EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 10, 2014

Londonderry holds hearing on $4M bond

LONDONDERRY — School officials will talk school renovation plans during an upcoming bond hearing.

The School Board will discuss a potential $4 million bond to pay for repairs and renovations to the district’s schools at a hearing Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Moose Hill Council Chambers at Town Hall.

Voters reject a similar bond in March 2013.

One major project on the radar is replacement of the middle school roof.

It’s a good time to do a school bond, district business administrator Peter Curro said.

“The town is not pursuing a bond for fiscal year 2015,” he said, “so the school can move forward.”

School facilities director Chuck Zappala said there are many projects in addition to the roof job that require attention. Having another attempt at passing a bond could put many much-needed projects in motion.

He is also proposing a $2 million budget for the Building and Grounds department next year, only one-tenth of an increase over last year’s number.

That money is used to handle one of the state’s largest school districts, Zappala said, with more than 200 acres of property and seven buildings to care for.

“We went through our priorities and we came up with that number,” he said. “We’re confident with what we have.”

Having another try at passing a renovation bond would also help keep the schools in good shape. If the bond fails again in March, Curro said, there would be money also proposed in a district maintenance trust fund to help pay for projects.

It’s still a good year to pass a 10-year bond, though last year would have been ideal, he said.

“The rates are still good, but we missed out on rock bottom rates last year,” Curro said.

Zappala said the school district is also proud of its relationship with the town, especially during winter months and storms, with a positive relationship and sharing aspect helping each other.

“The town has helped us a great deal,” he said.

That includes helping with truck repairs if there are school district breakdowns, or having Public Works send out their vehicles to help with school issues like buses getting stuck along their routes in bad weather.

If and when the middle school roof is replaced, Zappala said the work would be done during the summer months and could take anywhere from 45 to 60 days to complete.

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