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Look at record since Mrs. Argiopolis has been on Alton board

To the editor,
The Alton School Board needs a voice of reason to replace Krista Argiropolis. That voice is Carlos Martinez and Mary (Murphy) Doherty as a write in.
In this economy, if you are concerned about Mrs. Argiropolis and Mrs. Tilley increasing your property school taxes by an additional $1.08 per thousand (and not .34 as the claim) for the next 15 years for the largest bond issue put before the voters by a N.H. School District this year, then vote Martinez and write in Mary (Murphy) Doherty.
Mrs. Argiropolis also voted for allowing concealed weapons on school property, not awarding bids to the lowest bidder, and not running a credit check on school contractors' sand vendors. Would anyone of you award a bid on a multi-million dollar building without even a credit check? Consider this. She voted for a new security camera system so that you are able to watch people with switch blade and fixed blade knives of any size walk around the building. You can watch them but according to school policy they have every right to do it. She voted for wasting taxpayer money on a $30,000 wind study that never got off the ground. We could have used that $30,000 for something else, like books and supplies. She voted to lease equipment and pay interest expenses when the equipment could have been bought for one-half the cost. During her tenure, two superintendents, one business manager, two vice principals, and one principal had to be replaced. During her tenure, money voted in for school repairs were never used, the facility deteriorated significantly, and academics hit a new low. Under her tenure Alton Central School and Prospect Mountain High School did not make AYP for multiple years and ACS was awarded the embarrassing designation of a "school in need of improvement" and a "district in need of improvement". The school went from an average academic performer compared to all schools in N.H. to the bottom 20 percent under her watch. Instead of fighting for $18,000,000 for books, supplies, curriculum, and money to recruit the best teachers available, she is fighting to spend $18,000,000 for a monument as her legacy. Unfortunately it is you and I that will be paying for this legacy for the next 15 years.
Think about this. If you cannot, or choose not to manage a building that she terms as a safety hazard for our children by refusing to use money to fix the problems as they arise, what will change with a new building? Do you want the same people who manage the old building managing the new building? A vote for Martinez (a teacher and small business owner) and a write in for Doherty is you're only alternative to helping Alton schools make it to the next level.
Steve Miller

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 00:14

Hits: 337

Mr. Billings has said his 3 children all went to private school

To the editor,
In his letter published on Saturday in support of Mark Billings for School Board, Michael Hatch included the following sentence: "Did you know that one of our present school board members has two children in a private school?" If Mr. Hatch feels that sending one's children to private school disqualifies someone from being on the school board then he will want to rethink whom he supports as Mr. Billings has said that his three children went to private school.
Denise Doyle

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 00:04

Hits: 380

Only option left for Shaker voters is to get SB-2 put in place

To the editor,
Was very disappointed in the outcome of the recent Shaker school district meeting... though not surprised. I find some of the comments made about the budget committee for the district to be very insulting to the voters who pour thousands of their taxes into the school each year. To say the process would take a new budget committee member "years" to learn and understand is simply not true anymore than it takes a new school board member years to know what they are doing. I think that the district simply gets anything and everything they ask for year in and year out with few questions. The spending continues to grow while most wage earners cannot say the same for themselves. The tax rate in Belmont is amongst some of the highest statewide and much if not all of that is due to the school. What is the school district afraid of?
I still feel that with this vote the only option left for the rest of us taxpayers is to succeed in getting SB-2 in place for the school next year as well as a possible tax cap put in place. SB-2 has worked fine for the town.
Don Irvin

