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Claremont Needs New Board Member

Claremont — The School Board on Wednesday night set Dec. 6 as the deadline for anyone applying to the board seat vacated by Gene Grumman, who submitted his resignation.

The board will advertise for the position later this month and hopes to conduct interviews and choose a new board member Dec. 11. The term will run until the annual school meeting in March. Letters on interest can be submitted to the SAU 6 office.

Grumman resigned Monday in the wake of news reports that he used inappropriate language while coaching 9- and 10-year-old girls. He was dismissed as coach from the independent soccer club as well as his volunteer duties with the city parks and recreation department, where he also coached soccer.

The board did not officially accept the resignation because it was not on the agenda, so it will wait until the next board meeting in two weeks.

Board Chairman Richard Seaman was the only board member to comment on the issue.

“It has been a long and sometimes challenging process that the community and School Board has gone through,” Seaman said.

When he learned of the reports in the newspapers, Seaman said he spoke with Grumman and urged him to resign.

“I truly believe his behaviors are not consistent with how we manage, what we do as a board and how we treat youth in the community,” Seaman said. “I told him I did not think it was something he could overcome.”

In other business, the board is beginning to consider alternatives to the energy performance contract with Johnson Controls because the district has been unable to secure a 20-year loan for the $3.6 contract.

“We are running out of time,” said board member Brian Rapp, adding he has been hearing from residents concerned that the deal is not done yet. “Are we going to pull the deal? I would like an answer. I need to tell people what is the end game.”

Dave Putnam, a board member and chairman of the Stevens Renovation Committee, said the financing proposal from Oppenheimer and Co., although with terms of 20 years, has an interest rate and fees that make it too expensive. Two banks have offered 15-year loans but the shorter term would mean little or no additional savings for other projects. They also want collateral, which the district cannot provide, said Putnam.

The Johnson contract to install energy-saving equipment in the district’s schools guarantees enough savings in energy costs to cover the annual loan payments. The district is projecting $450,000 in additional savings over 20 years to do more work at Stevens during the $12.6 million renovation that began this summer.

“We can’t find an institution to give us the present value of that (savings),” chairman Seaman said, noting that banks are pulling back from 20-year loans.

Putnam promised a definitive answer at the next board meeting Dec. 4. If the financing cannot be secured, Putnam said they could bring another proposal back to voters in March under a bond, not a lease-purchase.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.