Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars has warned that if the Manchester School Board does not provide a written guarantee that any Hooksett student who starts high school in Manchester may finish high school in Manchester, regardless of the outcome of tuition contract negotiations, it could negatively impact a coming student assignment vote. In a call to Girard at Large yesterday, Lyscars said that the Hooksett School Board will determine whether or not to assign its current eighth grade class to Pinkerton as it did last year or to Manchester as it did the year before. Students assigned to a school will go there unless their parents notify Hooksett school officials of a desire to go elsewhere. Lyscars also said there will be a high school fair with all the schools to which Hooksett may send its kids so parents and students can make more informed choices about where to go. He said Manchester’s refusal to date to provide written assurances that students can finish high school in the city is causing concern among parents who would like to send their kids to its schools, but don’t want to start if they’re unsure they can finish. Lyscars was reacting to our Tuesday interview with Mayor Ted Gatsas who said the legal settlement may not specifically say they can finish, but it doesn’t say that they can’t. Superintendent Debra Livingston, in an email to Hooksett Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield, said the Hooksett School Board’s letter requesting written guarantees should be addressed by the new committee. Gatsas, in the past, has said he couldn’t conceive of a scenario where students wouldn’t be allowed to finish their schooling in Manchester. The negotiations committees for the two boards are scheduled to meet for the first time on July thirtieth at the Cawley Middle School. Click here for Rich’s take on what should be done.
It appears as if Manchester has two new school principals and a new assistant principal. In a press release sent yesterday, Superintendent Debra Livingston quote unquote “conditionally named the next principals” of Hallsville and Southside, pending Board of School Committee approval at next month’s scheduled meeting. Christi Michaud, currently a principal in Windham, will assume the top administrative position at Hallsville and Jennifer Gillis, currently an assistant principal at the Mountain View Middle School in Goffstown (remember that place?) has been appointed to Southside. Before becoming an assistant principal and principal in Windham, Michaud was a teacher at Green Acres for more than a decade. Gillis has served as assistant principal at Mountain View since 2 0 0 8. Kristen Withee, a fourth grade teacher in Windham, has been hired as an assistant principal at Webster School. The district’s release said quote “Traditionally, new district staff members are hired only after Manchester’s Board of School Committee votes to approve the superintendent’s recommendations. The timing made it necessary for Dr. Livingston to offer the positions to Michaud and Gillis ahead of the August 11 school board meeting so that the new principals can use the rest of the summer to prepare for the school year.” End quote. Frankly, I’m not sure it’s a matter of tradition so much as it is the law and I’m pretty sure a phone poll of the board could have been conducted to gain the necessary prior approval, but we’ll have more on that during the show.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: After two inquiries of Communications Director Andrea Alley regarding Superintendent Livingston’s actions, Livingston herself called. She clarified that she was, in fact, authorized buy the Board of School Committee on July 14 to hire personnel over the summer, subject to ratification at the next scheduled meeting of the board. While she agreed that the press release could have relayed this information better and noted our concerns with not only the release, but Alley’s response to our subsequent questions, we nonetheless retract, with apologies, the story we opined on here and present Livingston’s information from the minutes we were subsequently sent. Here is the agenda item we apparently missed on the 14th.
Item 24. Authorizing the superintendent to hire all personnel for the upcoming school year.
Committee Member Beaudry asked does that mean, with this authorization, that the board will not be apprised of any of the appointments of principals or assistant principals? They will just do the hiring and not have to come back to us.
Mayor Gatsas stated I think what it was was that they came back to us after it was done. If there was a problem at that point they were hired conditionally.
Committee Member Beaudry stated I’m just going to reiterate what I have been saying right along. I have extreme difficulty because under the state law for certified personnel, the School Board is actually the ones who do the hiring. The superintendent does the nominating, but we do the hiring. To hire someone, sight unseen, without, at this point, even seeing the background sheets on the individuals who applied, what they have for a background, I personally cannot support that. I will be voting against this motion.
On motion of Committee Member Desrochers, duly seconded by Committee Member Van Houten, it was voted to approve this item. The motion carried with Committee Member Beaudry voting in opposition.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Police Department, in partnership with the Manchester Fire Department and CHaD, the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, is hosting a free Child Safety Seat Inspection event at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in Manchester on August Ninth from nine to two. Inspections are by appointment only and there are some appointments still available. To schedule yours, please contact Officer Mark Aquino at 7 9 2 5 4 4 7. Child fingerprinting will also be offered by the M P D’s Community Policing Division. No appointment is necessary for that service.
Manchester aldermen shot down the request of the owner of the Pillar Manors, two restored, prominent Victorian style and era apartment buildings on Hanover Street, to modify the city’s housing code ordinance. Owner Kathy Flanders had asked for the code to be changed so that buildings built prior to nineteen forty with original wood windows in good working order be exempt from the requirement of having storm windows where the landlord pays for the heat. She said storm windows do more harm than good, arguing they cause wood rotting condensation to form and detract from the building’s aesthetics. Aldermen were unsympathetic to her pleas as code officials seemed to think it would open a Pandora’s Box of problems, which it wouldn’t. Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig complained that it wasn’t just a comfort issue, but a safety issue, saying Flanders probably couldn’t convince her insurance company it’s a good idea and he doesn’t think it is either because he doesn’t want kids falling out of the windows in the summer…when storm window’s aren’t used. Only Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw weighed in on Flanders’ behalf saying there should, at the very least, be some sort of appeals board so that unique situations like this can be handled accordingly. There are one hundred eighty four windows in the two buildings. Click here for Rich’s take on how this hurts the city.
The Rotary Club of Merrimack installed new officers and directors at its recent annual “Changing of the Gavel Dinner.” The new officers are Marge Chiafery (president for quarter 1); Andy Steeves (past president); Maureen Mooney(president-elect); Phil DeGregorio (vice president); Jane Hoover (secretary); and Paul Belfiore (treasurer). Bill Wilkes, Bob Freed, Troy Aarthun, Lynn Christensen, Ron Douville, and Joyce Jobin were named to the Board of Directors. Wilkes, Douville and Joe Mitchell will serve as president for quarters two, three and four respectively. In addition to installing officers and directors, Chris Christensen received the President’s Award and Bob Freed was named Rotarian Rookie of the Year. Our congrats to all involved.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead.