An Independent Weekly Newspaper
Hudson~Litchfield News Volume 23 Number 37 March 29, 2013 20 Pages Three Alarm Fire Damages Litchfi eld Barn
submitted by Litchfi eld Fire Department At approximately 9:30 a.m. March 22,
employees of Wilson Farm at 144 Charles Bancroft Highway reported a fi re in one of the storage buildings on the farm. On Arrival of Litchfi eld Fire crews, a 40 by 100 barn had a large amount of smoke and fi re from the building. Additional assistance was requested from surrounding communities. Due to the amount of fi re in the building and the concern for fertilizers and pesticides within the building, fi refi ghters concentrated efforts on protecting the surrounding buildings which were all in close proximity to the fi re building. All employees were accounted for and uninjured; they were also able to remove several tractors from another section of the barn before the fi re spread. Due to the concern for the chemicals within the building, air monitoring was conducted throughout the incident. A representative from the Southeastern Hazardous Materials District was on scene as well as NH Department of Environmental Services whom responded and oversaw the clean-up of runoff from the incident. The NH Fire Marshal’s offi ce has ruled the fi re as undetermined due to the extensive damage to the area of initial origin. Assisting Litchfi eld Fire were Litchfi eld
Police and Highway departments as well as fi re departments from Hudson, Londonderry, Derry, Bedford, Merrimack, Windham, Auburn, Amherst, Pelham, Goffstown, Hooksett, Nashua and Manchester. The Nashua Salvation Army, as well as Haley’s Pizza of Litchfi eld, provided food and drinks to fi refi ghters on scene.
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Fire at Wilson Farm last Friday morning
School Redistricting a Tough Subject For Many Parents, Educators
by Kristen Hoffman
Concerned parents and educators packed Alvirne High’s gym to air concerns regarding proposed redistricting at Hudson Elementary Schools. Many of the roughly twenty parents, educators and in some instances,
school children made impassioned and personal pleas as to why school administrators should look for other answers for the district’s faltering test scores. Hudson has not budged in their standardized test standings, and according to district offi cials, changes must occur before the scores are evaluated again. Superintendent Bryan Lane, Director of Special Services Jeanne Saunders
and Assistant Superintendent Phyllis Schlichter described the district’s scores on NECAP exams as something that needed to be addressed as soon as possible to ensure that Hudson students get the education they need in order to graduate and be successful.
There is a large disconnect between students with learning disabilities and those without said Saunders, and issue that is seen throughout the district, and administrators believe that through consolidating schools educators may be able to identify students with learning disabilities and other diffi culties earlier in a student’s educational career. Superintendent Bryan Lane proposed a plan to move all pre-kindergarten through fi rst grade classrooms to what are currently known as “zone A schools,” Library Street School and Dr. H.O. Smith. Library Street School and Dr. H.O. Smith serve as one unifi ed school, as they share administrators and a PTO.
But parents presented a mixed bag of emotions and concerns ranging from bus rides, tough school transitions and special education. Lane admitted that the plan was not a perfect plan, but it was a step in the right direction.
continued to page 5- Redistricting When a No Vote Costs More Money
by Lynne Ober Litchfi eld voters turned down the teachers’
contract and this will cost them more in tax dollars. During the Deliberative Session, the details and benefi ts of this contract, unanimously recommended by to the school board and budget committee, were explained to voters. Teachers and the school board negotiated
a contract that would maintain competitive salaries, but would institute a new, cheaper health insurance plan that would have reduced costs to the district, and thus, also to voters while allowing a contract to remain in place for teachers. The warrant article read, “Shall the Litchfi eld
School District vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Litchfi eld School District and the Litchfi eld Education Association which calls for the following increases in salaries and benefi ts: Year Estimated Increase 2013-2014 $110,329 2014-2015 $162,856 and further to raise and appropriate the sum of $110,329 for the 2013-2014 fi scal year, such sum representing the additional costs attributable to the increase in salaries and benefi ts required by the new agreement over those that would be paid at current staffi ng levels over the amount paid in the past fi scal year.”
This two year contract which covered the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years included no retroactive costs for the current school year and no cost of living adjustments (COLA) in either year. Every member of the union would have received an equivalent one step salary increase based on this adjusted schedule during the contract and in order to accomplish that adjustment was needed to increase entry level salaries more competitive with entry salaries offered in surrounding districts.
In addition, step increases offered during the contract ranged from 2.68 percent to 4.29 percent. However in year two of the contract, 44 percent of staff would not have received a salary increase because each of these members was at the top of the salary schedule. The contract also increased the longevity adjustments in year two by $300. Additionally changes were agreed to for co-curricular and athletic stipends paid to staff who perform extra duties.
In order to fund this and make the contract
fi nancially viable for the district, the union agreed to a new health care provider, School Care, who, in turn, offered a lower cost health insurance plan. With health care insurance costs rising faster than salary increases this was a benefi t to the district and taxpayers. In
addition, higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums were included and drug prescription co-pays increased to $10/$30/$65. Under the current plan drug prescription co-pays are $10/$20/$45. Finally, union members would begin in the
fi rst year of the contract to pay 17 percent of all costs which was up from 15 percent. The fi rst year net savings to the district would have been $173,019 and the savings would have increased with future year rate increases. Other changes were that the contract added language regarding health insurance waiver and requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Act and made changes to the Reduction in Force procedure. Planning time would be limited to staff in classroom teaching assignments and Teaching Load defi ned supervisory responsibilities as student support and/or supervision not requiring teacher preparation or assessment of students. The Work Year defi nition gave members half day to prepare their classrooms and the Workday defi nition stated that two evening responsibilities may be designated by the School Principal.
All in all taxpayers would have seen a reduction in their costs had they approved the contract.
EASTER SERVICES Blessed John XXIII Parish
St. John the Evangelist Church, 25 Library St., Hudson; and
Infant Jesus Parish, 121 Allds St., Nashua Saturday, March 30 - Easter Vigil 7:30 p.m. - St. John the Evangelist Church Sunday, March 31 - Easter Sunday 8 a.m. - St. John the Evangelist Church 10:30 a.m. - Infant Jesus 12:15 p.m. - Infant Jesus
Community Church of Hudson, UCC will 19 Central St., Hudson Saturday, March 30 - Holy Saturday 7 p.m.
New Life Christian Church, 272 Lowell Rd., Hudson
Sunday, March 31 – Easter Sunday Service 10 a.m.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 9 St. Francis Way, Litchfi eld
Saturday, March 30* - Easter Vigil Mass *Note: No 4 p.m. Mass 7:30 p.m. – Solemn Easter Vigil
Sunday, March 31 – Easter Sunday Mass 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11 a.m.
St. Kathryn Parish, 4 Dracut Rd., Hudson Saturday, March 30 - Easter Vigil Mass 7:45 p.m. – Solemn Easter Vigil
Sunday, March 31 – Easter Sunday Mass Masses at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
The First Baptist Church, 236 Central St., Hudson
Sunday, March 31 - Easter Sunday Services 7 a.m. - Sunrise Service, Robinson Pond 9 a.m. - Contemporary Worship Service 11 a.m. - Traditional Worship Service
coutesy photo by Gary Rodgers
staff photo by AJ Dickenson
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