2013 Town Meeting Results: School Ballot

A total of 3,744 residents cast ballots.

Many Windham voters in attendance were shocked to hear a wave of ballot items knocked down on Tuesday night.

Voters not only nixed a $31 million bond item for a new school and a corresponding turf field, but also warrant articles for a teacher contract and the operating budget. 

This is the second straight year that voters nixed many money items on the school ballot.

A total of 3,744 residents cast ballots in total.

Also catching some by surprise was the school board seat lost by Dr. Bruce Anderson, a three-term member of the board who served the district during the adoption of Windham's first high school.

See below for the complete school results.


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Dennis Senibaldi 1,904 Bruce D. Anderson 1,359



Yes 1,217 No 2,503


Yes 1,650 No 2,024


Yes 1,727 No 1,893


Yes 1,737 No 1,851


Yes 1,653 No 1,959
012017TPP March 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM
@ Disbelief "No 012017TPP you won't wake up and find the "free" new school option you and other no voters believe exist. You'll take your tax savings and drop them off at Dunkin Donuts, just like the other "fiscally" responsible" citizens that voted down the school, contracts and budget." I did not say schools are "free" . I will gladly pay my fair share towards education that is why I DID vote for the school budget and both the teacher/assistant contracts. So I had issues with the option for the new school and turf field (BTW-did you know the track would NOT fit around the turf field/seating & lighting so an additional $3.5million would have to be spent for the track according to the WSB Chairperson?!! In a separate warrant article, I would vote to leave the current football field as a practice field and then invest monies into one sports arena for WHS.) Windham does have other options! BTW-12 Kcups for $5.99 on sale at Market Basket vs 12 Dunkin Coffee for $36.00 plus gas to get to Dunkin Donuts then work full time to provide for my family... I enjoy my Kcups at home/work and a treat once in awhile from DD's. I haven't filed for bankruptcy either.
Jester7677 March 14, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Ha, now that was funny!
Dave (The Original) March 14, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Jim, if you're interested, so are many other people. Let me know and we'll see what we can get started. I'll bet we could do it.
Keleigh McAllister March 14, 2013 at 01:55 PM
When you were a kid... seriously they sent like 50 kids to St Mathews. And seriously at that time the town was so concerned with overcrowding of a relatively small number of children that they bused them somewhere else and paid through the nose. We are talking already 700+ kids with another 500 on the way into Windham in the next 10-20 years. And yes I use 700+ because I actually did the calcs myself and state standards do not allow closets and portable to be considered in the capacity numbers. If you want to use 500 currently fine. Where do you suggest we put those extra 1000 children? Do you have a plan?
Keleigh McAllister March 14, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Please do not use the Patch as a pulpit for adult bullying.
john the man March 14, 2013 at 02:22 PM
chris i dont know where this came from but i not wealthy im not even considered middle class anymore i dont think you can see beyond the fog they put out there think about the dirty politics the guy loses a seat on the bos now he elected to the school board look the town gave him a job to shut him up he knew to much about all the bad things about griffin park he may not want the new school but hes in favor of new soccer feilds why
soc March 14, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Keleigh, I'd redo your math. Your statements/numbers don't comply0 (or over comply depending on how you look at it with state standards. Additionally if you look at actual enrollments and 'rollback' additions put on WMS and WCS around 2000 you will find that we were in a similar situation if not worse than today so some of what Jack is saying is valid.
Andy Dufour March 15, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Better sports fields? I find it hard to believe the tax payers of Windham paid for crappy fields year after year. Has anyone ever taken a look at the amount money we allocate year after year for property maintenance? It is just another example of having people who are supposed to be responsible for our public properties not care about the and keep coming to the well. I bet they don't let their homes go to hell like they do the taxpayers public properties.
Andy Dufour March 15, 2013 at 02:36 AM
I have paid my taxes since I moved here in 1978. Oh did I mention I have not had any children in the school system since 1982? Yes I have voted for Theodore school when we built it. I voted for the additions and renovations to Center School. I voted for the addition to the Middle School and I voted for the high school. Now I would really appreciate it if you cry babies took the democratic results as they turned out. I have not missed an election since I built my home in 1978.
Andy Dufour March 15, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Regroup and come back with a realistic proposal.
Keleigh McAllister March 15, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Ok I will simplify... with portables we are currently 500 kids over for capacity in grades 1-8 (without portable we are 700 over). There are 400-500 house plots left in Windham with projected 0.8 kids per household moving in as these houses get built. 0.8*500=400. 500+400=900 or 700+400=1100. Split the difference =1000 kids over capacity going forward.
One Man Wolf Pack March 15, 2013 at 06:08 PM
@Keleigh McAllister, I think more homes could be built when you consider that some of those lots could actually be duplex or workforce housing in design and actually have a higher population density than the current residential standard here in Windham. Which is EXACTLY why our impact fees should be calculated to account for not only future capital projects, which they never have, AND be proportionately applied to each new development based on that development's proportional impact on capital improvement needs. But that is not what the brain trust that is in Windham leadership even understands let alone does.
DollarsAndSense March 16, 2013 at 02:24 AM
