Amherst School Board
Joint Facilities Advisory Committee Update
To the editor:
April saw the unofficial kick-off to the public relations campaign for the Clark/Wilkins and Amherst School projects that will appear on the 2022 Amherst ballot. An update on the work for the group follows, and you can get more information in real time at JFAC’s next public meeting May 15 at 6 p.m.
Public Relations Committee
The PR committee began April by populating the JFAC Facebook page with a variety of content about the proposed school projects. This includes sharing resources with information on the project to asking and fielding questions from followers. Over the coming months this page will become increasingly busy with further educational materials, videos and conversation on the project.
The committee also unveiled the debut piece in its video series. This short segment discusses why JFAC was formed, what the group proposed to Amherst School Board (ASB) and the resources available to learn more about the project.
In future editions starting later this month, videos will be produced that talk about WHY the projects have been proposed, WHAT the educational needs and benefits will be, and HOW it’s going to impact taxpayers. If you haven’t done so already, follow the Facebook page (Facebook.com/JointFacilities) and the YouTube channels for JFAC and SAU 39. The next video will highlight what is being placed on the ballot and the other options that were considered by JFAC.
Clark School Exploration Committee
April was a VERY busy month for the Clark School exploration committee under the JFAC umbrella. Throughout the month, committee members held more than a dozen virtual meetings to engage myriad groups of people regarding the future of Clark School. In the current plan, we would build one pre-K through fifth grade school, leaving Clark available for long-term usage.
The Clark subcommittee met with town leaders, village residents, and members of various community groups to discuss the school plan and what the future holds for Clark. A preliminary survey was also conducted and will be reported on at the May JFAC meeting.
Facilities Project Team
April 19 was the deadline for the architect RFP (request for proposal) and three proposals were received for the joint school projects. The facilities project team reviewed the proposals and conducted interviews with a panel featuring members of JFAC, ASB, and SAU 39. The findings will be presented to ASB during the May meeting.
Pre-site and civil work is taking place at Wilkins to ensure the lower field is suitable for construction. The chair and vice-chair of JFAC accompanied by the SAU 39 Director of Facilities also presented an update to the Board of Selectmen at their April meeting. This will continue to be an ongoing conversation as the project continues.
HB 292 Suppresses Voter Turnout
To the editor:
I have been reading HB 292. It looks like some New Hampshire legislators have joined the voter suppression people like those in Georgia and Arizona. It also looks like a war on the elderly. I am 80 years old and I am very likely to need an absentee ballot. Many of my friends are older than I am. Many cannot drive.
This bill requires that we need to go to the town clerk, and show a photo ID that meets the requirements of RSA:13, II a prior to election day, or the voter voluntarily shows the clerk a notarized signature on his or her completed absentee ballot application form. How can the elderly get a notarized signature on a form?
I know that the NH legislature (mainly Republicans) think that voter fraud is rampant. That has been tested and is NOT true. In New Hampshire we have a very fair and free voter system, much better than many other states. We do NOT need HB 292.
Budget Update: A reminder that our deliberative session will now be held on May 4th at Souhegan High School at 7 p.m. The later voting day and deliberative will allow us to review our budget items one last time at our April 29th meeting, using actual health insurance costs and more concrete enrollment numbers, rather than estimates. If you were not able to attend the live meeting, you can watch our discussion on the SAU YouTube Page. The yearly voting guide detailing all finalized warrant articles will be sent out after our deliberative session on May 4th in preparation for the June 8th Voting Day.
Policy Season Starting: We are beginning our annual review of policies. The policies that will be under review this summer are open for public comment until June 1st. The list of policies to be reviewed can be found on the Policy Committee section of the SAU website. Feel free to send comments regarding any policies up for review to the current policy chairperson firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that you can always reach out to the board regarding any concerns either at public comment or by emailing email@example.com. All emails to the board are considered public record and added to our board minutes.
April 29 - Amherst School Board Meeting 6 p.m.
May 4 - Amherst School District Deliberative Session 7 p.m.
May 5 - JFAC 5 p.m.
May 10 - Amherst School Board Meeting 6 p.m.
May 13 - JFAC 6 p.m.
June 8 - Voting Day
June 14 - Amherst School Board Meeting 5:15 p.m.
Elizabeth Kuzsma, Chair
Tom Gauthier, Vice Chair
Let’s Make Gerrymandering a Relic of the Past
To the editor:
Now that the results of the 2020 Census have been released, it is time to begin the redistricting process. In the recent past, redistricting has been a partisan affair with the party in power drawing the district lines in ways that enhance their future electoral success. This is called Gerrymandering and it is time for that to end. Political candidates should not choose their voters; American voters should choose their representatives.
Amherst residents can have an impact on the redistricting process. Warrant Article 34: Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting will be considered at the 2021 Amherst Town Meeting. Please attend the deliberative session at 7:00pm on Wednesday, May 5 at Souhegan High School and voice your support for Warrant Article 34. Then, be sure to vote for Article 34 on Tuesday, June 8, also at Souhegan High School.
Let us make the travesty of Gerrymandering a relic of the past and move forward with a fair, open, transparent, and nonpartisan redistricting process, one that allows for public engagement and time for the public to provide feedback on the proposed redistricting plan, including all the data and information used to redefine the districts. We believe that an open and transparent redistricting process can help ensure that public elected servants actually represent the citizens of New Hampshire.
Stephen & Barbara Pugh