More Letters to our Editor continued from page 4
Windham has been my home for quite a few years. All four of my children have passed through the Windham school system. Two of my grandchildren have also passed through the system and are presently in college. Two more of my grandchildren currently attend Windham Middle School. Being retired affords me the opportunity to do a lot of
volunteer work. I am a Pease Greeter, and a member of their board of directors. I am a volunteer substitute teacher at Windham Middle School. I’m on the board of directors, as treasurer, of the Windham Actors Guild. I am a member of the Town’s Depot Advisory Committee. I drive the senior van for the Town of Windham. I am also an on-call custodian for Windham schools, which gives me the chance to see parts of the school buildings that few others see. We, as parents, want the best possible schools for our kids.
We, as taxpayers, want the lowest possible taxes. In this letter, I shall attempt to address both of these issues, and what I can do to help bring both to fruition. Remember that there is a vast difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ What is the one thing that addresses both of those wants? Value! We just have to apply plain old common sense to school spending to get the best “bang for our bucks.” When we determine a requirement for a purchase, before we just run out and buy it, we have to make sure that we have the money to pay for it (again: common sense). If we don’t have the money directly available, we have to save up until we do have the money. Either that or we have to borrow the money (remember, borrowing money costs money). Whenever you borrow money, somebody has to pay it back, eventually. All of this is called planning ahead; something that happens very little these days. I intend to change this back. Tere is a growing trend whereby there is the “Town” and the “School,” both as separate entities, each going their individual ways. I want to bring things back together where there is one community consisting of municipal services and educational services. We are one town, let’s keep it that way. Municipal services should be available to the schools, and the schools should support much more community activity. Right now there is a lot of “them and us” going on, and a lot of duplication of efforts. I want the two entities to get back together to better serve the community. On March 13, I ask all of you to consider all of the candidates, compare what each of them has to offer, and then get out and vote for them. I humbly ask that you seriously consider casting one of those votes for me, Richard Forde. You won’t be disappointed. Do you want more of the same or are you ready to go back to basic values? Remember my four tenants for the School Board: Practicality – Balance – Stability – Common Sense.
Dick Forde – Windham Planning Board Candidate
One of the goals I would like to discuss as a planning board candidate is that of information distribution. If elected, I would like to work towards developing a more effective means for sharing/gathering information between the planning board and the general public. I believe that as our town continues to grow, there will be challenges placed upon us to meet the ever changing needs to balance the opportunities for development and preserving our town’s charm and character. Tese challenges must be seriously and thoughtfully addressed. To be truly successful, we need to raise the level of community involvement on these types of discussions and decision making. I believe that we can and should work towards establishing an easier and more convenient process for the members of our town to increase their participation in our town’s affairs - especially in regards to planning. With an improved communications mechanism in place, we would foster a more collaborative synergy that includes many more perspectives, and ultimately, the end product of our planning efforts will be more representative of the goals that we would all like to see come to fruition for Windham. If I were elected, I would try to begin to create a campaign of information. Tis would amend the system to proactively cast vision and information to the people of Windham in a manner that would invite them to the table as a voice. Not the day before, but a whole process before. I would propose to introduce interactive dialogue sessions over whole processes. It’s time for fresh vision. If this is the type of leadership you are looking for, vote for Stephanie Foster March 13 for planning board.
Stephanie Foster - Windham Shawn Foster for School Board
On March 13, we will be going to the polls to elect officials to fill many seats. As I look at the list of candidates to fill those positions both on the Town and School side, it is refreshing to see so many new names. Nowhere is that more prevalent than the race for School Board. We have seven candidates for two vacant positions and they all seem like nice people. Te question is how does one decide on who to vote for. Well, I started with who I think would share the same views I have, who would be fiscally prudent, and most importantly, who would make sure our children get the best education since education is the stepping stone of their future. After careful review, I had to conclude that Shawn Foster was one of the most capable. He is one who I believe can balance the needs of the taxpayers in these difficult economic times and still make sure our children’s education is second to none. I encourage you to join me in voting for Shawn Foster for School Board on March 13.
Rep. Mary Griffin – Windham
Carolyn Terrien for Windham School Board
Carolyn is a highly educated and driven individual. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and continued on to earn her master’s degree in Business Administration. Troughout her working career she has held Senior Level positions in various Government jobs. During her tenure she had to make many decisions and weigh out the cost versus the benefit of the request. She is used to making hard decisions and I feel she would weigh out every request that would go before the school board in order to make the best decision for our students and our tax payers.
