01-13-2014 News

As reported in a Girard at Large Breaking News Flash on Friday afternoon, Pinkerton Academy granted the Hooksett School Board‘s request to eliminate the requirement that seventy five students attend the Derry high school in the coming school year.  While all parties hailed the decision, it seems to only have fueled the controversy surrounding the board’s decision to enter into it in the first place.  We’ve linked to the story we published Friday afternoon with all the details at Girard at Large dot com.  Since publication, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas weighed in saying that while he hoped the decision would be clearly communicated to Hooksett parents who might otherwise feel obligated to send their kids to Pinkerton, the city’s strategy to attract students to Manchester schools was unchanged by the decision.  He said the city will aggressively market what he called the great education the city offers students, with special emphasis on the STEAM Ahead initiative at West.  Gatsas said he couldn’t imagine there wouldn’t be a lot of parents interested in the opportunity for their children go graduate high school with up to a year’s worth of college credits free of charge.  Hooksett Town Council Chairman James Sullivan, a candidate for school board in the coming March elections, released a statement to Girard at Large saying the decision was quote unquote fantastic news for parents and students that would have been subjected to the lottery system the board created to ensure the minimum number of students was met, but went on to say it was yet another example of a pattern where the Hooksett School Board enters into an agreement then doesn’t follow it.  We’ve posted Sullivan’s complete statement which raised a number of interesting points.

Meanwhile, Board Clerk John Lyscars is both crying foul over the schedule of presentations to be made to Hooksett’s eighth graders and challenging Hooksett parents who are pro-Manchester to visit Pinkerton and pro-Pinkerton to attend the presentations of  and visit West and CentralWe’ve posted the challenge with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.  In an email sent Saturday morning, which we’ve also posted, Lyscars notes that Central High School isn’t scheduled to visit with eighth graders or their parents until after Pinkerton’s deadline for freshmen to choose their classes.  Pinkerton gave its student and parent presentations at Cawley Middle School on January eighth.  At that time, instructions and deadlines for picking classes were given.  Lyscars doesn’t think the timeline is fair to either the parents and students or the other schools available to parents and students.  He requested Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield, the architect of this schedule, ask Pinkerton to extend their class sign up deadline to a later date to prevent parents and students from feeling pressured into making a decision before they’ve heard from all of the schools.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Legislation’s been filed that is likely to cause the oligarchs at the New Hampshire State Board of Education and their minions in the department they oversee some agita.  House Bill fifteen oh eight would terminate the state’s participation in the Common Core national standards and House Bill thirteen ninety seven would establish a study committee to determine whether or not the state board and department are operating within their statutory authority, which many ed watchdogs have charged they are not.  We’ve uploaded both bills for your review and note that many of their sponsors represent areas within our listening area.  Meanwhile, informational events designed to raise awareness of the national standards have cropped up in communities across the state, including Hampton, Hollis/Brookline, Kingston and Kearsarge among others.  Legislation has also been introduced in the New York State Senate to remove them from both Common Core and the Race to the Top program.  Given the ongoing open insurrection caused by those programs, it ought to be interesting to see how that legislation fares.  We’ve linked to all the info we have in this story at Girard at Large dot com.

The public hearing scheduled  by the Goffstown Budget Committee is this Thursday night in the Goffstown High School Auditorium.  It starts at seven and is expected to be eventful as fireworks have exploded at various budget committee meetings and residents, like Pinardville’s Gaetane Benner who fought Plan Pinardville in part because she said it would cause the town’s taxes to go up, and Board of Selectman candidate State Rep. John Burt, a former member of the Budget Committee, are asking people to attend because of what they say is an unacceptable tax increase.  In an op. ed. published on Girard at Large dot com, Benner cites statistics showing that individual incomes have been flat in the metropolitan area for seventeen years, but that’s not been the case for town or school district employees.  In an op. ed. published on Goffstown Today dot com, Burt said last year’s tax hike and the one looming for this year are a result of unnecessary spending he vowed to fight if elected to the board in March’s elections.  We have, of course, linked to both pieces for your review.

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