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School board member wants town say on merging vacations

SALEM, N.H. -- The school board is considering replacing the annual February and April school vacations with a single week off in March, an idea that is drawing fire from the board's Windham representative who argues members are ignoring her town.

Merging the two vacations into one would create problems for Windham families with students attending Salem High School and one or more of Windham's schools, said Beverly Donovan, Windham's only representative on the board.

The change, she said, could interfere with vacation plans if Windham students are on different schedules.

When the idea came up at a recent Salem school board meeting, Donovan said she expected that Salem would survey parents from both towns before making any decision. However, she said, board chairman Roland Maher told her that Salem didn't have to do a survey.

''It just highlights how we really don't have any say in Salem," said Donovan, who is not a voting member of the board.

Maher said he told Donovan that the board had no intention of surveying Windham residents.

''I didn't say we would ignore Windham. If Windham wants to survey their own community, that's fine," he said. ''We would be looking for feedback from Windham."

This isn't the first time Salem school officials have suggested changing the vacation schedule.

''The fact that board members are interested in having a one-week vacation is not a surprise," Salem Superintendent Michael Delahanty said. ''It has been discussed at every calendar meeting the last four or five years. Certainly, the Windham School Board could survey the Windham community and that input would be welcomed, but the Salem school board is certainly not going to survey the Windham community."

Maher said a planning session will be held to discuss the March vacation, which could either allow summer vacation to start earlier, or the week gained could be used to start school after Labor Day and end the year earlier.

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