PELHAM - There was nothing but support at last night's school deliberative session for proposed improvement projects at Pelham High.

School officials are asking for $500,000 for a sprinkler project. Heating and air conditioning improvements would cost $500,000 to $900,000, depending whether voters choose core system upgrades only or an expansion of air conditioning throughout the building.

School Board member Megan Larson told residents the heating and air improvements would "provide students with a more comfortable learning environment."

School Board member Brian Carton said the biggest complaint the board gets from students is about how much clothing they have to wear on hot days.

Carton said by expanding the air conditioning throughout the building now the school district would save money over doing renovations to accommodate it later.

"There would be a higher cost," Carton said, estimating the expense at $700,000 in future years rather than the $400,000 now.

School Board member Deb Ryan said the projects would show accreditation officials the town intends to address facility deficiencies that have put the school on warning status.

"We strongly encourage support of these articles," Ryan said.

Other issues advancing to the March ballot are a $25.9 million operating budget, a new contract for educational support staff and a request for $377,000 to cover higher than anticipated special education expenses.

By voice vote residents amended an article that would let school officials sell a small parcel of land across Marsh Road from the high school, if they choose to do so.

Residents want the school district to hold a public hearing and disclose the purchase price, should that happen.

There was no support for a citizen petition article that would put the Budget Committee in charge of managing the default school budget.

A similar proposal for the town side met opposition from officials at the town deliberative meeting Tuesday.

"It seems to me this is a solution in search of a problem," resident David Hennessey, chairman of the zoning board, said in questioning the proposal.

About 60 people attended the deliberative session at Sherburne Hall. It lasted about 90 minutes.

Voting for Town Meeting is March 13.

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