Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard a presentation last night from Daniel Barrick of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies and Anna Thomas of the city’s Health Department. Barrick’s presentation was the same one he’d given the school board about the demographic make up of the city and how standardized test scores broke out along socioeconomics and demographics. In his comments, he noted that the make up of the schools wasn’t something the superintendent could change, it was something she had to deal with.
Thomas, who did not present to the Manchester Board of School Committee at the time Barrick did and who has not presented to the school board, regaled the aldermen with the department’s grant funded efforts to transform schools into community centers that provided a laundry list of social and health services to neighborhood residents and, in doing so, was causing foundations and various sources of private funding to rethink how they support initiatives aimed at poverty. The aldermen learned of various initiatives, including leadership training of all staff and students at the three pilot schools, Gossler Park, Bakersville and Beech Street, and how that training was being used to engage parents through their children.
This caused Board Chairman Dan O’Neil, Alderman at-Large, to ask Mayor Ted Gatsas why it was the school district didn’t communicate more of this information to the board or to the public. Paraphrasing, he said he’d heard more than he could stand about Drivers Ed, but stuff like this we never hear about. He wondered how there could be community solutions when there’s no communications with the community.
The board spent more than an hour on the report, with Alderman Pat Long thanking Barrick for the report saying it gives him information he can use as a state rep to persuade folks under the Golden Dome that Manchester really is different and really needs to be treated differently. We’ve linked to the lively discussion which we chronicled in our Live Blog Forum so you can review what was a largely constructive dialogue.
In other news from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last night, Mayor Gatsas said the city’s going to have to cough up another half a million dollars to fund increased retirement contributions for members of the police and fire departments. He suggested, with the support of Finance Officer Bill Sanders, that the board reinstate the hiring freeze they lifted with the passage of the current budget. Sanders said that the only way the city really had to reduce spending was to limit new hires. Based on last night’s commentary from the aldermen, I wouldn’t expect it to be an uncontested item.
In the Committee on Administration and Information Systems, the aldermen tabled the issue of regulating Uber and other so called ride-share companies raised by Ward Six Alderman Garth Corriveau. Corriveau opposes the imposition of taxi cab regulations on the ride share companies saying they’re technology companies, not transportation companies. The flight of Uber representative David Barmore was delayed causing him to miss the committee meeting. He did, however, appear during the public participation meeting of the board to say Uber is not against regulation, just for smart regulation that recognized the nature of their technology business and that he looked forward to working with the city. I wonder if he used a cab to get to City Hall from the airport. Corriveau will join us Friday morning to discuss the issue.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
On October ninth, the State Board of Education heard arguments from both the Goffstown and Dunbarton school districts on whether or not Dunbarton owed Goffstown more than half a million dollars for capital costs, despite choosing to send their middle and high school kids to Bow following the expiration of their tuition agreement. You may recall that the State Board ruled unanimously in favor of Goffstown’s position. Dunbarton appealed, filing a Motion for Rehearing and Reconsideration with the board. Yesterday, it rejected Dunbarton’s request unanimously, which means Goffstown will now be sending a bill for five hundred thirty thousand two hundred thirty eight dollars and forty one cents, though we note that the board’s ruling and decision can be appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. No word yet out of Dunbarton whether or not they’ll push it that far. We’ve posted Goffstown’s press release on the matter with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
The N H Tea Party Coalition celebrated its seventh birthday, yesterday. On December 16, 2007, groups of young libertarians gathered at harbors across the nation where they tossed symbolic tea boxes emblazoned with the many issues they hoped would garner more attention by the public in the 2008 election into the water. Today, the Coalition remains an independent and local force for good as it works on issues important to the New Hampshire grassroots. These include maintaining local control, opposing the encroaching regionalism that threatens town identity, restoring local control to education, restoring clean elections, strengthening the right-to-know laws, preserving second amendment rights, and working toward less state regulation, taxes, and fees while recommending charity and voluntarism to help those less fortunate. Those who wish to learn more about these issues or connect with those involved are encouraged to visit N H Tea Party Coalition dot org.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.