The Manchester Board of School Committee met last night and, well, it had some interesting flash points. Seems the administration didn’t quite get the memo that the board wanted to have an elementary school chosen to pilot more recess time and see how it affected behaviors and academic performance. Newly appointed Assistant Superintendent Christine Martin told the board that the administration had met with principals who were excited about piloting the “wiggle wiggle walk walk” thing, which they’ve dubbed “recess in place,” to get kids moving while in class. When questioned where the information about piloting the outdoor recess expansion approved by the board was by Ward Nine Committeeman Arthur Beaudry, Martin said if that was “the pleasure of the board”, the administration would do it. (This makes us wonder, if “the pleasure of the board” is different than a directive from it.) Anyway, it’s anybody’s guess what they’ll do as the discussion ended with Ward Eight Committeewoman Erika Connors asking the administration to get feedback from the principals to see if any of them want to do it, despite the testimony of Patrice Benard, a member of the Parent Teacher Group at Green Acres School, given during the public input session saying the parents were excited about the proposal and hoped their school would be chosen. Benard later posted to our Live Blog Forum of the meeting saying quote
“The parents at the Green Acres PTG meeting, with the exception of Mrs. Connors, were all very excited about a mid-morning OUTDOOR recess. Harumph!
The board also defeated a motion by Ward Two Committeewoman Debra Langton to set aside action on the tabled contracts for the district’s top administrators until after the new board is seated in January. She said she raised the issue for transparency sake because the current contracts for Superintendent Debra Livingston, Assistant Superintendent David Ryan and Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis will automatically renew if not approved by the board in December. Langton asked Livingston if she would agree to the delay. After saying she wanted to take it under advisement, the board defeated Langton’s motion with only Beaudry and Mayor Ted Gatsas joining her in support.
Ward Three Committeeman Theo Groh and Ward five Committeeman Ted Rokas were absent and not voting.
And, in a move designed to take the heat of the elected officials who voted to approve the teachers union contract, Beaudry chastised unnamed members of the media and candidates for misrepresenting the teacher’s pay raise. He went through the math and proved what we’ve been saying all along, that the teachers will receive raises of between seven and twenty one over the three years, depending on where they are situated on the step increase scale.
Ward Ten Committeeman and Negotiations Committee Chairman John Avard also chimed in saying if the salary line item for the district was only eleven percent higher at the end of the contract than it was before the raises, so characterization of the pay raises as being eighteen percent was wrong, he said. I’m sure the taxpayers will sleep better knowing that Beaudry confirmed the numbers we’ve been using and Avard provided the costs in the aggregate.
News form our own backyard continues after this.
Mayor Ted Gatsas took rival Joyce Craig to task over her answer to a question about legalizing the recreational use of marijuana at last Friday’s town hall meeting between the two. Craig said she didn’t have an opinion inasmuch as she hadn’t considered the issue. Gatsas was emphatically against the idea. In a statement issued yesterday, Gatsas said quote:
“Our country, state and city are in the midst of a heroin epidemic. We are doing everything we can to fight this battle. We have made all possible resources available to support our police chief, the men and women of the Manchester Police Department, the Manchester Fire Department and our emergency responders. It’s unbelievable to me that Joyce Craig, someone running to lead the city, has no opinion on the legalization of a ‘gateway’ drug considering heroin and drug abuse is rampant and has been one of the top issues throughout the campaign.
What message is she sending to our youth? To those on the front lines? It’s disturbing that a potential future Mayor would hedge on this issue. The question Manchester needs answered from Joyce Craig is why? And that answer needs to come well before the municipal election on Tuesday, November 3rd.”
The release was the eighth in a series of releases Gatsas has entitled Know Before You Go, which began with his campaign’s fifteen day countdown to the November Third Election Day.
The Manchester City Marathon will be held on Sunday, November First and the Manchester Police Department is advising of significant traffic disruption as a result. The marathon starts at eight fifty that morning and is expected to last until about two thirty that afternoon. Elm Street will be closed from Bridge Street to Lake Ave. for the entire time. There will be significant delays crossing the Granite Street Bridge and the Notre Dame Bridge, that’s the Bridge Street Bridge for those of you who unfamiliar with the territory, will be closed for part of the day. Motorist wishing to cross the Merrimack River are urged to use the Amoskeag or Queen City bridges.
The marathon encompasses the entire city but will cause more significant traffic problems in the The Millyard and on River Road, Hooksett Road near Livingston Park, Hanover Street from Candia Road to Elm, Mammoth Road from Bridge to Lake, South Main from Walker to Varney, and McGregor Street from Bridge to Bremer. Travel across Hanover Street from Maple to Elm will be restricted and should be avoided. If a motorist needs to cross the city, it would be best to take the interstate around the city instead of trying to cross through.
We will post as much as we get from the city about road closings and restricted travel at Girard at Large dot com so you can check it at your convenience. Oh, and you’ll want to avoid the downtown on October Thirty First as well as the Trick or Trot Road Race will take place later in the afternoon.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ____ is