Cleanup Success – 64 bags of trash collected!

The Cleanup on Saturday was a huge success. We picked up 64 bags of trash–that’s more than double the number collected last year! The support and participation of our community was inspiring and we truly made a positive impact – just as we will continue to do. Next year’s cleanup is already in the works.

Thank you to everyone who helped make our cleanup a success:

Thanks to Rick Malasky, DPW and the Town of Newmarket for supplying the bags and for picking them up on Monday.

Thanks to Crackskulls for the coffee and bagels and letting us use your coffee shop as our home base in the morning.

Thanks to the Conservation Commission for letting us use Schanda Park for our picnic.

And most importantly, thanks to all of our volunteers who came out and made a huge impact in a short amount of time: Lisa Kumph, Katanna Conley, Patrick Reynolds, April & Jay Harding, Michael & Atinuke Cahill, Lisa Zhe, Dan Smith, Dave Spiegel, Chris Hawkins, Alynna Lyon, John & Danielle Herman, Laura Nolan, Cris Purdum, Jeff Goldknopf, Josh Weinstein, Nicole Benson and all the fabulous kids — THANK YOU!

Looking forward to next year!

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School Board Work Sessions

The School Board is faced with many important issues to address in the coming months, including the superintendent search, fire and life safety projects at the NJSHS and ongoing facilities decisions.

They have identified the following dates as possible meeting times in addition to the June 4th and June 18th regular meetings to continue to address the list of issues before them.

May 23    Saturday    9:00am

May 28    Thursday   7:00pm

May 30    Saturday    9:00am

June 6     Saturday    9:00am

June 20   Saturday    9:00am

We will do our best to confirm the dates, meeting times & locations and keep you updated on agenda items.

Roadside Cleanup is Saturday, May 16th!

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Town Council Meeting 5/6/2015

The last Town Council meeting was May 6, 2015. Here are some highlights:

  • The Town Administrator reported that the Downtown pedestrian safety project is moving forward. They are hoping to break ground in July and it’s estimated that the project will take about 90 days to complete. The State DOT is hoping to complete much of the work at night and the Town Administrator is working with the DOT on this.
  • There was a presentation by representatives of the Newmarket Community Church. They are conducting a capital campaign for facilities improvements, including fixing the steeple which houses the town clock. The representatives from the Church are requesting that the Town contribute funds for the purpose of fixing the steeple. No action was requested or taken at the meeting.
  • An ordinance was passed prohibiting the feeding of aquatic birds and other wild animals on town property.
  • The TC approved an agreement between the Town and Great Bay Kids Company for a payment in lieu of taxes. The town assessors reviewed their tax exempt status and determined that under state assessing rules, the educational portion of the operation is exempt, but the day care portion is not. It was determined that Great Bay Kids Company will pay $2,556.88 annually for the next 7 years. At the end of that period, they will review and renegotiate.
  • The TC adopted a resolution to replace the doors at the Rec center and a resolution adopting the Town Council rules (this is typically done every year).
  • After some discussion, the Ordinance regulating raffles in town was held for a third reading.

The next TC meeting is Wednesday, May 20 at 7pm.

School Board Meeting 5/7/2015

The School Board meeting on May 7th had some important updates:

  • The SB discussed adding meetings over the next several weeks due to the amount of work they need to accomplish. There will be an additional meeting on May 14th. No other additional dates were confirmed.
  • Full Day Kindergarten is moving forward. A plan was presented by NES Principal Sean Pine to move a fifth grade classroom to the newer modular and bring OT/Speech services back into the main building. There is currently no bathroom in that classroom, so the Superintendent will look into the cost of installation.
  • They are looking into options at the NJSHS for a climate controlled room next year to accommodate a student’s needs. One of the options presented is to use the art room based on several factors including it’s size and access to an appropriate exit. The art room would then be relocated to the Perkins building across the street for HS art and Middle School art would take place in the classrooms. Another possible space under consideration is the current custodial office/closet. They did not make any decisions about this, but need further information before moving forward.
  • Public input into the facilities concerns was discussed at length. The SB discussed meeting with Andy Smith from the UNH Survey Center to determine if conducting a survey to gauge public opinion is an appropriate next step.

