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Peter Maresco is running for the Souhegan H. S. School Board in Amherst.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Peterman defeated in Amherst; Souhegan High School repairs may fall short

AMHERST – Voters rejected a proposed $18.6 million operating budget and repairs to Souhegan High School.

In the school board race for the district covering Amherst and Mont Vernon, longtime office-holder Marilyn Peterman fell short in her comeback bid. Peter Maresco took the three-way race with 714 votes. Peterman received 667 and Jane Pollio got 570 votes.

The big item on the district’s warrant was a $2.9 million, 10-year bond to make structural improvements to Souhegan High.

In Amherst, the bond fell short of the 60 percent needed, 1,225-1,048.

The fate of the bond was unknown because results from Mont Vernon weren’t available at press time.

The building needs an estimated $14 million in repairs and renovations, according to a survey completed recently by Gale Associates, including replacement of the main-building roof and HVAC units, upgrading the substandard interior locking system, and repairs to the campus roads and parking lots.

School board members said there have been no major structural or systems upgrades since Souhegan was built in 1991. The $2.9 million bond would pay for the most critical of the repairs.

The district’s $18.5 million operating budget was defeated by 1,238 no votes to 1,035 yes votes in Amherst.

Mont Vernon results were unavailable.

Since the budget was voted down, a default budget of just under $18.4 million, roughly $172,000 less than the proposed budget, will take effect.

The other articles approved by voters include:

Article 4, which will transfer $65,000 to the school maintenance fund from the undesignated fund if a surplus exists July 1.

Article 5, which asked voters to approve the establishment of a private expendable trust fund to build, improve and maintain school athletic fields and facilities.

Such a fund, board member Pim Gronstra said, would be barred from accepting taxpayer dollars.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.

Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).