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Salem Community Patriot | February 17, 2012 - 5 More Letters to our Editor continued from page 4

Re-elect Huard for Budget Committee

My name is Paul Huard and I am, once again, a candidate for the Salem Budget Committee. I am originally from Manchester, NH. I received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Keene State College. I started teaching in Hillsboro. When conditions became unbearable, I searched for a new opportunity. Salem offered and my wife, Kathy, and I fell in love with the town. It became the perfect place for my daughters, Rebecca and Amy. We have been extremely satisfied with what the town has given us. Te town is vibrant, safe, affordable, and provides great opportunities. I spent 36 years as a teacher, advisor, and actively

served the community and state. I spent 40 years as an official in several sports. I served on the Executive Board for Boy’s Basketball and as President of NH Track Officials. I currently serve as Treasurer. My largest contribution to Salem was working for students. As class advisor to seven classes, the National Honor Society, Yearbook, and Organizer to the SHS Faculty Scholarship Plays, I believe that my work helped students in positive ways. My work for Dollars for Scholars and Trust Fund Trustee since 1988, and the work of others, helped us distribute over a million dollars to graduates. My reason for running is I believe that I have something to offer. I am not political and I despise partisanship voting. Look at Washington, at New Hampshire, and then at Salem. We have amazing people who work together for us not parties! Since selected, then elected to serve on the Budget Committee, I have learned much. Despite the critics, things are improving. Our town continues to grow, despite setbacks. We have mortgage and unemployment problems, but we also have one of the lowest tax rates in southern New Hampshire. Letting roads and bridges deteriorate, letting old schools get worse, reducing staff to dangerous levels will not solve the housing crisis. Letting it go will cost more in the long run. We have to make decisions with common sense.

Unions, Town and School officials worked hard to be fair while trying to save you money. We need to take care of many groups and issues: our elderly (we do extremely well), our children (off to a good start), struggling families (we do great things), safety on our streets, and attracting people to Salem. Salem has worked hard to do well for its citizens. Salem is safe with dedicated employees working hard to protect us, educate us, and make our streets safe. Salem is not a “silver lining” but it’s not a “dark cloud” either, as some project.

I make no promises except to work hard to save

money. Te primary responsibility for this, however, belongs to the School Board and the Selectmen. I have served with people who are committed to the taxpayers of Salem. I hope you will give me another chance to serve. Whatever your decision, I hope that you will vote and support the community.

Paul Huard - Salem

Recognizing Teachers and School Staff Vital on March 13

Last March, we missed out on an important

opportunity. Tis March, we can rectify that missed opportunity by passing Articles 4-7 on the School Ballot. Tese warrants propose very modest pay increases for teachers, assistants, secretaries, and custodians which were narrowly defeated last March. Our school staff needs to be recognized, and not with just a gift at the holidays or during Staff Appreciation Week. Tese are the people we entrust to care for our children six hours every day. Not only are they required to ensure the educational development of our children, but they also play a crucial role in their social and emotional development. Tese educators engage in building our children’s future. In addition, teachers spend countless hours planning curriculum and preparing for each new week. Tey also have families of their own – they depend on us for their livelihood. We are their employer, and we have a responsibility to recognize their hard work and dedication with monetary increases. Teachers, nurses and assistants have not received

salary increases since 2008, and secretaries and custodians have not received increases since 2007. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of living in the northeastern U.S. rose 0.5 percent in 2008, 3 percent in 2009, 1.6 percent in 2010, and 2.9 percent in 2011, for a total of 8 percent in the past four years. Food costs alone increased 4.4 percent in 2011. Social Security recipients received cost-of-living adjustments of 2.3 percent in 2007, 5.8 percent in 2008, and 3.6 percent in 2011. Tat adds up to an almost 12 percent increase since 2007, yet our teachers and staff are actually experiencing a loss in their effective income because they’ve had no salary adjustment, are paying higher health insurance premiums and co-pays, and the cost of living has increased. Teachers also reach into their own pockets for additional classroom supplies and educational enhancements, further reducing their disposable income.

