Upcoming Annual Town Meeting and School Board Deliberative Session 

2/3 – Pemi-Baker Regional School District deliberative session on school district budget at 6:30 pm  held at Plymouth High School

2/5 – Rumney School Board deliberative session on school district budget at 6:30 pm  held at Russell Elementary School

2/9 – Public hearing on town budget and Warrant at 7:00 pm held at Russell Elementary School

3/10 – Town Elections and Voting for School Budget (8am – 7pm) held at Russell Elementary School

3/12 – Town Meeting 7:00 pm held at Russell Elementary School

Upcoming Annual Town and School Board Meetings

1/29 -Heating Plant and Building Renovations Project ($795,325) at 6:00 pm at Russell Elementary School

2/4 – Pemi-Baker Regional School Board to discuss 2014-2015 school district budget at 6:30 pm at Plymouth High School

2/6 – Rumney School Board deliberative session on 2014-2015 school district budget at 6:30 pm  at Russell Elementary School

2/10 – 2014 town budget at 7:00 pm at Russell Elementary School

3/11 – Voting (8am – 7pm) at Russell Elementary School

3/13 – Town Meeting 7:00 pm at Russell Elementary School

Budget Hearing Rumney School District – January 8, 2014 @ 7pm

The Rumney School Board will hold its public hearing on the 2014-2015 school district budget on Wednesday January 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Russell Elementary School.

Based on the tax rate, the school budget accounts for approximately 54% of your property tax bill.

Come to the meeting and have a say in how your tax dollars are spent!

Court Rules in Rumney School District v. Saad

On July 29th, Judge Peter Bornstein (Grafton Superior Court) ordered the following ruling:

  1. The Right of Way (ROW) is 12 feet wide and is located at its current location as depicted on the survey plan completed by Roy Sabourn along with an additional 10 x 15 foot turn out on the west side of the ROW.
  2. An easement, 24 ft wide (includes 6 feet on both sides of the ROW)  exists for winter maintenance,  plowing and storage of snow

Now that the ruling is in, people will attempt to declare who was the winner and who was the loser.  It is my opinion that the only winners were the lawyers and the losers were the taxpayers of Rumney.

Was this legal battle necessary?

Here is a summary of what transpired.

On May 9, 2012, I provided the following notice to the Rumney School District:

 Please be advised that having obtained legal counsel, we believe our deeded Right of Way grants us the right to make necessary improvements to our Right of Way.  In order to establish year-round accessibility to our property for its designated use, including emergency vehicle accessibility, we will be constructing a 12-foot wide gravel travel way along with necessary drainage features at the existing location of our Right of Way.  This work will commence after June 30, 2012.

Note:  In the summer of 2011, the Rumney School District hired Roy Sabourn to survey their property.  Our plan for a 12 foot travel way in its current location matched the current travel way as depicted on the survey plan.

On July 13th, 2012, the Rumney School District, objected to my plans and filed an injunction against us stating the following:

  1.  the existing Right of Way (ROW) is eight foot (8′) wide
  2.  if relocation of the ROW is necessary or appropriate, then the Right of Way should be relocated as far from the baseball and soccer fields as is reasonably practicable,  having a width not to exceed ten feet (10).

1 Year later on July 24th, 2013, prior to the court trial, the Rumney School District agreed to the following statement of FACTS:

The parties agree, through their respective experts, that the current traveled area is 12 feet in width and is in the location as depicted accordingly on plans prepared by both experts.  The parties also agree through their respective experts that winter maintenance and plowing of the traveled area requires an additional six foot winter snowplowing and snow storage area to exist six feet on both sides of the traveled area for purposes of placing and storing plowed snow.

The parties agree that the Saads are able to take reasonable steps to improve the ROW without the necessity of approval from the Rumney School District.

The Rumney School District started this legal battle to keep me from constructing a 12 foot travel way at the existing location of the ROW as I stated in my notice on May 9, 2012 .  During the whole year long legal battle the Rumney School District held the position that I did not have a right to construct a 12 foot travel way at the existing location of the ROW.  Then, immediately prior to trial, the Rumney School District changed their position and agreed to the FACT that the current traveled area is 12 feet in width and is in the location as shown on the survey plan originally prepared by their own surveyor in 2011.

