EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 12, 2013

School safety on the minds of Londonderry voters

By Julie Huss
jhuss@eagletribune.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — A plan to spend $170,000 to update the district’s school security will make its way to the March 12 ballot.

About 90 of the town’s more than 15,900 registered voters turned out last night for the Londonderry school deliberative session to discuss a list of 12 warrant articles, including a proposed $66 million operating budget for next year.

On that list is an article calling for $170,000 to enhance the district’s school security by adding card-access and door-monitoring systems throughout the district.

Two other articles were amended to lesser amounts to offset the security plan’s cost.

The $66 million operating budget also made it to the ballot after little discussion.

Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said this budget was a challenge because the state is sending less money to Londonderry for adequacy aid. The town will also have to shoulder higher costs for healthcare and retirement.

Enrollment numbers in the district’s schools are falling, Greenberg said.

“This path is very similar to other school districts in the state, mostly in southern New Hampshire,” he said. “Obviously this is impacting us.”

Greenberg said the district could add up to 60 students from other districts to attend school in Londonderry and help offset budget increases.

Another article for a $4.5 million construction bond, if approved in March, will go to pay for school construction and renovation project.

School Board chairman John LaFerriere said this money would help keep the district’s infrastructure secure with projects on the priority list to include paving, roofing and HVAC renovations and upgrades.

He said now is the time as interest and bonds rates are low.

A petitioned article to raise $8,500 to finance an official high school varsity ski team was also moved to the March ballot.

Information about the school budget and warrant articles is available at londonderry.org.