NEW MEMBERS of the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board, Tim Eldridge of Effingham (who fills the At-Large seat) and Kathleen King of New Durham, were sworn in by District Business Administrator Mary Patry at the board’s April 2 meeting. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
April 05, 2012NEW DURHAM — Student Representative Matt Lounsbury asked for a moment of silence in honor of a his former classmate and senior Darren Duncanson, who died in a car accident on Sunday, at the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board's April 2 meeting held at New Durham Elementary.
Duncanson was a member of the school's varsity basketball and football teams and was recently named a New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Scholar Athlete.
Lounsbury said Duncanson, a resident of New Durham, was a scholar athlete and asked that the board and public keep his family in their thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks.
In a unanimous vote Stacy Trites was named school board chairman and Dr. James Manning was elected vice chairman.
Superintendent Jack Robertson took a moment to reflect on the March election results for the school board.
"I just really want to say to all of our citizens and our taxpayers out there who came to vote in very difficult economic times how grateful I am for the overwhelming support that they gave to us in all of our warrant articles."
The plurality of each article was significant he said, "None of our articles just squeaked by, they all got very strong votes… I am so appreciative of that."
While the board voted to approve a school board policy titled Parental Objection to Specific Course Material member Charlene Seibel spoke and voted in opposition to it.
Mandated by State law to have such a policy, Seibel said that two groups claiming to be in favor of less government, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Free State Project, whose "core efforts are [from what I've learned] to undermine public education" are responsible for the legislation which is yet another way to usurp local control.
Historically she noted the district has always been "very sensitive to parental concerns" and though she didn't object the policy on face value she was "opposed to whence it came."
In response to Seibel's comments fellow board member Diane Drelick pointed out that the policy only puts in writing everything that the district already does.
"I agree in general with Charlene, there are a lot of laws that we have to deal with and enact policies for, but we have to pick our battles. This particular policy I don't necessarily disagree with because this is something we already do."
Later during public comments Ellen Phillips of New Durham thanked Seibel for her clear explanation and stance on the policy. She warned the board that in her opinion this type of policy was just "the tip of the iceberg."
Because of his dedication to the Kingswood complex expansion and renovation project over the past two and a half years as a part of the building and maintenance committee, Robertson asked that former board member Ernie Brown be deputized as a citizen representative to the committee in order so that he could "see out the end of the project and continue to report on the progress at board meetings."
"For continuity," Drelick agreed, "It's huge. It's really important especially being so close to the end of the project, it's hard to imagine anyone else being able to get up to speed."
Parents and citizens are welcome to participate on the various committees. The board unanimously agreed on the benefits of keeping Brown on board for the project.
Given the authority, Brown proceeded with a building update.
Having just attended the 99th construction meeting for Phase Two of the construction, Brown acknowledged, "It's been a long haul."
He described many areas of the construction that are nearing completion, including the middle school, "with the exception of a punch list" of final items needing inspection, and other areas that will be turned over within the next few weeks.
By the end of the month the modular buildings, which the district has been renting for 10-plus years now, will be gone, Brown reported.
After the project's completion but before the next school year the committee would like to see some sort of event or open house held for the community.
This meeting can be viewed in its entirety on line at www.wolfeborocommunitytelevision.com and will be scheduled on local television channel 26.
The School Board will meet next on May 7 in the Skylight Dining Room following a Joint Boards Meeting and dinner beginning at 6 p.m.