Te contention that school employees shouldn’t

receive raises because “no one has had a raise in the past few years” doesn’t represent the facts. Data from the New Hampshire Department of Education show that overall, Salem’s teacher salaries have lost ground over the past few years, compared to surrounding communities, and are increasingly falling below the median average in almost all step categories. Salem’s teachers have not seen a raise since the 2008-2009 school year, yet the neighboring communities of Windham, Pelham, Londonderry, Derry, Nashua, Manchester, and Merrimack have all seen at least one increase since then, and many have seen two. Tis disparity seriously impacts the ability of our school district to attract and retain high quality educators. Salem has one of the lowest tax rates in southern

New Hampshire, favorable class sizes sitting at state averages, and some of the lowest per-pupil costs. Regular salaries in the proposed 2012-13 school budget will be reduced by over $500,000 through attrition and elimination of positions. Proposed salary increases for all staff categories are 2 percent or less and are not nearly keeping pace with the cost of living. Our school employees work hard for modest compensation. Tey do not have opportunities for

regular promotion. And they have not seen raises when cost-of-living increases have far outdistanced their compensation. Tey are an important part of our lives, and we need to give back to them by voting YES at the polls. Salem also needs to stay competitive with surrounding communities in order to remain vital. Please vote YES on the School Articles, March 13th.

Sherry Kilgus-Kramer – Salem

Jim Keller for Selectman I would like to endorse Jim Keller, candidate for

Selectman of Salem. He is someone that I trust to lead Salem in a positive direction, in an independent manner. I have known Jim for almost 20 years, and admire him as a leader in our community. He volunteers as a coach in the Salem Youth Soccer, Baseball and Softball programs, and is the experienced Chair of the Salem Planning Board. He has also volunteered his time to serve on the Capital Improvements Committee and the Economic Development Action Committee. Jim truly cares about Salem and its people. I grew up in Salem and moved back here with my wife to raise our family in 1996. I have seen a lot of good things happen in this town, but it seems that lately there is a lot of frustration in Salem, with residents and officials trying to balance the needs of the town and still keep Salem affordable for the taxpayer. With a budget that is over $100 million, Salem is now the equivalent of a major corporation, and we need leaders who understand the challenges we face. We must find new ways to do the important things, and not be afraid to put aside those that are unimportant. Jim has the experience required to understand the issues, and will find innovative ways to deal with them. He is fair, courteous and professional and will not focus on the negative. I believe Salem needs a new direction, and Jim Keller will listen to the voice of the citizens. Please support Jim Keller for Selectman on March 13.

Kevin Lynch - Salem

Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just a Teacher

A letter was received by parents over the last few months from the New Hampshire State Board of Education, informing parent’s that certain schools in the Salem school district had been placed on “improvement” status for failing to meet “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind law. I thought it ironic that our schools were judged inadequate by people who haven’t set foot in them, so I wrote a letter to some members of my local government. Remarks came from armchair educators and anti-teacher, anti-public school evangelists quick to discredit anything I had to say under the rationale of “he’s a teacher.” What could a teacher possibly know about education?

Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin with the phrase “in what other profession … ” and conclude with practically anything the anti- teacher pundits find offensive about public education. Due process and collective bargaining are favorite targets, as are the erroneous but tightly held beliefs that teachers are under-worked, over-paid (earning million- dollar pensions), and not accountable for anything. I have had enough. It’s simply not true. In what other profession? Indeed. In what other profession are the licensed professionals

considered the least knowledgeable about the job? You seldom if ever hear “that guy couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police officer,” or “she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a firefighter.” In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset? You won’t find a contractor advertising “choose me - I’ve never done this before,” and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure.” In what other profession is the desire for competitive

salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job? You won’t hear many say “that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care about her clients,” or “that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t care about the team.” But look around. You’ll find droves of armchair educators who summarily dismiss any statement about education when it comes from a teacher. Likewise, it’s easy to find politicians, pundits, and profiteers who refer to our veteran teachers as ineffective, overpriced “dead wood.” Only the rookies could possibly be any good, or worth the food-stamp-eligible starting salaries we pay them.

And if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken

by many as clear evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids. In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they would insist on earning less money. If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other

profession is legally held to perfection by 2014? Are police required to eliminate all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases? Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t. For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world. Crime happens. Fire happens. Illness happens. As for lawyers and coaches, where there’s a winner there must also be a loser. People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education. If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burns down his house, suffers third degree burns, and then

Invest in Education Because It’s Your Future

We are at a critical point in ensuring that the

Salem School District remains a good public school system. Tere are many things that affect the quality of education in a community. Good teachers, good support staff and good facilities are some key elements that make a school system good. We are fortunate to have plenty of good teachers and support staff and a plan to make our facilities worthy of the students and staff working in them. Many of our facilities may not be what we need, or in the condition we’d like because we, the voters and governing bodies, didn’t invest in them and maintain them wisely. We can change that. We can set a new course now. If we set and follow the course wisely, and I believe we have so far, we will have good facilities in the near future. We will have one of the key elements in a good education system. We have good teachers and staff. However, we need to make sure we pay competitive salaries in order to retain the employees we’ve carefully selected, trained and developed and to attract good new employees. Teacher and staff salaries in southeast New Hampshire have risen in the past four years while ours have remained unchanged. As a result, our salaries are no longer competitive. If we do not approve our collective bargaining agreements, our currently non-competitive salaries will become even less competitive. We will not be able to hire high quality employees unless we offer competitive salaries for their professions and occupations. We will slowly and surely lose one of the key elements that ensure a good educational system, good teachers and staff. It is true that money will not solve all problems.