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 00:00

Hits: 438

Let's use most modern methods of development in Plymouth

To the editor,
A recent posting on the Plymouth town website titled "A few facts about the Riverside Landing development" makes scientifically misleading statements about hydrology, the town's drinking water supply, and runoff. For example, "Test borings for new wells in that area have found no aquifer." While it's true that the district's well-head protection area around our existing wells does not extend up the Baker River valley to the project site, the aquifer from which we draw your water supply comes from a sand and gravel aquifer upgradient of our well-head protection area, including up the Baker River Valley. Our wellhead protection area is a legally defined small area immediately surrounding our wells, and NHDES recognizes that it is a compromise between development and water supply protection. The inadequacy of the designated wellhead protection area is why so many wells in N.H. (including ours) have high levels of chloride from road salt (as one example). A further statement that "the increase in the salt in (district) drinking water — (is) up to 120 ppm since 1977" is inaccurate — the level has increased from just 6 ppm (parts per million) in the 1950s to over 190 ppm recently, closing in on the EPA drinking water limit of 250 ppm because of impervious development upgradient of our wells.
Contrary to the town website, no test borings for new wells have been drilled in the area of Riverside Landing but we know from reports from the U.S. Geological Survey that this area feeds the regional aquifer that includes the town water supply. The town's statement "no untreated runoff will leave the subject property" does not acknowledge the fact that chloride is highly soluble and very mobile and cannot be "treated" — it will indeed enter the groundwater or will runoff to surface water. Because of the proximity to the river, other contaminants will flow off the impervious surfaces of this and other developments and will not be treated.
To say that "captured runoff would be cleaner than rainwater by the time it made its way back into the environment" is wishful thinking. See NHDES Fact Sheet WD-DWGB 22-4 "Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Groundwater Protection" dated 2009 which cites "stormwater infiltration ponds or leaching catch basins" as "potential contamination sources". The district would like to think that low impact development (LID) approaches be required by the Plymouth Planning Board to mitigate stormwater concerns, but will they (see NHDES Fact Sheet WD-WMB-17 "Low Impact Development and Stormwater Management")? The state encourages low impact stormwater management such as porous pavement which was used at the Pemi Commons development recently on Fairgrounds Road. This pavement is not impervious and so very little salt and no sand needs to be used because water doesn't stand on the surface. Will LID measures be required of the Riverside Landing shopping center as proposed, or will the "most studied piece of property in the Town of Plymouth" be exempt since it's modeled after a five year old development as proposed by Lowes?
Finally, we should all be careful of accepting 'studies' about what the town website calls the most "studied" piece of property in the town of Plymouth. One expert enlisted by the Lowe's developers claimed that there was no evidence that the Baker River had ever changed it's course in this area, yet there are former river channel oxbows on all four sides of the property. An expert will provide any answer for the right price.
We should all be focusing on what's best for Plymouth's environment since that is where we live and draw our drinking water from! Let's use the most modern methods of development for all future development in Plymouth.
Dick Flanders, Chair
Plymouth Village Water & Sewer District

Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 23:56

Hits: 445

Billings support for Ed Tax Credit program is conflict of interest

To the editor,
I received a postcard today from Mark Billings urging me to vote for him on for the Inter-Lakes School Board as a representative from Meredith. On the postcard, Mr. Billings says "I will bring diversity and a fresh perspective to the school board with no conflicts of interest." This statement compels me to point out a serious conflict of interest for an individual seeking a position on the school board of a public school: namely Mr. Billings support of the state Education Tax Credit/Voucher program. This program effectively weakens state aid to local school districts, including Inter-Lakes. I view Mr. Billings' support for this voucher program as a conflict of interest for a public school board member.
The education tax credit/voucher program, enacted in 2012, allows a business to contribute a percentage of its business profits tax/business enterprise tax to a scholarship organization that could be used by students to attend an independent school, including religious ones. This program weakens New Hampshire's school districts, including Inter-Lakes, by taking state adequacy aid from them and putting it into support for private, religious and home schools. The State Board of Education has estimated that without the repeal of this tax credit/voucher program, the state will loose $3.7 million in FY 2014 and increasingly more in subsequent years — revenue that could be used to support public education. Last month the NH House passed a bill (HB-370) that would repeal the program; the state Senate will take up this legislation next month.
At the "Meet the Candidates" forum in Sandwich on February 23rd, Mr. Billings gave enthusiastic support for the education tax credit/voucher program. In contrast, Chris Mega, the other candidate for this school board position, argued against this program and described its negative impact on the Inter-Lakes budget. I will cast my vote for Chris Mega who advocates for public financial support of the public schools.
Margaret Merritt
Center Sandwich

Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 23:45

Hits: 416

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