As stated in her Candidate Letter, we currently are spending
over $8,000 more per student compared to the state average. Unfortunately our student grades have not increased to a level that would justify that expense. Carolyn will consider each and every request to ensure that every dollar spent will help our students excel academically while ensuring that we do not place a heavy tax burden on our community. Our school tax rate has now increased dramatically over the years without any proven benefit to our students. We are now in a position
where many of our residents can no longer afford to live here nor can any future residents and students afford to move into our town. Please consider Carolyn Terrien for Windham School
Board when you cast your vote on March 13. Cynde Hartmann – Windham
Fix Our Schools For the first time in my memory Windham has three
excellent choices for School Board; Michael Joanis, Heather Petro and Jerome Rekart. Unfortunately we can only vote for two of them. Even worse, we have several other candidates who will seriously dismantle the progress we have made in our district. Tere are candidates who do not believe that having the largest class sizes in the State is an issue, who do not believe in public education, or who think that Dr. LaBranche and Adam Steel are padding the budget and that there are millions of dollars in wasted spending. Tese beliefs are not only uninformed they are a danger to our children’s education and our property values. I do not wish to focus on the negative candidates however, and instead will focus on our three excellent ones. Jerome, Heather and Mike have all show a long history of being involved in education and regularly volunteer their time to support our schools. Eliminating one of them was a difficult task for me. Based on my strong belief that we need to move forward on negotiating a teachers’ contract, building a new Middle School and stabilizing our top administration, I am supporting Jerome and Heather. Mike is a good man and he would be a great member of the Board however Jerome and Heather have displayed a more consistent path in moving our district in the right direct. Jerome is an extremely intelligent father with a great deal of understanding of how a school district should run. As a college Professor in Education deeply understands the research on best practices. As a father with children in our school he sees the challenges our teachers and children face every day. From overcrowded classrooms to lack of playgrounds to impossible working conditions for support staff, he knows these problems are real. He has already demonstrated a strong commitment to help solve the issues we now face and has my support. Heather is not only a brilliant mom who also has children in our system she is also a tireless volunteer who has been instrumental in helping our children in bringing kindergarten forward. She will add a great deal of passion to the board, something that has been missing lately. She will also stick to her commitments to move our schools forward. Heather has been a tireless advocate for our schools. In 2009 when I was challenged by other School Board members to get 25 people to sign a petition asking for a new Middle School Heather helped bring back 10 times that amount. Had she been on the board in 2009 we would be $15 million wealthier and our overcrowding issues would be solved. Every time we have delayed fixing our K-8 problems we
have cost ourselves money. Not moving forward in 2009 resulted in a $10 million loss of State Building Aid, an extra $2 million in kindergarten building costs and $3 million for portables. Te only advantage to the delay has been bond costs are now at record low levels. We need to move forward now if bonds return to historic levels we will pay an addition $10 million in interest payments. We cannot stay on our current path of over-crowded classrooms, disrespected teachers and portables. I believe Jerome Rekart and Heather Petro are the best two candidates to start us moving in the right direction. I hope you will join me in voting for them on March 13.
Michael Hatem – Windham Shawn Foster for School Board
With five great children of his own, Shawn Foster understands the importance of a great education. As a local business owner, he also understands the need to get the most out of every dollar spent. Te challenges that are facing our schools are serious. We need a person like Shawn Foster to provide a new vision, one that will balance cost/benefits for our short and long-term goals. He is very personable, and would encourage residents to
provide him with their thoughts and suggestions. One of his primary goals is to bring true transparency to the School Board. Shawn would truly represent the voice of the people of Windham, and keep us informed in a timely manner. I am Sincerely looking forward to supporting and voting for
Shawn Foster for School Board! James K. Hawko - Windham
Vote McLeod for Windham Selectman
We are writing to endorse Ross McLeod for Selectman. We
have known Ross and his wife Kenna for 10 years and have been impressed by his dedication to our community be it with the Windham Soccer Association or the many committees and boards on which he has served our town. Ross’ education and professional experience in engineering, business and law along with his high moral standard provides an ideal background for guiding his decision making as one of our Selectmen. Ross’ volunteer energies continue to be laser focused on our town. He will continue to be fiscally responsible while providing open and accountable government along with an improved quality of life for the people of Windham. We encourage you to join us on Tuesday, March 13, to vote and reelect Ross McLeod to our Board of Selectmen.
Jane and Bob Higgins – Windham
Hohenberger Asks for Your Support
In 1983, my family and I moved to Windham because we found the quality of life in this community so appealing. For the last 28-plus years, watching Windham change because of the growth has been bittersweet. With change comes progress but also conflicts to our existing quality of life. I resolve that with proper management, these changes can result in a positive influence in our lives. For the past 12 years I have served the residents as a
Selectman in this Town and have tried to navigate through the positives of the growth and minimize the negatives. Working through the expansion of Route 111, then Route 93 has been a difficult road, and one which has resulted in compromises with the State to achieve a balance between growth and maintaining a rural atmosphere. Prior to my experience as Selectman, I served eight years on the School Board and over six years on the Planning Board. Bringing Windham through the recession has not been an easy task but one which I feel we have succeeded in. Working with the other members of the Board of Selectman, we have
Pelham - Windham News | March 2, 2012 - 5
repeatedly provided a budget at or near zero percent increase for the last three years during the depths of this recession. Tis year also, a cooperative effort between the Selectmen, Administration, and Department heads has resulted in a proposed budget with a very marginal increase of 5 cents per thousand, proving again working together to achieve a common goal can prevail. I feel I bring to the Board a sense of commitment to fairness
for all Windham residents and compromise when required. At times, my fiscal conservatism is more towards Yankee frugality, but I am consistent in my desire to get the most for our dollar and the best value for the Town. Please vote for me, Roger Hohenberger, on March 13.