However, it is also true that a lack of money will not solve problems either. Good education costs money, but in the long run, nowhere near as much money as poor education does. Invest wisely, because it’s your future. Vote on March

13. On school Articles 2 through 10 vote “Yes.” Peter Morgan, Salem School Board - Salem

Anthony ‘Tony’ McKeon for Selectman

I commonly joke that I am only 29 years old and

have been for a “few” years … therefore it’s hard to believe and admit but I have known Tony McKeon for more than 25 years. I met him when I worked for him in retail too many years ago. During that time we became good friends and I even introduced him to his wife Cynthia who was my roommate for two years back then.

When I first moved to Salem 10 years ago and re- connected with Tony and Cynthia; they both also became good friends with my husband and we have shared many fond memories at friend and family events together over these last 10 years. What I can tell you about Tony is that he is a

hardworking, reliable, and loyal individual. He is without a doubt one of the most decent, well-mannered and respectable friends I have had the pleasure to be associated with. He is a man with deep convictions and high moral ground. He is a very well intentioned man with the little guy in mind. He has been a dependable and dedicated employee at his profession and a steadfast and true father and husband. He’s become involved in many of the youth programs in the town of Salem to help those organizations plan and execute their programs. I have had the pleasure to be seated on the Salem Softball board at the same time he was and he was always there with a helping hand and a smile to get things done.

258257 1-10-08.indd 1 I can

honestly say that his running for selectman for the town of Salem is to our advantage and if given the chance he will do everything in his power to be fair, logical and practical in

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goes to jail; we don’t blame the police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly the teacher’s fault.

And if someone – anyone - tries to tell you otherwise;

don’t listen. He must be a teacher. Patrick T. Moeschen, Woodbury School - Salem

the affairs of our town. It is to our towns benefit to vote for individuals with Tony’s commitment and sincerity. Please join me this March 13th and vote for Anthony “Tony” McKeon for selectmen.

Donna DeLuca Murphy – Salem

Night of Fun Planned For Pleasant St. United Methodist Churchs Tis Saturday, February 18, we at the Pleasant Street

United Methodist Church at 8 Pleasant St. in Salem, are going to view the movie Wesley. Tis is the story of how Methodism began and the trials that John Wesley had to overcome. It is a story of Salvation. All are welcome. Te church service is at 4:30 p.m. followed by a pot luck supper (if you can’t bring a dish, that’s okay), pizza will also be served, and then the movie. It will be in Call Hall (which is handicapped accessible). I am excited because I am a member of the church but would like to know what sparked this man to begin his Faith Journey. All are welcome whether to the service (from 4:30-5:30 p.m.) (a contemporary service) or Pot Luck (immediately following) ( or to the movie). You will be made welcome, even if you show up alone. Te setting is very informal. Come as you are; Jesus doesn’t care what you wear but I think He cares about what’s in our heart.

Kay Panciocco - Salem Vote to Improve Our Schools

I am writing in support of passing Phase 2 of Salem’s School Facilities Master Plan. Te recent successful completion of Phase 1 renovating Lancaster, Barron, and N. Salem elementary schools provides adequate instruction spaces, including Kindergarten classrooms, and brings the safety and security of those schools up to code. Phase 2 will provide the same needed updates to Fisk, Soule, and Haigh elementary schools that are long overdue. Making all of our schools adequate, safer and more secure is a necessity, not a luxury. Less than adequate is not good enough. If we don’t advocate for our children, who will? Please join me in voting “yes” to articles 2-10 on Tuesday, March 13.

Mollie Reagan – Salem

Support our Teachers, Staff and Custodians

I am a parent of two school age students, a community advocate and taxpayer in the Town of Salem, and I am writing today in support of School Warrant Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 on the upcoming March ballot. During the past six years my children’s lives (and mine) have been touched by many dedicated teachers, nurses, assistants, secretaries, and custodian sat both Fisk elementary and the Woodbury school. It deeply saddens me to know that we as a community have not supported raises for these people who are the backbone of our local education system. I have always admired those who teach, because it takes such dedication to be effective in that role. Over the past few years, I have realized that teaching is probably the easiest part of their job. Te true challenge and dedication is in dealing with children with different family backgrounds, personalities, skill sets, and emotional issues.

Letters to our Editor- continued to page 6


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