6 - June 6, 2014 | Pelham - Windham News Candidates File for Offi ce
Eyring Needs Financial Facts Supplied Directly
by Barbara O’Brien Windham School Board member Ken Eyring, who was elected to that seat this past March, says he doesn’t have time to stop by the SAU offi ce and review the fi nancial manifests and wants that information supplied to him directly in advance of the biweekly meetings. The issue was fi rst raised during a school board meeting last month, when Eyring refused to sign payroll and accounts payable vouchers, stating that he felt uninformed. The subject came up again at the June 3 board meeting, during the public comment portion. Former school board member Bruce Anderson, who
The New Hampshire primary election will be held on September 9 and a general election on November 4. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the New Hampshire Senate, the New Hampshire House of Representatives along with several other state and local positions. The fi ling period opened for all candidates on June 4 and the fi ling deadline for recognized party candidates is June 13. Showing up bright and early on Wednesday morning at Windham Town Hall to fi le are, from the left, Windham Representatives Walter Kolodziej, Mary Griffi n, Kevin Waterhouse and Charles McMahon. Kolodziej, Griffi n and McMahon expect to run for re-election, and Waterhouse plans a run for Rockingham County Commissioner.
served in that capacity for nine years, came to the podium and asked that school board members do their job by signing payroll vouchers when presented. To not do so, Anderson said, is like kicking sand in the face of school district employees. Anderson pointed out that Windham voters had approved union contracts this past March, and they expected teachers and instructional aides to be paid on time. In response to Anderson’s comments, Eyring said he was “obviously” the person to whom Anderson was referring. Eyring again stated that he had a problem with the way in which vouchers were being presented, adding that he still didn’t feel he was receiving adequate data to make an informed decision. Eyring noted that he wasn’t accusing anyone at the SAU offi ce of any wrongdoing. SAU 95 Business Administrator Adam Steel again told Eyring that all fi nancial records are available to anyone who wants to see them. Superintendent Winfried Feneberg added that, according to the annual external audits that are performed, everything is being done properly in regard to fi nancial records and payment
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Eyring said that his hours of employment had undergone a recent change and he was unable to get to the SAU offi ce to review information regarding how much is being paid and for what purpose. Michael Joanis said he feels that, as a school board member, it is his job to do whatever it takes to be prepared for meetings and for making informed decisions. “It’s about taking the time to do the job,” Chairman Jerome Rekart commented, adding that he always sets aside time to perform due diligence. “To delay puts the school district in danger of not paying its bills on time,” Rekart said. Rob Breton, also elected this past March, said he also takes the time to check out the manifests, so that he knows what he is voting on, and asks questions if there’s something he is unsure about. Vice-chairman Dennis Senibaldi had already left the meeting when the discussion was held. Eyring did not back down from his stance, however, commenting that he was “not going to be bullied” into making a decision with which he wasn’t comfortable. School board members then voted on a motion
advising school administrators to continue with the existing procedures regarding the presentation of fi nancial vouchers. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 1. Rekart, Joanis and Breton voted in favor of maintaining the status quo. Eyring voted against the motion. Immediately thereafter, school board members were asked to approve the fi nancial manifest presented that day. Rekart, Joanis and Breton voted in favor of approving the manifest. Eyring abstained from voting. The tension in the room was palpable.
Burying the Portable ‘Bodies’ will Cost Taxpayers $232,700
by Barbara O’Brien The fate of the portable classrooms at Windham’s Golden Brook School has been sealed. Although the decision to abandon the 14-year-old, 10-classroom facility was actually made this past April, the fi nal details were not approved until the June 3 school board meeting. The decision not to spend any more time, money or effort on refurbishing the portables was based on the discovery of mold and mildew behind the walls and ceilings; a discovery that was fi rst made about a year ago. Attempts to remedy the problem were made last summer, but it was learned this past winter that the condition still existed. The building was vacated at that time and the fi rst graders who had been occupying the portables were moved into the main building. To make room for the fi rst graders, the third graders were moved to a section of Windham High School.
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On the recommendation of SAU 95 Business Administrator Adam Steel, school board members voted 3 to 2 to pay off the remaining $225,000 still owed on the fi ve-year lease/purchase agreement, thereby saving approximately $8,000 in interest. Paying off the agreement now, rather than over the next three years, will “take the liability off the books,” Steel stated. Voting to pay off the debt now and to freeze the $77,101 that had been set aside for the 2014-2015 lease payment were Chairman Jerome Rekart, Vice-chairman Dennis Senibaldi and board member Ken Eyring. The money to pay off the entire $225,000 will come from the current school year’s unassigned fund balance. The current school year ends on June 30. Joanis said he couldn’t support freezing the $77,101 that had been intended for the upcoming lease payment, because of all the other facility needs that exist. The space crunch in Windham schools has only worsened over the last decade. Joanis said he would prefer that the money be used to pay for architectural and engineering fees for a yet undetermined expansion. At this point, only $1,000 is set aside for that purpose. Breton concurred with Joanis, saying that he, too, would prefer the money be used to address facility needs. Rekart said the money could be unfrozen at a later date if the need arises. Senibaldi said he thought it was important to make a public statement to taxpayers that the school board is keeping their interests in mind by freezing the funds.
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As for the actual demolition of the already mutilated building, board members voted 3 to 2 to award the contract to the lowest bidder at a price of $17,700. A total of fi ve bids were received, with the highest bid topping out at $79,000. Voting in favor of awarding the demolition contract were Rekart, Joanis and Breton. Eyring and Senibaldi voted against the motion. This is the same 3 to 2 split that occurred this past April when the decision was made not to spend any more money on fi xing up the portables. The demolition will take place this summer while school is in recess. Although Senibaldi acknowledged that the low bid was “a darn good price,” he also stood by his prior contention that the portables could be salvaged and made safe for students. Eyring agreed with Senibaldi’s opinion. “You may bury the body, but you’ll never get rid of the stink” from the mistakes that have been made,” Senibaldi said. Breton responded that he didn’t think Senibaldi should be making an analogy about dead bodies, when the decision to abandon the portables was made out of concern for the health of young children.
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