2020 Raymond School Board Meetings

Canceled School Trips a Concern
By Penny Williams   3-21-20

The Raymond School Board met Wednesday, March 18, having posted the
following message on their agenda:

We will be providing alternative methods to provide input at our upcoming  School Board meetings so that residents will not feel it necessary to attend the meeting in person. We encourage residents who wish to provide public input or have questions about the agenda items to submit them via email to schoolboard@sau33.com. Alternatively, residents may call in and comment or ask questions over the phone during the public input portion of the meeting. Residents may call 895-6405 and you will be placed on speaker phone.
   The board dealt with overnight field trips status noting that due to COVID-19  the Washington D.C trip scheduled for May 5-8, Nature's Classroom, April 20-24, and the NYC Senior Class Trip April 9-11, have been canceled. The School District is investigating refund options because money has already been paid on these trips. The District's goal is to recoup funds to the greatest extent possible.

Nature's Classroom and the District have an agreement to pay $7,5000 and while the hope is this can be rescheduled Chair Joe Saulnier was adamant they should go to court if necessary to get this cost refunded. The District is in the process of trying to arrange for refunds relative to the NYC tip but costs relating to things like show tickets and hotel deposits may not get refunded. However, the tour company is already in contact with suppliers in an attempt to obtain refunds.

In discussing this, the board noted that day trips down the road may be canceled as well. The role of the district is to determine what's owed parents who have paid and stand to lose money from these cancelations. Board member Janice Arsenault said the district should try to get as much in the way of refunds as possible.

The board accepted with thanks a $3,000 donation to the Lamprey River Elementary School Lunch Fund from the Raymond VFW and Raymond VFW Auxiliary.  VFW Commander Alan Orff and VFW Auxiliary President Josephine Morotte present their donation to the board that is to be used to reduce the student meal debt at LRES. The board voted to accept the donation and thanked the VFW and VFW Auxiliary for their generous donation.
  The Raymond School District Treasurer, Tim Auclair, introduced himself to the board and gave a brief explanation of what his role and responsibilities are. He was there primarily to discuss the fact that there is no assistant treasurer. He said this could be a problem and at the very least it is unwise. He encouraged the board to take this issue under consideration and nominate someone for the assistant treasurer position. His point was if he is unable to do something or be somewhere required then nothing will get done and when dealing with the $1.5 million the school district spends monthly, this could be a serious situation.  Saulnier agreed and said he would put it on the To Do list.

Superintendent Tina McCoy spoke to the board via telephone as she was home sick. She said the district is working to format online learning and that they are learning as they go. She indicated students could collect materials between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.

The remote classrooms, she said are already off the ground and the administration is figuring out how to keep track of Special Education Services during this time. However, work is being done to develop a support system for remote classrooms.

Starting on Monday the High School is restricted in terms of hours of operation and use with only the Board of Selectmen and School Board being allowed in to use the cable. LRES is closed completely and the Middle School will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for deliveries by appointment, and for students/families to pick up Technology equipment. The bag meals will be prepared there with cooking crews staggered and the food can be  picked up there. She noted the SAU would be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. but only two people would be there at a time with all others working remotely.

The board went over the School Board Committee assignments and discussed future agenda items. These included a couple of policies that Saulnier felt needed to be looked at, the Assistant Treasurer position that needs to be filled, taking a look at providing Basic Life Support and ADA Training in the district along with expanding Technology training for staff were the main goals on the board's To Do list.

The board recognized board member Michelle Couture who completed her term.

The board accepted with regret the resignation of LRES Physical Education Teacher Lou Faulkner who is going to pursue a new career path Saulnier said. He added that the kids really love Faulkner and he wonders if he may find he misses the kids as much as they are going to miss him but he thanked him for his service and wished him well. The board voted to accept his resignation and Arsenault thanked him for the early notice that helps with the board seeking a replacement.

School Board Hears from Technology Director
By Penny Williams   3-8-20

The Raymond School Board met on Wednesday, March 4, and covered a number of topics including technology updates, drinking water lead removal and School/Care Holiday refund.

