ConVal board to bring facilitator into withdrawal study

  • SAU 1 in Peterborough. (Benji Rosen/Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/13/2016 7:27:49 PM

ConVal is in talks with a facilitator to lead it through a study of how Peterborough could break with the district if voters in that town ask May 10 for the study.

“This study is a big deal,” said Marian Alese, the business administrator, at a meeting of ConVal’s Budget and Property Committee Tuesday. “We have to reach a decision in 180 days.”

“We should get as many ducks in a row as we can, so the minute it happens, we’re ready to go.”

ConVal must perform a study of how Peterborough could secede from it if voters there approve a controversial petition in a ballot vote May 10. Though the petition directs the school board to perform the study, a separate entity could also carry it out. The study must be performed by a committee made up of at least one school board member and one selectman from each of the nine towns in the district. The committee may appoint other members to it, such as the facilitator. Within 180 days after the committee is formed, it must report its findings to the N.H. Department of Education. If the DOE approves a withdrawal plan, voters in the nine towns will have the final say.

Alese did not name the facilitator she is in conversations with, but said they are “competent” and “unbiased” because they have no personal stake in ConVal or Peterborough.

She said the facilitator could come at little or no cost to the district.

As the district attempts to stay in front of the 180-day deadline, the committee chair said Tuesday the board can bring on the facilitator even if Peterborough votes down the petition.

The facilitator could assist the Strategic Plan Committee, said Dick Dunning, also a Peterborough representative to the board.

“It could be a win,win,” he said.

The strategic plan is a five-year plan the board adopted, and includes a road map for reviewing the 49-year-old organizational structure of the district, as the student population is on the decline, and school buildings are under capacity.

The purpose of the review is to ensure all students receive equal services and opportunities.

Considerations include multi-age classrooms, student requests to attend different schools, consolidation of schools and addressing excess building space, and renovations of the high school and the career and technical school there.

As ConVal continues to pursue bringing on a facilitator, on the Peterborough warrant is a request for $20,000 for a consultant to independently review any withdrawal plan.

Benji Rosen can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228, or Follow him on Twitter @BenjiRosenMLT.

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