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November 20, 2013

Residents to push charter school for Windham

WINDHAM — Some residents are pitching a charter school to alleviate classroom crowding, as officials await engineering reports and analyze tax impacts from a potential middle school expansion.

Residents Tom Murray and Ken Eyring, chairman of the Windham Taxpayers Coalition, appeared before the School Board this week to request a meeting with officials to detail their charter school proposal.

School officials are not dismissing the idea.

“There is no reason we wouldn’t want to meet with you,” School Board member Stephanie Wimmer told them.

The school would serve as many as 300 students in a three-story building now under construction at 183 Rockingham Road.

“We are hoping to get this open by 2014,” Eyring said yesterday.

The school’s curriculum and grade levels remain to be determined, but could include classes between K-8, Eyring said.

The charter school advocates said they want to bring a detailed proposal to school officials within a month.

“Simply put, we’re trying to help the community that I live in alleviate some of the overcrowding and, at the same time, offer the best education possible for my children and the children of the community,” Murray said.

Eyring told school officials the charter school would offer a “zero-tax impact” solution for the town’s crowding problems.

“Windham Middle School is packed with students and it’s going to get worse over the next few years,” he said.

The charter school also would reduce the need for the school district to hire its own teachers, Eyring said.

The charter school proponents want to pursue approval through the School Board, instead of the state, because it would expedite the process and let the school give preference to admission of students from Windham.

Besides Murray and Eyring, the board of directors includes town residents Michelle Levell and Jim Fricchione.

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