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Jack Widmer elected district school board chair


March 18, 2010
EFFINGHAM — Superintendent Jack Robertson began Monday's school board meeting by thanking the voters for their support on Election Day. All of the district's warrant articles were met with approval by the district's voters.

"It's terrific. Our voters have been very good to us in this district all the time I've been here… Our voters have been extremely supportive, we're very fortunate to have that kind of support."

While happy with the overall plurality of votes, Robertson was surprised however to find that a large number of voters didn't cast their votes for all four of the seats in article one. His concern, as he had predicted before Election Day, was that voters don't realize that they can vote for the seats outside of their own hometown. Since it is a district-wide ballot everyone can vote for the candidates no matter which town they live in or the candidate is from. Another point Robertson detected from an analysis of the election day results was that while some towns seemed to understand the benefits of the articles, especially articles II and III, others didn't. While it's understood that the language in the warrants can be confusing, the board had made a concerted effort to explain each to the district's communities. Next year the board will try to reach out to those towns where support is lagging most.

Board reorganization

Diane Drelick, school board representative of Effingham, who ran a contested race against William Piekut for the seat, will remain on the board. Drelick received 1,856 of the estimated 2,649 votes.

The gavel was passed from James Rines to the board's new chair, Jack Widmer of Tuftonboro, and Stacy Trites of Wolfeboro was nominated for vice chair. Widmer took a moment at the end of the meeting to "thank [Rines] for two fantastic years of leadership."

Other news

Coming very soon after having received approval from the district to consider Build America Bonds as one option for financing Phase II of the building project, Robertson reported that the district would not be using the Build America Bonds option.

"The more information we got on them," Robertson said, "the less desirable they became." Not only did the interest rate seem higher, but also the ongoing auditing fees associated with Build America Bonds were very costly. Robertson recommended the board opt for another capital appreciation bond.

Because of this the board resolved that they are ready to sell $34,238,787 of bonds in accordance with the vote taken on March 10 to be used on the Kingswood project.

Ernie Brown reported that North Branch Construction remains ahead of schedule despite the recent rainfall. Workers have begun installing the underground utilities in the multipurpose building and they are beginning to tie the 210 drilled wells to the underground vault. As for the ledge removal, blasting has been completed. For more on Brown's project update see his article on page A8 of this edition of the Granite State News.

Thanks largely to Donna San Antonio and as part of the ongoing Voices curriculum, Ossipee Central School will be host to several graduate students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The grad students will be working with teachers who have volunteered to participate in a review of the school's curriculum, including classroom observation and group meetings. Over time they will aid the teachers in implementing the curriculum. After a final presentation scheduled for May 3, in which staff throughout the district will be invited, the hope is that the benefits from the work done will be shared with staff across the district to strengthen the Voices program throughout.

The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board will meet again on Monday, April 5, at 7 p.m. in the New Durham School.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

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