The relocation of the Manchester School District’s Adult Education Program from the Manchester School of Technology to West High has hit a snag. At Monday’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, Ward Ten Committeeman John Avard raised concerns about the safety of students, saying the program won’t just run after normal school hours, but throughout the day. He also said Principal Christopher Motika was concerned over construction that would have to be done in the building to accommodate the program. District administrators acknowledged the concerns and said they would report back to the board with more details. Assistant Superintendent David Ryan suggested moving the program several weeks ago to facilitate the continued expansion of the M S T’s four year high school program. He was short on details of what would be required for the move at the time and, well it looks like those details are starting to become important.
Parents in Manchester continue to exercise their right to refuse their students’ participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, at least in the city’s three traditional high schools. Numbers obtained yesterday from the principals of West, Central and Memorial show a significant increase in the number of refusal letters since we first reported on the matter last week. At Central, refusal letters covering nine percent of those subject to the test have been received. At West, that number is more than eleven percent. And then there’s Memorial, where a whopping fifty four percent of parents have refused to allow their Junior Class students to take Smarter Balanced.
Overall, a quarter of the three high schools juniors subject to the test have refused participation and the number continues to grow. All principals have been directed to accept email refusals per the board’s policy on the matter and, contrary to attempts by some principals to limit when a parent may exercise their right to refuse participation, Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said parents can notify their students’ school principal at any time and alternate arrangements will be made. So, if little Johnny or Susie come home all stressed out from Smarter Balanced, you can say “no mas” to the principal and they will have to comply. We are awaiting updated numbers from elementary schools. Preliminary numbers there show a lesser refusal rate, however, several schools in the South End seem to be hot beds of activity. It’ll be interesting to see if Ward Eight School Committeewoman Erika Connors has taken note of the numbers. We’ve linked to our complete story on the issue so you can get further detail.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig put an end to the not so breathless anticipation regarding the possibility of her running for mayor. As predicted here a long, long time ago, Craig officially entered the race yesterday by sending a statement announcing her candidacy. Craig joins former Ward Twelve Alderman Patrick Arnold as an officially declared candidate. In her statement, Craig said quote, “It’s time we have a Mayor [sic] who can bring people together to solve the problems facing our City, [sic]” touting her record as a non-partisan problem solver and budget writer. Craig took credit for increasing school spending, hiring more police officers, lowering taxes and increasing recycling. She did not, however, take credit for her efforts to override the city’s tax cap.
Craig announced that former long time Ward Ten Alderman Bill Cashin would co-chair her campaign, along with Democratic Ward Seven State Rep. Mary Heath, sister to former N H Democratic State Chair Kathleen Sullivan, David Allen, Senior Vice President & General Counsel of Dyn and Kerry Schleyer, owner of Elm Grove Property Solutions. Craig did not reply to our request for an interview. We’ll have more on this this morning and have linked to the complete text of her statement from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
On Monday, the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission took testimony from former Dover State Representative David Scott, among others, as he launched an unprecedented citizen petition to force the city of Dover to purge its voter list before the two thousand sixteen election. For years, Scott has, at his own expense, been sending mail to same day registrants and getting substantial numbers of returns. It started in two thousand four when he lost reelection by thirty votes and half of the three hundred letters he mailed to same day registrants came back undeliverable. Present at the hearing were Ed Naile of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers and anchor of the Girard at Large A Question of Voter Fraud segment, Secretary of State Bill Gardner, Assistant Attorney General Steve LaBonte and, of course, various Dover city officials. It took the Commission and incredibly short five minutes to rule against the petition saying there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a purge. Mind numbing, simply mind numbing.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next