The Merrimack School Board is finalizing its budget to present to voters for the coming fiscal year.  In an effort to provide “more content and context” to the voters, the district says it has added budget information to its website, which we’ve linked to from this news read, to provide insight into what they say are necessary expenditures.  The information includes an overview of the budget, breakouts by facility and department and a presentation showing the maintenance projects they want addressed in the budget and or via warrant articles.  In addition, they’ve also provided links to all past budget discussions on Merrimack T V Channel 2 1, which also televises meetings live.

The board will address the budget at its next meeting, which is tomorrow night at seven in the Matthew Thornton Room at Merrimack Town Hall.  The board anticipates finalizing the budget at its meeting on the seventeenth and is looking for community feedback on the proposal which, if adopted as is, would increase school spending by nearly two percent and local school taxes by over two point eight percent with a total appropriation of over seventy three million seven hundred thousand dollars.

Vargas: Four forums this week

While we’re on the topic of school budgets, the Manchester Board of School Committee will receive a budget update from Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas at its meeting tonight.   Serious overruns in a special education line item are threatening to plunge the district’s budget into deficit.  Vargas, who asked for and received a freeze on all non-essential spending, will host two community forums intended to educate the public on the structural deficit the district is facing in the coming fiscal year.  He’s hoping to get ideas from attendees on how the district can close the gap, projected at six million dollars.  The first forum is tomorrow night at Parkside.  The second is Wednesday night at Memorial.  Both start at six. 

Also this week, Vargas will host two more Coffee and Conversation meetings with parents, teachers and community members.  He’ll be at the Henry Wilson School on Wednesday morning at seven thirty and will be back at Parkside on Thursday afternoon at four thirty.  Any member of the public is welcome to attend either forum.

Manchester:  Meeting tonight, tomorrow

Back to tonight’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, don’t expect it to be a short one.  On the agenda is ratification of a three year deal with the Association of Manchester Principals and information provided by board Vice Chair Arthur Beaudry regarding declining enrollments and escalating operations costs for the city’s three traditional high schools.  There’s also letter signed by all members of the Special Committee on the Superintendent Search asking for an investigation into whether or not Ward Twelve board member Constance Van Houten violated board policy, the charter, state law and the board’s contract with the firm hired to facilitate the superintendent search by disclosing the names of alleged candidates for the position.

Tomorrow night, the Committee on Athletics will meet to review the job requirements and description of the athletic director position, which has been vacant since the summer.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

O’Keefe: Patience requested

The Manchester Police Department is now updating its call log every six hours.  The department has been scrambling to improve communication with the public since it blocked its radio traffic from scanners.  In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, department spokesman Lt. Brian O’Keefe said, starting at Midnight on Friday quote “you will be able to view the previous six hours of our calls for service at midnight, 6:00 a.m., noon and 6:00 p.m.”  O’Keefe said he appreciated the media’s patience during the last several months and urged it to bear in mind that the updates are done through the city’s I T department, saying quote “so if for some reason it fails, please send me an email-regardless of the time- and I will notify the proper personnel as soon as I read the email.”

MPD: Burglary update given

In a follow up to the burglary story we brought you Friday, about two masked men who broke into a Belgrade Street home on the East Side around seven twenty in the morning on Thursday, the Manchester Police Department issued a follow up notice.  The investigating officers spoke with the homeowner who stated two armed men entered his home minutes before he arrived work.  His step- children were home at the time of the incident, but were not injured, despite the house being ransacked.  The men fled on foot as the homeowner arrived and shot at him as he followed in his vehicle.  As the two men reached Candia Road, one of them turned toward the victim, who, despite not seeing a gun, heard two “popping” sounds and saw his windshield had been struck by a bullet.  After that, he returned home to call police and check on the two kids.

One suspect was described as a black male approximately 5 foot 7 inches with a stalky build.  He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a bandanna over his face and was armed with a small black handgun.  The second suspect was described as an Hispanic male approximately 5 foot nine to six feet tall.  

Anyone with any information about this crime is asked to contact the Detective Unit at 7 9 2 5 5 0 0 or Manchester Crimeline at 6 2 4 4 0 4 0 where you can leave an anonymous tip and earn a cash reward if it leads to the identification and arrest of the people responsible.

Auburn: Budget Committee to hold meeting, public hearing this week

The Auburn Budget Committee will meet Thursday night at six to review town and school budgets and warrant articles and to host a public hearing on same.  The public hearing is scheduled to start at seven.  Both the meeting and hearing will be held at Auburn Town Hall.  We’ve linked to the agenda with all the documents from this news read at Girard at Large dot com. 

That’s NEWS from our own backyard!  Girard at Large hour ___ is next!