Kevin Federico, Technology Director gave his technology update to the board. He spoke about compliance with House Bill 1612, Data Management and Governance Plan, noting the district has to update several policies that reference technology for staff and students. He told the board complying with the new Data Management and Privacy requirements for a school district is a huge job so the district is part of the NH Student Privacy Alliance (NHSPA) and depends upon this organization to keep the district's 3rd party vendor's compliant with state and federal regulations. The organizations the district is part of, such as the NH Chief Technology Officer Consortium and the NHSPA, make sure that the district stays compliant with HB 1612.
A recent example, he said, is Project Aware. They need a data sharing agreement and we are working with NHSPA to obtain that. Federico said the Raymond School District has already been on this and is looking for the agreement so Raymond will have it signed and sealed and delivered for the year.

He said the district has contracted with two independent consultants to evaluate the digital footprint of the Raymond School District. Amplified IT will be looking at Google administrative console and domain while RTM (Removing the Mystery) will be the onsite assessment company.

He told the board two major systems within the school district need to be overhauled or replaced, the camera system and the telephone system. He said he is researching plans and options for both overhaul and total replacement and will bring the proposals to the Superintendent over the next several months.

He said plans are in place to review the plans associated with the 4th grade move to the Middle School. The proposed plans will be reviewed to verify the district is on track and if there changes or adjustments found that need to made these will be put before the school board. He indicated the IT department is reviewing the Raymond School District 1 to 1 technology plan. 

Jayme Brannan, Raymond High School Sophomore holds the rank of Cadet 3nd Lieutenant and is the current Cadet Commander of the Seacoast Composite Squadron within the New Hampshire Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. He was brought before the board for recognition of what he does.

Among his responsibilities is supervising and mentoring his staff of twenty cadet officers and NCOs. Within his own Civil Air Patrol career he primarily focuses on Emergency Services, earning his Urban Direction Finding and Ground Team Member 3 ratings. While serving the local squadron he has worked his way up the ladder serving as flight sergeant, First Sergeant, Flight Commander and now Cadet Commander, the highest position. He is an experienced and excellent leader and through extensive training and testing in Leadership, Aerospace, and Search and Rescue he has acquired many important skills.

Members of the board told him they were impressed and congratulated him on his achievements.

The RHS Bowling Team was supposed to come to meet the board for their outstanding season but they will come next meeting.

One of the RHS water fountains on the second floor was tested and found to need attention and lead removal. It was turned off October 19, 2019. The Andrew J. Sumner company did the job of replacing the water cooler, piping and fittings a test was run by Seacoast Analytical Services early in February to ensure the new fountain's water quality met state requirements. After the replacement the testing done showed that the lead was less than 0.005 where the EPA Maximum recommended is 0.015. The total cost of the project was $1,700.
The board signed the document verifying the testing and that the fountain is back in service and for the application for reimbursement.

Finance Administrator Marjorie Whitmore told the board the district had received $212,605.33 total Holiday Refund from the SchoolCare Medical health and dental. The refund is part of SchoolCare's surplus which the courts have determined must be returned back to the members. Of that amount $12,416.81 will be refunded to employees and the rest will be returned as revenue.


Raymond School Board Chooses Preschool Design Bid
By Penny Williams  2-25-20

The Raymond School Board discussed the four bids for the Preschool Design at the Wednesday, February 19 meeting. The bids ranged from $12,250 to $42,200. Finance Administrator Marjorie Whitmore said she had checked all four bids to ensure that the low bidder had addressed everything the other bidders had and they were all comparable.

Some of the renovations needed at the High School for the Preschool include:
*Two sets of preschool bathrooms and separate sink in each of two rooms
*Two additional classrooms would need to be moved.

The board discussed this briefly and voted to accept the low bid from Cowan Goudreau Architects PLLC of $12,250 to do the Preschool Design. The only question from the board was whether this company had experience and recommendations regarding work on schools. Whitmore said they did.

They are still accepting bids for the playground work which includes:
*Playground equipment and installation of playground
*Fencing for Playground.

A few members of the Raymond High School Penguin Plunge team came before the board to describe their event. This team of 130 students raised over $45,000, more money than any other high school, to benefit the Special Olympics. Raymond High School Teacher Bill Hayes has coordinated the students for several years.  Hayes  and some of his team presented their event information and their feelings about it to the board.

A group of Lamprey River Elementary School students came before the board Wednesday evening and described the LRES FUNdations Reading Program they participate in. This program is described by the Wilson Language Training Website as " FUNdations serves as a prevention program to help reduce reading and spelling failure. It is integral to a Multi-tiered System of Supports or Response to intervention framework, providing research-based instruction in Tier 1 as well as early intervention (Tier2) for students at risk for reading difficulties. To support the implementation of the these frameworks, progress monitoring is built into FUNdations. This allows students requiring a more intensive program to be identified early before undergoing years of struggle."

