Horribles Parade Again
by Lynne Ober
Anthony, 2, was dressed as Pepe le Peu, everyone’s favorite skunk.
Once again, Pelham’s Marsh Road was taken over by parading and giggling Horribles. It was the annual Horribles Parade sponsored by Pelham’s Firefighters Association.
This year the parade began at Pelham Memorial School, walked to Lyons Park where hay rides were given through the woods behind the library and through the Old Mill property, and refreshments awaited all.
“This year we’ve decorated Dracula’s barn,” grinned Rich Hannegan. A new graveyard, ghosts, spider webs, and fun awaited those who took a hay ride.
As always, the ever-popular Ghost Busters came, blew their bubbles, and entertained all. Pelham’s Fire Department turns out to lead the parade and to bring up the rear of the parade, and with help from Pelham Police, there’s no danger to any of the adorable horribles walking down the street.
Blue Power Ranger Michael is ready for anything coming his way.
Madison, 7, was the brightest witch at the parade and with her skeleton friend, Lucas, 9, planned to have a grand time.
Casey, 4, and Connor, 7, were ready for some fun.
The Ghost Busters Vehicle blew bubbles and played music.
Princess Madison, 6, has yellow slippers that flashed light when she danced.
Princess Catie, 3, was very busy watching all the horribles walk by.
Danevich Elected Chairman
by Lynne Ober
With the surprise resignation of Pelham Board of Selectmen Chairman Ed Gleason at the last meeting, Vice Chairman Victor Danevich stepped in to lead the board into elections. While people were voting on the teachers’ contract at Pelham Memorial School, Danevich was explaining to the viewing audience that when an officer of the board resigned mid-term that selectmen had a policy of holding an election for all offices.
It was a quick and unanimous election. Selectman Hal Lynde nominated Danevich who was swiftly and unanimously voted in as Chair, and then Danevich returned the favor and nominated Lynde for the position of Vice Chairman. Once again, the unanimous vote came quickly.
Danevich then polled the board about filling the position. He opened the discussion by noting that at least three people had expressed an interest in filling the open position.
Selectman Doug Viger agreed that filling the position was the way to go and noted that selectmen had a lot of work and many sub-committees and said he felt that having a full complement on the board was the prudent thing to do.
Selectman Bob Haverty concurred with Viger. “Let’s bring them in, interview, and choose a replacement. The position should be filled.”
When Lynde also concurred, Danevich asked Town Administrator Tom Gaydos to post the position. Danevich also said that interested parties could get a volunteer application from the Website or from Town Hall, fill it in and be considered. Interviews will be held on November 2.
Public Kindergarten Coming to Windham?
by Barbara O’Brien
Jason is closely examining a pumpkin to see if he wants to take it home.
Parlee Farms in Tyngsborough was the site of a fun-filled morning for Pelham nursery school students. They got to play in the hay area, take a hay ride, and pick a pumpkin of their own.
The majority of state legislators want to see full-time public kindergarten in every school district in New Hampshire and are currently looking into the feasibility of implementing such a program as early as September of 2008; less than a year from now. The vote was part of the legislation that defined an adequate education. Because of the unfunded expense of mandating the kindergarten program, many legislators could not support the bill, but it did pass.
Many towns and cities in New Hampshire already have part-time or full-time kindergartens in place; a number of these are towns which took advantage of the 70 percent state building aid offered to communities a few years ago. Windham and Pelham, however, are two of the towns which do not presently offer public kindergarten in any form. Children from these towns who do attend a kindergarten do so at private facilities.
“At least 90 percent of our kids do go to a (private) kindergarten program,” school board member Beverly Donovan said.
In light of the recent decision by the legislature to go forward with a statewide public kindergarten program, SAU #28 (school administrative unit) Superintendent Frank Bass addressed the issue during the Windham School Board workshop on Tuesday, October 16. SAU #28 includes both Windham and Pelham.
Bass said that all the towns that don’t currently offer public kindergarten are located in the southern tier of New Hampshire.
According to Bass, local school administrators could develop a plan which would implement public kindergarten in both Pelham and Windham in two years, by September of 2009, the same time that Windham High School is anticipated to open its doors to students. To accomplish this task by September 2008 would take a “Herculean” effort, Bass said, and would be “very cost-intensive.”
Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson said she recently visited three area private kindergartens. The directors of these programs were “very gracious in sharing their knowledge,” Wilson said. She told these directors that “there are no plans in place right now for a public kindergarten program in either Windham or Pelham.”
Windham School Board Chairman Al Letizio said that he’s not aware of any initiative in Windham to have public kindergarten. “It’s the new high school that’s been on the front burner,” he said. “Now it’s not whether we will do this (public kindergarten), but when,” he said.
