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Salem school official proposes fund to maintain memorials

SALEM — One School Board member would like the district to start a trust fund to help with the maintenance of the numerous memorials and gifts people have donated to the town’s schools.

“Many times, we are the gracious recipients of these wonderful projects and memorials to our former students,” said board member Pamela Berry.

Most of the district’s schools have an array of gardens, signs, and other projects that have been donated by local families, Berry said.

“My concern is that in time, these gifts need to be maintained,” said Berry. “We want to be able to continue to appreciate the gifts and the value that was put before them. I want to be able to accept these gifts and be able to maintain them.”

Berry suggested a trust fund, where the people who make the donations would be asked to donate a small amount for the upkeep of the memorial. The School Board oversees about a half-dozen trust funds that are maintained for specific purposes.

“It’s going to take a little gumption on our part that when we have these memorials given to us, we graciously ask the people as part of the memorial to donate money into the trust fund to maintain the memorial,” said Berry. “Then it is our responsibility to maintain them because once they are on our property, they are our responsibility.”

Superintendent Michael Delahanty said he will be bringing up the issue at a future School Board planning session.

“I know that there has been an interest in hearing that discussion and conversation,” he said.

Delahanty said it is unlikely that a memorial maintenance trust fund article would come before voters next March.

“We have not talked that much about this yet, and we need to have a policy relating to this and then a process to follow,” he said.

Berry said she won’t mind if it takes another year to get the idea into operation.

“I want to make sure we plan it and do it right,” she said.

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