Quote: “I formally request that you provide me with all records regarding your out-of-state travel for the month of January 2015. This request includes, but is not limited to, any information regarding the purpose and duration of travel, in addition to any costs incurred by New Hampshire taxpayers during your trips.” That’s the opening sentence in a letter sent to Governess Margaret Wood Hassan by State G O P Chair Jennifer Horn invoking the state’s Right to Know Law yesterday. In the letter, Horn accuses Hassan of using her office to actively explore a campaign for the U S Senate, saying such a campaign will require significant out-of-state travel to raise the millions of dollars that will be needed to run. Hassan is widely expected to challenge freshman Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
Citing the New Hampshire Constitution’s requirement that the governor’s powers be temporarily transferred to the Senate president in the event the governor is absent from the state and the requirement that the governor inform the Senate president about his or her absence from the state, Horn’s Right to Know Request also specifically calls for Hassan to provide copies of any correspondence with the State Senate regarding her out of state travel to ensure proper protocol is being followed. Horn provided a story from the Daily Caller, which reported that on September 11, 2001, then governor and senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen, traveled to Washington, D C without informing the Senate president to justify the request. As New Hampshireites may recall, that little sneak away trip put the state at risk as officials scrambled to figure out who was in control of state government as they tried to respond to the day’s infamous terror attacks.
The Derry Fire Department announced that its Bureau of Communications, Fire Alarm, and Information Technology attained the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project-33 Certification on January 28. It is the first public safety dispatch center in New England to attain P-33 Certification. The APCO Certification is a formal mechanism that will be used to ensure the Derry Fire Department Dispatcher Training Program meets, or exceeds the APCO American National Standard of minimum initial training, and continuing education standards. Certification was a fourteen month process, and similar to accreditation required reviewing, editing, and adding to an already existing training program.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Are mischievous things afoot in the Manchester School District? Yesterday, Girard at Large received word that Superintendent Debra Livingston allegedly sent a letter to school board members saying the city would lose twenty three million federal dollars if it failed to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment, resulting in the elimination of over three hundred staff members. In response to our inquiries, Livingston forwarded a spreadsheet itemizing the federal funds the district receives and identifying the number of positions supported by those funds. She said no letter was sent with the spread sheet, which she said was forwarded at the request of an unidentified school board member. She has yet to respond to our inquiry as to which board member made the request nor has she provided the communication sent to board members explaining why it was being sent.
That notwithstanding, Girard at Large has learned that Ward Eight School Committeewoman Erika Connors is the board member who sent the request. Connors has been one of the few on the board who’ve opposed the decision to not administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment. She has also opposed efforts to develop an opt out form parents can use to exclude their children from the test. As chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, she refused to take up the development of an opt out form saying she needed clarification of the board’s directive to the committee. Without replies to our questions of the Superintendent, it would appear as if someone’s trying to imply that the city would lose twenty three million dollars in federal funds if it didn’t cave into the demands of the state Department of Education.
It also appears there are mischievous things afoot in the Timberlane Regional School District, again. As listeners of this show know, the district’s deliberative session is tonight and Budget Committee member Arthur Green will bring forward an amendment to reduce the proposed budget by four percent, essentially bringing funding levels down to current levels. Green has argued that the district is seriously overstaffed and has made multiple presentations justifying his belief. Noting the district hired more than sixty teachers last year to fill vacancies due to retirement, resignation or dismissal, Green reasoned the district could do without thirty nine teaching positions without violating district policies on class size, academic offerings or extra curricular activities. He has argued this could also be done without massive layoffs because of the district’s natural attrition rate.
Yesterday, Green received word from Superintendent Earl Metzler’s secretary Catherine Belcher that the fifteen minutes he’d been guaranteed by district’s moderator to make a presentation had been reduced to ten minutes, after which he received another email telling him that instead of using the audio visual equipment the district will use to make its presentation, he’d have to bring his own computer and cables to hook up to the projector. Last year, he just needed to bring a thumb drive with the presentation to plug into the district’s set up. His wife, Donna, a member of the Timberlane Regional School Board, will only be allowed to speak for three minutes. Gotta love this place…I, along with an estimated thousand people will be there tonight.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!