Are the LAS gym floors safe to use or aren’t they? This very question was raised during the school boards deliberative session held on February 10th, 2017. Since the start of the current era of school renovations and additions, it has been identified by the school board (SB) that the floors in the combined gymnasium/cafeteria are unsafe and could result in injury to either the students of LAS or those who attend events in the gymnasium.
Petitioners’ Article 7 to fix the gym was zeroed out through a majority vote of the attendees and will appear on the ballot with a sum of $0 dollars instead of the original $239,000 amount. This is a potential oversight on the part of the SB and the One Hampton Falls organization as they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by recommending the “renovate the gym” [Warrant Article 7]. If the gym renovation article had retained its original dollar amount on the ballot along with Bond Article 1 and both had passed, the Bond would supersede Article 7, as the current gym area would be renovated for classroom and meeting space as part of Bond Article 1.
However, if the Gym Bond Article 1 fails, which the SB conceded was a real possibility, and Article 7 had been on the ballot with the original $239,000 (instead of $0) and approved, as it would have required only a 50% majority, the SB would have had the necessary funds to immediately address a serious safety and liability issue: the gym floor. If the Gym Bond Article 1 fails this year, renovating the gym floor will be difficult without money in the SB’s budget. Therefore, the SB will have to come back at a later date with another warrant article or budgeted amount to renovate the gym. One can only speculate as to the SB’s motivation for voting 5-0 against recommending the more prudent “renovate the gym”, Article 7 as it nearly ensures that the gym floor will continue to be unsafe and a continued liability for another year.
The current school board has lost sight of their primary mandate as described in code: AB as the Hampton Falls School District Policy – The people and their school district:
The public schools belong to the people. The people govern the schools under rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution and statutes of our State. The people exercise their proprietorship through the elective process. They elect state and federal representatives who establish–-through the legislature and the Congress – the framework of law within which the schools operate. And they elect a School Board to represent them and to determine local educational plans and policy and to establish publicly-endorsed educational goals and objectives. The School Board functions as an agency of the public within this framework.
The Board is mindful that the people are the ultimate governors of public education and that the Board is directly accountable to the people. It is the responsibility of the Board to involve students, teachers, support staff, the Superintendent of Schools, building administrators, and the people themselves in this governance.
In its overzealous pursuit of an objective that has failed to pass these last past four years, the SB has demonstrated a lack of commitment to its own mission statement as defined in code: AD as the Hampton Falls School District Policy – Hampton Falls School Beliefs/Vision/Mission:
Lincoln Akerman School recognizes the importance of a partnership among school, home and community in order for every student to experience the greatest possible academic, physical, social and emotional growth. Through this partnership the student grows towards excellence in academic areas, and establishes high standards and patterns of health and personal conduct. With wholesome relationships in school, at home and throughout all society, the student will develop a love of America, an appreciation of this/her heritage, and a growing sense of responsibility for insuring the values of a democratic society in its continual state of change.
Where is this supposed partnership between the school, home and community? Repeatedly the voters have voted against the SB articles and yet they continue year after year coming back to the table with relatively the same proposal that puts academic space as the 1/3rd need and physical education and music/the arts as the 2/3rds need.
Vote NO on Article 1
Vote YES on Article 2
Vote NO on Article 3