The sandbagging of Hampstead Budget Committee Chairman Jorge Mesa-Tejada continued last night as the Hampstead School Board held an unannounced non-public session to discuss the alleged threat Mesa-Tejada, a seventy nine year old grandfather whose opposition to a four point six million dollar bond issue for the Hampstead Central School has drawn the ire of Superintendent Earl Metzler, poses to school children and facilities in the town. On a three to two vote, the board voted to uphold the No-Trespass Order issued by Metzler barring Mesa-Tejada from school properties.
Mesa-Tejada criticized a district presentation claiming the Hampstead Central School needed to be expanded to eliminate portable classrooms to protect children from potential gun violence. In addressing the district’s claims, Mesa-Tejada, who in October presented a space utilization analysis of the school demonstrating it did not need to be expanded to eliminate the portables, pointed out there were far greater opportunities for someone to do mass harm that would not be solved by the addition. For doing so, he was accused of threatening the children. Metzler later demanded the Hampstead Police Department investigate him for criminal threatening. They declined.
Girard at Large has learned that the clause in state law used by the Hampstead School Board to enter into non-public was R S A 91-A: 3, II (i) which allows public bodies to consider matters relating to the preparation for and the carrying out of emergency functions. Oh My HEAD!
The Hooksett Budget Committee is looking to fill the two open seats created by the resignations of former Chairman Patrick Gosselin and member Tabitha Jennings. The appointment to both seats will terminate with the town’s elections on May 10th. Anyone interested in being considered for appointment to either of these open seats must be a registered Hooksett voter and should submit a letter of interest, including your name, address, email and phone numbers as well as a brief explanation of why you would like to serve on the Committee by February 3rd, to the Hooksett Budget Committee, Attn: Chairman David Pearl, 3 5 Main Street, Hooksett, NH 03106. It may also be emailed to the committee’s clerk, Lee Ann Moynihan, at l moynihan @ hooksett dot org. Anyone with questions may call Moynihan at 2 6 8 0 0 0 3. On February 4, 2016 the Committee will hold public interviews with those who submit letters of interest at its regularly scheduled meeting, which starts at 6:30 pm. The final process for naming the replacement members will be determined during that meeting.
While we’re on the topic, the signatures for a Citizen’s Petition Warrant Article that would have the Hooksett Budget Committee determine the school district’s default budget have been verified. So, expect to see this question, which just might put an end to the school district’s distortion of default budgets which have deprived voters of a say in what is spent, on the ballot.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Board of School Committee’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee met last night and it’s one you’ll want some popcorn and your favorite beverage handy for when the reruns air. What was expected to have been a meeting composed primarily of updates from the superintendent’s office saw committee members engage in extensive questioning that had administrators on the defensive.
The most heated discussions arose over the Performance Assessment of Competency Education program, otherwise known as the PACE pilot program. Things got contentious when Superintendent Debra Livingston expressed her lack of appreciation for the questions asked by at-Large Committeeman Rich Girard, who had been questioning the process Livingston went through to involve the district in the program, which is an alternate assessment program administered by the state.
“I’m not saying it was done in the right way and I accept that responsibility, but it’s successful and it’s honing skills…We are going to move forward with that. IF the board says not to go forward with that, that’s their decision.”
With several unanswered questions raised by Girard and committee Chair Debra Langton, the committee approved a motion by committee member John Avard to cautiously allow the district to continue with the professional development sessions more than a dozen staff members had already started, until the outstanding questions surrounding the district’s obligations to the state from the program are known. Girard and committee member Lisa Freeman opposed the motion, preferring to table the item until the facts were known.
Following that discussion, the committee voted to return the draft Curriculum Management Plan to the administration for a rewrite and to have it posted to the district’s Web site to solicit public input. Committee Chair Langton agreed to hold hearings on the document to further solicit public input. At issue were concerns raised by Avard and Girard about the failure to adequately involve parents and the community in the process of reviewing curriculum. Girard specifically objected to the section about responsibilities of parents, which only included regularly sharing information about their kids with school officials and attending open houses. There was no invitation for them to offer input on what would be in classrooms, nor was there any mention of involving the community or businesses, including the private companies who’ve ponied up hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the many public private initiatives now operating in the schools.