Bourque leaving GM School Board after 7 years

By Rebecca Salem

Bill Bourque, GMUHS board chair

Bill Bourque, GMUHS board chair/ Photos by Shawn Cunningham

After seven years serving as chair of the Green Mountain Union High School Board, Bill Bourque will be stepping down in July. He and his family are moving west – from Andover to Manchester, VT.

Bourque became chairman of the school board shortly after joining in 2005. At that time, he was charged with the task of hiring a new principal for the school. The board hire, Tom Ferenc, still leads the school today

In a recent interview, Bourque recalled the improvements he has helped initiate at the school, including the reconstruction of the auditorium, an energy efficient lighting project and the current library renovation. These projects were funded by a capital improvement fund initiated by Bourque.

Other successes include the increased use of technology at the school.

Bourque said that “not everybody always agrees with that approach and you have to be careful that (the process of learning) doesn’t become about the devices. But schools have been using technology for years. It has been a continuum. Now we are just at the point where you can be hugely more productive. There is a challenge in teaching not just the students but the staff as well. So we hired a technology integration specialist to work with teachers and students to get it up and running in a sensible way.”

“We hired a technology integration specialist to work with teachers and students to get it up and running in a sensible way.”
Bill Bourque
Departing board chair

Amanda Bourque

One ongoing concern, Bourque said, is the decline in student enrollment, since the amount of state funding a school receives is dependent on the number of students enrolled. Fewer students, he said, means decreased state funding and an increased burden on local taxpayers.

“It’s always a tough balance between what taxpayers can afford and what the students need. We are always trying to raise standards and improve student outcomes, in terms of academic achievement. But our capacity to do that can be limited due to budget issues affecting staff and programs for the students.”

Bourque does not yet know who will replace him on the board, although it will have to be another Andover resident, chosen by the town’s school board. Vice Chair Alison DesLauriers will take over as chair until the board votes in March, at which point there will be a board reorganization.

In terms of looking to the future, Bourque hopes that the school keeps up with the good work they’ve been engaged in to improve student learning and “keep the building in tip-top shape.” He hopes too that GMUHS can do more to involve parents in the school and in their children’s education. “It’s important that kids get that kind of support because they will do better when they get it.”

It is clear that both he and his wife, Amanda, have followed this advice. Amanda also has been involved in the schools, having served on the board of the Chester-Andover Elementary School. And since 2000, she has been crucial to the school’s drama club, acting as costumer for the annual dramas and musicals since their eldest daughter began attending GMUHS. She also has been active with the Booster Club, helping to organize the snack booth.

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About the Author: Rebecca Salem lives with her family in Chester. She is the director of development for the Windham Child Care Association and will be receiving her MFA from Bennington College in June 2013.

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  1. Bill Bourque says:

    There are many individuals involved in efforts to maintain and improve GMUHS. My fellow board members and — to a greater extent — GMHUS’s administration and staff, all play a role in trying to move the school forward. I don’t want to give the impression that I was responsible for all that work was highlighted in the article.