The July 21, 2015 School Board meeting was scheduled as a workshop meeting with the newly appointed Building and Grounds Committee to discuss facilities survey questions. Board members Ken Eyring, Daniel Popovic-Muller and Tom Murray were present.
The meeting began with the announcement that Panorama, the Boston-based survey company the Board voted to contract with on June 2, 2015 (3-2, Breton and Senibaldi opposed) and again on July 7, 2015 (3-1, Breton opposed), has backed out of working with the Windham School District. The Board indicated that they were looking for another survey company.
School Board Chair Ken Eyring stated that the reason for the meeting was to figure out the purpose of the survey and what the town is willing to support. School Board member Daniel Popovici-Muller stated that he would like to present the public with a base option and then see what residents are willing to pay over and above that.
A member of the Building and Grounds Committee said that he is skeptical about starting with a questionaire to the public to figure out what the threshold is for education. He expressed concern that the survey discussion has already pushed back the timeline for moving forward with a facilities plan by 2 months, from September 1 to November 1. Other Committee members weighed in on the survey and offered suggestions for questions.
Mr. Pratte, the newly hired Windham School District Facilities Manager, weighed in about the overcrowding in the Windham School District. He stated that there are Life Safety issues in the District noting that, “If you increase the Middle School by twenty or so kids, theoretically the state may come in and shut us down. We are at the point where the major part of the Life Safety concern is because of the capacity issue.”
Members of the public commented on the need for a survey. One resident addressed the Board and said, “We have elected you to lead. I want you to do your work, do your research, and make a decision. I do not understand why we are waiting again and again for survey questions to go out there.”
After hearing additional public input, the Board decided not to pursue a facilities survey. They agreed that the next step should be to choose an architect to begin further vetting Option 2.
The next School Board Meeting is Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at the Windham Town Hall.
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