Roger Hohenberger - Windham
Pelham School District Operating Budget and Sprinkler System
On the March 13 Pelham School District Ballot the School
Board is asking for your support for Warrant Article 2, the Operating Budget, and Warrant Article 6, an automatic sprinkler system for Pelham High School. Te operating budget does much more than just “keep the
lights on” at our schools. Tis year, for the first time, there is funding for a district wide Proactive Maintenance Schedule, which provides a detailed plan for replacing aging mechanical components on a preventative basis. After many years we are planning to replace the outdated library software at Pelham High School. Te current software is no longer supported by the vendor. Other significant budget items that support PHS include $75,000 for architectural and engineering fees to explore PHS solutions. Tere is funding in the budget for science lab equipment and replacement of all the student lockers. All of these items directly address concerns listed in our accreditation report. Tis year’s budget funds a plan to replace aging copiers
throughout the school system. Approval of the budget will allow us to purchase these copiers as opposed to leasing them. Owning these machines will lead to lower costs in this spending area. Other important budget items include LCD projectors for
Pelham Memorial School, a “basic needs” tool for the math department. An approved budget will allow us to continue to fund a Summer Intervention Program to help students in reading and math-last year’s program was a huge success. In order to keep us current with technology there is funding in the budget for improved, more secure wireless networking throughout the schools. Warrant Article 6 reads, “Shall the Pelham School District
vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $500,000 for the purpose of installing an automatic sprinkler system at Pelham High School?”
Te purpose of this article is twofold-installation of a sprinkler system and to provide a more reliable water source for Pelham High School. Te installation of the system addresses a deficiency noted in our accreditation report. While Pelham High School currently meets all life safety codes there are many windows too small for a proper egress (as noted in the accreditation report). With a sprinkler system we would eliminate the need for a costly replacement of the windows as the system would add an additional layer of protection. Passage of Warrant Article 6 would ensure that all three Pelham Schools are equipped with the life safety measure of a sprinkler system. Te Pelham School Board decided that replacing our
current ineffective and costly well system in order to power the sprinkler system would be the most prudent decision in terms of timing and expense. Inherent in the request for $500,000 in Warrant Article 6 are funds to tap into the current public water system enjoyed by the Elementary and Middle Schools.
Te most cost effective plan is to run the piping from Pelham Elementary School next to Harris Track and over to the back side of Pelham High School. In the eyes of the state the Pelham School District currently owns and operates a public water system by operating the well system at Pelham High School. By providing a reliable municipal water source we eliminate the need to maintain, test, and upkeep the current well system. Support of Warrant Articles 2 and 6 will improve, upgrade and maintain our schools, in addition to providing sufficient funding for the day to day operations of our schools. Please vote on Tuesday, March 13, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at
Pelham High School. Amanda Lecaroz for the Pelham School Board - Pelham
Ed Gleason for Selectman It is with great pleasure I ask the voters of Pelham to
support Ed Gleason for Board of Selectman this year. I have known Ed for about 10 years and have had the utmost respect for his passion for our town. I have had the opportunity to work with Ed on the Board of Pelham Baseball and his efforts were tireless and always with the utmost integrity to do the right thing despite not having any children in the program. I respect the efforts of all those who are running as well as serving in all our volunteer roles in our town but especially the Board of Selectmen and School Committee as I believe both these positions are equivalent to full-time jobs with the hours they put in. Ed Gleason is tough but fair and has always been about full transparency in all his dealings with me and others. We may not have always agreed but good Boards, teams, companies, you name it, should always have healthy debate and with Ed, it was always healthy with mutual respect and in the best interest of the whole. It is this type of leadership that Pelham needs more than ever these days. More importantly, Ed has the time to devote to this role, which as a citizen, I am grateful. We all may have opinions on what is best for our town but I think we are best served by electing leaders that can work together for our best interests. Over the past few years, Ed has been trying to do this and he should have the opportunity to continue with these efforts. Please support Ed Gleason this year to continue his leadership in Pelham.
Lou Longo - Pelham
Support for Ross MacLeod for Selectman
I am writing to express my support for Ross MacLeod in
his re-election effort to the Windham Board of Selectmen. I have worked with Ross for many years on volunteer boards in the town of Windham, specifically the Planning Board, and it has been my experience to know Ross MacLeod as a very knowledgeable and hard-working individual. Ross is astute in fiscal matters and issues facing Windham and is able to weigh both sides of an issue and conclude to an intelligent and fair decision in keeping with Windham’s best interest. Ross is reasonable, hardworking and accessible, so please join me in casting a vote in March for Ross MacLeod to be a re-elected member of the Windham Board of Selectmen.
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