Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has found some new friends. They’re union teachers who are picketing his events. Flier wielding, sign donning protesters were on hand for events the mayor attended, like the Chamber of Commerce’s Picnic in Veterans Park and his Talk with Ted Tour stop in Ward Three last night. The fliers being distributed by the Manchester Education Association are entitled quote “The Schools Manchester’s Students Deserve” and list three things necessary to improve education. First, “Respect and Develop Our Professionals.” Second, “Fully Fund Education.” And third, “Partner with Parents, Families and the Community.” Each has a little blurb after it, but the one that caught our attention was the partnering one. It reads, quote:
“Parents, families, and the community are an integral part of a child’s education. We support our public schools. Will you join us in making education a number one priority in our community?”
Teachers didn’t just blame Gatsas for insufficient funding, by the way. It all started under Mayor Frank Guinta according to the flier.
Teachers aren’t just picketing the mayor. Girard at Large learned yesterday that the M E A Executive Board voted to direct teachers to only do the work spelled out in their contract. They call it “working to the letter of the contract.” We’ll call it Work to Rule, because that’s what it is. What it means for your kids in the classroom is that they won’t be doing any of the so called extras that come with the job. Don’t expect them to be decorating their classrooms, either. If a kid needs college recommendations, good luck with that! Union officials we spoke with last night said they would put us on their press list for the release they said they were going to send. We’ll publish it when and if we get it.
One thing we did find in our email inbox this morning was “An open letter to the students, taxpayers and teachers of #mht from Mayor Gatsas,” which we will publish in its entirety after this morning’s broadcast. In the letter, Gatsas reiterates the mayor’s obligations under the charter to proposed a budget that meets the tax cap, saying it is spelled out very clearly in the charter. Said Gatsas quote:
“It is the responsibility of the Mayor to present a fiscally responsible budget year after year. It is the responsibility of the Mayor to be a good steward of the taxpayers dollars. It is the responsibility of the Mayor to not obligate taxpayers, and other boards, to a future of recovering from reckless spending. This is the commitment I have made to the taxpayers of Manchester, one that I do not take lightly and one that I will never ignore – to do so would be irresponsible.”
The mayor said it was for those reasons he vetoed the teachers union contract, arguing quote: “The financial implications of that agreement would have made our number one priority, which is reducing class sizes, impossible. In fact the opposite would have occurred – we would have been unable to fill any vacancies that we realized due to retirements, add any new teachers to our classrooms and in each of the next two years we would be looking at class sizes far beyond the state minimum standards across all levels of education.”
Earlier in the day, Ward Ten Committeeman John Avard, who chaired the Board of School Committee’s Negotiations Committee, released a blistering commentary on Gatsas’ leadership entitled “Lets talk about the tax cap.” In it, Avard argues that the cost of the contract over the first two years is less than half a million dollars.
He hammered Gatsas for the two thousand nine contract extensions he negotiated while an alderman and candidate for mayor saying Gatsas promised the funds would be available to cover the expenses of the agreement’s outer years and that the layoffs the district suffered three years ago were a result of that contract extension, which Avard said he opposed because he predicted this would happen. He also took aim at Gatsas over the loss of tuition revenue saying Hooksett, Candia and Auburn were tired of it all.
We’ve published Avard’s screed in its entirety on Girard at Large, with our own analysis of the numbers which shows that when the costs of the contract are isolated, they’re about a million and a half dollars higher than Avard says they would be next year. Of course, we will discuss.
One more thing on this topic. NH 1 News reporter Celine McArthur did a story yesterday on the contract veto. In it, she said they compared teacher salaries for Manchester to the rest of the state and found that while Manchester’s entry level pay for a teacher with just a bachelor’s degree ranks seventy second out of one hundred fifty six school districts, its top pay for that same teacher ranks ninth highest in the state. McArthur used reports on file with the Department of Education for the comparison. We’ve linked to the report for your review.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Goffstown Board of Selectmen will hold a Public Hearing on August thirty first to accept public input on the town’s recently updated Hazard Mitigation Plan. We’ve linked to the plan, which is available for review on the town’s website at goffstown dot com from this news read at Girard at Large dot com. Any person with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation to attend the public hearing is asked to call the Goffstown Town Hall at 4 9 7 8 9 9 0, ext. 100, at least 72 hours in advance of the public hearing for arrangements. (Please note, the link provided simply goes to the
Things have taken a turn for the worse in the Candia Crime Wave as an onslaught of out of towners have victimized the town. In the month of July, Candia cops issued two hundred seventeen motor vehicle warnings and four motor vehicle summonses. They also arrested seven folks on a variety of charges from simple assault to receiving stolen property to operating without a license, criminal threatening, drug possession and more. The real problem, though is that only two of the arrests were of Candia residents. Interlopers from Barrington, Deerfield, Manchester and especially Raymond were responsible for the criminal chaos in town leaving many to wonder just when the Board of Selectman will secure the town’s borders to preserve their safety.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.