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Dunbarton gets pandemic updates – from a century ago and now

  • Dunbarton residents come to the Dunbarton Community Center to vote during Tuesday's snowstorm on town voting day, Mar. 13, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Monitor staff
Published: 3/10/2021 6:19:30 PM

Dunbarton town moderator Rene Ouellet opened the school district meeting by reading a report of the 1918 influenza pandemic’s impact on the town and schools.

Schools had been closed and there had been numerous absences of teachers and students more than a century ago.

“It sounds like the people of Dunbarton were dealing with the difficulties of the pandemic then, just as we are now,” Ouellet said.

Superintendent Dean Cascadden addressed the current health crisis and how the school district adapted COVID-19 protocols.

“We’ve done a very good job of delivering education in a pandemic,” he said during the Saturday meeting. “It’s been a really, really tough year but I think we’re starting to come out of it and I’m really excited about the future.”

Cascadden expressed his appreciation for the turning seasons, saying that March – with warm days and town meetings – was his favorite time of year.

“You start tapping the trees, it gets a little warm, the sun comes out, and we gather together in gymnasiums and town halls and we talk to each other about how we’re going to run our schools and how we’re going to run our towns and move forward,” he said. “It’s just such a great tradition and such a great way to govern.”

The district approved all of the warrant items, including the measures to appropriate funds to the school capital reserve fund and the community center capital reserve fund. The district’s operating budget was also approved, after school board Chair Clem Madden amended the budget to $8,544,270, a reduction of $27,392, a recommended reduction in the district’s offering of speech language pathology.

On the town side, all warrant articles were also approved Tuesday, including the towns’ budget, which was amended at the meeting to increase the bottom line of the budget by $20,384.16, according to town clerk Linda Landry. The amendment came after a motion to “increase the salaries of all full time and part time employees of the Town by 3% over the 2020 salaries.” This prompted discussion that specific line items in the budget could not be changed from the floor, but the bottom line could, leading to the amendment that passed.

Additionally, a proposal to appropriate funds for the Page’s Corner Cemetery faced an attempted amendment, when a resident proposed raising the funds through taxes instead of withdrawing them from the Cemetery Trust Fund Maintenance Care account. The amendment failed in a 19-20 vote, and the article passed as originally written.

All other warrant articles passed without amendment.

The ballot election saw Michael Kaminski elected to the Board of Selectmen, Raymond Plante elected as Trustee of the Trust Funds, Linda Landry elected as Town Clerk, Carol Kilmister and Bruce Banks elected as library trustees, Mary LaValley elected to the Board of Assessors, Marcy Richmond and Marilyn Terrell elected to the ethics committee, Justin Nault elected as Cemetery Trustee and Jeff Trexler elected to the school board. All ran unopposed.

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