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Goffstown holds off on school borrowing

GOFFSTOWN — The school board last night voted to put off until 2015 a bond request for improvements to the town’s two elementary schools.

“I think there are some higher priorities, in my opinion, for next year,” said school board vice chairman Keith Allard. “I’ve got to say our budget and contracts are more important next year. Our teachers and support staff do deserve a contract.”

The vote to put off the bond request for improvements to Bartlett and Maple Avenue elementary schools came during the school board’s discussion about line items in the school district budget, and where they fall on the capital improvement plan “matrix,” essentially a list of priorities for making infrastructure improvements next year.

A proposed $14.5 million bond for improvements and renovations to Bartlett and Maple Avenue failed to win voter approval at the March election. Since the failure of that bond request, school board members have talked about the need to make a better case before the voters.

Also last night, the school board voted to put off until 2015 upgrades to the track and field facility at Barnard Park for the same reason that improvements to the elementary schools were put off.

The school board will be negotiating contracts with the teachers union and the union representing the district’s support staff in the months ahead.

The school district’s business manager, Ray Labore, said the $14.5 million bond cost was locked in until 2014 by the contractor, Harvey Construction, who would have performed the renovations had the bond request been approved. He said putting off the renovations 2015-16 will likely cost the school district an additional $250,000.

“We don’t have a commitment from the construction company beyond” 2014, said school board Chairman Dian McCarthy.

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