Pelham - Windham News | February 17, 2012 - 5
More Letters to our Editor continued from page 4
My wife, Kathleen, and I met in graduate school while pursuing our doctorates. We discussed, early on, our plans to move to Windham, where she grew up, to raise our family. As I can name the teachers who shaped me, so can she: Ms. Renda, Mrs. Putnam, Mrs. Denneen, Mrs. Kryzynski and her list goes on. It was clear that my wife benefited from the student- centered policies supported by the Town of Windham, and we wanted the same high quality education for our children. Now as a parent of three daughters, we are thankful for the dedication and hard work of the administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and taxpayers who have made the Windham schools such a source of community pride. I believe that with my knowledge and expertise, I can
represent your interests on the Windham School Board and help make the schools in our community even better. Please vote for me, Jerome Rekart, for Windham School Board on March 13 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Windham High School and be sure to visit www. jeromerekart.com
for more information and to share your thoughts.
Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D. – Windham
Please Support New Pelham Fire Workspace
I am compelled to put out a disclaimer; I am associated with the Pelham Fire Department through a program called “Community Emergency Response Team” (CERT). In the capacity as a volunteer with CERT I have worked closely with Pelham firefighters in many situations involving emergency assistance whether working a flood, ice storm or assisting in training sessions. I have been at the firemen’s “workplace” on many occasions and I am fully aware of the negative issues with this facility. As we move closer to a vote on the building of a new
Fire Station I urge all voters to vote yes. Te dollar costs are well known and available for all to see. I want to discuss the personal side of the need for a new firemen “Workplace.” A Fire Station is a workplace where employees spend many hours. Te current workplace has the following issues: mold, septic backups, bugs associated with septic issues and cramped outdated living and working quarters. As residents of Pelham all of us expect and demand the best possible response when an emergency happens, especially if it is at your
home. We expect professional well trained emergency personnel to arrive on scene and to do all possible to save your home or your life or the life of a loved one, and we get it. We demand and expect the best from our firefighters/
life savers. As citizens of Pelham we should provide a workplace that shows our firefighter/life savers that we appreciate the sacrifice and dedication and reward them with the facility and tools needed to continue to be the best.
Tis new Fire Station will be a positive impact for
Pelham in showing both pride in our Firefighters and in our town.
Dave Silva - Pelham
Terrien Announces Candidacy for Windham School Board
My name is Carolyn Terrien, and I have decided
to run for the Windham School Board. I have lived in Windham since 1980 along with my husband, Paul, and over those years we have watched Windham grow into a wonderful community. I am running because I believe that I can make a
difference to help stabilize taxes while focusing on bringing a very high level of education to our town’s children. I was disappointed to learn that Windham spent $20,336 per high school pupil when the state average was $12,036 and the student grades weren’t that much above average. We can and need to do better for our children and for the Windham taxpayers. When we become more efficient, we will provide so much more for our students, while at the same time keep our senior citizens in their homes, avoid foreclosures, retain our home values, and maintain the Windham culture that made it why folks chose to live here in the first place.
I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, followed with a masters degree in Business Administration from Western New England University. My work experience includes several positions with the federal government, including recent ones on multi-million dollar Air Force programs : Deputy Program Manager for both Teater Ballistic Missile Combat Systems and Combat Information Transport System; Chief of Operations for the Global Grid Product Area Directorate; Chief of Integration on the AWACS Radar Upgrade; and Chief of Configuration Management on several Air
Force communication programs. I am now retired and have the time to dedicate to the school board position and use my experience to better serve the taxpayers of Windham.
I hope to meet many of you over the next few weeks, to listen to your thoughts, and to earn your vote.”
Carolyn Terrien - Windham
Tompson Running for Pelham Library Trustee
Please consider voting for me, Carolyn Tompson,
for Pelham Library Trustee on Tuesday, March 13. I have spent the last several years as an active member
of the Friends of the Library. I see our library as an essential and vital resource for our community. It is my wish to become more involved in the decision-making process at the library, as well as represent and serve its patrons. My family and I have been residents of Pelham for the past 11 years. In addition to the Friends, I have been an active member of our community, including being treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 610, Coordinator and Vice President for the Pelham MOMs Club. I currently work full time as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at a neighboring elementary school. If elected, I will advocate for the issues that matter most to you and will welcome this opportunity with gratitude. I will bring dedication, trustworthiness and caring as I undertake the challenges and responsibilities of delivering high quality community service to our community. Tank you for your consideration. Please remember
to vote on March 13. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
Carolyn Tompson - Pelham
Pelham School District Warrant Articles 9 and 10
Te Pelham School Board is asking for your support on school warrant articles 9 and 10. Article 9 asks the voters to authorize the Pelham School Board to sell the District’s property at 86 Marsh Road on the terms and conditions that the School Board determines are in the
best interest of the District. Tis property is the vacant lot located across from Pelham High School. Although the School Board did not need voter approval to buy the land, by law, voter approval is required to sell the land. Te land is NOT currently for sale by the Pelham School District. In addition, there is a provision in the article that a public hearing will be held if the School Board negotiates an offer with a buyer. Te hearing will be held to provide information of the negotiated price with the buyer to the voters. Also on this year’s warrant is Article 10, which asks
voters whether the Pelham School District should raise and appropriate $377,000 as a deficit appropriation for the current fiscal year (2011-2012) for the purpose of covering unanticipated expenses related to special education services. In the 2011-2012 school year, there were 5 out of district placements at private education day schools and one unanticipated residential special education placement that were unforeseen when the budget was approved by voters in March 2011. It costs on average about $36,000 per student for tuition and transportation for special education day schools and $155,000 per year for a residential special education school. If passed, this appropriation will be raised in taxes next year, but can be spent this year. Only the additional funds actually spent will be raised in additional taxes. If the Pelham School District runs a deficit, we are required by law to place a deficit article on the ballot next year, and every subsequent year, until it passes and the general fund deficit is cleared. Please vote March 13th and support Articles 9 and
10. Pelham School Board – Pelham
Walter Kolodziej for Selectmen I have had the privilege of serving with Walter
Kolodziej on the Planning Board and in the State Legislature. Honesty and Integrity are the words that best describe Mr. Kolodziej when he is representing the residents of Windham. Mr. Kolodziej has demonstrated that he can balance needs with fiscal responsibility. Walter has represented our community very well.
