Alton selectmen and school board hold joint meeting
School budget, ACS renovation and communications discussed
October 26, 2011ALTON — The Alton School Board met on Monday, Oct. 24, and they discussed the finalized numbers for the proposed budget for next year for Alton Central School.
The board approved a total bottom line budget of $9,637,507. During the meeting, they added a total of $139,319, with the majority of this number coming from the anticipated out of district placement for a student.
The final budget number is an increase of $32,702, or a 0.34 percent percentage increase, from the proposed bottom line number from last year, which didn't include a new master agreement that recently approved by the voters.
Prior to the discussion of the budget, the school board met jointly with the Alton Board of Selectmen to talk about improving communications.
Loring Carr, the vice chairman of the Board of Selectmen, asked about trying to tie in the oil bid with the high school and possibly together with the town in the future.
Town administrator Russ Bailey said the town currently uses Fuller Oil for heating oil and Eastern Propane for propane.
School Board Vice Chair Krista Argiropolis asked that the board and town work together and that there should be more open communications between the administrators of both the town and the school.
Chair Terri Noyes asked if any updates have been made to the master plan, and Selectman Peter Bolster said that the plan hasn't been updated in a while.
School Board Member Jeff St. Cyr suggested developing a marketing package that could be presented to potential businesses that could draw them into moving to Alton.
Selectman Chair Dave Hussey suggested that the business district needs to be expanded.
The two boards discussed the proposed renovations to ACS.
For details of the proposed renovation costs, see the accompanying article on the Alton Buildings and Grounds meeting.
Hussey questioned the installation of a geothermal field, and Superintendent Kathy Holt explained that she has visited several sights where it has worked.
During public input, Steve Miller, Steve Parker and Barbara Howard questioned the approval of installing a camera system without putting the project out to bid.
Holt explained that that project wasn't put out to bid because several bids were received on the project, and she felt that this was adequate for this project.
Holt explained that the system wouldn't require 24/7 coverage in front of a monitor. She said that system is being installed to protect the students when they are traveling in between the modular trailers and the main school building.
Miller asked the board to provide him with an item that wasn't paid for as a result of the paying for the camera system, and Noyes said that this couldn't provided on the spot. She encourage him put in a formal request so that the board would have time to respond to the request.
The board gave special recognition to Mary Tetrault, who is leaving her position as the board secretary, which involves taking the minutes of each meeting.
The board approved a phone poll that was taken so that a boiler could be replaced. The total cost of the boiler replacement ended up being $21,645.
The board also approved a two-year contract with R&K Landscaping for snowplowing, with a cost of $7,900 for each year.
Principal Sydney Leggett introduced a proposed survey that will be sent out to parents.
The survey deals with technology, and it will allow the school to gather information to allow the school to apply for a grant that could provide training and computers for parents in the community.
Chris MacStravic and Barbara Howard were selected as community members for the principal search committee.
The board discussed at length ways to get input from the public on the principal search.
They suggested placing a survey in the paper and posting it online to insure that as many people as possible would have the opportunity to provide input.
The current enrollment at ACS was announced as 547 students.
The board offered congratulations to Pam McLeod for receiving an award from NHSTE and to volunteers in the school for being awarded with a Blue Ribbon Award.
St. Cyr suggested using the automated phone system to send updates to members of the community that aren't parents.
Earlier in the meeting, Parker questioned an automated call being made informing parents to go out and vote for the new master agreement earlier this month.
St. Cyr thinks that providing this service to community members would make sense.
It was suggested that McLeod make sure that providing this service would have no additional cost.
The next scheduled meeting of the Alton School Board is on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Alton Central School music room.
Tim Croes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126