In a follow up to Monday’s press conference announcing that the Urban Violence Working Group had swung into operation in June, the Manchester Police Department released statistics yesterday it says demonstrates its effectiveness. Though Chief David Mara reiterated that gun related crimes from January to July were up 40%, announced that gun crime had fallen by twenty one percent since the Urban Violence Working Group initiative and other proactive measures were launched. In addition, PART 1 Crimes, which include Homicide, Forcible Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny, Auto Theft and Arson are down by seven percent this year over last with Homicide down 40 % , Forcible Rape down 32 , Robbery down by 18, Aggravated Assault is unchanged, Burglary is down by 19 %, Larceny is down by 2, Auto Theft ticked up by 2 and Arson has fallen by 5 5 %.
The department also announced several promotions and a swearing in ceremony on January Fifth. Those promoted to Captain are James Soucy and Maureen Tessier. Being promoted to Lieutenant are Ryan Grant, Sean Leighton, Brian O’Keefe, Stephen Reardon and Andrew Vincent. And, finally those promoted to Sergeant include: Robert Bellenoit, Richard Brown, Eric Knight, Peter Kucharski and Kenneth Loui
Monday night’s meeting of the Manchester Board of School Committee was difficult for Assistant Superintendent David Ryan. It started early when Debra Olszta called him out for his explanation of the technical bulletin issued by Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry on whether or not parents could opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
While Olszta acknowledged that Ryan correctly cited the five very narrow exceptions in the law that would allow a student not to take the test, she hammered him for misrepresenting a prior communication from the state Department of Education regarding the reality that parents will opt their children out of the assessment. She correctly pointed out that children who opted out for legally allowed reasons would be counted differently than children whose parents simply refused to allow them to be assessed, like I will. Those children who aren’t covered by the legal exemptions, will be counted against the district’s participation rate, which the state wants to be as high as possible for its own purposes. Schools and districts around the country that have had lower than targeted participation rates, or otherwise simply canceled the assessments, have not been penalized in any way, said Olszta.
Doris Hohensee, Chair of New Hampshire Families for Education, went after Ryan as well. She recounted the story of how she fought with Ryan over opting her daughter out of the NECAP Assessment when they were at Nashua North High School. As a result of her experience with Rayn, she urged the board to adopt policies that would require principals to respect the wishes of parents to opt their children out, to change policy so that they won’t be considered absent on days where they arrive at school after the testing is done and to adopt policies that require alternative programming for kids who opt out so they won’t spend the day in the principal’s office like her daughter.
Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars then alleged Ryan is helping cover up his complaint against the Central Varsity Boys Soccer coach.
All that was before the meeting even got started. During the meeting, Ward Nine Committeeman Arthur Beaudry chastised Ryan for misleading the board on conversations he had with a prospective Drivers Education provider. Ryan’s answers, frankly, showed that Beaudry’s criticisms may have been on point.
Ryan also announced the news that the district was moving the Adult Education Program from the School of Technology to make way for the continued expansion of their four year high school program to West High. However, he couldn’t answer any of Ward Ten Committeeman John Avard’s questions regarding space utilization. His “we’re going to have to figure that out” answers seemed a little out of place given the announcement that the program was moving.
News from our own backyard continues after this
It appears as if the Sandown Board of Selectmen doesn’t much care what Timberlane School Board Member Rob Collins thinks of its choice of Selectman Cindy Buco to represent them on the C I P Committee Collins Co-Chairs with Superintendent Earl F. Metzler. At their meeting on Monday night, the board unanimously confirmed Buco was their choice. It remains to be seen whether or not Buco’s appointment will be accepted by the committee or the Timberlane Regional School Board in light of the ongoing war with Sandown School Board representative Donna Green and Budget Committee members Arthur Green and Cathy Gorman who are also from Sandown.
Since were on the topic of Timberlane, Superintendent Metzler circulated a memo advising members of both the school board and the budget committee that, because of a quote un quote “parking lot incident,” he was going to hire police details to be present at school board and budget committee meetings. Metzler did not define the incident in the memo and has not replied to our request for information on the matter. Nobody we’ve talked to has any idea what he’s talking about.
And, as a follow up to a couple of other stories, we’ve now read the Articles of Agreement governing the four towns of the Timerlane Regional School District and understand why it is that School Board Member Donna Green and Budget Committee Member Cathy Gorman are raising questions about the legality of Metzler’s proposal to close the Sandown Central Elementary School and send the fifth graders to the middle school.
The agreement’s crystal clear that students in grades six through twelve can be educated in centrally located schools in the district, but the first five years of formal education had to be in elementary schools within each in the town. At the time the agreement was authorized, back in the mid sixties, there was no state mandated Kindergarten, which Metzler and his sycophants, like Rob Collins, are arguing counts as a year of formal education. In fact, there is still no state mandate for Kindergarten and, even if there was, its clear the Articles of Agreement requires kids to be educated in their towns through the fifth grade.
Makes sense to me that Green would ask for any legal letter supporting Metzler’s position that the fifth graders can be moved and why Gorman would be making it clear that the school board has jurisdiction over the matter, not the budget committee. What’s still not clear is why Collins and his colleague Peter Bealo and Budget Committee Chair Jason Grosky would claim these two were violating so called open meeting laws by asking for and disseminating information via email to their respective boards, unless of course they were attempting to intimidate them, but that couldn’t be happening in the Timberlane Regional School District, could it? Oh My HEAD!
That’s News from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!