So......then you're not willing to write a check out for the amount of all your un-needed portfolio dividends and donate them to the Windham School System? Let’s just agree that in this economy some of our Windham family’s might be doing a little better than others. Those of us, who don’t have unneeded dividend checks coming in, might be working a little harder to cover our household’s day to day living expenses. Glad to hear you’re doing as well as you are.
DollarsAndSense March 16, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Well said Debbie, I completely agree with you. Remember the first Windham High School design proposal? I fondly referred to it as the Star Fish design, talk about impractical. The then WSB and its building committee smartened up and helped to spearhead the construction of the award winning Taj Mahal we now have up on top of the rocky knob. As beautify as our HS is, just think about the number of additional classrooms that were sacrificed to make room for and pay for our imported marble tiled vaulted entry foyer. But then again it’s for the children. Or was it for our own bragging rights????? I went to an elementary school, middle school and high school that were rectangular multi-story brick buildings. I applied myself to my studies, attained very respectable grades and paid my own way through a well know Boston Engineering Collage (no federal handouts, just paid for by my own sweet equity). When I see the WSB come up with a Middle School expansion plan what is fiscally conservative and is TRULY focused on our children’s educational needs (instead of trying to win another architectural award) then I’ll gladly vote for it. Perhaps we could look to some of our surrounding towns, and duplicate the merged Middle School/High School concepts that they have so successfully built. (Bedford, Epping, etc..)
soc March 16, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Keleigh, 2 parts to this - the 700 figure. I understand that view, believe one of the problem/faults was promoting the 700 figure without truly educating on the logistics to arrive at that number and THEN coming up with a plan (proposed school) that did not use the same parameters used to derive the 700. The other part is it is very difficult to convince people of some of these initiatives. I will first tell you I believe in the initiatives, but disagree with the FUD that was being spread. Why is it difficult? I know there are many that have the viewpoint - "all you are asking is for the same 'good education' that 'your children had'." I hate to tell you but my children were instructed from carts, were in classes larger than those from the capacity studies. But, you would never know that from anything presented in the last 2 years. BTW all my children went on to good college educations, have very good paying jobs including teaching. So how do you think my view point is. Especially when I have 2 teachers in the family and ask questions like - what is your class size, do you have art/music on a cart, how is health taught, do you have an assistant in your classroom. They have worked/do work in a stable school system preventing 'down sizing'. - answers 23 (low elementary grade), yes, in the classroom, no/on <specific day> (depending on who I ask). People learn from experiences in life and regardless of accuracy - this didn't equate to people at some level.
soc March 16, 2013 at 01:10 PM
I do agree with the wolfman that we should revisit impact fees, but believe that we are 'over capacity' so the horse is somewhat out of the barn. However I want to point out that if the .8 students per 'new house start' is used across "all housing in Windham" we are in a LOT of trouble as this will be about 1300 students over any projection that I've seen. What we have to come up with is a solution that provides the capacity/initiatives but provides a housing environment that MINIMALLY neutralizes the impact of students on real estate transfers. One way of doing this is providing an environment where 'empty nesters' really want to stay.
Wanda Rice March 16, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Statistics from the NH DOE: For 2011 Windham's cost per student was a little over $13K and the state average was $15K. I found this pleasantly surprising.
Nickjo March 16, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Andy have you been to a football game at the High school? It's an embarrassment. Every town I've been has better facilities than our town. I I hope your not trying to say we have proper amenities for sports in this town. no stands and a giant hill that someone is going to break their neck on. We can host any post season games and have to pay $50000 a year to resod. I guess that's not important to anyone either. We should do without since every other windham resident go by without it. I REPEAT NO OTHER TOWN IS AS BAD AS OURS. It's a shame
Jim Coburn March 16, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Dave, et al Perhaps we can help through the PTA. Feel free to contact me. Just google Jim Coburn or through Facebook.com/jim.coburn.50
Jim Coburn March 16, 2013 at 11:17 PM
It is better than average. I suspect smaller schools cost more than large schools. Pinkerton Academy in Derry has a class size of 28 students per class, starts at 7:15, until 2:30. Faculty is ~280, with 3060 students, Student to teacher ratio is ~12:1. Campus is 170 acres. Tuition for regular education is $10,292.49. ...and they have pretty good ball fields. They follow a zero-based budget process. Union Leader 11/27/12
soc March 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Kickjo, If you could point me to where we spend $50K on re-sodding in the budget i'd appreciate it. You do realize that you will have to show a cost or benefit to overcome a figure larger than that to "turf a field". I'm not against it, but it is odd that people seem to think if you "turf it" everything is free and it lasts forever. The most I could find was $16k for all field maintenance. What I find odd is that my own experience has been quite the opposite. You've never attended a football game outside Windham on grass. Every high school football game I attend is on grass. The local high school where I grew up and the one that I attended both don't have turf fields...despite having/playing the sport since before 1900. Both schools are larger than Windham and in reality have much more money than this town to "invest". Oh btw each of them won the state 'super bowl' last year. So since it will have lighting/stands I would have vote for it....and it would take a long time before you can justify another turf field. I would prefer that it was on the hill with a new track and just leave the current field as a practice field. Heck let the Windham Wolverines start fundraising to help donate for the turfing that (practice) field...surely the will be paying a good amount more to be playing on a turf field. Think of it as 'free field rental for perpetuity'. But, where I believe we NEED additional capacity at the schools this is a WANT in my eyes.
