School Board Members Squabble over CIP Assignment
April 22, 2016
by Barbara O’Brien
One of the chores required of school board members following the annual election is to select representatives for various other committees. Generally this proceeds in a tranquil manner, but this year’s quest for representing the Windham School Board on the Capital Improvement Program Committee caused some waves.
There are two school board seats on the town-wide CIP committee, a regular member and an alternate. Both members can attend any meeting, but only the regular member gets a vote. If the regular member doesn’t attend a meeting, then the alternate takes his or her place.
The discussion this year centered on the desire of both former school board Chairman Ken Eyring and newly re-elected school board member Dennis Senibaldi to serve as the regular member of the CIP committee. Senibaldi noted that he was on the committee last year as a regular member and wants to provide continuity. “We have to look at the big picture, by considering both the town and the school,” Senibaldi said. “We can’t just give high scores to what the school requests.” Senibaldi is a former selectman. “I am very familiar with the six-year CIP plan,” he said.
School board member Tom Murray, who was the alternate to the CIP committee last year, accused Senibaldi of missing multiple meetings. Senibaldi said the only reason he missed any meetings last year was because of last minute changes to the CIP schedule. “I attended 90 percent of the meetings,” Senibaldi said. “And I have always supported what the school district presented.”
Eyring said he is familiar with both town and school district initiatives related to the CIP. “I just want to serve on the committee,” Eyring said.
School board Chairman Daniel Popovici-Muller told Senibaldi that he should yield to Eyring. “Pass the responsibility around,” he said.
Vice-Chairman Rob Breton said he “had no issue with either gentleman serving on the CIP committee.”
After additional discussion, Eyring was appointed as the regular member to the Capital Improvement Plan Committee and Senibaldi was named as the alternate member. Former school board chairman Barbara Coish advised that both the alternate and the regular member should attend all CIP meetings.
The following were named as representatives to individual schools in the district: Rob Breton (Center School) Dennis Senibaldi (Windham Middle School), Tom Murray (Golden Brook School) and Daniel Popovici-Muller (Windham High School).
Senibaldi and Popovici-Muller were named as school board representatives to the professional development and labor negotiations committee; Popovici-Muller and Eyring were named as representatives to the school district policy committee; Breton was named to represent the Windham School Board at meetings of the Salem Chamber of Commerce; Murray will remain on the building and grounds committee; Breton was selected as the representative on the school district curriculum committee; Senibaldi was named to the contractual reimbursement and stipend committee; and Popovici-Muller will be representing Windham on the New Hampshire School Boards Association. Eyring is not in favor of remaining with the NHSBA, however, and urged his fellow board members to withdraw from the statewide entity.