Lyndeborough school bond may prove more costly than hoped

WILTON – The wording of the School District warrant article authorizing the construction of the new combined elementary school in Wilton does not clearly define the term “fiscal year,” leaving some questions as to when Lyndeborough should make a bond payment this fall, with about $46,000 in question.

The school’s fiscal year is from July 1 through June 30, but the state bond bank uses a calendar year.

The intent of the article, School Board Chairman Geoff Brock told selectmen on Wednesday, Aug. 6, was for Lyndeborough to make a half payment the first and last years of the 20-year bond, using the school’s fiscal year, for a total of 20 payments of $96,564. If a calendar year is used, the town would make 21 payments, charging Lyndeborough an extra $46,000.

Wilton covers the remainder of the yearly bond payment as it fluctuates with interest.

To correct the problem, Brock said, the board has written a letter to Virginia Barry, state Commissioner of Education, noting “the intent” of the vote was for Lyndeborough to make 20 payments.

The board voted to support the school board and sign the letter and the Wilton selectmen also agreed to sign the letter.

Selectman Lee Mayhew said if the commissioner doesn’t agree, the next step would be to apply to the legislature for relief.

Senator Andy Sanborn, who was visiting with the board, said the legislature had handled several such questions this year and would support such a move.

The new school construction is said to be on schedule and is expected to be completed by August of 2015.

Selectman Chairman Fred Douglas also asked Brock for a traffic and parking plan for the Central School, which is slated to become the district offices, kindergarten and pre-school in 2015. He was especially concerned about mid-day hours when kindergarten ends and there is no bus service for students.

“There is no room for cars to queue up along Route 31,” he said, and noted the lack of sight distance to the west over the crest of the hill.

He said he had driven past the school recently when there was a meeting at the school “and it was a mess, cars everywhere, parked on both sides of the road.”

His concern, he said, was safety, “somebody is going to get hurt” or worse. He said “there has to be a crossing guard” and the warning lights need to be properly synchronized.

School Board Vice-chairman Harry Dailey said the board was aware of the problem and has been working with architect Carl Barker on the site plan. “We are working with officials to get it done. There will be fewer students but more cars.”