EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 5, 2013

Derry town councilors call for school vote recount

DERRY — Two town councilors are calling for a recount of the recent vote on the school district’s teacher assistant contract.

Earlier this week, Town Councilors Mark Osborne and Tom Cardon delivered a formal petition with the required 12 signatures to the school district office.

The recount is set for Monday at 6 p.m. in the West Running Brook Middle School library.

A special election to reconsider the contract was held June 25 after the original contract proposal was rejected by voters at Town Meeting in March. The new contract, which was $27,000 less than the original proposal, was approved by just four votes, 356-352. Turnout was less than 4 percent of Derry’s some 20,000 registered voters.

The new three-year agreement gives members a 10-cent raise the first year, 15 cents the second year and 15 cents in the third year.

The positions covered in this union include educational assistants, special education assistants, kindergarten aides, and library, computer and reading assistants.

A recount must take place within 10 days of the receipt of a request for one.

Osborne said the first vote was too close.

“A lot of people called me, given the close totals,” he said.

Cardon said he wanted to be a voice for the 352 people who opposed the contract.

“The Derry taxpayers need to be represented with a recount of the vote,” he said. “If I had lost the last election by four votes, I would have requested a recount, too.”

Both Cardon and Osborne hope the school district works harder to level fund its budget and give taxpayers some relief.

“The best way for the schools to show good faith is to follow the Town Council lead and level fund their budget next year,” he said.

Osborne said he would like to see the school district step up and become more fiscally responsible.

“We (as councilors) fought really hard to try and balance town expenses,” he said. “Has the school done that?”

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