** When I started this post I was angry. Extremely angry. The deliberative session was an emotionally charged event with the warrant article concerning the building of a new Junior/ Senior High School taking over an hour! Yes that was for ONE WARRANT ARTICLE! During this time both sides of the debate got up to speak. All I can say is that small town politics is anything but boring.
The anger I had at the start of this post kept increasing as I was typing which made me very frustrated and angry with myself. I had made a promise once I had left both of the Newmarket tax payers and Newmarket School Solutions Facebook group pages that I would not be sucked back into those types of debates with people who only want to instigate and who spread misinformation as a pastime.
I was once again trying to inform those Newmarket citizens who do not wish to be informed. They are happy with their way of thinking about how the town should handle these large expenses that are rapidly piling up on all of the tax payers. Mostly this consists of WAITING.
Because of that, I am editing my post into a less angry one.
A post I can be happy and comfortable with and try once again to keep my promise to myself. You can drag a Mule to the water, but you cannot make him drink- no matter how thirsty the poor creature is. **
The above picture is a representation of what our new school could look like. I am totally in love with it!! It looks large enough to house the students. No classes being held in the guidance office, music room (except music class), cafeteria or the halls!! It looks like it has windows that are in working order, that will keep the cold out and the warmth in. And look at that parking!! I am totally in love with the parking. Needless to say, parking has never been a big concern around these parts and it is something very valuable at both of the schools.
As you can see, it does not look like the Taj Mahal. It is two stories not three and there is no gym located in the building or an auditorium. The gym as well as the locker and weight rooms will continue to be across the street from the new building. They will be refurbished but the rest of the old school will be gone to make room for parking. (ahhh parking) There will be an assembly hall. This means only 250 of the students can attend an event at one time and the event will have to be put on twice for all the students in the building to see it. Very silly not to have an auditorium in our small town. However, it had to be removed because the 'NO' voters considered it a luxury and unnecessary. Believe me, after sitting on those wooden bleachers for THREE HOURS for the school portion of the deliberative session, I would pay extra in my taxes for an auditorium.
It came to my attention that there is a new group of Newmarket citizens in town calling themselves, Newmarket Citizens for Responsible School Solutions (NCFRSS). I'm guessing all of us who want the new school should join since we feel a new school is a responsible school solution. Wonder if they would let us participate?
Anywho, they have produced a seven page "information packet" to pass out to Newmarket citizens. I am anxiously awaiting mine to arrive. Within these seven pages are NUMEROUS falsehoods on the school situation. Including many direct slams against both the school board and the superintendent of Newmarket. Where were these citizens during the most recent ballot filing period? I do not see their names running for any of the open positions on the school board so that they can make "responsible school solutions."
The packet starts with a long and complicated look at the tax increases that are assumed as coming to fruition. I am not going to try to dispute the tax numbers as no one is sure as to what exactly the tax impact will be when we build the new school. There are determining factors that are out of our hands at the moment about interest rates of the bond and how long the bond will be taken out for. I will say that yes property taxes will go up, am I happy about it? Nope not in the least BUT I would rather my taxes go up and I have something to show for it than them going up and having the building closed by the fire marshal at the beginning of the September 2015 school year because once again this town does not look further than tomorrow and their wallets.
Yes I do know we need to do something with our water treatment plant (which has been pushed to the back burner for over ten years) as well as the dam that needs either replacing or removal -both of these projects will increase our taxes (water treatment plant only affecting those with town sewer/ water), neither one for as long as a school bond but don't let those facts get in the way.
To keep voters from approving the new Junior/ Senior High School construction warrant article, the elementary school is being thrown out as a reason not to spend the money at the other building. The problems at the elementary school include the building being overcrowded and needing maintenance. Yes it is true that it is overcrowded, however it has been since it was built: the kindergarten wing needed to be added shortly after construction was completed, the sixth grade was moved to the Junior/ Senior High because there was not enough room to house those students within the elementary school, there are three portables in the back of the school now for Special Ed and two fifth grade classrooms as there is not enough space within the building. This could have been a simple fix IF the voters had not nickled and dimed the plans to the bare minimums. Insisting that the need for a second story would never be needed so do not construct the building for that possibility. I cannot be the only one who sees that this lack of future planning has hurt Newmarket more than increased taxes could.
I am going to pull a few parts from the NCFRSS packet that I would like to reply to. I hope that every Newmarket resident who is eligible to vote- does their own research on all the issues for both the town and the school side and gets out to the polls on March 11. Vote what YOU feel is best for the town.
"Only the barest amount of maintenance has been executed over the past several years, ensuring that the school became more and more of a fire and life safety concern and an inadequate environment for our children."
(taken from page 3 of the NCFRSS packet)
The Newmarket Citizens for Responsible School Solutions is correct on this account. But let us look at the real reason this has happened. They are implying that the school board and superintendent are purposely withholding doing maintenance on the building. This is untrue. Monies that SHOULD have gone into maintaining the building had to be cut due to the town's Budget Committee cutting the school's operating budget. The school board had to make the difficult decision to cut the maintenance budget so that teachers and staff would not lose their jobs and affect the quality of education for the students. Again saving money does not always equal the best answer to a situation.
"There is no doubt that Newmarket students would find it more convenient and more comfortable in a local new school."
(taken from page 5 of the NCFRSS packet)
I guess they are saying that they do not care that our students are inconvenienced or uncomfortable in the current building.
"Take a look at our surrounding communities. No one is building a new school. In fact, those that have in recent years are begging for more students so they can afford to operate efficiently. For example, both Durham and Epping school districts have encountered huge operating costs that have required programs to be cut and staff reduced, and had them look to receive new students from other districts."
(taken from page 5 of the NCFRSS packet)
The two school districts listed have been approached by Newmarkets' school board and superintendent asking for them to take our high school students either as a tuition agreement or as a co-op agreement. Both districts have voted NO to having Newmarket students added to their student population. To keep going out and asking these same school districts because it has been a few years, seems to me to be a large waste of time and money.
"In conclusion, let's root for our kids, let's provide them with a safe and conducive environment to learn- whether that be here or with one of our neighbors. And let's give them an example of how caring adults can act affordably and responsibly."
(taken from page 6 of the NCFRSS packet.)
I totally agree with this. We need to provide our students with a safe environment in which to learn. Unfortunately it will not be with any of the neighboring towns.
Newmarket cannot afford to keep looking at others to solve OUR problems that have been created by being short sighted and unwilling to spend monies at the time, or now.
"We are facing a self-imposed dilemma as the result of imprudence and negligence over the past several years. But, it's not too late to correct our course and do what's right for our children and their future."
(taken from page 6 of the NCFRSS packet)
YES!! YES!! YES!!
Our school situation is a self-imposed dilemma that is a direct result of the voters being uninformed, misinformed and/ or only voting with the current years budget in their minds. We, as a town, need to make a very difficult decision in order to save our small town, our locally owned businesses, and our families- those with and without children.
Please vote YES on warrant article #1 for the construction of a new Junior/ Senior High School on March 11, 2014.
*** UPDATE ***
Found that the NCFRSS has a 'website' if that is what you want to call it.
The only problem is that the only link on the page takes you to a Rick Astley YouTube video. Not sure what that says about this group. updated on February 27, 2014