The New Hampshire State Senate will take up several bills of interest to education advocates today and they are pulling out all the stops. Charter school advocates have taken a keen interest in H B 5 6 3, which, as amended, would provide a mere thirty six dollar increase in the first year and update the funding formula to increase per pupil aid by one thousand dollars starting in year two of the budget. Per pupil aid for charter schools has remained flat since two thousand nine, which advocates say has put these schools at risk. Advocates are calling on the senate to hold a roll call vote the bill so that parents can see who supported these public schools and who did not.
Also coming to the floor in the senate today is House Bill 3 2 3. Critics say this is yet another piece of legislation pushed by the state Department of Education that will do an end run around local control so they can do the feds bidding on testing. Girard at Large has interviewed several advocates who say if this bill becomes law, the state will gain control of classroom testing relating to grades and parents will no longer be able to refuse standardized testing as it will be used to determine whether or not a child will be allowed to progress to the next grade. They say it will allow the state to dictate terms to local school districts as it negotiates with the feds over the state’s standards and testing regime to implement their so called PACE Pilot Program and they use the second waiver obtained by the D o E from the No Child Left Behind Act as proof the state will strip local control away. They’re calling for the bill’s defeat.
Finally, the senate is scheduled to vote on House Bill 6 0 3, which simply declares that a student exempted from taking the statewide assessment by the student’s parent or legal guardian shall not be penalized. The bill also requires a school district to provide an appropriate alternative educational activity for the time period during which the assessment is administered.
The upshot is this: The senate today is either going to show it is on the side of parents and local control or it’s not. We’ve linked to the senate’s Web page so you can share your thoughts with your senator before they convene this morning.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Not sure what to say about this one, except that we’re not surprised. At last night’s meeting of the S A U 5 5 School Board, which is comprised of members from the Timberlane and Hampstead school boards, Superintendent, bah! Emperor Earl Metzler received a four percent bonus, the maximum allowed under his contract, AND a raise of six and three quarters percent. Metzler’s annual salary will now be a breathtaking one hundred fifty five thousand and fifty dollars, making him the second highest paid superintendent in New Hampshire; second only to Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston, who oversees a district at three times the size.
The votes went nine to one, with only that pesky Timberlane School Board member from Sandown, Donna Green, voting no. Prior to entering non-public to discuss their vote, which is allowed by the Right to Know Law, though we note that Metzler could have asked for that discussion to take place in public, The S A U Board heard from Hampstead Board of Selectmen Chair Sean Murphy, who renewed his complaint over the secrecy of Metzler’s advisory committees and restated his belief they violate Right to Know statutes. Metzler’s enablers once again ignored any criticism of Metzler and failed to ask any questions about the issues raised.
We have and are still awaiting election results from the town of Hooksett, which went to the polls on Tuesday to elect town offices. Looks like the town’s Budget Committee is going to be a lot of fun, especially when it comes to the school budget as former School Board member David Pearl was elected with twenty five votes. Former Town Councilor and Budget Committee Member Jason Hyde, who still has his effing esophagus despite threats to tear it from him made by Hooksett School Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield, received twenty four votes. Tabitha Jennings, who Littlefield yelled at during a budget committee meeting for asking questions and who ran for school board, received twenty four votes and Richard Boisvert received twenty five votes. (Don’t know anything about him) Thus, the four seats nobody signed up to run for are now filled. How ’bout that?
We’re still waiting to hear who the winner of the Town Council seat in District one is, by the way. Town Clerk Todd Rainier and Town Moderator Don Riley announced a tie in the race at last night’s meeting of the council with each contestant receiving just two written in votes. If both want the position, a name will be drawn from a hat to determine the winner. If only one wants the job, they’re the winner. If neither wants it, well, we’re not sure what happens. Stay tuned!
Finally, this morning. A shout out to Goffstown High, Bedford High, John Stark Regional High and Bow High. They’re the schools in our listening area that made the top ten list of the state’s best high schools according to U S News and World Report‘s annual high school rankings.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!