So at trial, the Rumney School District agreed that I had a right to construct the travel way as I originally outlined in my letter dated May 9, 2012.

If the Rumney School District had allowed me to construct a 12 foot travel way as outlined in my letter dated May 9, 2012, it would have cost the taxpayers of Rumney nothing.  Instead, the taxpayers of Rumney have incurred costs in excess of $36, 000.

So the lingering question remains.  Why was this legal battle necessary?  You be the judge!

Rumney School District Informational Session held Sept 25th

The Rumney School Board held a public informational session on September 25, 2013 to propose school construction plans that would address long-standing deficiencies in building codes and heating issues plaguing Russell Elementary School.

Stewart Associates Architects, LLC of Laconia, provided a slide presentation to reveal two construction options for residents’ consideration and the estimated costs for each plan. Scheme A, as they call it, would involve new construction of 9,193 sq. ft., renovation of 10,205 sq. ft., and HVAC upgrades for 18,807 sq. ft. with an estimated cost of $3,750,000. Scheme B would involve new construction of 14,199 sq. ft., renovation of 672 sq. ft., and HVAC upgrades for 19,123 sq. ft. with an estimated cost of $3,650,000. It should be noted that additional “possible solutions” were included in the report, although Schemes A and B dominated the discussion.

With fifty-five percent of Rumney tax dollars (.55 per tax dollar) assigned to the Rumney School District, and twenty-six percent (.26 per tax dollar) allocated to town services, attendance at a meeting to discuss options that will consequently raise taxes and impact Rumney schoolchildren garnered attendance of roughly twenty-five people- a meager turnout.

During a question and answer period Russell School Principal, Peter Helgerson, presented the option to pursue grant funding from the state to lessen the financial burden on taxpayers, however, he expressed there are no guarantees that aid will be awarded to the School District. Mr. Helgerson asserted that applying for grant funds will require a sincere interest and commitment by the residents to move forward with one of the proposed construction plans. The grant process would entail the state reviewing both construction plans and determining a percentage of financial aid, if any, to each plan and funds would be scheduled for disbursement to the District within a one- to fifteen-year timeframe. Based on the grant application results, residents would ultimately vote to approve or deny moving forward with one of the plans at a future Town Meeting.

With lingering issues of outdated building codes, ongoing heating deficiencies, and the long-standing absence of a fire sprinkler system with a warning that the school may not pass fire inspection requirements, the School Board finds itself at a crossroad leaving residents to choose a course of action to address these persistent issues. It was noted by one resident that regionalization had not been presented as an option to address the problems facing the District. Another resident introduced the topic of school population for its merit in considering regionalization and its potential to ease the tax burden on Rumney taxpayers, while still providing the schoolchildren with an academic infrastructure that meets current regulations for public schools.

Given the in-depth and time-consuming grant application, the School Board sought direction from residents if they were in favor of the Board moving forward with the grant process; however, residents had more questions for the Board than answers. A general consensus of those present suggested that the Board should also pursue the possibility of regionalizing with a neighboring district.

If the town is going to direct the School Board on such matters, resident attendance and participation at informational meetings is paramount. As a constituent, you should feel free to communicate your questions, concerns, and opinions to the School Board. With far-reaching consequences to every solution, community participation in discussions, support from SAU48, and diligent research by the Board will be critical. Doing our homework now may effect an outcome that can stand the test of time.

 

Public Notice: Informational Session Russell Elementary School Wednesday Sept 25 @ 6:00 at the school

The Rumney School District will be holding a public informational session to examine alternative building renovations that comply with State and Federal regulations for Public Schools.

A Team of building professionals will be presenting architectural drawings and mechanical engineering plans.

The public information session will be held on  Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Russell Elementary School.

 

All interested taxpayers should attend as the plans to expand the Russell Elementary School, if implemented, will increase your taxes.  So please attend and have your voice heard!