The meeting is available to watch on Channel 13.

The next School Board meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, May 14.

Next Steps

As part of their report, the Consultants made some recommendations about next steps. They are:

  1. Engage in backward planning
  2. Further vet the options under consideration: the consultants suggest that there is more work to do for all three options under consideration. This includes having discussions with Epping and Dover, engaging a structural engineer to conduct in-depth work at the JRSRHS and review and revise the ed specs developed prior to the last proposal.
  3. Include the needs of the elementary school
  4. Obtain a broader view from the community: they suggest using the UNH Survey Center to conduct a professional poll of the community, and holding a special district meeting.
  5. Continuing and expanding the School Board and Town Council relationship
  6. Engage in Strategic Planning
  7. Consider engaging an economist/demographer
  8. Examine potential cost savings opportunities

The School Board meets tonight at 7pm.

Consultants’ Report Released

The Consultants’ final report has been released. Below are the executive summary, which also details suggested steps for the School Board, and the full report.

Final Executive Summary

The JAC Final Report

Town Council 4/15/15

*Editor’s note: There is a lot happening in Newmarket and it is our hope to keep the community informed. These Town Council notes were written by Toni Weinstein. If you would like to share meeting notes, please email Toni at newmarket.school.solutions@gmail.com.

At last week’s Town Council meeting, there were 2 ordinances that were on the agenda to be voted on, but the Council had some questions for the Town Administrator, who was on vacation. Both items, the Codification of Town Ordinances and the Town Council Meeting Rules, were held to the next meeting for a third reading.

There were 4 ordinances introduced at the meeting which will be discussed and probably voted on at the next meeting on May 6th:

1. To enter into an agreement with Great Bay Kids Company for payment in lieu of taxes.
2. Prohibiting the feeding of birds and other wild animals on public property.
3. Regulating raffles.
4. Replacing doors at the Recreation center

The Town Council also approved Jon Kiper’s appointment to the Zoning Board.

The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for May 6th at 7pm.

Conservation Commission 4/9/15

*Editor’s note: There is a lot happening in Newmarket and it is our hope to keep the community informed. Amy Burns is the Town Council representative to the Conservation Commission and shared her notes with Newmarket Solutions. If you would like to share meeting notes, please email Toni at newmarket.school.solutions@gmail.com.

The Conservation Commission met on April 9th–Amy’s complete notes are available here:

Conservation Commission Meeting Notes

Some of the highlights:

  • Volunteers needed/appreciated for invasive species removal at Wiggin Farm on April 19 from 9-12.
  • Rain Barrels are available to purchase.
  • They reviewed the recreational value of the Lamprey River Corridor and the National Park Service awarded a grant for a Lamprey River Footpath feasibility study.
  • Volunteers are sought for water testing this summer–training is available.

Conservation Commission meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month. The next meeting  is May 14th at 7pm.

JAC Meeting 4/7/15

The JAC held its final meeting before the expected release of the Consultants’ report on April 15. One of the final pieces of the report is the summary of the focus groups and public forum, and Randy Bell and Jane Bergeron presented a draft of their findings to the JAC Tuesday evening.

The consultants conducted 15 focus group sessions with the intention of gathering viewpoints from a wide variety of stakeholders in the community. They included parents, teachers, students, community members and senior citizens. As reported by the consultants, “the feedback collected is only intended to be a sampling of opinions and viewpoints.” A total of about 100 individuals participated in the focus groups.

The public forum was attended by approximately 80 people and it was an “opportunity for the community to share general thoughts and opinions related to the three facility options for the Newmarket Junior/Senior school.”

The consultants summarized the Strengths/Commendations and Challenges/Concerns and the patterns that emerged from the conversations. Some of those patterns are the following:

1. While there are two distinct groups – those who want to tuition and those who want to continue to educate students in town – the majority of participants want to keep students in Newmarket.

2. The tax rate is a significant concern.

3. There is a movement toward compromise.

4. The school is a focal point and stakeholders voiced commitment to maintaining its culture.

5. The HS is seen as a critical factor in community growth.

 

We will post the full report when it becomes available.

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