2020 Raymond School Board Meetings

  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 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.






























Top of Page


Back to all School Board News articles





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

"You are what you do, not what you say you will do."
~ Carl Gustav Jung ~

Make your actions look like your words.

"Bullies need people to control, and when they can’t play the game with you, they find another victim."

Don’t become their victim.
~ Claire Cook ~
The Wildwater Walking Club

Develop an attitude of Gratitude !!
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~ Melody Beattie ~

"Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.

For, indeed, that’s all who ever have."
~ Margaret Mead ~

To be Successful you must be Significant.

Success is measured by status.

Significance is measured by Value & Contribution.

~~ Darren Hardy ~~
SUCCESS Magazine

Leadership is not whether you make mistakes; everyone does.

It’s how you face up to them and fix them.

~ Wall Street Journal ~

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!"
~ Sir Walter Scott ~