I'd like to bring you up to date on some developments around town.
The project to repair damage to Kemp Road is almost complete. We've contracted to have it paved, and expect it to be done shortly. Our road crew were able to do all the preparatory work, so the expense was kept to a minimum. Thanks for putting up with the inconvenience.
We have received bids from architects to do the preliminary work on the Town Hall renovations for which we have been promised a Community Projects Grant, courtesy of Representative Joe Courtney. We will award the job by October 15.
We have received a $15,000 grant from the State for the creation of an affordable housing plan, which is required by law to be completed by July 2022. The contract for the work has been awarded to Tyche Planners, the firm that developed the AHP for Hampton. The project will be carried out under the auspices of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The PZC is seeking a member of the community to serve on the subcommittee that will work with Tyche and Commission members. For details, please contact PZC Chair Terry Delaney at email@example.com.
Finally, the ad hoc committee on educational cost-sharing with the Town of Hampton has met a number of times over the summer. We are currently in the process of creating a website for the committee. For now, minutes and recordings are available on the websites of both towns. The committee comprises parents, members of the boards of selectmen, finance, and education from both towns, and at-large citizens. It is appointed by the Boards of Selectmen, and is acting in an advisory capacity only.
The committee's task is to explore is exploring the possibility of developing a cooperative agreement by which the two towns might operate a single elementary school. We are looking at two different aspects: the programming, i.e, how a single school would be staffed, and the governance, i.e., how the two Boards of Education would run the school together. We are currently gathering data about student population, demographic trends, staffing needs, and building capacities. In addition,. we are planning to retain an attorney to guide us through the process of making a cooperative agreement.
This committee does not have the authority to make an agreement. That power rests solely with the Boards of Education. Our job is to determine whether or not the idea is even viable, and if so, to present the boards with a draft agreement for their consideration. We are in a very preliminary stage, but as soon as an agreement takes shape, we will hold information sessions for the public.
The committee also does not have the authority to decide which school would be utilized for a cooperative agreement. That decision will be made later and will be based on the needs spelled out by the cooperative agreement and the resources the buildings provide.
We recognize that this is a matter of great importance to many of our residents, especially those with school-age children. The very fact that we are talking about this might create concerns. Those concerns are well-taken. The grade school is a vital part of any community, and any benefit in finances or programming achieved by combining schools would have to outweigh those costs. No one on this committee believes that money alone should be our only consideration. We only believe that the shrinking school-age population (more than a 20% drop between 2010 and 2020, according to the US Census) and the rising expense of education ($4.4 million between the two towns this year for approximately 175 students) make it necessary to consider a measure like this.
Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. I'm hoping to have the website for the committee up and running in the next couple of weeks, and we will use it to keep you up to date on developments. Meantime, the agendas and minutes will be available on the towns' websites.