2021 Raymond School Board Meetings

Raymond School Board Tackles Several Important Issues
By Penny Williams    1-21-21

On Wednesday evening, January 20, the Raymond School Board tackled several issues including 2021 Raymond High School Graduation, Senior Prom,  the Deliberative, and a Middle School field trip and the Budget Committee Operating Budget decision requiring the board to find another $200,000 in reductions to the operating budget they had come up with.
Eighth Grade Teacher Felicia Formissano, math and class advisor, and IHGMS Principal Bob Bickford addressed an overnight trip for the 8th Grade Class Trip. They said they had rejected any trip to Washington D.C. for this year and had stepped outside the box to find an acceptable alternate plan.

What they came up with  is an overnight trip to northern Maine to Adventures Bound that offers white water rafting, rock climbing, and, ropes activities. Adventure Bound follows and adheres to all COVID-19 guidelines - mask wearing, social distancing - with regard to the eating, sleeping and adventure experiences and opportunities.

There would be two groups - Group A and Group B.  Only two buses would be required and the event would span one over night for each group. Group A would go up on Tuesday, spend the night and at the end of the day on Wednesday return to Raymond. Group 2 would leave Raymond Wednesday morning and return on Thursday

The cost of the trip would be about $162 per student, plus the bus trip cost of $128 per student and $20 for food per student or a total of $310. The board discussed this and Bickford was told to go ahead and iron out the details such as what happens if the school has to suspend the activity and so forth. It was noted that there will be some sort of consideration for a High School Senior trip and students were encouraged to make suggestions.

Raymond High School Principal Steve Woodward discussed graduation and prom for his high school seniors. He indicated that there would be something for a prom even if it turns out to be an alternate activity.  The board felt it should be limited to seniors which would make developing an activity easier just in terms of the numbers.

Graduation is under discussion and the date is set for June 11. The seniors don't want it in the parking lot and suggested the field area be considered. The board agreed outside venues should be the focus  and agreed a rain date should accompany any plan. The possibilities will be taken up by the board at a later date when Woodward has more concrete ideas regarding both of these events.

Discussions regarding the Deliberative included  Moderator Edward French. Initially the thinking was to have the RHS cafe be the central location for masked in person attendance but by the end of the conversation it was decided that the main room would be the gym and the cafe for the overflow since this would accommodate more people with the media room for those not masked. The school board was firm that the school deliberative and the town deliberative follow the same protocols and logistics.

All the participating rooms will have full technology that provides them with interaction - both hearing, seeing and speaking. The School District is working with RCTV to make this work and the decision was made to hire a sound system company to ensure sound would be good in all locations.

The longest discussion was over whether the board would recommend or not recommend the Budget Committee's Operating Budget amount of $26,186,721, an amount that requires the School Board's budget amount to be reduced by an additional $200,000.

Board members felt this was not reasonable in the face of all the hard and deep cuts they had made to reach their number and that to make $200,000 more in cuts would have an impact on student education because it would have to happen to teacher salaries. One thing the board agreed upon was that cuts couldn't be made at the High School since that might well negatively impact the town by interfering with Fremont coming to Raymond High School down the road.

The board voted 4 to 0 not to recommend the operating budget at the amount stipulated by the Budget Committee. They then went on to determine who would speak to each of their Warrant Articles at the Deliberative. They voted to approve going to the SAU office the next day to sign the Warrant Article documents.

Third grade teacher Carolyn Malo and a few of her third graders told the board how they figured out and implemented bringing the morning announcements to all the school students, those in school and those on remote.

Raymond School Board Reviews 2021 Warrant Articles
By Penny Williams     1-7-21

The Raymond School Board met Wednesday night, January 6, and went over the Articles for the Warrant to ensure the Articles were Recommended and renumbered properly.

The board discussed the Warrant Articles, most of which they had already voted to recommend. They decided that they wanted to use the additional tax impact on each article. They did this to ensure meeting the Petition Article request for having the articles have an estimated tax impact that was approved at last year's Town Meeting.

The board then re-read the articles. They renumbered them having Article 2 the budget and Article 3 the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the board and the Raymond Educational Association.  The agreement shows the increase in 2021-22 is estimated at $91,286; for 2022-23 it would be $459,316; and for the third year, 2023-24 would be $392,262. Article 4 would be the article that would authorize a Special Meeting if Article 3 is defeated.

Article 5 would be to increase the treasurers stipend by $750 to $3,750; Article 6 asks the voters to add a stipend of $500 for training purposes for a deputy treasurer. The board recommended these last two articles each by a vote of  5-0.

The remaining 4 articles had already been recommended and their placement on the warrant was not changed. However the board re-recommended them.

* Article 7- Raise and appropriate $375,000 to be added to the following Capital Reserve Funds: $183,998 for Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement; $151,992 for Technology Capital Reserve Fund; and, $39,010 for Food Service Equipment Capital Reserve Fund.

* Article 8 - Raise and Appropriate $75,000 to be placed in the Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund from surplus.

* Article 9 - Raise and Appropriate $10,003 to be added to the Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve from water easement income.

* Article 10 - Adopt revisions to RSA 198:4-b II to allow the district to retain up to 5 percent of the district's net assessment in any year and to allow expenditure of any amount retained after a public hearing.

The board heard from Anne Vincent about the Pre-School Program team that has a new facility for the Pre-School at Raymond High School. She named the entire Pre-School team noting that many hands-on play is incorporated into the program. The class sizes are small and constantly changing because as the students reach 3 years of age they become eligible for the program. The board learned about the basic daily schedule and special activities such as visits from Fire and Police Departments and about the assistance provided by the Occupational and Speech Therapists.

The board discussed the new document drawn up to address confidentiality issues for students involved in the Extended Learning Opportunities program. The board had previously questioned how liability issues are addressed specifically when ELO students are dealing with in-school health activities.

The board was in favor of including the new Confidentiality Agreement for the program provided by Superintendent Tina McCoy. Member Janice Arsenault stated that her only concern with the ELO program has to do with health issues but the rest of the board indicated they were alright with the program and also with the agreement. The board decided to keep the program procedures in place as they currently exist and to add the Confidentiality Agreement to the program.

High School Principal Steve Woodward reviewed the student survey that was sent out regarding student reaction to remote/hybrid learning. He indicated that 100 responded which is 28 percent of the student community.

The area the board discussed with Woodward involved questions pertaining to whether the students felt this educational experience would hurt them in the future and regarding the level of workload.

The workload issue showed that a majority of the respondents felt the amount of work it too much. Woodward told the board the administration was looking into the level of work. About a third of respondents felt this educational experience would have a negative impact on their educational future.

The board went over the Bargaining Agreement with the Raymond Educational Association. The board noted that the new salary levels would make Raymond teacher salaries more competitive even though the starting salary is still about $5,000 below the average starting salaries.

The board discussed the Deliberative Session options. It was decided that holding it on the set date, Saturday, January 30, and holding it in person was the best way to go.

The board will discuss this with the School District Moderator at their next meeting. The board felt there would be room to follow the guidelines for social distancing and wearing of masks using the High School cafeteria, and using another area in the building for those unable or refusing to wear a mask. Speakers could be dealt with through remote technology.

Click on Jan. 6, 2021 Raymond School Board meeting to watch the entire meeting.
























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Raymond School Board Members

Joseph Saulnier

Janice Arsenault

Anthony Clements

Beth Paris

Melissa Sytek

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Iber Holmes Gove Middle School
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Lamprey River Elementary School News
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RHS Alumni Association News
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