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Hudson~Litchfield News Volume 22 Number 7 August 26, 2011 20 Pages School Board
Briefed on Completed Legislation
State Representative Lynne Ober again briefed the Hudson School Board on legislation, concentrating on the bills that had been passed during the recently completely legislative session. “As you know I sponsored HB
172 which would again allow school districts to transport students via a passenger van,” said Ober, who noted that this bill had passed and was signed into law. The upshot of the bill is that Hudson will save a substantial amount of bus transportation money because using a van will significantly lower fuel costs and will allow a school district employee to drive the van rather than hiring a bus driver from the bus vendor. “Superintendent Bell thought that the district could buy and pay for a van and still lower overall transportation cost,” Ober said.
SB2 will allow towns to adopt a spending cap. In a town or political subdivision that adopts a budget at an annual meeting of the voters, those voters may adopt a limit on annual increases in the estimated amount of local taxes in the governing body’s budget or budget committee’s proposed budget. The cap must be a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage. The cap, however, does not limit the amount that voters may appropriate at an annual meeting; it is only a limit on the budget submitted to the voters in a town with an official ballot form of town meeting. “Hudson’s school board has been extremely frugal,” said Ober. “I checked the last few budgets and outside of salaries and benefits, the school budget has only grown by 1.6 percent while salaries have gone up 2.5 percent. That is lower than the spending growth on the town side and much lower than the double digit growth some towns have seen in their budgets.” Ober also spoke about the reforms made to the New Hampshire Retirement System, emphasizing the portion that applied to teachers. Pensions are funded from three funding sources: the employee contribution, the employer contribution, and the interest earned. In New Hampshire, teachers will pay an additional two percent for a total of seven percent of salary. In 2010 for teachers who retired, the average annual pension was between $27,000 and $28,000; for firefighters who retired, the average annual pension was between $57,000 and $58,000 and for police officers who retired in 2010, the average annual pension was between $46,000 and $47,000. “It takes ten years to be
vested in the pension system,” stated Ober. “If an employee terminates prior to vesting, the employee’s contribution plus interest is returned to the employee. If an employee terminated after vesting, then a pension will be paid to that employee at retirement. So,
when an employee is asked to contribute to his or her pension, that money remains available to that employee as a pension or is returned to the employee if the person is not eligible for a pension.”
Ober explained that the majority of the pension reforms were aimed at new hires and not at people already in the system. The retirement age for new teachers will be 65 years old while the retirement age for firefighters and police officers will move to 52.5 years old. However, one pension reform, the funding of the unfunded pension liability will occur over 30 years. “This was done to provide some tax relief to taxpayers. Employers will not see the large increases that they have been facing yearly and taxpayers will be the beneficiaries of that. However, the plan is to have a fully funded pension system within three decades.” Even though the budget was
cut by 11.2 percent, funding for education was not cut. Fifty percent of school districts would have seen a loss of education funding without HB 337, which provided level funding for this year and next year. Ober explained a stability grant had been established as well as levels of education funding and stipends for student populations who are more at risk. “There will be a stipend of $1,725 for every child eligible for the free or reduced meal program, funding is continued for charter school pupils and we’ve added a stipend of $675 for every third grade child reading below proficiency level.”
In addition to funding for adequate education, the state also supplies money for both the breakfast and lunch programs offered in the schools. State funding for these two proposals has remained the same for the next two years, ensuring that school districts will be able to offer two meals per school day. Tuition and transportation aid, offered to students who wish to attend a program in another school’s vocational center was funded for two years at the same level as previously. Kindergarten construction aid
coupled with the third year of leasing portable classrooms for kindergarten was removed by the governor from the budget. Ober explained that all this money was eliminated from the budget that the governor submitted to the legislature, but had been restored for FY2012. “This will cover the last year of the portable leases as established when mandated kindergarten was started and fulfills our promise to taxpayers.” In addition $4,588,395 was provided for kindergarten construction. This amount is up from the previous year’s payment of $2,791,250. “This will be the last year of kindergarten construction aid. Beginning in FY2013, there will only be one category of school construction aid.”
