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Category: Girard for School Board

Questions about the Central lockdown

Publisher’s Note:  Click on any picture to enlarge it. While Friday night’s lockdown of Central High because of a shooting that took place three blocks away is awash in the praises of the officials who ordered it, many questions remain and must be asked.  However, in today’s environment, where just about any police action in the name of school safety is sacrosanct, one has to wonder just how many people will actually ask.  I decided to write this because Police Chief Carlo Capano, in a follow-up article published in the New Hampshire Sunday News, unapologetically said he’d do it again....

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Setting the record straight on HOPE–Again

The story of the Board of School Committee’s decision to terminate the HOPE program at West High School seems to change as its supporters seek to further vilify those who voted against it.  Despite ample public statements, the misrepresentations wilfully continue, some of which intentionally impugn the professional reputation of district staff as they search for a rational while they ignore what was said.  Instead, they substitute their “feelings” or “beliefs” by inventing their own “facts,” which conveniently fit their desired narrative. The oft and most egregious falsehood comes from Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry, who has accused alleged opponents...

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Improper secret meeting minutes unsealed and released

On August 13, 2018, the Manchester Board of School Committee improperly went into non-public session to discuss whether or not a program operating without approval should continue in the schools.  After being confronted by a request from at-Large Board of School Committee Member Richard Girard to unseal the minutes of the non-public session, Mayor Joyce Craig consulted with the school district’s legal counsel.  She was told, after a review of the minutes, that the discussion should have been in public.  Thus, the minutes below were released following the successful vote to unseal the minutes at the school board’s meeting...

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Girard Backs SB 193

Below is testimony at-Large Manchester Board of School Committee Member Richard H. Girard offered at a May 1, 2018 press conference in Support of Senate Bill 193 at the Legislative Office Building in  Concord, NH. Good morning, everyone. My name is Richard Girard and it is my honor to be serving a second term representing all of the people of Manchester as an at-Large member of its Board of School Committee.  While my board has seen fit to oppose Senate Bill 1 9 3 out of fear it will cause the city to quote un quote lose money, I...

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Another View — Rich Girard: Breaking the rules, and getting away with it

Posted as originally published in the Union Leader on Friday, October 13, 2017. It is with some sense of amazement that I write this letter to the people of Manchester. On Monday, September 25th, the Manchester Board of School Committee did two things that actually made my jaw drop. As you may know, at-Large board member Nancy Tessier violated policies of the school board, provisions of the city charter and laws of the state when she disclosed the contents of a non-public meeting to the staff members who were the subject of a confidential discussion.  That’s not my accusation. ...

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Manchester School District identifies board members who take taxpayer provided health and dental benefits

In response to a Right to Know request filed by former Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars, the Manchester School District has released the names of those board members who take taxpayer provided health and or dental insurance benefits and identified the associated premium costs to the district.  Lyscars said he filed the request because, as a Hooksett taxpayer, he was unhappy that tuition his town paid the to educate its children in the Queen City’s schools was going to board member benefits, rather than to classroom needs. Lyscars’ original request produced a document that identified the plans taken...

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My Fight for Civics Education

Addressing the deplorable condition of civics and history education, the state approved SB 157 last June.  The law “requires students in high school or equivalent to take and pass a government and civics competency assessment as a component of instruction in the history, government, and constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire.” While some quarrel with giving a test to improve what’s taught, Americans are woefully uninformed about every aspect of our nation’s Founding. Worse, what most “know” reminds me of something President Ronald Reagan once said: “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant;...

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An Alternate Feeder Pattern for Manchester’s Schools

On Monday, April 10th, the Board of School Committee will entertain redistricting recommendations made by Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas and Leslie Want, the Committee Member from Ward 4 and Chair of Special Committee on Redistricting.  It is immediately below this introduction.   It is important to understand what this plan is designed to do.  According to a recent press release issued by the district,   The proposal includes a revised feeder pattern among Manchester’s schools, determining which middle and high schools a student will attend based on their elementary school.  While the current feeder pattern splits groups of students from...

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An Open Letter regarding the Search for a New Superintendent in Manchester

It would seem that my radio commentary responding to the insults and demands of Ward 12 School Committee Member Connie Van Houten has struck a nerve.  It was meant to.  Make no mistake, despite their claims, it’s not the deliberately attention getting manner in which the opinions were expressed that she and others object to.  It is the opinions themselves to which they object; that and the information that was made public. Predictably, Van Houten and other of my usual critics have shared their slack-jawed contempt for the manner in which the opinions were expressed.  The social media gnashing of teeth has truly been something to see.  Also predictable is the way other members of the board, both past and present, have seen fit to use what I’ve said as evidence of alleged hypocrisy. Wrote Kathy Staub, whom I defeated in November, Transparency is for other people. Ward 10 Committee Member John Avard, who incorrectly stated that the public was not to know the terms of a negotiated contract with the Manchester Education Association until after the Board of School Committee voted on it, posted: Says the man who was livid that union negotiation information was only shared at the board level until the ratification process was complete. Now secrecy is ok, even though it hasn’t been sanctioned by the board. Yes.  It IS true.  I’ve been a staunch advocate and...

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Girard releases Manchester high school class sizes

As part of the discussion over redistricting, at-Large Board of School Committee Member Rich Girard opened a discussion on high school class sizes.  It came in response to administration claims that despite having 1,500 fewer students than it had in the past, West High School didn’t have the space needed to absorb about 400 seventh and eighth grade students from the Middle School At Parkside. That discussion was raised because Girard revived a 2007 proposal to use available space at West to host the seventh and eighth grade classes currently at Parkside, and convert Parkside to an upper elementary school housing grades four through six to both eliminate overcrowding in the West Side’s three elementary schools and consolidate the district’s pre-kindergarten program, which is currently housed at multiple schools around the district.  The plan would free up enough classrooms across the city to enable a needed redistricting of all eleven elementary schools on the city’s East Side. At a special meeting held on February 29, 2016, administrators claimed that twenty two classrooms would be required to house the seventh and eighth grades at West and that if you filled all existing classes to thirty students, there wouldn’t be enough room to house the 400 plus students from Parkside.  Girard countered by reading a class size report he’d obtained from the district as a journalist in October, before being elected to the board.  Several classes...

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