Superintendent Tina McCoy shared the Strategic Plan and updated the board on what has been achieved and where the district is with regard to their Strategic Goals. She reminded the board that the driving force behind the Strategic Goals is to move to unite students and the community, to provide the best quality education possible for all students. She indicated that by 2023,  80 percent of the student community will be proficient in the core courses.

Whitmore responded to the question about the increase in Special Education as she reviewed the monthly Financial update, saying she didn't have the specifics but could get them for the board. The board wondered if the increased cost was the result of another special education student being placed in an out-of-district facility.

McCoy told the board there was a resignation of a Raymond High School Case Manager. Emily Denn will be leaving March 22. The board voted to accept her resignation.


  School Board Hears from Students of Seacoast School of Technology and Approves Two Expenditures
By Penny Williams     2/11/20

The Raymond School Board took action on several things during its Wednesday evening, February 5, meeting.

After holding a Public Hearing,  where there were no public comments, the board discussed the expenditure of up to $20,000 from the Raymond School District Equipment Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund.

The original $32,275 bid that was adjusted to a bid of $14,375  by JBC Associates, LLC was explained to the board regarding the building of a wall at that Raymond High School. The board was told the design had been altered so the wall would not go all the way to the ceiling, but up 18-feet only. The wall design was reviewed by the Raymond Fire Department who approve the plan.  The board voted to approve the expenditure.

The board addressed a request to consider and accept the expenditure of unanticipated funds from state, federal, and/or private sources in the amount of $399,750.87 for Title 1, Title 11A Title IVA, Title IVB, IDEA, NH Department of Health and Human Services and Project Aware as well as $56,816.08 in Impact Fees.

  Again there were no comments during the Public Hearing and the board   noted  that these funds came in over what the district had budgeted for and would primarily be applied to salaries, benefits, supplies and training for the various programs. The board voted to accept and expend these additional funds received in grants and impact fees.

Chair Joe Saulnier did ask that where and how the impact fees can and are spent be looked into and the board informed. It was noted that impact fees must be spent within 7 years of collection or returned.
    Raymond High School Senior, Melanie Robinson, spoke to the board asking for their support to reinstate the Mythology Course that was not offered for this year. She told the board she had gathered signatures from 32 interested students and had the encouragement of an English Language teacher who was interested in teaching the course.

 Superintendent Tina McCoy said in response to a board question that the course could be offered to grade 11 as well as to the proposed Grade 12. She indicated it would be looked into to see if the course could be offered this year at this point in time. It was last offered in 2018 and would be for an English credit.
    The board voted unanimously to have the Raymond High School offer the Mythology class the students had petitioned for and that it be added to the classes being offered.

RHS students Ryan Loader, Amanda Michaud, and Amber Arpin  spoke about their courses at Seacoast School of Technology.   

Ryan Loader and Amanda Michaud spoke about the Animal Plants Science Program.

Ryan described some of the things they have participated  in such as learning about animal behavior,  going on a dairy field trip and getting to judge cattle, doing an animal welfare unit, and a Vet tech unit as well as a business aspects. He indicated that participation in the program had solidified his intention to go into the veterinary field and it had helped him with public speaking.

Amanda said her experience in the program has been really positive and also confirmed her intention to go into the veterinary field. She said she learned how to administer medication, groom animals, cut toe nails, clean eyes and ears, give vaccinations and much more. She said she is a Chapter Officer of her class, has gotten 2 jobs from this experience and will be going to college.

Amanda commented that the jackets she and Ryan wore represented the students in the program, the fact that they help benefit the country, the environment and the world..  

Amber described that she has learned how to do illustrations, photo editing, and animation in the Digital Media Arts program. She shared some of her projects with the board. She said the program had greatly broadened her view of art as well as providing opportunities for community service. Participation in
this program earns college credits which helps.

Health Science was described by Jenelle Welenc who indicated that students taking it for two years can get their LNA or an internship in a given field. This means for some they can go right from high school into a job. She said she had learned a lot but was planning to pursue pre-engineering the next year.

