Well, the redistricting ideas floated by Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston are taking heavy fire from parents at Smyth Road and Jewett Street schools. Some parents at Smyth Road have condemned the proposal to relocate the pre-K program to Jewett Street saying it will devastate the kids in the Autism program. Apparently, they don’t
function well when their environment is changed. Their opposition to relocating the program to Jewett is okay with parents at Jewett who’ve launched a “save our school” campaign on social media. Folks there seem to think the fix is in to take their school away and despite demanding that school officials meet with them to share their plans and get their feedback, they’re opposed to any changes to the school’s set up. So, here you have the reason why redistricting hasn’t been done in eighteen years. Everybody agrees something needs to be done so long as it doesn’t affect them. We’ll have more on this during the show and we’ll hear from Ward 8 School Board Member Erika Connors, who is at Ground Zero on this one, tomorrow.
Not Guilty! That’s what the judge in Hooksett District Court said last week in response to charges that Manchester Police Officer William Soucy assaulted former girlfriend Joni Nunn in his Hooksett home. According to a front page story we happened to catch in this morning’s Union Leader Judge Kristen Spath found reasonable doubt remained as to how the cut or scratch occurred on Nunn’s hand and that there was reasonable doubt as to whether Soucy’s mental state led him to knowingly and recklessly hurt his ex-girlfriend. Girard at Large listeners might remember that it was this investigation that Alderman at Large Joe Kelly
Levasseur had accused the Manchester and Hooksett police departments of stalling and intimidating him over, allegations Girard at Large found to be completely false in a lengthy investigative news article published last July thirtieth, a finding that would later be confirmed by the Attorney General’s Office after Levasseur decided on the day after we released our article to both accuse Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association President Steven Maloney of assaulting him during an argument seven months prior in January and file a Right to Know Request he would later falsely accuse us of originating and sue for fees he himself didn’t pay. In any event, according to Union Leader Correspondent Ryan O’Connor, Levasseur continued his complaint against the Hooksett Police Department saying the ninety days they took to arrest Soucy on the charges was quote “beyond the pail.” End quote. Ah, question for Joe, at what point does your directive to your client to not cooperate with the investigation, thus stalling it for six weeks, become “beyond the pail?” We’ve linked to our investigative report and the Attorney General’s report on Levasseur’s allegations so you can read the facts of what really happened for yourselves.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
As our listeners are well aware, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will present his budget at a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen tonight. The mayor has given precious few hints about his pending spending plan except that it will, as required by the charter, conform to the cap on spending and tax revenue and it will not lay off any employees. The Board of School Committee has already referred a proposed one hundred sixty million dollar budget request which abides by the caps to the aldermen for consideration. We expect that the Gatsas school budget proposal will look a lot like the one that just went to public hearing, although we are reminded that last year, Gatsas pulled a rabbit out of his hat when proposing a two point eight million dollar bond to fund the district’s technology needs. Gatsas may have other rabbits in his hat this year given the yawning gap between revenues and expenditures and a particular need to address crumbling, roads among other things. We’ll be there live to blog along in real time and we invite you to join us.
Tomorrow night, the Bills on Second Reading Committee will take up a request to rezone the Hackett Hill Research Park Zoning District to allow for all manner of housing for senior citizens. This request was submitted directly to committee on March twenty fifth, a highly unusual move given that these matters are typically referred to committee by the board. Developers complain that the park has sat undeveloped since being created because the market isn’t there for the hoped for development. They say the proposed changes will enable the sale and development of the land and be good for the city. We say phooey on that and will explain why either today or tomorrow as time permits. All I’ll say about it here is this: I was there when that park was created, what folks are saying about why it’s not been developed is really not so.
The Hooksett School Board meets tomorrow night and it ought to be of interest. First, the board acted at its last meeting to schedule a non-meeting with their attorney to brief the board on the legal settlement with Manchester over the tuition contract dispute. They intend that meeting to be in non-public session, which we believe is not allowed under the Right to Know Law as the settlement is public and there is no pending legal action involved. The school board members should be briefed in public and the public should be briefed so everybody is aware of how the district understands it. It is unknown whether or not that meeting is to be held before tomorrow’s public session, at which the board is expected to take up a number of matters related to the high school issue. At its last meeting, a number of
prearranged motions were brought forward by newly elected school board member Todd Lizotte to define a process of data collection and evaluation of the town’s high school options. While the board refused to accept Mayor Ted Gatsas’ invitation to meet with the Manchester and Candia school boards and refused to support a motion made by member James Sullivan to send a letter to Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston advising of the board’s interest in meeting with her at an undetermined time in the future, the board did approve a motion asking Pinkerton to extend the one year enrollment agreement that took effect after the town shot down the tuition agreement, for another year. We’ll do our best to keep an eye on it. Oh, and it’ll be a bit of musical chairs tomorrow night as board member David Pearl won approval to rearrange the room to better facilitate the public and have the staff sit in a place that reflected its status as and administrator that answered to the board, not a peer that sits on it.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ starts right after this.