“No one ever wins,” “6 6 6,” upside down crosses, “kill cops” and “Isis is here” was some of what was spray painted sometime over the weekend at the McKelvie School in Bedford. This may come as a shock to some of our listeners with kids at McKelvie because school officials did not notify parents of the graffiti which was on two doors and a window in the back of the school and on the back of a fence that surrounds a dumpster and on the door to a shed next to the track. Superintendent Chip McGee told Girard at Large that while the police were immediately notified of the vandalism, parents weren’t because school officials found no credible threat and didn’t want to give additional attention to the vandalism. Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski had nothing to add, saying the case is under investigation. He asked that anyone with information regarding this crime contact the Bedford Police Department at 4 7 2 5 1 13 or provide an anonymous text to tip to 8 8 8 7 7 7. Bryfonski said quote “I would also ask to remind your audience that these acts are, in fact, crimes that cost the community at large and are treated by the Department accordingly.” End quote. Consider yourself reminded.
Timberlane Regional School District Budget Committee Member Arthur Green has announced he will propose a budget of sixty four million nine hundred forty thousand nine hundred dollars at tonight’s meeting of the committee. This represents a three point one million dollar reduction from the budget currently on the table at the Budget Committee, which eliminated a dozen vacant positions and a half million dollar transformer project that’s being done with unspent funds in the current year’s budget. To affect the reduction, Green eliminated the eighteen thousand dollars budgeted so that Budget Committee Chairman Jason Grosky’s wife, Gretchen Grosky, could play Public Relations Consultant for the district and removed thirty nine staff positions at an average cost of eighty thousand dollars for salaries and benefits. Green justifies the proposal noting the substantially higher staffing levels in Timberlane versus similarly sized districts he says get better educational outcomes.
Yesterday, on Girard at Large, Budget Committee Member Cathy Gorman exposed more numbers shifting and game playing by Superintendent Earl Metzler, noting that the latest revision of the budget done by the administration added back the principal’s position for the Sandown Central Elementary School, despite proposing to close the school and showed a mere handful of staff positions eliminated out of the three dozen actually in that building. That, in conjunction with other line items that had to be increased to handle the proposed changes, reduced the projected savings by almost forty percent.
In a blog post, which contains the basis for Green’s proposal, School Board Member Donna Green writes, “Superintendent Metzler has lavish resources to run an excellent school district. Other nearby districts of similar size get better academic outcomes with far fewer staff and financial resources. This proposal is simply requiring the district to manage itself better because we have hit the bottom of the seemingly bottomless well of taxpayer generosity.” She also likened the proposal to eliminate Sandown Central to the President closing national parks to anger the public during the budget standoff with the Congress. We’ve linked to it all, of course.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston went into non-public session to receive her evaluation from the Board of School Committee and came out with an extended contract. Three members of the board voted against the extension, Ward Two’s Debra Langton, Ward Sixes Robyn Dunphy and Ward Ten’s John Avard. Ward Nine’s Arthur Beaudry was absent. She’ll get a pay raise, too, but it will be determined at a later date because it will be commensurate with whatever the teachers get. Former Superintendent Tom Brennan used to have his evaluations done in public session. Just sayin…
Before the vote, the board got a polite, but firm earful from Ward Ten Alderman Bill Barry about school safety. Said Barry, quote “Teachers and staff at our schools as well as our school resource offices are very concerned with the behavior of some of the students that they oversee. They feel abandoned by our administration.” Barry went on to discuss how each child is given a copy of the Code of Conduct when they begin school and went on to question how it could be that a student who brutally assaulted another student could be allowed back to school, despite having an expulsion hearing scheduled. He cited state law entrusting the care of minors to the schools and said quote “(t)he threat from outside sources of possible civil litigation should not diminish that support.” He questioned the messages sent and lessons learned by letting violent students get away with it.
In other business, the board approved a capital request in excess of eleven million dollars to the aldermen for the coming budget. The priorities include enclosing classrooms in the Beech Street and Webster schools, the expansion of classroom space at School of Technology and energy efficiency projects. The board also, for informational purposes, sent a list thirty nine million dollars long to the aldermen so they understood the complete needs of the district. Building and Sites Committee Chairman John Avard said it was done at the request of Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig.
The Merrimack Town Council is pleased to announce that they have an exciting project coming to Merrimack. The Town Council is partnering with the Fraser Square Veterans Memorial Committee (Paul Micali, Rick Hatfield, Brian Snell, Tom Mahon, and Brian McCarthy) to build a tribute to honor those Veterans and their families who sacrificed so much to ensure the freedoms we enjoy. The project will consist of a fallen soldier memorial surrounded by an array of black granite pedestals to honor each branch of the military to include the Merchant Marines, POW’s/MIA. The Memorial will be located at Fraser Square. If you would like more information on this project or want to donate to help make this a reality you can visit the project’s website, FRASER SQUARE dot org or drop by the town of Merrimack’s Finance Department or call 4 2 4 7 0 7 5.