School board gets scheduling flexibility from new law
|INCOMING STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE Matthew Lounsbury (right) looks on as outgoing rep Tim Campbell shows off his gift from the school board at last Monday evening’s meeting. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)|
May 26, 2011WOLFEBORO — While state legislative "budget battles" carry on, one piece of legislation can be viewed as a small victory for the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board and administration.
During the board's meeting last Monday, May 23, Superintendent Jack Robertson announced to the Board that Governor John Lynch had signed New Hampshire House Bill 112.
Originally put forth by the board during the 2009-10 academic year as part of a school board resolution to the New Hampshire School Board's Association, the bill had failed to succeed in Concord until recently when, on May 9, the Governor signed the bill making it effective in 60 days.
Sponsored by local representatives Chris Ahlgren, Dave Knox, Betsey Patten, Steve Schmidt, Jeffrey St. Cyr, and Senator Jeb Bradley, House Bill 112 calls for more local control over school district calendars. More specifically the "bill provides that the number of days in the school year may be defined by the department of education in rules which specify an equivalent number of hours."
Working with a required number of instructional hours versus a required number of instructional days allows the district more freedom to plan its academic calendar. The idea for the bill proposal stemmed from experience in working with the Department of Education while trying to make some variations to upcoming years' calendars due to the impending construction at the Kingswood complex.
No longer an impending hypothetical, however, work on the Kingswood complex is well underway, with North Branch Construction and its subcontractors now in the thick of things.
Anticipating a heavy schedule this summer, Chair of the Building and Maintenance Committee, Ernie Brown, reported that they are now in what he calls, "the critical phase of construction."
Hoping to wrap up the middle school renovation over the summer and address a chunk of the interior renovation work needed within the vocational center and high school building, the construction company will be upping its work week to six 12 hour days and adding a third construction superintendent to the project.
North Branch recently revised their schedule to ensure that all three buildings will have adequate functioning classroom space come fall. Better yet, by the New Year the team expects that even the modulars currently sitting in front of the high school will no longer be needed and will be returned to their owner. Additionally, if all goes as planned, the entire complex should be online with the geothermal heating and cooling system by September, making the high school's costly electric heat obsolete.
With the rush of senior activities that seem to consume each May almost over, this year's seniors have but one more high school event to attend – graduation. The ceremony will be held this Saturday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Nick.
One graduating senior, Tim Campbell, who currently serves as student representative to the school board, had the chance to introduce his successor to the board's members. Matt Lounsbury, who will be a senior in the fall, won the recently-held school election and will take over the position in September. The board thanked Campbell for his two years as student rep. with a sweatshirt from Bates College, which he will be attending in the fall.
In other school board news, the board agreed to add the Brookfield town office building into the mix of places it will meet next school year. As has been the practice each year the board holds one meeting at each of the district's elementary schools. Traveling to the schools allows a visit with each school's principals that often times includes a presentation by some of the school's students, as well as gives the residents of that town the chance to attend a meeting at a more convenient location. Since Brookfield does not have an elementary school, the board's meeting schedule normally bypasses the town; however, at the request of Brookfield resident (and selectman) Ernie Brown, the town will be included in the board's meeting rotation.
The board voted unanimously to reappoint Mary Patry to the position of school district clerk.
Cool Water Kids project
The board approved a request from Ossipee Central School's Cool Water Kids seeking permission to stencil the phrase "only rain down the drain" on the pavement or concrete surrounding storm drains in the school's parking lot.
An extension of the Ossipee School's Out Program, the Cool Water Kids are working with representatives of the Green Mountain Conservation Group to label storm drains around Ossipee.
The project offers students a chance to collaborate with the non-profit, present their idea to the Ossipee Board of Selectmen (for approval to mark town drains that are off of school property), and disperse some environmentally sound advice to their fellow community members.
While not all members believed there was a need for such markings, it was agreed that no harm could be done and the board voted unanimously in favor.
Kingswood Alumni Association
The Kingswood Regional High School Alumni Association is anxious to coordinate a 2012 event to coincide with homecoming and hopefully the completion of the building project.
Seeking the guidance of the board, association members Kristie Smith and Erin Donnelly, said the Alumni Association would rather work in conjunction with what the school board might already have planned to celebrate the completion of the project, rather than setting up an isolated event.
Both parties agreed that it makes sense for the two groups to work together on an event or to plan events that compliment each other. But because the board has yet to begin generating ideas on what such an event might entail, it was suggested that Donnelly remain in touch with the Public Relations Committee in order to stay abreast of developing ideas and information. The topic will be revisited as fall 2012 nears.
Kingswood alumni are encouraged to utilize the newly revamped Alumni site, http://krhs-alumni.org. Among other tings the Site offers past students a chance to reconnect, find events, and organize class reunions.
The school board meeting can be viewed in its entirety on Wolfeboro Community TV channel 26.
The board will meet next on Monday, June 6 at the SAU office in Wolfeboro.