Raymond School Board Struggles To Reduce Budget By Hundred Thousand
By Penny Williams   1-27-20

  The Raymond School Board spent a lot of time looking at various scenarios for how to meet the Budget Committee request for reducing the School District budget bottom line by $100,000, at the Wednesday, January 22 meeting.

  Board member Janice Arsenault had several proposals as did Chair Joe Saulnier. The board had previously consider deleting the YESS Worker whose $68,906 salary would get them a good way toward their goal. However, this position was essentially removed from the discussion.

  The board instead looked at possibly eliminating  the World Language Teacher position. Arsenault felt deleting this put the students at a distinct disadvantage. Another negative aspect of this was that it had just been approved last year as a full time position and several board members thought it would be sending a very bad message to the community if the board the following year cut the position to half time or got rid of it altogether.

  The board basically agreed that the Pre-School Coordinator position could be eliminated and the responsibilities covered in a different manner. Added to that was the suggestion to lower the general supplies and periodicals' lines as well as eliminating the part time Human Resource position.

  Other areas for reduction discussed were Salaries and Professional Development lines. Still another area where a cut could be made was to the technical line for the Promethean Boards for classrooms.

  A vote was taken on reducing professional development by $14,365; taking $20,000 from supplies; reducing periodicals by $3,252; eliminating the Pre-Kindergarten position for $29,030; and eliminating the Human Resource position cutting out $21,353; and reducing the Promethium Board line to $12,000. However, this failed by a 2 to2 vote.

The board then tried a couple more versions and Saulnier tabled the discussion for the moment to move ahead and discuss the resignation of the French Language teacher at the High School. The board voted to accept the resignation and then nominated Jessica Caron for the Project Awareness  position of Director of Student Behavior Health. The board approved this $83,000 position since it is entirely covered by the Project Awareness grant.

   Then the board returned to figure out how to cut $100,000 from their budget.

   Arsenault proposed reducing Professional Development by $9,774; Supplies down by $16,515; Periodicals down by $3,252; eliminating the Pre-Kindergarten Coordinator position removing $29,030;  and, reducing the World Language position to part time at $41,429. This proposal failed by a vote of 2 to 2.

  The board continued to discuss the World Language position, the YESS Worker position and the Human Resource part time position. The thrust of the discussion was to find a path of reduction that didn't impact students.

  Board member  Melissa Sytek offered an alternative scenario that was defeated  and finally the board accepted and approved the following reduction scenario.
  Professional Development would be reduced by $13,260; Periodicals would be lowered by $3,252; Supplies would be reduced by $24,458; The Pre-K position removed saving $29,030; Promethium Boards were cut  removing $24,000; and salaries line reduced by $10,000.
  The board accepted a $1,169.53 donation from the Knights of Columbus that was derived from the organization's tootsie roll drive, which raised $4,000. Some of the money goes to Special Olympics and the school districts in Raymond and  Epping split 50 percent of the proceeds that are designated to benefit Special Education programs. The board also accepted an anonymous donation of $500 for the school lunch program.
  The School District Moderator Ed French came before the board with a series of questions as the Deliberative session approaches, Saturday, February 8. He asked if there were any warrant article extended presentations anticipated and Saulnier said no he thought most if not all would be in the 2 to 3 minute range.

  The only one that might go 5 minutes or more he thought was Article 5, that asks the voters to enter into a multi-year lease purchase agreement for installation of up to $1,743,064 of energy saving equipment and associated building and facility improvements at Raymond High School and Iber Holmes Gove Middle School and to raise and appropriate $125,216 in annual lease payments to be partially offset by energy savings and a resulting reduction in costs. Given savings the future estimated budget impact would be $59,478.

     The board went over the two bids received for the Needs Assessment contract for the Lamprey River Elementary School. One bid was from Barker Architects for a total of  $19,800 and the other was from the Turner Group for $22,000.  Meetings have been held with both to discuss their bids and the board was satisfied with the low bid contract from Barker Architects and voted to approve it.

     The board discussed the Citizen Petition Article 9 that asks voters to require that the annual budget and all special warrant articles having a tax impact as determined by the governing body shall contain the notation stating the estimated  tax impact of the article pursuant to RSA 32:55 V-b.

     This article was put forward by Selectman and State Representative Kathy Hoelzel.

     The school board members felt that putting estimated tax impact numbers on articles was often misleading and confusing. Saulnier said the board's attorney was not in favor of the board recommending this article but the board felt there needs to be consistency between the school district and the town and so voted 4-0 to recommend it.


