Manchester school officials announced their acceptance of yet another large financial gift from a valued community partner and Weston Elementary School was the beneficiary. The owners of the Dunkin’ Donuts on Hanover Street presented Weston students and staff with a check for thirty six thousand dollars which will be used to equip all classrooms with virtual interactive white boards and data projectors. The funds will also be used buy additional IPads, Chromebooks and programming to set up blended learning labs in each classroom.
This is the fourth school year that the Scrivanos family has come forward with a generous contribution to Weston. Last June, the school received fifteen thousand dollars and purchased twenty five classroom media centers, which included a television monitor, Chromebook and Chromecast streaming device. In the 2 0 1 2-1 3 school year, the Scrivanos family donated ten grand which purchased personal books for students and sixteen new computers for the school. In 2011, they donated twenty five thousand dollars which covered the cost of books and thirty five iPads with apps.
Principal Liz MacDonald expressed the school’s gratitude saying quote, “They’ve given our students many learning opportunities they might not have gotten otherwise.” George Scrivanos and other representatives of his Dunkin’ Donuts store made the check presentation to MacDonald and Weston at the start of the school’s annual talent show last Thursday night.
Police in Candia and Bedford are waring residents to lock their vehicles and close their garage doors after a rash of thefts in both towns. Police are also suggesting residents remove valuables from their vehicles and, of course, report any suspicious activity immediately.
Candia Police are also warning residents to lock their dwelling after burglaries on Podunk Road and the Chester Turnpike. Candia’s cops said a man was seen walking into driveways and was picked up by a black sedan and are looking for any information that might help identify the suspect or the vehicle. The Candia Police can be reached by calling 4 8 3 2 3 1 8. Bedford P D’s number is 4 7 2 5 1 1 3 or you can an anonymous tip their way to triple 8 triple 7 and put “TIP BEDFORD NH PD” in the message line. Remember, you can always dial 9 1 1 in an emergency.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Tonight should be an eventful night at City Hall in Manchester. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet in special session to give final approval of the bond needed to proceed with the conversion of the city’s nine thousand street lights to LED fixtures. The three point three million dollar project was awarded to Siemens despite a competing bid from Philips Lighting North America that is nearly a quarter of a million dollars less expensive.
Girard at Large has made several attempts to obtain a copy of Siemens bid in order to ascertain the location of the subcontracted companies that will be installing the fixtures. Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard has both referred us to agenda materials that don’t provide all the requested information and said he assumed our request was made under the Right to Know Law and referred us to the City Clerk’s Office, citing the preposterous procedures in the city’s Right to Know Policy as the reason he can’t forward a copy of the bid documents, which are public documents presented at public meetings but not provided on any agendas or otherwise given to the public. Despite being copied on several emails on the question, Girard at Large has yet to receive even a reply from City Clerk Matthew Normand on the matter. You can imagine we’ll have something to say about that this morning.
It’ll be interesting to see how many aldermen will stick around for tonight’s meeting of the Manchester Board of School Committee as Superintendent Debra Livingston will be coming forward with a proposed school budget. In a rare move, that little tidbit was actually noted as a separate item under the Super Secret Agenda item referred to as Superintendent’s Communications. Because of the city charter’s cap on spending and tax revenue increases, Livingston is expected to present a budget that increases spending by roughly one point three percent over the current year and detail what that would mean for the district in the next school year. However, she has also indicated she will also present a so called “needs budget” for the district to inform the board and the public of what she believes would be adequate funding as well as a five year budget outline identifying key needs of the district.
This is all coming just eight days before Mayor Ted Gatsas is required by the charter to provide the Board of Mayor and Aldermen with his proposed operating budget. Under the city charter, the mayor must not only present his budget by March thirty first, but is also constrained to propose one that conforms to the spending and tax revenue cap. In interviews with Girard at Large, Gatsas has declined to say exactly when he will present his budget and what it will look like saying only that the reality of the city’s financial position will be clear once made. Gatsas also told us that Livingston’s budget presentation would have no bearing on his proposals as a result of the cap. We’ve linked to the most recent interview with Gatsas on the matter for your convenience.
Finally this morning, State Representative Victoria Sullivan, Republican from Manchester’s Ward Nine, is calling out the state Department of Education over the latest draft waiver application it’s developed to continue to exempt the state from the expired No Child Left Behind Act. In an email to the department, Sullivan, a member of the House Education Committee, questioned why the department would again commit the state to the Smarter Balanced Assessment given the operational problems and parents opting out, why, as the legislature is passing passing bills stating that no district has to use Common Core, the waiver will require them to use the Common Core Next Generation Science Standards and questioning why the they are committing to using the PACE program when it’s just a pilot and has no data to prove it should be used. We’re in the communication chain, so we’ll let you know what we get for a reply.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.