New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announced that the Charitable Trusts Unit has obtained a final court order against the Veterans Museum of New Hampshire, and its president, Henry T. Pratte. The court ordered the dissolution of the organization and ordered Pratte to pay a ten thousand dollar fine as well as one thousand dollars in restitution to a veteran who gave money to the museum. Pratte is also barred from involvement with any New Hampshire charitable organization for ten years.
The court found that Pratt had circumvented charitable trust law since two thousand nine in his unsuccessful effort to build a veterans museum and that he also repeatedly made false and misleading statements, tricking veterans into parting with their money and military artifacts. The court’s final order comes after six years of effort to bring the organization into compliance with the law. Among the violations cited by the court, the museum held itself out as tax exemptorganization even though it never obtained that status from the Internal Revenue Service.
For those of you scratching your head over why Governor Margaret Wood Hassan has vetoed so many bills that would prevent the state from requiring adherence to the Common Core national education standards, participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment and protecting parental rights and local control, we may have an answer. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit Achieve Inc. — one of the developers of the Common Core standards— has announced that Her Highness the Governess has joined its board of directors. Achieve’s website points to the nonprofit’s mission of serving as the chief “networker” and organizer for the Common Core initiative.
Many of the bills Hassan vetoed will be up for override votes in September. Our thanks to the several listeners who brought the story to our attention. We’ve linked to it.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Monday night’s meeting of the Manchester Board of School Committee wasn’t just about no-confidence votes, the public’s assault on the super secret superintendent contracts and outgoing M E A President Ben Dick’s swan song, which, incidentally, we’ve published in its entirety at Girard at Large dot com. Thanks to Ward Two Committeewoman Debra Langton, we know the administration finally provided, at least some, long awaited information on the numbers of kids socially promoted in the schools. However, the information raised more questions than it answered.
According to Langton, the information provided by the schools was inconsistent and the numbers of students didn’t add up. When questioned, Superintendent Debra Livingston said different schools reported the data differently because changes in building administrators meant some were more aware than others of who’d been socially promoted in their schools. She also said she felt a task force was necessary to really determine how many kids were being socially promoted.
That prompted Ward Nine Committeeman Arthur Beaudry to ask why it was happening at all given the board’s directive not to socially promote. Livingston’s answer was that she thought it was part of the district’s policy on student retention. Things were actually starting to get interesting as Langton raised questions and points when Ward Eight Committeewoman Erika Connors moved to send it to the Coordination Committee. Mayor Ted Gatsas allowed the discussion to continue, despite attempts by Connors to move the question.
After Langton said that about eighty percent of the kids who appeared before the Student Conduct Committee had been socially promoted and Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said they simply didn’t have enough staff to work with struggling kids and ensure they overcome their classroom challenges, Ward One Committeewoman Sarah Ambrogi stepped up to say that while social promotion is an important topic, there are more important ones and that the numbers of kids who go before the conduct committee are few.
The board also approved a contract with Cafe Services to install a kitchen and start the new pilot food program at Parker Varney School, accepted a one hundred twenty five thousand dollar check from Elliot Health Services to build a playground at Beech Street School as part of the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative and tabled a policy that would have restricted the ability of school board members to access schools. It was tabled after Ambrogi said they were doing it on the advice of the district’s lawyers, but the district’s lawyer said he wasn’t familiar with the policy.
The battle over the potential withdrawal of Sandown from the Timberlane Regional School District has continued to rage and while we’ve not been reporting on it, we have been paying attention. (C’mon folks, we only have three hours a day, we’re doing the best we can!) While the so called Majority Committee continues to obstruct the committee appointed by the town to evaluate withdrawing from the district, it has also said that the exit penalty Sandown must pay to leave the district is a whopping six point four million dollars. Not so says former Timberlane Budget Committee member Arthur Green. An analysis he presented to the Sandown Board of Selectmen, shows the town would owe the district nothing if it left.
In a related story, Superintendent Earl Metzler has not only shown himself to be above the law, but apparently he thinks he might be immune to it, too. Despite a pending court case filed by the towns of Sandown and Danville over his proposed use of the Sandown Central Elementary School, he’s ordered district personnel to proceed with the planned consolidation. Seems the Earl of Metzler has grown weary of waiting for the court’s ruling in the matter and has decided to proceed regardless of the outcome. As the phrase Yule Brenner made famous goes, “Is good to be the king!”
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next