Budget Committee Trims School District Budget
By Penny Williams    1-14-20

     The School Board discussed the action of the Budget Committee to reduce the School District's Operating Budget by $100,000 at their Wednesday, Jan. 8, meeting.

     The School Board members weren't pleased but accepted the decision by the Budget Committee to reduce the School District Operating budget accepting the measure as a done deal about which they could do little other than decide where to make the necessary adjustments.

      Janice Arsenault spoke up setting the tone of the discussion saying that she would support the budget committee's reduction. She suggested cutting the LRES Pre- School Coordinator position and cut the YESS worker who works with just nine students who have  behavioral issues. The Budget Committee identified the behavioral worker as one position they thought should be eliminated and that would account for $68,000.

       The board spent a lot of time discussing reducing the amount of money for salaries. The finance department puts aside what it believes is  sufficient money to come rehires for teachers who retire or leave. Board members suggested cutting as much as $80,000 from here but Superintendent Tina McCoy warned that replacing retiring or leaving teachers doesn't necessarily cost less as often times the replacement teacher's salary is more than the teacher who left but that in some cases a replacement teacher's salary is less but it is difficult to judge what the difference will be.  Right now three teachers are expected to retire or leave but it doesn't always happen as people do change their minds. Nevertheless, a small adjustment to this area could be made to work.

      The board looked at possibly removing the pre-school coordinator position, adjusting the retirement salary line and removing the YESS worker and one board member suggested removing the proposed new Human Resource hire rather than removing the behavioral counselor position and taking more from the salary line.

      The board didn't make any final decision on how to meet the $100,000 operating budget reduction but did vote to recommend the Budget Committee School District Operating Budget amount of $25,902,672.

      The board ended up with two possible options to meet the reduction.

* Cut Pre School Coordinator; the Human Resource hire and take $50,000 from salaries.
   * Cut the Pre School Coordinator, the YESS worker position.

      The administration and the finance department will work on coming up with a recommendation as to which option would be the best way to go for the schools and the students. The board tabled any action or recommendation on this subject and agreed to wait and see what the administration decides and brings back to the board.

    Judy DiNatale provided the board with her Nutrition Services Report. She said the Nutrition Service Department has remained fully staffed up through the end of December, adding that the two new Raymond High School staff members have proven to be fine team members. Big sellers have been the ultra-merchandised smoothies and the fruit or veggie dipping cups.

     She said 70 parents/grandparents joined the kindergarteners at LRES for the Harvest Feast that is a sort of warm-up for Thanksgiving.

     Mary Deflumeri retired at the end of December from IHGMS and Linda St. Pierre from the New Wave Deli at RHS has moved to replace her.

     Student population has remained basically level with last year but the distribution among schools has changed, most evident at RHS where there are 22 fewer students. The percentage of Free and Reduced eligible students has dropped by 4 percent with the largest being 7 percent less Free eligible than last year. There have been more applicants but more denials this year based on the 2019-20 income qualifying tables and fewer students being Directly Certified through State programs this year. The result is average daily participation is down 4 percent at IHGMS; down 2 percent at LRES; and, down 2 percent at RHS.

     Reduced eligible breakfasts are up slightly, she reported. Also A La Carte sales  are up at RHS by an average of $40 per day.

     The students and teachers  from the LRES 4th Grade talked about the success of the UNH STEMbassador program visit. The STEMbassadors come from the UNH College of engineering and Physical Science and is an educational outreach program where the engineering students come to the school and work hands-on with students on a variety of STEM projects. The students were excited and told the board how much they had learned from this program and how much fun it was. The teachers and coordinators did pre planning for the event with preparatory lessons making the program successful.






























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Raymond School Board Members

Joseph Saulnier

Janice Arsenault

Michelle Couture

Beth Paris

Moe Titcomb

To email the entire Board: schoolboard@sau33.com.

Emails sent to more than one Board Member may be subject to disclosure under the NH Right to Know laws.

Raymond SCHOOL DISTRICT website
for more information.

Raymond High School
for RHS news & information.

Iber Holmes Gove Middle School
for IHGMS news & information.

Lamprey River Elementary School News
for LRES news & information.

Raymond School District
   Job Postings.

RHS Alumni Association News
for Alumni Assoc information

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