revenues of $14.3 billion in 2010.
Selectmen voted unanimously (5 to 0) to go with Call’s recommendation to use Constellation Energy Group as the electricity supplier for the Town of Windham for the next 12 months.
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