Pelham - Windham News | March 30, 2012 - 3
Changing of the Guard in Windham
by Barbara O’Brien Following the annual town and school district elections earlier this month, Windham selectmen and school board members have chosen those who will head up these committees for the ensuing 12 months. On the Windham School District side, during the first meeting following the March 13 election, first-time school board members Michael Joanis and Jerome Rekart were sworn in by School District Clerk Mary Ann Horaj. New school district treasurer Donna Sawyer was also sworn into office at the same time, but will not take on her duties until the new school year begins on July 1.
As for the leadership of the Windham
School Board, long-time member Bruce Anderson was elected as chairman. Anderson has served as chairman previously and held the position of vice- chairman this past year. Former school board chairman Ed Gallagher chose not to seek re-election to a second term. School board member Michelle Farrell got the nod as vice-chairman for the next 12 months. Farrell, who joined the school board in 2010, has not held this position previously. The Windham School Board is now made up of the following five members: Bruce Anderson, Michelle Farrell, Stephanie Wimmer, Michael Joanis and Jerome Rekart.
Also during the March 19 school board meeting, Interim Superintendent Henry LaBranche commented about the results of the warrant article pertaining to the withdrawal of Windham from SAU 28. Due to the fact that the majority of Windham voters cast their
ballots to withdraw from SAU 28, which is currently shared with the Pelham School District, that separation will become effective on July 1, 2013. Another change slated for the
Windham School Board is that no more meetings will be held on Monday evenings. For the past couple of years, school board work sessions have been scheduled for Mondays at 7 p.m., the same time that Windham Selectmen have traditionally held their weekly meetings. This made it very difficult for anyone who wanted to attend both meetings. The suggestion for the school board to begin holding its work sessions on Tuesday evenings, instead, came from Superintendent LaBranche. The first Tuesday night school board meeting will be held on April 3 at the Community Development Building, next to Town Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. Both regular meetings and work sessions are open to the public and a period for public input is allowed. During the first selectmen’s meeting
following the recent election, Bruce Breton was chosen as chairman for the next year, while Ross McLeod was voted in as vice-chairman. This past year, Breton served as vice-chairman, while McLeod was the board chairman. The board of selectmen is comprised of the same five members as last year, including Bruce Breton, Phil LoChiatto, Kathleen DiFruscia, Ross McLeod and Roger Hohenberger. Selectmen hold all their regular meetings and work sessions on Mondays, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Community Development Building. These meetings are also open to the public.
Should Windham Consider a Growth Ordinance?
by Barbara O’Brien During the annual town and school district election, held March 13, Windham residents voted down many of the proposed warrant articles, particularly on the school side of the docket. Not only was the 2012-2013 school budget defeated, but also proposals for purchasing additional portable classrooms and a nearly three- quarter million dollar request for architectural and engineering fees to design a new seventh and eighth grade facility. On the town side, registered voters said “no” to $200,000 for constructing an athletic field at the Spruce Pond development.
Although few residents seem to believe these facilities and services are unnecessary, many have spoken very clearly about the increasingly high tax rate in Windham and the inability of many people to pay the bills due to the poor economic climate, high rate of foreclosures and loss of employment. Many voters said they felt bad about voting against the proposed warrant articles, but felt they had no choice given their financial situations. At the first school board meeting following the election,
Windham resident and former selectman Alan Carpenter spoke about the situation. “In the last election, voters spoke very loudly as a community,” Carpenter stated. “Many of them feel that spending is creating a financial burden for them.”
Carpenter suggested that the development and enactment of a growth ordinance be considered by town and school officials, and ultimately the voters. A growth ordinance could be used to limit residential development in Windham, thereby reducing the need for additional facilities and more programs and services. More houses usually means more children to be educated in the public school system. A growth ordinance would not reduce commercial development, however, which generally adds tax revenue to town and school district coffers. A growth ordinance could be designed to be in effect for a specific period of time and would limit the number of residential certificates of occupancy to be issued per year. “A growth ordinance could create a pause” in
Windham’s population growth, Carpenter stated. “It’s a way of stopping the bleeding; slowing down the growth,” he said. Windham has seen unprecedented population growth in the last decade, an issue that has severely impacted the need for additional classroom space. Currently, Windham has one of the worst teacher-student
As we headed to press on Wednesday, Represenative Jasper confirmed the House had voted and overridden the Governor Lynch’s Veto of the Redistricting Plan
Governor Lynch Veto of Redistricting Plan
by Diane Chubb On Friday, March 23, Governor Lynch vetoed House Bill 592, which is the House redistricting plan. Under the plan proposed and passed by the House, Pelham was denied its own representatives and remains grouped in with Hudson and Litchfield in a “super district.” In 2006, New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to ensure that communities with enough population - 3,291 residents - “shall have its own district of one or more representative seats.” For the past few months, the battle regarding redistricting has raged on and Pelham has been one of the casualties. The redistricting plan denies 59 of these towns its own representative. Pelham is among these towns, which has sufficient population to support 4 representatives. After the bill passed, the Pelham Board of Selectmen continued their fight against House Bill 592.. On
Tuesday, January 31, they sent a letter to Governor Lynch asking him to veto the plan under House Bill 592. “This legislation does not allow the voters of Pelham and the voters in 59 other communities the
individual representation they deserve and are entitled under the state constitution,” wrote then-Selectmen Chair Ed Gleason. “Twelve of our 13 representatives live outside Pelham and most are complete and absolute strangers to
the vast majority of our voters who have little or no likelihood of any encounter with our representatives,” Gleason wrote.
