February 23, 2018

Post date: Feb 23, 2018 11:05:22 PM

Dear Parents,

Please make sure your voice is heard on March 10th as this will be your only opportunity to vote on bonding the proposed building project, placing funds in the capital reserve fund, creating space for all day kindergarten in Dunbarton, as well as voting on the 2018-2019 Dunbarton School District operating budget. Should these items pass, they will have lasting effects on the DES facility as well as the education of Dunbarton’s youth. The warrant articles up for vote can be found here.

As you may be aware from Dr. Cascadden’s community updates or the communication via the Dunbarton School Board, the school board and SAU/school administration have multiple goals with the proposed warrant articles.

Goal 1 - upgrade an older and outdated facility.

Goal 2 - build another classroom to make room for all day kindergarten.

Goal 3 - provide additional small learning spaces as well as office space to make room for 21st Century Learning needs as well as a growing student population.

Goal 4 - increased security enhancements at the entrance of the school as well as a more controlled environment for those intending to gain access after hours.

These goals are a very watered down version of the School Bells publication which all Dunbarton residents will receive in the mail at the beginning of March. I have also included a link to the publicationhere. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how important it is for you to take the time to read this information. At the very least, it will explain the rationalization of both the capital and operating budgets as well as the important proposals that have been thoughtfully and painstakingly organized and developed. I can attest to this being a long process and I have been nothing but impressed with the time the Dunbarton School District Capital Improvements Committee has put into this proposed building project. This group of individuals has given their time and strong knowledge of building plants to create an organized and responsible building plan to meet the educational and facility needs of the here and now and the foreseeable future.

The school board has organized the capital reserve budget to make sure the building project has as limited an impact tax-wise as is possible. As you may recall, the town voted in favor of setting aside funds in the Capital Reserve Fund during the 2017 School District Meeting. As such, the intention from here on out would be to set aside a similar amount of funds in coming years to make bond payments as well as having reserve funds should necessary capital projects arise. As such, the tax impact of the proposed building project would not increase compared to the current tax year.

The increase in the number of tuition students to Bow Schools has increased. The cost of the high school tuition has also increased slightly. Based on these two tuition increases, the operating budget has increased. There is also an increase in the operating budget to cover the cost of a second kindergarten teacher as well as a second kindergarten aide. Further explanation of the tax impact can be found in School Bells.

I would also encourage you to visit the School Board web page as well as the Building Project web page at www.desnet.org. Both pages have a plethora of information related to the building project as well as the tax impact. Your school board members are also more than willing to respond to emails or simply have a conversation with you about the various dynamics of the items up for vote. Without delving into the specifics of the vote, I am very comfortable with stating this vote is a critical vote for the future of DES. I encourage you to come out to vote on March 10th at 1:00. All I can ask is that you vote based on what you feel is best for both the Dunbarton School District and your own personal household needs.

The Dunbarton PTO will be providing babysitting during the meeting. Please complete the following Google Form so they have a better idea of the expected number of children who will need babysitting.

As I was researching 21st Century Learning skills to share with you in relation to the building project, I came across this video. I think it speaks to those skills as well as the spirit of the proposed building project. In viewing the video, it reminded me of the process we have gone through here as well as the goal of progress in education. Enjoy.

As you are all aware, today is the Friday before February Break. I hope all the students are able to find some time to rest up for the curricular push that comes in the months of March and April. I am looking forward to these two months as we are able to get a great amount of uninterrupted learning done. We will return to school on Monday, March 5th.

In closing, I wish Luke the best of luck as he will be competing in the state level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee tomorrow in Concord. I know, win or lose, he will represent DES well.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington