CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

April 3, 2014

To Hampstead School Board:

To Hampstead School Board:

Except for the inconsequential Acceptance of Reports article, all Hampstead School Warrant articles were defeated on March 11th, even the $23.8 million budget, just a measly $10K above the default.

What an indictment of the School Board!

In case the Board is too shell-shocked to understand what the voters meant, let me explain.

The administrators report to you, not vice versa.

Stop being bullied into sheep (“team players”): stand on your own two feet and have the guts to lead, which is the legal obligation you assumed when we elected you. Else, resign.

Question everything until you understand and are fully satisfied: don’t just do a cursory review and hide behind the “they are the professionals” excuse to justify your vote/decision.

Recognize that schools are public service corporations where salaries and benefits are the largest expense, driven by union schedules based on “time in the saddle,” not performance.

Your often repeated claim that 80% of the budget is “outside our control” and the Board is powerless to make any adjustments is false. Yes, union contracts—that you negotiated—determine employees’ salaries/benefits but the Board determines how many employees it hires and keeps. Thus, you have absolute control of the size of all salary/benefits accounts.

Don’t claim that you cut the budget when the proposed bottom line is larger than last year’s: that’s a lie.

Forget the Bread Loaf facilities dream: it’s beautiful but will not be built. Never give an architect a blank check to “suggest improvements” because “we are overcrowded and need 21st century facilities” without providing firm boundaries.

Lower the budget! Its growth is inversely proportional to student enrollment.

The Board can begin immediately to redeem itself by investigating and implementing ways to lower the current cost-per-student from $16,532 to at least the state average of $13,627, such as: 1. Justifying the need for each of the 95 administrative and professional staff positions in the context of the current 908 students (PreK-8.); 2. Reducing staff without layoffs by not replacing the seven teachers retiring this year. 3. Filling the voids left by retiring teachers by reassigning personnel and/or redistributing responsibilities among current staff; hire only as last resort. 4. Transferring a teacher from Central School to 6th grade instead of hiring two budgeted teachers (4th and 6th grade).

Then, start work on a $22.8 million budget proposal for 2015-2016, which is $1 million less than the 2014-2015 budget.

Impossible? Here is a tip: you can save approximately $735K in basic salary/benefits, or 74 cents on the tax rate, by not replacing the seven retiring teachers.

Remember: we elected you to lead. Make us proud.

Jorge Mesa-Tejada

Hampstead

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Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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    2 days
  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

    Continued ...
    2 days 1 Photo
  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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    2 days 1 Photo
  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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    9 days 1 Photo
  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

    Continued ...
    9 days 1 Photo

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