, Derry, New Hampshire

January 17, 2013

Letters to the editor

Derry News

---- — Register to vote in deliberative session

To the editor:

The Derry school deliberative session is on Saturday, Feb. 2. You must be a Derry registered voter to vote at this deliberative session. Voters can register at the town clerk’s office any time it is open.

Additionally, there will be a session of the supervisors of the checklist on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to register voters or make changes to their voter records. Also, we will be registering voters the day of the deliberative session, Feb. 2, from 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. The deliberative session is held at West Running Brook School and starts at 10 a.m. Sign in begins at 9 a.m.

This vote, as all others, is a very important vote. Voters will be voting on the school budget that will appear in the March 12 town and school election. This has a direct impact on property taxes.

Let’s start this year right by registering to vote and getting out there and doing it!

Renee Routhier

Supervisor of the Checklist


Pinkerton has

served Derry well

To the editor:

As a town resident for many years, I am very concerned about the ongoing hostility between the Derry School Board and Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton, for more than two centuries, has provided an extraordinary education to the children of Derry and surrounding towns. It is the jewel of Derry.

Many folks have moved here, or in my case, stayed here to allow our children access to PA. Pinkerton over the centuries has produced terrific alumni including Alan Shepard, Ernie Barka, Jay Yennaco, Sean Depaulo, Grant Benson Sr., Samantha Brown and more than a few other success stories in academia, arts, sciences, business, government and military service.

Pinkerton provides generous community access to its facilities including the field house, Stockbridge Theater and athletic fields. It is a venue welcoming to presidents as diverse as George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama. Diversity of thought is a hallmark of PA.

Pinkerton offers terrific academic, cultural, athletic and vocational opportunities for any student willing to put in the effort. If a student cannot find something, either he is not looking or it is likely not available at any public — and very likely any private — school. Current allegations that PA is oblivious to taxpayer or public school concerns are untrue. PA has an efficient operation and its per pupil costs are among the very lowest in New Hampshire. Portsmouth and Epping have per pupil costs 20-40 percent higher than PA with far fewer academic and extra-curricular activities.

The current effort to create a charter school within Derry may have merit if it is focused on students currently requiring out-of-district placement. If school size is the issue, then we should look at class size not school size as the determinative factor in education quality. PA has a pupil-to-teacher ratio of 24-to-1. For any other reason, including job preservation, a charter school seems impractical at best and misguided at worst.

The school board and community would be better served collaborating with PA. It has adapted to Derry‘s changing needs quite well for two centuries. Frankly, I have far more faith in Mary Anderson and the Board of Trustees to make needed investments in our children than certain members of this town’s education establishment. There was a reason that Dave Brown and the School Board 10 years ago advocated a perpetual contract with PA, which the voters wisely approved. It was and remains in the best interest of our children and our community.

If some local power brokers feel slighted, hemmed in, or offended by PA or anyone serving there, they should take it up with them. If they wish to distract from the harsh realities of local and state education budgets, forget it. The voters are far too smart for that to work. I find it a tad odd that some community and education establishment members who have fought tooth and nail against charter schools now embrace one. It is time for the public and private hostility between the public education establishment and our finest community resource to cease.

If it continues, perhaps people, such as myself, long opposed to making Derry a city, will reconsider for the sole purpose of granting to the town the school district’s authority and resources. This may ensure the continuation of two centuries of mutual success with Pinkerton Academy. Our elected officials are more easily replaced than a two-century success story, which can and should be allowed to continue its great work.

Paul Needham