Windham School Board Vice-Chairman Beth Valentine said she thinks “it’s appalling the way this is coming about. There’s not even a (kindergarten) curriculum in place,” she continued. “Where will the dollars come from?” Valentine questioned whether or not the state would be offering 70 percent building aid to the remaining towns that still need to implement a public kindergarten program. “I really don’t know how they expect us to do this,” she said.
Bass said he would be meeting with state officials in the near future and would then have additional information about what local ramifications there might be in developing a public kindergarten program.
The interesting facet of this unfunded mandate is found in the New Hampshire Constitution. Section 28a added in November 1984 states, “The state shall not mandate or assign any new, expanded, or modified programs or responsibilities to any political subdivision in such a way as to necessitate additional local expenditures by the political subdivision unless such programs or responsibilities are fully funded by the state or unless such programs or responsibilities are approved for funding by a vote of the local legislative body of the political subdivision.”
Based on Section 28a, towns without kindergarten could expect to have the entire project funded. There has been no money allocated at this point to fund kindergarten.
What Role is Building Committee to Play in High School Construction?
by Barbara O’Brien
“What does the school board want the high school advisory building committee to do next?” This is the question Building Committee Chairman Rick Horrigan asked members of the Windham School Board during their meeting on Tuesday, October 16.
The committee’s original charge, Horrigan said, was to provide advice to the school board during the design and building of the new high school. The future Windham High School is anticipated to open for business in September of 2009.
“Our responsibility is to advise the school board,” Horrigan said. “Please don’t find us busy work.” Horrigan said that committee members are “very capable and very vocal” individuals. “Are we going to ask tough questions?” he asked. “Yes, we are,” he answered.
“They (committee members) do provide value,” School Board Vice-Chairman Beth Valentine said. “And they do have unique attributes,” she said, adding that many of the committee members are professional engineers of one variety or another. Getting the high school designed and built is a complicated process, though, she said, and “we’ve never built a $50 million school before.”
“We all have the same goal of protecting the school district,” Valentine said, referring to volunteer committee members, school board members, and administrators at the school district level.
School Board Member Beverly Donovan said, “We don’t know what’s needed,” in regard to assigning tasks to committee members. “By the time we know what we need, the building committee doesn’t have time to get the job done in a timely manner,” Donovan added.
Horrigan said he understands that Glenn Davis “is the guy with the ultimate responsibility.” Davis is the school district’s/town’s representative in assuring that the high school project is done in the best and most expeditious way possible.
“It’s very clear,” School Board Chairman Al Letizio said, “that Glenn (Davis) gets advice from the superintendent (Frank Bass), who gets advice from the school board.”
Referring to members of the high school building committee, Davis said, “It’s not a capability issue. It’s not an issue of qualifications. But we have an engineering team (Appledore) on board that is moving ahead twice as fast as usual (to get the high school built on time).” Davis said the high school construction process is being slowed down by having to wait for advice from other people, such as members of the building committee. Davis said he has tried very hard to be considerate of others’ opinions and time, but “There are so many groups in this town, I’m going to step on somebody’s toes sometime.” Davis said that he, personally, is currently working at least 55 hours a week on the high school project.
“Not to demean anyone, but too many people can become cumbersome to the process,” Davis said. “I could have 15 engineers look at something and I’d get 15 different answers, all of which would probably be right,” he said. Davis, who has worked on many such projects, said, “This is not the way things are usually done. There are a hundred things happening every single day,” Davis said. “What do we ask their advice on? We don’t have the luxury of saying ‘get back to me (with an answer) in three weeks’.”
Davis said committee members provided valuable input at the beginning of the process and will also likely be very helpful as construction winds down. Right now, though, Davis said, the bid process is ongoing and needs to move forward efficiently.
Valentine said she feels committee members should be providing advice on “a global level,” not on every single issue. School Board Member Bruce Anderson said he feels “the real value” of the committee is in having them monitor the “big picture” and be kept aware of “the milestones.” Anderson said he feels the building committee should get periodic reports from Davis.
Letizio said his recommendation is to “engage this group” (building committee), but limit its interaction with Davis. “Glenn should be getting input from the superintendent (Bass). We don’t want Glenn wondering who his boss is.” Letizio said he doesn’t want Davis to be “micro-managed.” “That would be counter-productive,” Letizio said.
“We have a unique situation here,” Bass said. “Glenn picks up a lot of the void that building committee members would usually be doing. We don’t have time to slow the whole process at this point and bring in committee members,” he said. Although, Bass said, “there’s no doubt there’s a lot of expertise among committee members.”
Horrigan agreed that it wouldn’t be valuable for committee members to dwell on all the details of the high school project and suggested that members of the high school building advisory committee focus, instead, on three areas: the overall schedule, the overall budget, and any major concerns or issues.