Letter to the Editor


"How to Solve Overcrowding in Central School "
Submitted by Jorge Mesa-Tejada     3-27-22

Dear Editor,

The disappointing behavior of Hampstead School Board chairman David Smith—when discussing the failed Article #2, Central School addition, at the March 22 inaugural meeting of the Board—in my opinion was

No matter how disappointing it was for him to face the results, he forgot that when the voters speak, he must obey…without recourse.

At a meeting, his authority is limited to conducting a proper meeting. Otherwise, he must behave like a “common member.”

Instead of doing a post mortem of the election results; conducting a freely flowing discussion of what the members thought were the reasons for yet another bond defeat; and deferring action to a subsequent meeting—as past boards have always done—he imperially and unilaterally proceeded to instruct the members that, henceforth, the project would be split into “three $5 million chunks,” to be submitted to the NH Building Authority hoping to receive 30% building aid (RSA 195:15-a, IV).  

In other words, the $9 million cost of the 2011 warrant, inexplicably inflated to $12.7 million this year, would then grow to a potential $15 million, delivering even less space than the current proposal. 

If subsequent bond proposals failed, he would propose funding from annual budget surplus and/or funds included in Account 4600—Repair and Maintenance—in the annual budget, all payable annually by the taxpayers without recourse or a vote!

The only way for taxpayers to stop this madness would be to defeat the budget in March.  Since we are under SB2, the Board could hold another vote a month later. If that failed, the Default Budget—always miraculously higher than the previous year budget—would prevail so taxpayers would lose either way.
Incredibly, when he polled the other members, they all agreed without any major objections!!

The Board can solve the self-inflicted Central School “overcrowding” instantly by moving the current 97 4th Grade students (91 next year) in Rooms 113, 114, 212, 213 and 214a to Middle School.

While you recover from the shock, remember that we housed Pre-School and Kindergarten at HMS while the 3rd Grade classroom were being converted to kindergarten in 2008-9…plus created a playground on the front lawn to boot!!!
Regardless of current space allocations, Middle School was designed with 26 academic classrooms, not counting Unified Arts, Music, Gym or SpecEd.
That’s a design capacity of 780 students.

According to NESDEC, the current population of HMS is 371, projected to grow to 401 by 2031. Using 4 classrooms, at 25 students/classroom for 4th Grade, would leave 22 classrooms for Middle School purposes.
Net result? Central would have 359 PreK-3rd grade students (plus 5 free classrooms) while Middle would have 459 4th-8th grade students next year.
And that, members of the Board, wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny.

Jorge Mesa-Tejada

Hampstead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

~ Melody Beattie ~