asking you to join me in supporting Walter Kolodziej for the Board of Selectmen.
Rep. Rick Okerman - Windham
Wednesday Fresh - Can
Step Increases -continued from front page
add $563,619 to the total proposed amount, bringing the new 2012-2013 total to $44,390,524. Prior to the amendment being approved SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel had said the proposed budget for next year showed a 5.68 percent increase over the current year’s allocation. After the proposed amendment was added to the total, the increase went up to approximately 7 percent over this year’s budget. When asked how the additional money for step increases would impact taxpayers, Steel responded that it would mean another 28 cents on the tax rate or an additional $98 on a home assessed at $350,000. This is in addition to the 68-cent impact expected due to the already higher operating budget ($238 more in taxes on a home assessed at $350,000).
In addition, according to Steel, if the proposed
operating budget with step increases, plus all proposed warrant articles pass when voters go to the polls on March 13, the total impact on a home assessed at $350,000 would climb to an additional $727 in taxes for 2012. These statistics do not include any potential increases on the town side of the ledger. Prior to the vote to add the proposed amendment to the operating budget, resident Richard Horrigan wanted to know if the school board intended to continue negotiating with the teachers’ union in good faith. “We value our teachers and remain willing to negotiate,” School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher replied. As for the amendment intended to provide the money for the step increases, Gallagher explained, “We need to have an agreement in place in order to honor this proposal, “ he added. School District
Chairman Speaks Out -continued from front page
had apparently done a complete reversal after she signed a joint statement with school board negotiators, agreeing that they would continue to negotiate, while, at the same time, focusing on the education of Windham children. “This harms that process,” Gallagher stated. Gallagher and Bruce Anderson are the two
school board members who serve as negotiators for the school district. In addition to being the lead negotiator for the teachers’ union, Pappalardo is also the union’s past president. “We didn’t reach impasse. We didn’t go to mediation,” Gallagher said, emphasizing the school board’s willingness to continue negotiating, even after union members voted down the contract offered to them late last year. ““It was a generous offering,” Gallagher said. “ We want our teachers to be fairly compensated.” Gallagher said that the salaries and benefits offered to Windham teachers are highly competitive with surrounding communities.
Gallagher did note that union members were asked to make some concessions on health care
benefits during negotiations, an issue that appears to have been a stumbling block in reaching a new agreement. “The days of free health care for employees are over,” he said. “The impact on taxpayers is already big enough.” “It’s kind of sad,” Gallagher said, “and I am disappointed. We worked hard on negotiations all summer long. I felt we were making good progress,” he stated. The final proposal was presented to union negotiators on December 18, Gallagher explained, but it took union representatives 12 days to respond to the offer. The union then voted on the offer on January 10, the final day that warrant articles could be submitted. “They kind of boxed themselves in,” by delaying until the last minute, Gallagher commented. Although the vote to reject that contract was not unanimous, the majority of union members did cast their ballots in opposition. “We felt the proposal was very fair,” Gallagher concluded. Currently, there are no contract negotiating sessions scheduled.
Attorney Barbara Lohman stated that it would be considered an unfair labor practice for the school board to pay these step increases without a valid contract in place. As for adding the $563,619 to the operating budget, she said, it would just be included in the total bottom line and school board members could use it as they see fit or not use it at all and return it to taxpayers at the end of the school year. Former school board member Mike Hatem said he feels that giving the teachers step increases is “morally and ethically the right thing to do.” Gallagher noted that teachers in Windham are already compensated in line with what other area communities pay.
Selectman Roger Hohenberger, who served previously on the Windham School Board, and currently participates in negotiations with unions
on the town side (municipal, fire and police) said he feels that by putting forth the amendment to pay step increases, when there is no valid teachers’ contract in place, “is undermining the negotiation process.” “The process will self-destruct,” he said. What is the point of negotiations if all someone has to do is come to a meeting and have the money added to the budget? Hohenberger asked.
A number of people attending the meeting
voiced concerns that by increasing the proposed operating budget by more than a half-million dollars could result in the defeat of that budget by voters on March 13, thereby forcing the school district to function under a default budget of $43,591,380, which represents a decrease of $799,144 from that which is presently proposed.
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