On Friday, N H Attorney General Joseph Foster announced that the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the state’s Department of Justice had reached a settlement with Easter Seals New Hampshire to resolve allegations that Easter Seals submitted claims to the Medicaid program for disability services between February and April of 2 0 1 3 without maintaining adequate records to support the claims. Under the terms of the agreement, Easter Seals agreed to pay a total sum of $30,216.38 in restitution and investigative costs. Easter Seals fully cooperated with the investigation, according to the A G’s press release.
As we all know by now, Parker-Varney Elementary School in Manchester has been named the state’s Elementary School of Excellence by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Committee. The “ED”ie Awards recognize New Hampshire public schools that meet high standards of excellence and can serve as representatives of the many schools throughout the state. To recognize their achievement and the efforts of everyone in the school, students and staff are hosting a celebration for families and other community members tonight at the school from five thirty to seven. The public is welcomed to attend. On Saturday, all of New Hampshire’s Schools of Excellence will be honored at the twenty-second annual “ED”ies award celebration.
Also receiving an award today is the Manchester School of Technology’s Intro to Culinary Arts Class. The Manchester Board of Health will officially present them with a Public Health Excellence Award for Food Safety this morning at a ceremony scheduled for eight thirty. The award from the Manchester Health Department honors food establishments which achieve the highest sanitary standards when it comes to food preparation. Fewer than ten percent of Manchester’s commercial kitchens receive the award. The Culinary Arts kitchen at M S T is inspected twice a year, just like any other restaurant in the city. M S T met the rigorous criteria for the award, which includes compliance with all applicable laws and regulations with no critical violations and average inspection scores of ninety or higher.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Keith Katsikas, the parent who blew the whistle on the radical anti-bullying lesson taught to his son’s fourth grade class at Hallsville School, has started an organization to advocate for parents when school districts and the lessons they bring into the classroom cross the line. Its name is SPRAG, which stands for the Student and Parent Rights Advocacy Group. Katsikas said he wanted people to think of SPRAG as a union for parents, without the dues. Quote: “SPRAG.org is here to help parents figure out the best course of action, and to stand with them through the entire process. Parents need to realize that the law is on their side…and so is SPRAG.org.” SPRAG dot org has been launched in conjunction with the effort. Katsikas says citizens anywhere can join on line and parents can find a growing wealth of commentary and news, clarification on education laws, info on parental rights, helpful advice, videos, and more. He’s encouraging parents to report incidents via the website and said SPRAG will guide parents to specialists who can help resolve their situation.
There are two just mind blowing stories coming out of the Timberlane Regional School District that have shocked even us, despite not really being surprises.
The first has to do with the committee formed after more than seventy percent of Sandown voters approved a ballot question to examine the town’s leaving the district. As we’ve shared in the past, the conduct of the committee and the statements of some of its members, notably Timberlane Regional School Board member Rob Collins of Danville, would lead one to conclude that the matter wasn’t going to be taken seriously. That’s why the town of Sandown itself formed what’s known under the law as a minority committee, so it could undertake its own feasibility study.
Anyway, at its organizational meeting, Timberlane School Board Member Kelly Ward of Sandown was elected co-chair, along with Sandown Selectman Cindy Buco, by the members of the committee. Late last week, Ward stepped down as co-chair, saying he was unable to put in the time required to manage the committee’s proceedings, which he apparently was delegating to Collins whose ongoing efforts to cancel and schedule committee meetings was raising questions among members, not the least of which was Buco, whose inquiry to Ward about why he was acting as if he was in charge of scheduling meetings has gone unanswered.
Interestingly, Ward’s resignation as co-chair, he’s remaining on the committee, was announced in an email from Timberlane School Board Chair Nancy Steenson and Vice Chair Peter Bealo. They not only announced Ward was stepping down as chairman, they announced Steenson had decided to appoint Collins as the chair. In the rest of the world, Buco would have become the committee chair, given she was co-chair with Ward. Or, the committee may have decided to elect another co-chair if it so desired, as they did in the first place. But not in Timberlane, where the rules don’t apply when they get in the way of a political agenda.
Both Buco and Kim Farah a member of the committee and selectman from Danville have challenged Steenson’s appointment in emails that have yet to be replied to. Both have demanded to know by what authority Steenson has acted, saying they can find nothing in the law or the board’s policies that would empower such an action. In her email, Buco made her request as quote unquote chair of the committee, saying in addition to any supportive documentation, there should be a legal opinion as well.
As to issue number two, that’ll have to wait until later in the show or tomorrow as we’re just flat out of time.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.