The Manchester Board of School Committee met last night and it was, well, interesting. At the request of Mayor Ted Gatsas, the board put to rest the question of whether or not students from Hooksett who start high school in Manchester can finish high school in Manchester by a simple motion. Only Ward Three’s Christopher Stewart and Ward Nine’s Arthur Beaudry opposed the motion on a roll call vote. Beaudry wanted Hooksett to guarantee it would pay tuition for any student that transferred out of Manchester as if they hadn’t. Stewart thought a contract was in order to provide the guarantee. Gatsas said the other matters that had been brought into the discussion should be worked out between the two boards’ negotiations committees. The motion comes in the nick of time for Hooksett school administrators who will be meeting with parents this Thursday to inform them of their high school options and how to exercise them.
The board also took up the thorny issue of state mandated assessments. As listeners of this show know, state Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry sent Superintendent Debra Livingston a letter saying, nice try, but you’re not going to get a waiver to the Smarter Balanced Assessment. In the letter, she said the city had gained both additional funding through School Improvement Grant funds, so called SIG Grants, and increased flexibility in the use of federal dollars. She also pointed out that both Gatsas and former Superintendent Tom Brennan had sent letters of support for the state’s waiver application to the No Child Left Behind Act, implying Gatsas knew of the testing requirements. Gatsas fired back last night and in a letter of his own saying he understood the city would have to take a standardized test, but didn’t know it was going to be the Smarter Balanced Assessment. If he had known that, he said, he wouldn’t have taken the money, nor would he have supported the waiver. Gatsas’ letter not only went to Barry, but to various political heavy weights in state government, making clear his intent to get through the legislature what the city’s being denied through both the state Board and Department of Education. The board rallied around the mayor, voting to support his letter, which invited Barry to come before the school board an answer its questions in public session. Ward Six Committeewoman Robyn Dunphy was particularly supportive of the request that Barry appear before the board, saying she’d personally hand out the opt out forms being circulated by Common Core opponents to parents if the state refuses to address the city’s concerns. Stewart and Committeewoman at-Large Kathy Staub voted against supporting the mayor’s letter. We’ll have more on this during the show.
We’ve linked to or Live Blog Forum of the meeting so you can see who did and said what in real time. We’ve also posted the mayor’s letter, which contains the original letter Barry used to imply that Gatsas knew abut the testing. We’ve also linked to our video of the event Gatsas uses as proof that Barry said waivers could be applied for. And, for your convenience, we’ve linked to the Live Blog Forum we posted in real time.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Seems the campaign of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Health Care Queen, is resorting to the use of union thugs to intimidate trackers following her Highness on the campaign trail. At a recent event at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a representative of Citizens For A Strong New Hampshire, who often questions Shaheen at public appearances was brazenly assaulted by a man who pushed him back from Shaheen’s entourage as she passed by, claiming to be a private citizen while marching between others wearing N H Workers for Shaheen t-shirts at a union sponsored event. This is what it sounded like. We’ve obviously linked to the video for your review. Even more disturbing than the assault is watching Shaheen walk by as if there was noting happening. Kinda reminded me of how Attorney General Martha Coakley ignored the assault of a reporter by one of her supporters during her US Senate race against Scott Brown. Anyway, one thing is clear, Shaheen and her supporters would apparently rather intimidate those asking questions, like why she’s not held a Town Hall meeting in over two years, than answer the questions or hold the Town Hall meetings.
Speaking of Brown, in response to him saying he couldn’t think of a vote he’d change in reflecting on his time in office, the campaign of Jim Rubens issued a release saying there were at least seven he should want to take back. They include: Voting for Romney Care, voting to grant illegal aliens in-state tuition, supporting a federal assault weapons ban as well as a permanent ban on them while in the MA Senate, voting for the Cybersecurity and Patriot acts, voting to increase the debt ceiling and voting for the Dodd Frank bill that’s crushing small, community based banks among others. We’ve posted Rubens’ release with all the details as to why Brown might want to reconsider those votes with this news cast at Girard at Large dot com.
The Manchester Police Department hasn’t exactly been overwhelmed by the number of responses it’s received to the survey it’s published on its performance and the priorities of the community when it comes to fighting crime. The department has asked the media to continue to make folks aware of it and request they participate. We’re happy to oblige and have linked to the study. Let them know what you think. Don’t worry, it’s anonymous!
Despite it being Election Day, cops in Bedford are still holding their monthly Coffee with a Cop and Senior Citizen Talk session this morning from seven to nine and Meet the Chief event with Chief John Bryfonski tonight from four to seven. Both will be held at the Safety Complex on Constitution Road.
That’s news from our own backyard on this Election Day! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!