Rep. Shaun Doherty, a Republican, is the only Pelham resident in the Legislature. In the Governor’s veto message, Lynch wrote, “The right to vote is central to our democratic government. But that right is meaningless unless equal representation is assured when citizens vote. I am vetoing HB 592 because it violates the constitutional principle for equal representation and local representation; it is inconsistent in its treatment of similarly situated towns and wards, and it unnecessarily changes the boundaries of existing districts.”
“HB 592 denies a total of 62 New Hampshire towns and wards their own seats in the House. For example, the towns of Atkinson, Hudson, Meredith, and Pelham all have sufficient population under state and federal constitutional standards to have their own representative, but all are denied their own representative under the House- approved plan. This is completely contrary to what the citizens of New Hampshire called for in the state constitutional amendment adopted in 2006.” The bill will now be sent back the House, where members will either craft a new plan or vote to override the Governor’s veto. House leadership under Majority Leader William O’Brien had gathered party members to ensure that any amendments to the bill failed, and the bill passed as intended. The House passed the redistricting bill several weeks ago on a vote of 205- 86, with 106 members not voting. Nevertheless, Doherty, as Pelham’s lone representative, says he will vote against the leadership team and vote to uphold the Governor’s veto. “Certainly the voters were under the impression that the situation would be fixed
by the constitutional amendment,” Doherty said. “It is disappointing to the voters of Pelham, after 10 years of no guarantee of representation, to be overwhelmed by being combined with other towns.” “I was elected by the people of my district and my town,” he said. “It’s going to be
very tight but it could be sustained because the Manchester opposition is very strong.” Board of Selectmen Chair Bill McDevitt was pleased with the veto. He said, “New Hampshire has always offered the advantage of local representation for local people and we would like to see that returned to Pelham.” The House and Senate must get a two-thirds majority to override the veto. Given the current numbers, at least 47 more votes will be required to uphold the veto. Current Board of Selectmen Chair Bill McDevitt is encouraging Pelham voters to contact the representatives of Hillsborough District 27 and urge support of the veto. Their contact information can be found at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/
px?town=Pelham. The list is as follows: Ralph G. Boehm: 6 Gibson Dr., Litchfield, NH, 03052-2301, tel. 860-6309, ralph. firstname.lastname@example.org
Randall S. Brownrigg: 2 Little Hales Ln., Hudson, NH 03051-5070, tel. 883-6209, randy.br
Lars T. Christiansen: 1 Stone Wood Ln., Hudson, NH 03051-3443, tel. 889-0481, email@example.com
Shaun S. Doherty: 105 Bush Hill Rd., Pelham, NH 03076-3005, tel. 860-2293, shaun.do
Laura J. Gandia: 3 Chamberlin Dr., Litchfield, NH 03052-2464, tel. 424-1071, laura.ga
Robert H. Haefner: 1 St. John St., Hudson, NH 03051-3733, tel. 889-1553, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shawn N. Jasper: 83 Old Derry Rd., Hudson, NH 03051-3017, tel. 595-9621, email@example.com
George A. Lambert: 3 Lydston Ln., Litchfield, NH 03052-8017, tel. 889-7468, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan S. Maltz: 28 Chagnon Ln., Hudson, NH, 03051-3432, jonathan.ma
Russell T. Ober: 3 Heritage Cir., Hudson, NH 03051-3410, tel. 883-9654 Lynne M. Ober: 3 Heritage Cir., Hudson, NH 03051-3410, tel. 883-9654, skibear@ cheerful.com
Andrew Renzullo: 2 Heritage Cir., Hudson, NH 03051-3428, tel. 882-8962, andrew.re
Jordan G. Ulery: PO Box 15, Hudson, NH 03051-0015, tel. 882-8979, email@example.com
ratios in New Hampshire. A growth ordinance would keep the situation from becoming worse, Carpenter said. “There could be a moratorium on growth in Windham,” Carpenter added. “It is legal in New Hampshire.” It was noted while Carpenter was speaking that the issue
would need to be taken to the Windham Planning Board, which would ultimately be responsible for putting together and proposing such an ordinance.
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