The filing period for elective offices opens in most towns today as the two thousand fourteen Town Meeting Election Season officially gets underway.  Town and school district moderators, town clerks, school board members, selectmen and councilor seats are up for election throughout the region.  School Board races in Hooksett are expected to be of particular interest with two additional seats being added to the board and three current or former town councilors, including current at-Large member and Council Chairman and former school board member James Sullivan, District One Councilor Todd Lizotte and former Councilor and former Budget Committee Member Jason Hyde having declared their candidacies.  In Goffstown, State Rep. John Burt won’t get to challenge incumbent Selectman Phil D’Avanza as D’Avanza announced he was retiring the seat after more than two decades on the board.  There are dozens of offices available in the towns we follow and we’ve gathered what we can find into an article we’ve linked to at Girard at-Large dot com.  Check them out and get involved.

Surprising news made at last night’s Hooksett School Board meeting as the high schools chosen by the town’s eighth graders were released.  Pinkerton Academy led the pack with a whopping one hundred six students choosing to attend the Derry high school.  Thirty two chose high schools in Manchester.  Eleven parents opted for private high schools, seven chose Londonderry, six are bound for Bow and four picked Pembroke Academy.  Just a month ago, a survey of Hooksett eighth graders done to provide Manchester with an estimate required by the tuition settlement indicated seventy four children were coming to Queen City schools.  In other business, Board Chair Trisha “The Gavel” Korkosz disallowed corrections to the minutes offered by Board Clerk John Lyscars.  Lyscars wanted the minutes to accurately reflect statements he’d made at the last meeting.  Korkosz said he was trying to have the minutes be verbatim and they don’t do that there and that the minutes were to be the quote interpretation end quote of the board’s secretary, not the interpretation of any individual board member.  So much for accuracy.  Korkosz also announced the board’s Policy Committee would now follow the Right to Know Law by posting its meetings, having agendas and taking minutes.  Board Vice-Chair David Pearl, who flagged the committee’s flawed operations at the last meeting, ask why it wasn’t following the law.  Korkosz said it was past practice and she didn’t think it had to until the question was raised.  Nice.  We’ve linked to our Live Blog of the meeting which had some entertaining, though predictable public commentary.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Manchester Police Chief David J. Mara made  his case for more cops in the Queen City.  In an enlightening presentation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mara outlined the structure of the police department and shared the duties of each division.  He discussed the methods and strategies the department uses to combat crime and noted their successes battling burglary among other crimes, touting their so called solved rate which is twice the national average.  Mara argued for another thirty officers, pegging the cost at roughly two point three million dollars.  He said those officers would largely go to the department’s patrol division and street crime unit and would dramatically reduce overtime expenditures and stress on the existing officers.  Mara said he and Mayor Ted Gatsas had worked out a plan to add five additional officers and fill eight existing vacancies which would put thirteen cops on the street by the beginning of September.  We’ve posted Mara’s entire presentation with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com and we’ll hear more on that from the Mayor during his appearance this morning.  In other business, the board referred a number of revenue proposals to various committees, but not before Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig asked for impact statements on the proposals.  It also approved a vicious dog ordinance and tabled a request by Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau for one hundred thousand bucks to make up a projected shortfall in the Welfare Department‘s budget.  We’ve linked to the blog of our real time coverage so you can get the details.

The Manchester School District released documentation regarding its efforts to develop news standards that has its critics howling.  The document, which we’ve linked to from this news read at Girard at Large dot com, gives critics who say this effort is nothing but a sham to rework and adopt Common Core, a whole lot of ammo.  Among the actions outlined are things like “Look at C C S S in other states” and “Look at C C S S for Kindergarten” and “Continue looking at C C S S and what we feel need to change in K to 5 (i. e. wording, vocabulary).”  What appears absent is looking at any of the other standards they’re allegedly considering to improve the standards, among other things.  Meanwhile, Girard at Large has been told that the district has not applied for a waiver to the Smarter Balanced Assessment and has no plans to do so in the near future as the test is quote years away end quote according to Superintendent Debra Livingston.  We have filed Right to Know requests asking to know what text and work books have been purchased by the district since July first of last year and for copies of district wide tests that we’re told have been administered since the beginning of school.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is just moments away!