The Manchester School Board was in session last night. After receiving their annual health care utilization report that showed some troubling trend lines, Superintendent Debra Livingston said that recommendations to address the findings of the curriculum audit completed in June were forthcoming and that she was working on a multi-year school budget. Regarding the development of The Manchester Academic Standards, Livingston said that the district needed ways to evaluate whatever recommendations it brings forward and effectively integrate it into all city schools so that they were interdependent and coordinated in using the standards. Under questioning by Ward 9 Committeeman Arthur Beaudry, Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said the administration was soliciting teachers to sit on a fifteen member District Standards and Curriculum Committee to oversee the development process and review recommendations that would be made by two working groups, separate from the standards committee, one for math, the other for English. Ryan also indicated that there will be groups working on the standards at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Beaudry’s motion to have the the administration provide the board and the public any proposed standard two weeks in advance was tabled, with only him and Ward 2’s Debra Langton opposed. We’ll have more on this during the show.
Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau responded to our news report yesterday about supporters of his campaign intimidating a local business owner for having challenger Joe Whitten‘s sign on her property. Corriveau said he quote “won’t be distracted by his opponent’s antics and his petty partisan side show. End quote. We’ve posted the entire statement with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com. Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Dick Bunker may have been caught taking a sign for Whitten off his neighbor’s property. In an interview with Girard at Large, Bunker said he did, in fact, remove Whitten’s sign from his neighbor’s property, but that it wasn’t nefarious. He was going to mow the neighbor’s lawn while they were away and, after pulling the sign, needed to head quickly back to his home to use the bathroom. He said he had a bout of the flu for the next twenty four hours and despite leaving all the other campaign signs on his neighbor’s front lawn, and despite giving them their mail and newspapers two days later, he simply forgot to return the sign, which he would do more than a week after he took it down. Sources we interviewed prior to calling Bunker had a slightly different rendition of the story, which we cannot divulge lest we give them away. Suffice it to say, if Bunker did suddenly develop a touch of the flu after pulling Whitten’s sign off his neighbor’s lawn, it may have been God’s way of saying to him “don’t do that!”
News from our own Backyard continues after this.
There was another Sustainable Second Street work session for residents and business owners along the city’s oldest commercial corridor last night. Attendees were presented with a Health Impact Study which allegedly assessed the health impact of current zoning on area residents. The conclusion: People who live along Second Street are fat because the strip has twice the density of fast food restaurants per capita as does Hillsborough County or the state. No Kidding. Among the recommendations to fix this, of course was to enact zoning that restricts the density of fast food restaurants and encourages businesses that offer healthy food. That caused an uproar in the room, which included a number of restaurant owners who say their shops offer healthy choices, but people don’t always choose them. Several attendees pointed out that there’s a Hannaford’s Supermarket on one end of the strip and the West High track and tennis facilities on the other, which is closer to the majority of residents than the fast food joints, and asked how planners could blame restaurants for fat people. The study’s presenter was forced to admit the survey used preexisting general data and did not survey residents, all of whom were pretty thin looking to me, as to whether or not they ate at the restaurants or where they shopped. The group also spent time not suggesting suggested changes to the zoning and working to create goals for the project, which basically boiled down to this: Fix and extend the sidewalks and make sure they’re clear in the winter. One attendee called suggestions to plant street trees along the sidewalks and other places quote “dumb.” We’ll have more on this during the show.
Cornerstone Policy Research is crying foul over a meeting the State Department of Education is hosting today with legislators. The meeting will feature Mark Tucker, one of the originators of Common Core and a man who, for decades has advocated for a national take over of education and who recently published an article on how to wrest local control of education from local school boards to nationalize standards and curriculum. The purpose of the meeting, which we reported would happen nearly two months ago, is to educate legislators on Common Core. Cornerstone Executive Director Ashley Pratte expressed outrage that only one side of the issue was being presented and stated Cornerstone’s support for strong local control. We’ve posted their statement with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.