By Henry Greenbaum
CHESTER – The Chester School Board held its last regularly scheduled meeting prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year on Aug. 25.
During the meeting one of the agenda items was in regards to an update about infrastructure projects the school district had this year.
Chester School Board Chair Royal Richardson that at the end of the school year the school district’s administration identified several infrastructure projects for consideration this year explained it. He said that two of the projects are related to improvements to the HVAC System through the installation of supplementary HVAC units to work with the overall building systems.
The first HCAC project was to install split A/C units in the library hub room. The second HVAC Project was to install a split A/C unit in the SPED offices. It was announced that those projects are complete and operational.
Another project that was identified by the administration that was important to complete was the installation of split A/C units in the second floor classrooms of Chester Academy to address long-standing heating and cooling issues they’ve had.
Richardson said that the project is not quite completed yet.
“The in-room AC split units have all been installed,” Richardson said. ” However, the majority of the external condensers for the second floor classrooms are back-ordered with an estimated delivery of October,” he added.
Also during the meeting Richardson said that the Town of Peterborough recently reported that they were the victims of a cyber email attack and talked about the significant fraud loss that Peterborough is facing right now.
Following the news Richardson said he contacted the school district treasurer to find out if they would be vulnerable to that type of situation.
“Our School District Treasurer, Rhonda Lamphere, noted that an attempt like this has happened here in Chester via an email request from what appeared to be the Town Clerk at the time, asking her to set up an ACH transfer to a specific account. The request for the fraudulent transfer was for approximately $50,000. When she examined the e-mail address carefully, it was actually just slightly different than the Town Clerk’s actual name. And the transfer never took place.
Richardson said Lamphere explained that she has created a process to ensure management of municipal funds and that all of the Town’s accounts are also protected by debit blocks, which means that the name and account of the company is listed with the school district’s bank, TD Bank.
“Due to the checks / balances and controls that she has put in place, even if someone did create a transfer to a bogus company it would not clear the bank if the company name and account number is not listed on the approved ACH list,” Richardson said.
In personnel news it was announced by Chester Superintendent Sharon Locke that the school district hired Madeline Cox to work as a first grade teacher. It was explained that Cox is coming to Chester Academy after working for two years as a teacher at the Hellenic American Academy in Lowell, Massachusetts. Cox graduated from Merrimack College with a bachelors of Arts degree in human development and is currently enrolled at the University Of Massachusetts in Lowell where she is working on her masters of education degree in curriculum and instruction.
The next regularly scheduled Chester School Board meeting is slated for Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.