8 - March 2, 2012 | Pelham - Windham News Race for School Board - continued from front page
He said he is concerned about “the average scores” (SAT and NECAP) of Windham High School students, despite the large amount of money being invested in their education. “I want children to receive the best education possible, while providing accountability to taxpayers,” Foster added. Jerome Rekart is the father of three daughters.
“I have a stake in the school district,” he told those who attended Candidate’s Night. Rekart said he his running for a seat on the school board to provide accessible information to the community. “I want residents to know all sides of issues,” Rekart commented. “I know how to ferret out the right answer,” he stated. Rekart said he earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Brain Behavior. He is a professor of education at Riviere College in Nashua. “I am not a politician,” Rekart explained. “I go with research and data … to get the best bang for the buck,” Michael Joanis has been a Windham resident for the past decade. He said that he and his family were attracted to the area by both the character of the town and the excellent school system. “I am impressed by the community’s support of education,” he said. As a licensed engineer, having prior experience with construction projects, Joanis said he feels his expertise would be valuable as the school district deals with facility issues. Joanis was a member of the former high school building committee. Referring to problems that developed in the early stages of the new high school project, he said, “I want to make sure we don’t have the bad and the ugly, again.” Joanis said he has no personal agenda in seeking a seat on the school board, that he is committed to working collaboratively with other school board members and school staff and considers himself to be fiscally responsible. “I want to be an advocate for the students,” Joanis said.
Heather Petro has lived in Windham for the past
11 years. She has three children, and is active as a volunteer in the Windham School District.
She is credited with founding the kindergarten initiative several years ago, a project that came to fruition two and a half years ago. She also helped to co-create the Windham Link newsletter. She also writes an educational blog for interested residents. Professionally, she has worked as a fundraiser, as well as a grant writer for various non-profit agencies. “My goal in running for school board is to be fiscally responsible, taking into consideration both the academic and economic value of all actions,” Petro said. “Windham Schools are familiar territory for me,” Petro said, listing several organizations with which she is affiliated and saying that, “I have attended dozens and dozens of meetings in the last 10 years.”
Carolyn Therrien said that she has been a
Windham resident since 1980, but that when it comes to running for office, she is “a newbie” in town. “I remained silent while taxes increased and property values decreased,” Therrien said, but no longer. “We need to become more efficient in providing education to children,” she said. “We need to make it possible for seniors to stay in their homes.” Therrien said she feels she has a balanced point of view, since she never personally worked in the field of public education. “Academic achievement is my main focus,” she said. Therrien said she has bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Administration. She said she worked for the federal government for 39 years, the majority of which was in military project management. “It is imperative for students to have the best tools possible to pursue their goals and dreams,” Therrien stated. During the question and answer period,
each candidate was asked if he or she would recommend the amended operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The budget had been amended by voters during the deliberative session on February 10 to include an additional $563,000 to pay step-increases for teachers. The teachers do not currently have a valid contract. A proposal was offered to them in mid-January,
Personal E-Mails - continued from front page “Ross was given an ugly choice,” Chadwick
said. “He was blindsided.” “Regrettably, Ross McLeod has been forced to leave a job he loved and go about the business of finding a new job, plus defending himself in the public forum.” “Fortunately, Ross has gained much comfort from the many people who have come to his support,” Chadwick commented. “It is often said that your
reputation is everything and during difficult times you find out who has your back and who will take advantage of you for political gain,” Chadwick said.
After McLeod learned that his resignation
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would not be reconsidered, he suggested to Hogan that, under the NH Right to Know Law, that Hillsborough County may have erred when it released his personal e-mails for public perusal. “The Right to Know Law is meant for government work,” Chadwick said. “It does not seem to allow for personal e-mail.”
McLeod also asked Hogan to look at the United States Code pertaining to exemptions for Fantasy Football, stating that participation is not considered to be illegal gambling. “The County Attorney (Hogan) apparently refused to consider the political motivation behind this matter, refused to consider the fact that a few e-mails, out of thousands per year, should
but the majority of union members voted against it. Current school board members have already said that they aren’t supporting the budget as amended.
