School budget writers in Londonderry seem to be sharpening their knives as enrollments fall, but staff and citizens group are opposing the reductions and even proposing the construction of new facilities as taxpayers cry uncle. The Londonderry Times is reporting that, due to decreasing enrollments, Londonderry Superintendent Nathan Greenberg has proposed a reduction of nearly fifty hours of time educational assistants spend in classrooms each day. That has some people all freaked out. Educational assistant Patricia Kelly, who has 20 years on the job, shared a typical day in her first grade classroom saying quote: “When they come in, first-graders are very busy. Our first job is to keep them in their seat and focused. Then we try to help with spelling and comprehension. We encourage a crying child. There is almost always a child right on the border who can’t get it, and we are able to give them a little more time. We help with cutting. We review weekly topics. It’s too much to ask a classroom teacher to do all that we do.” We’ve linked to the full story so you can read all the details for yourself.
Meanwhile, the school board’s Auditorium Study Committee is insisting that a grand scheme to build an auditorium should press forward, the tax impacts not withstanding. According to the Londonderry Times, Study Committee Chairman Tony DeFrancesco argues that an increase in taxes shouldn’t dissuade residents from supporting construction of a community auditorium Londonderry High School. Arguing that Londonderry’s unequalized tax rate is lower than nineteen of twenty three communities south of Concord, DeFrancesco said quote: “This is a full-service community. It’s not cheap to live in, but for a full-service community, our tax rate is pretty good. People say our tax rate is so high, but it’s just not compared with other full-service communities.” That drew the attention of School Board Member Dan Lekas who said he has heard many residents argue that just because Londonderry may not spend as much as other communities, that doesn’t mean it should, or that it has to. We’ve linked to the story so you can see the fascinating dance between people who want more stuff on the taxpayer’s dime as enrollments decline and those who aren’t so sure. Note: I’d be interested to know how Londonderry’s tax rate compares on an equalized basis with other communities. That’s how you get apples for apples comparisons on tax rates, by the way.
Next door in Derry, the school board continues to whittle money away from the proposed seventy nine million dollar budget. The proposal was up just shy of a million dollars over the current budget. But, having removed more than one point three million dollars in proposed spending, the budget is now about four hundred thousand dollars lower than the current year’s number. Declining enrollments are again a driving force in reducing spending. For example, three elementary classrooms will be eliminated, saving two hundred ten thousand dollars. School budget meetings in Derry have drawn over a hundred attendees, forcing the school board to relocate its meetings to the gym at the Hood Middle School. We’ve linked to the story in the Nutfield News.
School budget numbers in Chester are also coming down and we’ve linked to those details in the Tri Town Times.
Ahem, memo to the folks in Timberlane…
News from our own backyard continues after this.
New Hampshire Wind Watch has announced its opposition to Spruce Ridge, a planned Industrial Wind Turbine project proposed in very close proximity of Mount Cardigan, home of The Cardigan Lodge which operates the Appalachian Mountain Club and is located on the ridge between the watersheds of the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers. Visitors and hikers from around the world travel to Mount Cardigan because of its panoramic 360-degree views of adjacent rural towns as well as lakes and the White Mountain’s peaks.
In a press release sent to Girard at Large, N H Wind Watch says a Portuguese company, Energias de Portugal ( we’ll call them E D P) is planning to seek approval for its Spruce Ridge Industrial Wind Project in Canaan, Orange, Dorchester, Alexandria and Groton. They say the industrial wind plant will deforest and destroy miles and miles of Mt. Cardigan-Newfound Lake region ridgelines.
The project includes twenty-nine five hundred foot tall turbines (that’s fifty stories tall) and will dominate once scenic vistas with structures which would stand out as gigantic even if they were put up in the middle of New York or Chicago. They will be one hundred feet taller than the twenty four Industrial Wind Turbines of nearby Groton Wind, which can be already seen from Mount Cardigan as well as Newfound Lake and other locations within a 50-mile radius.
Watch President Lori Lerner said that wind power fails resoundingly to provide reasonably priced, reliable energy that can meet demand in all weather conditions and that it will likely increase demand for natural gas as the turbines are required to have natural gas back up to keep them running when the wind isn’t blowing. We’ve posted their entire release, which is an interesting read, with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com. We’ve also linked to our past interview with N H W W board member Larry Goodman to provide background on past efforts. You can learn more about them at n h wind watch dot org.
Police in Bedford issued a reminder yesterday that today is the last day they’ll be accepting toys for the Toys for Tots program. So, folks in Bedford, or elsewhere I suppose, have until the end of business today to drop off a new, unwrapped gift at Bedford’s Police Headquarters in the Safety Complex on Constitution Drive. The Bedford Police Dept. also issued an advisory alerting motorists that the annual Nativity Scene is scheduled for Tuesday evening, December 23rd, at 6:00. They expect there will be a significant amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area of Bedford Center Rd. and Church Rd. between the hours of 5 and 7 and urge motorists to keep speeds down and otherwise drive cautiously.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!