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November 30, 2011
ALTON — The Alton School Board met on Monday, Nov. 28, and spent the a good portion of the meeting going over a draft of warrant articles for next year.

The article that received the most discussion is the article involving the renovation to Alton Central School.

Superintendent Kathy Holt gave the board a number that would be presented to the voters totaling $22,917,431. This is the total number that would be bonded if the project was approved by the citizens of Alton.

The number was obtained by taking a number halfway between the low estimate, $21,085,805, and the high estimate, $26,266,337, and subtracting the projects and capital reserves that wouldn't be needed if the project was approved.

Member Sandy Wyatt suggested creating an article to allow for only the construction of the new three-story new addition.

Wyatt isn't confident that the article will pass and would like to see some improvements added to the school.

Noyes suggested talking about these issues at the next building and grounds meeting, which was held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, after press time.

Holt went through the remaining warrant articles, which included: The teachers' contract at ACS, an article to allow a special meeting if the budget isn't approved, $20,000 for the closure of the underground storage tank, $45,000 to purchase a new telephone system, $60,000 for unanticipated utilities, $50,000 for geothermal energy, $150,000 to be put in an expendable trust for buildings and grounds, $135,000 for an expendable trust for the roof, $44,000 for window repairs in an expendable trust, $30,000 for a bathroom refurbishment fund, $30,000 for a capital reserve fund for the fire suppression system, $10,000 for paving of the parking lot and several items at Prospect Mountain High School; unanticipated utilities, a teachers' contract, a professional development fund and an expendable trust for building maintenance.

Several of the warrant articles will include language that will only put them into effect if the article involving the renovation to ACS fails.

The board discussed removing an article that called for $12,500 to be put into a trust to purchase a new truck in the future, but the board changed this article to call for $15,000 to purchase a used truck without a plow.

The board approved a draft form of the above articles that was being brought forward to the budget committee tonight, Thursday, Dec. 1.

The board accepted a concrete bid of $5,996 to install a new concrete pad near the back of the school by the playground.

The board approved several policies for a first reading, including an updated policy of bullying that included a new reporting form.

Holt brought forward to the board a request to transfer some students off of Bus 7 and onto Bus 5.

She explained that several students were taken off of the Bus 5 and place onto to the Bus 7 route some time ago due to overcrowding, but that there is now room on Bus 5.

The board approved the request brought forward by Holt.

Holt also spoke about a resolution that was brought forward by the board at the last school board meeting to the New Hampshire School Board Association suggesting moving away from the NECAP testing and to the SAT testing.

The NHSBA said that they would not be moving forward in support of this recommendation, but the issue will be discussed by the New Hampshire Department of Education.

Holt reported that the dental insurance for the school is going down by 9.5 percent next year and that the health insurance isn't increasing.

Member Lynda Goossens brought forward a complaint by the budget committee about the recent approval of a camera system with a cost of $7,900.

Goossens said that members of the budget committee weren't happy about how the approval went through the board, as it is not but out to bid and quotes were obtained.

The budget committee requested that the project by paid for out of the safety and security line in the budget and not out of end of the year funds.

Business Administrator Kathy O'Blenes said that she would look into it.

Holt talked to the board about the state board of education and how they were looking into waivers involving the No Child Left Behind Act.

Holt is concerned with creating such waivers in the future.

Pam Forbes, the director of instruction, presented the board with a presentation on the science scores from the NECAP testing from last spring by the fourth and eighth grade students.

Forbes showed that the Level 1 scores in fourth grade have gone from 10 percent to zero percent in three years and that scores in Level 2 and Level 3 have gone up during this same three-year period.

In the eighth grade testing results, Forbes displayed that the percentage of scores in Level 1 and Level 2 scores have gone up, but the percentage of scores in Level 3 have gone down.

She also compared the scores in the two grade levels to the rest of the state.

In the fourth grade results, students are lower than the state in Level 1 and Level 2 and higher than the state in Level 3.

At the eighth grade level, students are higher in Levels 1-3 and lower in Level 4.

Forbes also broke down the results by the four different science categories: Physical Science, Earth Space Science, Life Science and Inquiry.

She showed that there is room for improvement in each area.

Forbes talked about the recent changes in the curriculum and that it will take some time to see the changes in the test results.

"You won't see the benefits this year," Forbes said. "There are still kids that are going to have holes,"

Principal Sydney Leggett talked briefly about the reformed curriculum. She explained that almost the entire curriculum has been overhauled and that teachers are currently working on the social studies curriculum to go along with changes to the other core subjects; reading, math, science and writing.

The next scheduled meeting of the Alton School Board is on Monday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Alton Central School music room.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
Tiffany Eddy
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