Controversy of a real kind is brewing at the Hooksett School Board.  Board Clerk John Lyscars says that board member Phil Denbow improperly voted on the tuition settlement with Manchester.  Denbow, says Lyscars, stands to gain financially by the agreement because he has a freshman at Pinkerton Academy.  Currently, the town of Hooksett pays the Manchester tuition rate for any student that attends non Manchester schools and the parents have to pay the rest.  That means Denbow currently pays the difference between Pinkerton’s ten thousand three hundred dollar tuition and Hooksett’s eighty five hundred dollar payment, or eighteen hundred bucks, out of pocket.  As a result of the settlement, Manchester’s tuition rate will jump from the current eighty five hundred dollars per year to ten thousand two hundred next year, an increase of seventeen hundred dollars, which all but eliminates Denbow’s out of pocket expense.  Lyscars contends Denbow’s failure to recuse himself from voting violated the board’s conflict of interest policy may also run afoul of state Department of Education administrative guidelines.  We’ve posted Lyscars’ complaint along with the Hooksett board’s conflict of interest policy and the state regs with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.  Denbow has been a vocal advocate of severing ties with Manchester and entering into a tuition contract with Pinkerton as Hooksett’s primary high school.  Denbow was unavailable for comment when we called yesterday.

Members of the Manchester Board of School Committee met informally with about a dozen members of the public last night, along with a handful of teachers.  The Ask the School Board event hosted at West High School by Ward Ten Committeeman John Avard, while sparsely attended, wasn’t without mischief of its own.  Our loyal listener Patrice, the lady who keeps bringing up those pesky ninteen thirty New Hampshire education standards that have kids doing a whole lot more readin’, writin’, and rythmatic in the early elementary grades than they do today was there.  She provided copies of those standards which she’d typed up and printed on some old scrap paper, to the board members present and members of the audience who were interested.  However, later in the meeting, one of the school teachers who’d taken a copy form her went around the room and collected them from everyone who had them, including school board members.  When asked by Patrice why she was taking her handouts away, the teacher said that the  backside of the page contained personal information and she was taking the papers to protect that individual’s privacy.  It didn’t seem to matter that the name and address of the person on the back side of some of the pages was Patrice’s aunt who passed away in April, the aunt who gave her the scrap paper to use, the aunt who had the book on the nineteen thirty standards.  Patrice said she was going to email the board members her summary write up of the standards and sent them to us so we could post them with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com, which we have, of course done.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Seems that some members of the state Board of Education are not impressed with Manchester’s decision to develop its own standards.  Doris Hohensee, President of New Hampshire Families for Education attended yesterday’s meeting of the board in Merrimack and posted the following on social media:  Quote:  The most amazing comment so far was concerning Manchester.  Board Member James Schubert was exasperated and doubted Manchester could handle the development of their own academic standards.  B o E Chair Raffio speculated quote if genuine, God bless Manchester.  end quote.  Then B o E member Gregory O’Dell asked quote what can we MAKE Manchester do?  Can we take it over to make sure the standards are upheld?”  End quote.  Thankfully, Member O’Dell you can only take over the city’s seven priority schools that were created by Senate Bill Forty Eight and the waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act.  Lest anybody think that the State Board of Education is interested in local control, let this stand as testimony to the contrary.  And, let me also say to the Manchester School Board and District, let this insult be the fuel that causes you to do what you’ve said you’re going to provide the best standards possible in the most transparent way practical so you can prove to the wizards of smart in Concord that we the dumb locals can take care of themselves.

That’s vexing news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!