In response to the question, Forde said he agrees with sitting school board members and does not plan to vote in favor of the amended budget. Foster also said he wouldn’t vote for the amended budget, adding that taxes are already too high, having seen what he quoted as an 89% tax increase in the past six years. Rekart said he feels the issue is complex. He said he is concerned that voting against the amended budget and, therefore, reverting to a default budget “sends the message that we can get along with less.” Rekart said he voted for the amended budget during the deliberative session. “The schools need the money,” he said. Joanis said he is also opposed to voting in
favor of the amended budget. “The issue with the contract is a disaster,” Joanis commented. Petro said she voted for the amended budget at the deliberative session. “Two years without a teacher contract is too long,” she added. Therrien said she has no intention of supporting the amended budget. “It was not done properly at the deliberative session. It was the wrong forum,” Therrien said, noting that such negotiations should take place at the bargaining table not at the deliberative session. When asked if their children attend Windham
schools, Foster said some of his do, but others are home-schooled, depending on their individual needs. Rekart said he has one daughter who attends Golden Brook Elementary School. Petro reported that she has two children who are currently enrolled in the Windham School District. Therrien said she has no children or grandchildren who live in Windham. Forde said he has four children who attended all grades in Windham and also has two grandchildren who graduated from Windham, as well as two who are currently enrolled in the local public school system. Forde said he is familiar with the schools as he works as an on-call custodian for the school district.
not destroy a career,” Chadwick said. McLeod’s last day on the job was February 24. He had been given two weeks in which to resign or be fired. “Ross appealed to the facts; to a sense of fair play,” Chadwick said. “It got him no where” with Hogan. Because McLeod’s loss of employment involves personnel issues, the County Attorney’s Office was unable to comment on the situation. “Ross has acknowledged that he should not
have let a few e-mails slip in or slip out through the county’s e-mail system,” Chadwick said. “But, instead of a warning, or even a suspension, he has lost his job … not for anything he did in the courtroom, not for any decision he made about an arrest or a bail agreement or a plea offer…but due to someone who opposes him in town politics, he is out of work – unemployed,” Chadwick stated. “The local branch of Americans for Prosperity has put a hard-working prosecutor and town volunteer out of work … so much for prosperity,” Chadwick said. Attempts to contact Lewandowski were unsuccessful. Lewandowski and Americans for Prosperity seem to have a complete lack of understanding of what a prosecutor or anyone in the public sector does, Chadwick commented. “Prosecutors take phone calls at 2 a.m. and work nights and weekends, well outside of the usual 9 to 5 schedule, Chadwick, a former prosecutor, himself, said. “ Yet, according to Corey Lewandowski, they should never conduct a few moments of personal business between 9 and 5.”
He also said he works with a theater group at Windham Middle School. Joanis said he has three children attending classes in the Windham School District. He also said he volunteers regularly in his children’s classrooms and has also toured each of the four schools in the district, as well as introduced himself to school administrators. In response to a question regarding the possible withdrawal of Windham from SAU 28, Rekart said he feels it is in the best interest of Windham students, and the town, as a whole, to withdraw from the SAU that it currently shares with Pelham. “Pelham is going in a different direction,” Rekart said. “Bad blood has built up” between the two towns, he added. “Currently Windham is paying the largest part of the bill” for the SAU, Rekart stated. He also commented that Windham students get higher test scores than those in Pelham. Joanis also said he is in favor of withdrawing from SAU 28. “The SAU has grown too large,” Joanis remarked. He also said, “I can’t get past how diametrically opposed the two towns are regarding education.” Petro also said she is in favor of withdrawal.
“It’s high past time,” she said.
Therrien said that she had read the entire report recommending withdrawal from SAU 28. “I am opposed to a split,” Therrien said. “It’s always wiser to share resources. Foster said he has also read the committee’s final report. “I don’t feel withdrawal is a necessary move, but it’s the best move,” Foster said. “I am in support of withdrawal,” he concluded. Forde said he is also in favor of withdrawing from the two-district SAU. “The two school districts have grown apart,” Forde said. “Windham will get more value for its money if the SAU splits.”
Although nearly all of the candidates do not attend school board meetings and work sessions in person, most of them did say that they watch them on cable television. Petro is the only one of the six candidates who does make frequent personal appearances at these meetings.
