School Board Discusses Slashed Adult Education Grant

As graduation drew near for the students of Londonderry, the school board held a meeting at the town hall on June 6.

Because the year was coming a to its close, very little needed to be discussed in terms of presentations and announcements. So, Chair Dan Lekas, after calling it to order, began the meeting with the committee reports.

Among those making these reports was Tyler Cullen, the newest representative of the Londonderry High School Student Council. He announced a number of upcoming events, including a bake sale scheduled to take place at Mack’s Apples on August 26.

The retirement of Londonderry Middle School’s Judy Payne was also announced during the meeting. As a special education assistant, Payne had worked at LMS for 12 years. She was thanked by the board for her service as well as for her “strong demeanor and instructional style.”

The majority of the meeting, however, was spent focusing on the newly amended grant proposal for the town’s Adult Education program’s 2017-2018 school year. Amity Small, assistant principal at LHS and Director of Alternative Education, presented the new proposal to the board, elaborating on what the state forced the program to cut out of its original $64,355 grant proposal.

Small noted that the program was forced to replace its subscriptions to Odysseyware, an online educational tool, with one to Plato, a similar, albeit cheaper alternative. Doing so will save the program roughly $11,000. Although this aspect of the program’s budget will change, all others will remain the same.

Several board members noted that they did have concerns over these cuts. Member Leitha Reilly questioned whether or not Plato would meet the standards of the Adult Education program. In response, Small noted that although Plato has lagged behind other programs in the past, it has evolved significantly in recent years and should prove sufficient for the program’s students without jeopardizing the quality of their education.

However, Superintendent Nate Greenberg warned Small to remain cautious over these fiscal matters, as there is still some uncertainty surrounding the federal and state budgets.

The Londonderry School Board has always been very supportive of the Adult Education program, with member Nancy Hendricks noting its service as a safety net, preventing students from dropping out. Lekas also noted that the students in the program tend to take a liking to Small.

As the meeting came to a close, the board unanimously approved the new grant for the upcoming school year, which came to a total of $43,197.40.

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