continued to page 5- Legislation
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Rolling Video Games Rolls to Success with Hudson Rec. Kids
by Tom Tollefson For the children in the Hudson Recreation Summer Program, their last day of the summer at the Hudson Community Center had a surprise for them. Last Wednesday morning, a 32-foot trailer, known as Rolling Video Games, filled with video games pulled up next to the Community Center. “It felt like I was at my house playing
with my friends,” Evan, 10, said after playing Halo. Inside the trailer were four 46-
inch High Definition 1080 P TVs, air conditioning, a PS3, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360, and surround sound. “When kids have outgrown Chucky Cheese or bouncy houses it’s a neat concept. It’s something different. It can be used year round rain, snow, or shine,” said Larry Martone, who co- owns Rolling Video Games with his wife Jackie. The trailer had enough seating and controllers to allow 16 children to play video games at time. “I felt like I was in a mansion with video games. I hope they bring it back next year because it’s really cool,” Connor, 9, said. The older crowd also enjoyed their time in the trailer.
Hudson Rec Children next to the Rolling Video Games trailer “I thought it was fun because they had
so many game selections and because it was comfortable because the chairs gave you back massages and you had good air conditioning. We normally don’t get to play video games at the Rec so it was a great switch,” Chad, 14, said. Hudson Recreation Summer Program Director Kim Buccarelli kept the video game trailer a secret from the children until the day it came to the program.
“When I told the kids this morning as they came in, I’ve never seen more excited faces than this morning,” Buccarelli said.
Buccarelli also went on to explain
how this idea came about. “The gentleman called and said he
was a new business in town so after discussion we decided it would be a fabulous surprise for our last full day at the Community Center.”
Elias 11, Albert 9, and Dylan 11 posing with their video game hand controllers CHS X-Country Runner an Inspiration for Teammates by Marc Ayotte
Most of us approach each day with a sort of complacency, another day in the trenches, anticipating another recreational weekend, before Monday’s lunch hour has even arrived. Similarly, there is an air of instant gratification and a sense of entitlement that permeates much of today’s society. Imagine for a moment that instead of feeling entitled to that job promotion or experiencing the instant gratification a new $400 cell phone will provide, you actually receive instant horrific and life altering news. Such was the case just over one month ago for Campbell High School senior and long-time Litchfield resident, Jake Jollymore.
After noticing a lump under his arm, a series of tests including an ultra sound and MRI were conducted. After the MRI, which occurred at
CMC in Manchester, Jake was diagnosed as having a type of sarcoma that is known to be very aggressive, thus having the tendency to spread quickly. And so, very instantly for Jake, life was not about achieving his personal best time on the cross country course. Life had become about simply accomplishing his personal best effort - beating cancer. According to Marie Jollymore, Jake’s mother, in just three weeks the size of his tumor grew from a golf ball size to that of a softball. Although the cancer does have aggressive characteristics, it is currently still in phase one, which means that it has not spread. This combined with the fact that the cancer that Jake is battling is curable, has given the Jollymore’s and their supporters, great hope for a full recovery. Currently undergoing chemo therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital, it is
planned that after four months of the treatment, Jake will undergo surgery to remove the tumor. The prognosis is that Jake will be cancer free within 6 months from the original treatments. As a runner on last year’s cross-country team, for the Cougars at Campbell High School, Jake’s role on the team has taken an inspirational turn. Not being able to run for the team due to his treatments, Jake has taken on the manager’s responsibilities for the team. First year cross country head coach Kelly Fraser expressed his admiration for the determination and effort that Jake is putting forth, “he’s a wonderful young man with strong faith.” Fraser added that “as a veteran (runner), kids can use his experience. He’s been great for us - he’s been very upbeat.” Coach Fraser went on to say that Jake’s impact on the team will be profound throughout the season,
noting that the “kids on the team benefit from his strength and positive attitude.” In an attempt to financially assist the Jollymores with their medical expenses, a fundraiser will take place at Journey Church, a Church of the Nazarene in Derry, where Jake and his mom have been long-time members. The event, which Mrs. Jollymore indicates has been named “Blades for Jake” reflects several church members along with the Reverend Edward Frost, shaving their heads in solidarity and support of the battle facing Jake. The fund raiser event will be held on Sunday, August 28 at the church which is located at 5 Tinkham Ave. in Derry. For more information on this event and how you can show your support, call Reverend Frost at 234-2711 or 890-1560.
School Starts Next Week!
staff photos by Tom Tollefson
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