Ben Dick

MEA Prsident Ben Dick: Negotiated new agreement with mayor

05-19-2014 News

Manchester’s teachers will begin voting on a tentative agreement reached with Mayor Ted Gatsas tomorrow.  Officials have been tight lipped about the pact pending the vote’s outcome, but Girard at Large has learned that the plan does include a restructuring of the teacher’s health benefits and does convey pay raises.  Two days of voting will begin tomorrow and conclude on Wednesday.  If approved, the pact will go before the Board of School Committee for ratification and then on to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for adoption.  Teachers have been without a contract since last June when their agreement expired, leaving them without any pay raises in the current year while the city absorbed the increased costs of their health care.  Two years ago, teachers balked at a contract extension deal negotiated between Gatsas and Manchester Education Association President Ben Dick.

Gatsas:  Breaks impasse with teachers union, agreement going to a vote

Gatsas: Breaks impasse with teachers union, agreement going to a vote

After a negative recommendation from the union’s executive board, teachers trashed the deal by a margin of three to one, which lead to a “can only happen in government” scenario where the school district laid off approximately eighty teachers while giving pay raises of two and a half to eight percent to the remaining staff.  Projections at the time were that the changes would have saved about four and a half million dollars, enabling the recall of nearly all the pinked slipped teachers.  The Board of School Committee’s Negotiations Committee declared impasse with the teachers’ union which was demanding retroactive pay raises and a phase in of the benefit plan restructuring.  Inasmuch as Gatsas was not a fan of the tying of pay raises to the tax cap as was done with the principals’ and paraprofessionals’ unions, don’t expect to see that come forward in this deal.

Debate tonight

Debate tonight

Tonight we will host a special LIVE broadcast as we cover the only debate that has been had to date on the Common Core national standards in education.  Supporters of the Common Core have not only refused to share the stage with their opponents, they’ve done nothing to speak with parents or taxpayers about the standards and have confined their discussions to those educational circles regulated by the State Board of Education.  That all changes tonight as State Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio, B O E member Bill Duncan and Derryfield School teacher Dr. David Pook, whose school isn’t adopting the standards, take the stage at St. Anselm’s tonight with Cornerstone Policy Research’s Education Liaison Ann Marie Banfield, Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform and Emmet McGroarty, the Director of Education for the American Principles Project.

EXCLUSIVE live coverage here!

EXCLUSIVE live coverage here!

Banfield, Gass and McGroarty were joined by renowned standards expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Bill Evers of the Hoover Institute last September for what turned out to be an overflow crowd that gathered at St. A’s for an informational session they hosted to alert folks to why they opposed the national standards, which we also carried live.  Tonight, we’ll be joined by Sid Glassner, Senior Fellow of the New England Society for the Study of Education and anchor of our “Is Our Children Learning?” segment, starting at six thirty to preview the debate, which starts at seven and is scheduled to end at nine.  We’ll carry it uninterrupted right here on ninety point seven F M  and we’ll stream it live at girard at large dot com, where you’ll also be able to blog along with us in our Live Blog Forum at Oh My BLOG!  This is one of, if not the most important debate over education this state has ever seen, so be sure to tune in!

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Memo to the Senate:  Please don't concur

Memo to the Senate: Please don’t concur

Turns out the legislature isn’t done with Senate Bill three nineteen, the so called Buffer Zone Bill, yet.  Because of changes made to the bill by the House, the bill must go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote.  The House amended the bill to enable abortion clinic operators to determine where the buffer zone around its property will be without input from the abutters or the municipality.  Neighbors be damned, I guess.  Anyway, anti-abortion groups are urging their supporters to call or email their state senators to urge them to request “non-concurrence” on the changes.  The Senate is expected to take concurrence vote this week.  Since we’re talking Concord, look for yet another bill to turn New Hampshire into a great big slot parlor to come forward.  I’m wondering if we can get Buffy the Vampire Slayer to come here and kill this legislation.

Nyquist:  Announces rematch with Sen. Sanborn

Nyquist: Rematch with Sen. Sanborn

Saying quote “It has been profoundly disappointing to the citizens of District 9 to witness the incumbent’s partisan, ideological, uncompromising and counter-productive representation” end quote, Attorney Lee Nyquist, Democrat from New Boston, declared his candidacy for the State Senate.  It’ll be a rematch with incumbent Senator Andy Sanborn who narrowly defeated Nyquist in two thousand twelve in what was the state’s closest senate race.  Sanborn beat Nyquist by two hundred ten votes, fifteen thousand four hundred thirty five to fifteen thousand two hundred twenty five, in a bitterly fought contest in which interviews and a debate between the two on this show featured prominently in the campaign.  Nyquist said he’s received bi-partisan encouragement to run again, declared himself a moderate Democrat and claimed if elected he’d be quote commit to lead in a bipartisan, non-ideological, collaborative, common sense and work-a-day fashion.”  End quote.  So, it looks like folks in Bedford, New Boston, Mont Vernon, Lydenborough, Greenfield, Temple, Sharon Peterborough, Hancock, Dublin, Jaffrey, Troy, Fitzwilliam and Richmond won’t be bored this campaign season.  We’ve posted Nyquist’s entire announcement with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

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