Posted July 17, 2012 5:15 PM


Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy has an agenda on tonight’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen asking the board to place a charter amendment that would make the city’s school district a department of the city on this November’s ballot.

In discussion with Girard at Large, Roy said the school board’s refusal to allow Superintendent Tom Brennan to appear before the aldermen and their vote to keep their health insurance administration separate from the city, costing taxpayers more than $200,000, were the impetus for his proposal

“If the district was a department, then Brennan would be a department head and would have to appear before the board to answer questions,” Roy said.  He went on to say that if the district were a department, the benefit issue wouldn’t have been an issue.

When asked why not wait for the outcome of the charter commission, Roy noted that the last attempt to change the charter failed.  “We can’t guarantee that the question will pass or that a proposed charter that makes that change will pass.  Then what?  We’re stuck with this situation for another year.  The voters decided this once before and they should have the opportunity to do it again.  It might be the only chance we have to avoid another horrific budget process.

Below is the text of Roy’s agenda item and proposed charter amendment:

After observing the difficulties the Board of Mayor and Aldermen experienced during our budget deliberations with the Manchester School District, it is my belief that now is the time to make the school district a department of the City of Manchester. I firmly believe that this amendment to the city charter will provide our board with an ability to properly analyze and hopefully assist in solving the difficult financial obligation the school will face in the coming fiscal years.
My recommendation is the the following language be placed on a special election ballot to coincide with the State General Election on November 6, 2012:
Summary/Explanation: To amend the Charter of the City of Manchester , New Hampshire to provide that the City of Manchester, a municipal corporation, shall constitute a single school district, administered by the Board of School Committee as a delpertment of the City of Manchester and that the mayor shall have control over the form and procedures for preparation and adoption of the school department budget. Effective date: January 1, 2013.
This language reflects the identical language that was placed on the November 2001 ballot that was passed by a majority of Manchester voters but was later ruled invalid by the courts due to state law That conflict has since been corrected an now is the time to send the question back to the citizens of Manchester.

I appreciate your consideration and support.