May 20, 2013

RSU 14 board discusses transportation by Leah Hoenen

The Board of Directors of RSU 14 met Wednesday, May 8, to hear committee reports and vote on personnel matters. The board continued its discussion of a plan to find volunteers to send children from Windham to Raymond Elementary School (RES) to ease crowding. Board members also addressed funding for improvements to the Windham Primary School and heard a brief report about state funding.

WPS bus loop funding

The district has already earmarked $150,000 of unallocated funds to pay for improvements at Windham Primary School, where a project is planned for a bus loop to ease drop-off congestion and to install new playground equipment after grading the current playground.

“We’ve tried to put it away each year, knowing this will be an expensive project,” said Assistant Superintendent Donn Davis.

The board approved a warrant article to designate a further $250,000 of unallocated funds for the same project. If approved by the public, the move would bring the total set aside for the WPS projects to $400,000, Davis said.

Transportation discussion continues

Board members discussed reception to a letter sent earlier in the year, asking Windham parents if they would be willing to send their students to RES to help ease crowding. The district proposed picking students up from designated drop-off locations and driving them to Raymond in district vehicles.

“There was not a great deal of interest,” said Catriona Sangster, board chairwoman.

Superintendent Sandy Prince said parents of two children expressed interest. Transportation for those two children would cost the district $11,000 to run a van between the towns.

Board member Kate Brix said, “I like the concept, but I’m not willing to do it for two students.” Board members discussed identifying a number of students which would make the operation cost-effective, and decided to send a second letter offering parents more detailed information about drop-off points and bus routes to further gauge interest.

State curtailment

The district expects to feel no ill-effects from a state curtailment of $198,900, said Davis. He said the state plans to reduce its June payment to the district by a third, before making a full July payment, then supplying the amount left out of the June payment.

Davis said this should not be a problem for RSU 14, but noted other, smaller districts might have issues. The Windham-Raymond district has already been effectively operating under a spending freeze for the year, he said.

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