Interesting... March 17, 2013 at 09:58 PM
@Celia - if you agree w/Windham, I sure hope you only voted down article 2. I hope you would look at your own situation and what the District has provided to you and your family and that in return you supported our teachers and school budget. You have a message, you contact the Board and Administration and don't take it out on the teachers and ultimately the students of Windham. If you want to be involved in the "specifics", I sure hope that you will take action and get involved to help improve the current state we are in. And, when I say "action", I'm not talking about just a few email complaints. But, a true effort at trying to help solve some of our issues.
Interesting... March 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM
@Celia, "outsource the complete project"?! Can you imagine the cost and complaints people would have if tax dollars were used for that?! You and Joe seem to believe there are better options that weren't "exhausted". I've been paying attention for years & hope you have some great new ideas you'll bring forth to help solve over crowding!
Interesting... March 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM
@Glenn W, I agree w/you fully. So embarrassed to be lumped into a population that didn't support the teachers or the budget. Used to hold my head high when I said I was from Windham.
Interesting... March 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM
@Celia Think you can accept some of the blame yourself. Always on the public boards spreading your negativity and cynicism. Take, take, take from a system and offer negative bashing in return. Thanks for nothing.
012017TPP March 18, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Nickjo and soc, Why would you vote for seating and lighting around a football field that does not include a track?
soc March 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM
While most think "friday night football" with the lighting. It really comes down to 'how many times can this field be used during the year' to justify the huge cost. If those lights are only used for night football games and not 2-3 practices a day and 'rentals' for other sports/teams then it really isn't possible to justify the cost. (stands needed for any event/rental). So this is the key component to this. I agree with you - as I believe with the schools "once we spend $30M it will be a long time before we spend significantly again" (and leave GBS, etc in same state). Once this field is 'turfed' I don't think there will be a track nor another stadium in this town for as long as I'm here. I'm of the mindset that a proper proposal should be put on the table, justified on its own and voted on ... on its own. The 'rental' part will be interesting as well as practice schedules. What will happen is that some teams will end up rotating or end up in a fixed 'late practice' slot and others that probably use the field for "free" will/should end up paying for use. Last coaching staffs will have to evaluate the lost art of "turf management" during practice times...meaning not overusing sections of the field. Where you end up with dirt, broken down grass today...you could end up with expensive turf breakdown tomorrow. The last comments are from conversations with 2 AD's one at end of life on a turf field and another justifying the addition. (both public institutions)
Nickjo March 19, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I am all for finding an inexpensive way to help with the feild situation. The issue isn't turf for me. Turf has benefits. Maintenance is a big one. I didn't see $50,000 it is what I heard it cost the town last year and it has need to be done every year so far. Fundraising would be easier if we could attract events and championships to Windham. As it stands now our own kids are lucky that the state allows us to host Home games. Not usre about the law but something tells me the town could be liable if someone falls down that hill which I believe is just a matter of time. I think a track is also necessary but that will cost us and if I had to pick it would be stands, lights and a better multipurpose field.
soc March 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Nickjo, Please don't go down the liability path. This most likely will result in the removal of sports from the program as opposed to cost justifying better facilities. I would not take heart in the $50,000 costs and at the same time realize that $50,000 per year is not that much when looking at spending $700-900k on a synthetic surface that needs yearly maintenance itself and needs to be replaced after 20 years. Having said that, the problem seems to be trying to appease the need for multiple uses of a single field on a daily basis during the school year...so if it can be used 3 times a day every school day...it most likely can be cost justified. The other part of this: 1. Don't bank on "$ from chamionship games" (even though you would have to sell more hotdogs than you can imagine). The NHIAA has been trying to move all chamionship games to a neutral site. 2. Don't bank on making money on rental to 'public entities' - Manchester case in point has turf fields that were not used last year since their charge back ($1k??) was too high in comparison to the 'competition' (other turf alternatives in the state). There was an article on how expensive the electric bill for the lights and the reason for the chargeback. Rolling this back into overall costs, we probably should factor in the cost of lighting this field for X hours a day.
Jack Gattinella March 25, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I know what will be money well spent... I will pay out of pocket for the moving van if you move out of Windham.. Stop complaining ,,its sickening... The football field impacts such a small % of the people of Windham... You have to think what is best for everyone in Windham not just the few parents that have to bring lawn chairs to a game instead of sitting in stands...If anybody falls down that hill hopefully it will knock some sense into them .....


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