A big week for the city of Manchester is ahead as both the Board of School Committee and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet and big items are on their agendas. Tonight, the school board is in session. On its agenda is the presentation of Central’s accreditation report. Yup, it’s actually on the agenda, all seventy one pages of it. I think I’ll need an interpreter to gather what it’s saying, but there’s lots of references to twenty first century learning and expectations, and of course, adequate funding for a variety of items.
Also on the agenda is a presentation regarding The Manchester Academic Standards. Since the school district did not send them to the standards experts that had offered their input free of charge, Dr. James Milgram and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, we did. Milgram said with the exception of Geometry, where he said the standards were better, what the district’s posted on its Web site is little more than a rehash of the Common Core national standards. Stotsky, who has met once with the district’s standards writers, said the standards posted to the site were incomplete and that she needed to see a number of key elements before she knew whether or not there’d been any improvement over the Common Core. She seemed frustrated with the district’s lack of response to her follow up inquiries. Milgram, in case you didn’t know, was instrumental in the development of California’s superior before Core math standards and Stotsky was a central figure in the development of the standards that catapulted Massachusetts’ education system to the top ranks in the world. One would think the district would make liberal use of their offers to assist its efforts, especially seeing they offered it free of charge. They didn’t.
Also expected tonight, though not on the agenda, is a report from Superintendent Debra Livingston regarding redistricting. At least, that’s my recollection of what she said at a prior meeting. Maybe one of these days the superintendent’s report on the agenda will at least have bullet points outlining what she plans to talk about.
Tomorrow night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meets in special session on the city budget. Under the charter, the board must pass a budget by Midnight tomorrow or the budget proposed by Mayor Ted Gatsas will be adopted by default. The one caveat to that is if the mayor vetoes a proposed budget. If that happens, the aldermen will have until June thirtieth to adopt a spending plan. Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann is expected to present a budget within the tax cap. Expect him to use newly increased revenues and take as much as a million and a half dollars from the school budget to fund severance, health insurance and contingency line items on the city side of the budget. Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig has been in search of an elusive tenth vote to break the cap. Her budget is expected to restore the unfunded line items just mentioned while also increasing departmental spending. To find that tenth vote, it’s said she’ll need to get the tax hike under four percent.
Regardless, it looks like your Humble Host is in for two long nights. Blog along with us in real time to keep me company, share your comments to keep me sane! We’ll be there until the bitter end.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The coming elections took an interesting turn as several surprise candidates came forward to file their candidacies. Manchester’s Ward Six School Committeewoman Robyn Dunphy filed her candidacy for the District Eighteen State Senate Seat currently held by former Ward Six School Committeewoman Donna Soucy. Dunphy, a Republican and newcomer to politics, said she’d put her background in finance and education to bring fiscal restraint, concern for constituents, and commitment to asking tough questions in Concord. We’ve published and linked to her complete campaign release from this newscast at Girard at Large. The district includes Manchester wards five through nine and the town of Litchfield.
In Senate District Twenty, which includes Manchester wards Three, Four, Ten and Eleven and the town of Goffstown, Girard at Large has learned that Eileen Landies, former chair of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance will declare her candidacy for the seat now held by Casino Lou D’Allesandro. That race out to be fun to watch for a whole lot of reasons. We’ve linked to a past interview with Landies so you can get to know her.
And former Executive Councilor and State Senator David Wheeler, Republican from Milford, goes once more unto the breach, having declared his candidacy for the District Five Executive Council Seat being vacated by Debra Pignatelli. Pignatelli beat Wheeler last time out and Wheeler wants the seat again. His announcement puts to rest speculation he may run for the senate seat being vacated by the resignation of former Senate President Peter Bragdon. In our listening area, the district includes the towns of Dunbarton, Weare, New Boston, Litchfield, Merrimack, Amherst, Milford and Mont Vernon.
Finally this morning, though the news could go on for the entire hour, this past Friday, members of the Manchester Police Department’s Communications Division were recognized by the New Hampshire Emergency Dispatcher’s Association. Director Cecily McNair presented the association’s annual “Critical Incident of the Year Award” to Manchester Police Department’s Emergency Services Dispatchers Rona Leriche and Nina Adzic, Communications Supervisor Brian Bovyn and 9 1 1 Operator Officer Paul Fraitzl, all of whom were working in the dispatch center on August eleventh, two thousand thirteen. That was the Sunday morning when fifty four year old Muni Savyon shot and killed his nine year old son Joshua and then turned the gun on himself at the Y W C A on Concord Street during a supervised visit. This tragic active shooter incident resulted in a comprehensive police response that required these emergency service dispatch personnel to ensure the communication of crucial information to officers on scene. It was through their excellent work that day that officers were able to safely affect a rapid response and effectively contain an emerging and uncertain situation. Chief David Mara praised the team saying quote “behind every good arrest, behind every emergency that police officers are answering on the street, there are dispatchers working just as hard inside,” end quote. Congrats on a job well done.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead