Windham School Board Receives Petitioned Article
by Lynne Ober
Forty-four Windham residents have petitioned the School Board to form a committee to reopen negotiations with the Town of Salem for the purpose of having Windham students continue at Salem High School. The warrant article reads, “To require the Windham School Board to form a committee in accordance with New Hampshire RSA 195-A:3 to reopen negotiations with the Town of Salem, New Hampshire, in order to continue the Windham/Salem area agreement. The objective of these negotiations between Windham and Salem will be to resolve overcrowding at Salem High School and ensure a long-term, productive partnership between the two towns.”
As the time nears for Windham voters to vote on two warrant articles, one for 146 acre parcel of land and one for the construction of a high school, questions still remain. Some of those questions were raised by School Board member Al Letizio’s comments at the December 7 school board meeting.
The minutes of that meeting show that Letizio briefed the Board about new negotiations that began in October 2004 with the Salem School Board. According to the minutes, “…Mr. Letizio then met with [Salem] Superintendent Delahanty and discussed details about a potential relationship between Windham and Salem. A cooperative option was not available, but Salem was willing to entertain another AREA agreement possibly with a 20 to 30 year term. Salem would be willing to permit Windham one vote on their school board, but problems could arise because the Salem School Board not only covers the high school, but all the schools in Salem. It was anticipated that the Salem Budget Committee was expected to oppose the agreement.”
There was also discussion about whether any AREA Agreement could be unilaterally dissolved after three years. The minutes reveal, “The Windham School Board was not agreeable to the fact that the AREA agreement could be removed in three years and there was no enrollment protection. Mr. Delahanty spoke with the Salem School Board and they did not feel there could be a combined agreement.”
Windham resident and Attorney Michael Hatem wrote a letter to the editor in which he stated, “The second misrepresented fact is Salem could unilaterally dissolve the AREA agreement after 3 years. Again, not true. Although the statute allows for possible dissolution of the agreement after its third anniversary, the actual agreement can be written in a manner that could bind the towns for a longer period and allow for penalties if the contract is breached.”
The December 7 minutes reveal that Letizio told the Board that residents were working on a petitioned warrant article about continuing with Salem.
Windham resident Lisa Linowes said that she is frustrated with the school board’s characterization of the residents who supported the petitioned warrant article. “They are calling us dangerous. We aren’t dangerous. We just have questions and we’re not getting satisfactory answers.”
Linowes would like to see the land purchase go forward, but has questions about access. “The London Bridge Road was discontinued in 1935 and at that time it was only a dirt road. Abutters were allowed an easement in and an easement out when the road went away, but would any new owner be granted the same easement,” she wondered.
According to Linowes the land is 3,000 feet into the woods and there’s a 30 degree angle where the old road intersects with Route 111. “The School Board is talking about aligning it with the Transfer Station and putting in a light, but I think they would have to purchase a house and a lot to do that, but I don’t know for sure because I don’t have any answers.”
School Board Member Barbara Coish says that answers will be forthcoming at the Public Hearing for the two bonds. “We’ll have exact figures for the bonds and we’ll be able to answer other questions.”
According to Coish the parcel touches other school property and Town property so access should not be a problem. “If we don’t buy this land now, it will be gone and houses will be built on it,” she stated. “In addition, the property is big enough to build a second school on it and still meet state guidelines.”
Linowes would like residents to at least have an option to vote on continuing with Salem. “At first we were told no and that it fell through. So we tried to build a coop high school with Pelham. I think you can see by the response in Windham that this was a popular option, but Pelham didn’t pass it. Since Letizio said that negotiations had re-opened, I’d just like to see a committee formed to work on that and to allow voters to votes on all options.”
Guitar Concert a Success
by Lynne Ober
Pelham High School (PHS) Music Department has a new guitar program this year. “Fifteen students are enrolled in the first semester and twenty-five have already enrolled for the second semester,” said Music Director Timothy Savoy. “It’s already a growing program.”
The fifteen students participated in the first PHS Guitar Recital on January 10. The concert opened with Leanne Cann and Phil Scanzani offering a musical rendition of The National Anthem.
“We have a little bit of every kind of music,” smiled Savoy. “Some rock, some classical. Bach and Beethoven mixed with other musical genres.”
“We call ourselves the Floor,” said Phil Scanzani. “That’s because they sit on the floor,” laughed Savoy.
The four members of Floor, Rob Russell, Tim Carr, Phil Scanzani, and Mike Crooker, played two songs: House of the Rising Sun and Carol of the Bells.
Filling out the rock musical offerings was a favorite Beatles tune, Here Comes the Sun, played by Leanne Cann and Joey Holden.
Minuet in G was played by Sam Edwards and Mike Socha.
The audience enjoyed all eleven offerings of the Guitar Class.
“We are opening with The National Anthem and closing with a song written by the students. That song, Original, was played by Dan Spinney, Evan Gillis, and Joe Reed.
If you missed this concert, there will be a spring Guitar Concert.
Former Rec Director Convicted
When Former Pelham Recreation and Parks Director, Bob Tryon, resigned under a cloud, Selectmen and Town Administrator Tom Gaydos were very discrete about his departure, but behind the scenes a flurry of financial activity was occurring. With the conviction of Tryon on two accounts of theft by unauthorized taking, the curtain is closing on an unhappy time in Pelham
When Pelham Town officials conducted an internal review of organization procedures, certain irregularities came to light. Town Administrator Tom Gaydos noticed issues with financial accounting and brought the matter to the attention of Selectmen. A decision was made to forward the issues to Pelham Police Department for full investigation
Tryon, who resigned before the official investigation began, accepted a plea bargain that kept him out of jail, but required that he repay the Town $18,500. On Monday he paid $9,250 and has two more years in which to pay the rest of the amount. If he fails to repay the rest of the money or if he is convicted of any misdemeanor of felony during that two year time period, he will serve twelve months in Hillsborough County jail for each count of theft.