As a result of what has happened to McLeod,
Chadwick has asked Hogan to review all future requests for information so that the NH Right to Know Law is sure to be complied with and private e-mails will not be released to those who might use them for their own political purposes. In addition, Chadwick is requesting copies of any and all correspondence between Hogan and Lewandowski/Americans for Prosperity regarding McLeod. Lastly, Chadwick has requested that Hogan
provide McLeod with the courtesy of explaining his rationale for releasing McLeod’s non-work related e-mails as part of the Right to Know request, “even though RSA 91-A (1-a and 5) would appear to make such e-mails specifically exempt from any disclosure.” At press time, neither Chadwick nor McLeod had received a response from Hogan. “Ross was attacked personally,” Chadwick said. “He lost his job over this debacle, but he’s going down fighting.” “This is incredibly degrading after everything he’s done for the Town of Windham.” Saying that he hopes McLeod’s reputation hasn’t been damaged, Chadwick commented, “Most people seem to see this situation for what it is and it just might wind up backfiring on those who perpetrated it to begin with,” he said. Chadwick said that McLeod’s loss of
employment would not affect his re-election campaign.
Pelham Police Department - continued from front page According to the Pelham Police Department’s
General Order document, “This medal will be awarded to officers who, in total disregard for their own personal safety, perform an act or acts of outstanding courage while in an actual confrontation with an armed and/or dangerous adversary, (and in the circumstance under which the act was performed involved an extreme risk to the officer’s life).” “We were doing what we were trained to do,” McCarthy said.
In addition to these recognitions, Roark, Lieutenant Gary Fisher, Sergeant T.J. O’Donnell, and Detective James Johnson won the New England Region Organized Crime Drug Enforcement award for their work in an investigation of an organized group in Pelham that was smuggling large amounts of marijuana out of Mexico and Canada and laundering over $4 million in drug proceeds. Twenty-five of these awards are given across New England.
The six-year investigation (it started in 2005 and concluded in 2011) resulted in nine arrests, with federal convictions, nine convictions, significant amounts of property and assets seized, and guilty pleas to smuggling more than 2,500 pounds of marijuana. According to the Pelham Police Department, the marijuana had been circulating around New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and most of New England. “They’ve always been supportive and helpful in these investigations,” said Thomas Pugliese, Acting Resident Agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Manchester
“It makes me feel glad that we get recognized for the good things we do. It lets the town realize that we’re about helping people and not just the pulling people over and giving tickets,” said Pelham Patrolman Matthew Kulesz, who received a letter of commendation for helping solve a burglary in October of 2011.
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What happens to the laptop computers when the seniors at Windham High School graduate this coming June? That’s the question that was bandied about by school board members during their final meeting last month. Windham High School was the first high school in New Hampshire to institute a one-on-one laptop program for all students. The program was affiliated with the Apple Corporation. Students were provided with a laptop to use for their studies and were allowed to keep the same one for all four years of their education at Windham High School. Now that the first senior class is set to graduate, administrators are wondering what to do with the ones that will be returned upon graduation. School board member Jeff Bostic wondered if the seniors were under the impression that they would be allowed to purchase the laptops at fair market value, which is about $350 to $400. SAU 28 Assistant Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz said the original proposal was for about 100 of the laptops to be refurbished in-house,
2) Can we use picture #SANY0809 instead of the one with both Barbaras on the couch?
then given to eighth graders at Windham Middle School. The remaining 20 to 30 laptops were meant to remain at the high school to be used as “loaners” should a student’s regular laptop need to be repaired. Lecaroz said she didn’t think graduating seniors from Windham High would be willing to pay as much as $400 for a four-year old much-used laptop. By moving the laptops down to the middle
school, it would allow eighth graders some much- needed advance training, prior to their moving up to the high school the following year. The middle school already has an in-house maintenance program for computers, she explained. Plans are also to provide a three-day training
program for eighth grade teachers at Windham Middle School to prepare them for the Apple programming. School board members unanimously approved the proposed transfer of laptops from the high school to the middle school by a vote of 5 to 0. Lecaroz emphasized that this decision will have to be made on a year-to-year basis depending on the needs and available equipment at the time.
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