Letter to the Editor

"Hampstead School Board Member Suggests a New Plan for Central School"
Submitted by David Smith    3-28-22

Dear Editor,

I am writing this individually as a member of the Hampstead School Board – I am not speaking for other members. After the March 8th vote, it was clear to me that a supermajority of voters would not pass a project with a $12.6+ million price tag no matter the messaging. Like Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

After the vote, members of the administration and school board discussed next steps. We unanimously agreed to reduce the cost of next year’s warrant article by revisiting the plan and breaking the project up into pieces, to be completed in order of priority. I implore the community to watch the school board meeting to see for themselves – the discussion starts at the 54-minute mark and is available at this link: https://vimeo.com/691916545. You will hear each school board member provide information, discussions, opposing ideas, and ultimately agreement on creating a new plan to bring forward to the community.

We heard not only from voters, but also from 330 community members who participated in a survey about their priorities for the HCS project (Special Education, Sprinklers, and Safety being the top 3). Based on those results, the school board will work with the community on what to include in the next warrant article, as well as begin to plan out needs for articles in future years (which may or may not include additional space, a music room, cafeteria, and/or bathrooms). This will also allow us to save by adding funding, if voters allow, to the capital reserve fund over time rather than using bonds to complete the work. As in 2021 when voters approved the 1960’s wing renovations, these projects would be communicated and vetted by the community to ensure that our plans align with what townspeople believe our school needs.

The school board has charged the administration with developing a plan that will satisfy the needs of providing a proper education while reviewing the footprints of our school buildings. The intent is to present the plan to the community in the coming months, well ahead of submission deadlines, so that we can receive input from community members to weigh in. We would then apply to the NH Department of Education for consideration to receive up to 30% reimbursement if the warrant article passes. Please be on the lookout for communications with details in the coming months.

Lastly, I hope that community members know that we are not the school boards of the past - this school board is open to all input from the community, both positive and negative. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns,
I can always be reached at smithd@hampsteadschools.net or by phone at 603-494-1443.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to working together as a community and helping to increase the involvement of all residents to support plans which represent the priorities of the community.



David Smith

Hampstead School Board member and Chairman














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