The Manchester Board of School Committee met in special session last night to consider the first in a series of redistricting recommendations made by Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas. Pursuant to a directive issued by the board last November, Vargas developed recommendations that realigned the so called feeder pattern that determined where kids would go to middle and high school based on where they went to elementary school. Currently, middle and high school students assigned largely based on where they live, not where they go to elementary school.
Concerns were aired over the recommendations failure to channel all of the fifth grade kids from Beech Street School to one middle school. Despite funneling the children from every other elementary school to a single middle school, Vargas left kids at Beech split between McLaughlin and Southside. They would be reunited as they entered high school at Central. At-Large Committee Member and former Beech St. School Principal Nancy Tessier opposed the plan, saying she felt it was unfair to leave Beech Street’s kids split when all others were being brought together. She said she felt Beech was being singled out and backed a plan proposed by her at-Large counterpart Rich Girard, whose plan would have sent them all to Hillside.
Vargas said his rational for leaving things as he found them at Beech was to prevent too great a concentration of students in poverty and for whom English was a second language in any of the middle schools, saying it was better for them and the schools educationally. His recommendations were approved on vote of eight to three.
Mayor Ted Gatsas opposed the plan, as he did on this show two weeks ago, saying it was a “feel good measure” that failed to add one extra classroom in the elementary schools. Also opposed was Ward Twelve Committee Member Constance Van Houten, who complained bitterly, despite the board’s directive to Vargas in November, that his proposed feeder pattern didn’t address the problem at Northwest. Van Houten said she would vote against anything that didn’t address Northwest.
Absent were Ward Two’s Deb Langton, Ward Seven’s Ross Terrio, Ward Eight’s Erika Connors and Ward Ten’s John Avard.
The board also unanimously approved Vargas’ recommendation to redirect kids in the neighborhood East of Mammoth Road, North of its intersection with Bridge Street to Smyth Road from McDonough, eliminating a so called attendance island. Most of those kids will be able to walk to school now, as opposed to being bused more than twice the distance to school.
Governor Christopher Sununu will present a report on his pledge to visit with one hundred businesses in his first one hundred days in office this morning in the Executive Council Chambers at nine thirty. In a statement issued yesterday, he said he will also discuss his commitment to grow the state’s economy and workforce.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The town of Amherst has announced it will hold a meeting in conjunction with the Pennichuck Waterworks to discuss its plans to extend municipal water services to the one hundred ten properties in town whose wells have been been contaminated by P F O A from the St. Gobain plant in Merrimack. The purpose of this meeting is to provide homeowners with essential information regarding the project’s design and to schedule individual property inspection appointments. A statement issued by the town declared that booking these appointments is essential to completing this project in a timely manner, so residents unable to attend the meeting are asked to call Pennichuck Customer Service to schedule the inspection. The meeting will start at seven on the evening of Tuesday, May 2nd, at Souhegan High. We’ve got the number with this news read at Girard at Large dot com. 800-553-5191.
The Bedford Police Department is the latest in our listening area to announce it will participate in the National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April twenty ninth. Residents can bring their unwanted, unused prescriptions to a drop box that will be located in the police department’s lobby from ten to two. Stating that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, Police Chief John Bryfonski said it was an excellent opportunity for residents to combat the opioid crisis by ensuring unused pills don’t find their way into the wrong hands. The free, anonymous and no questions asked drop off will accept patches and pills but not liquids, needles, or sharps. Those wishing to dispose of these items should contact the Bedford Police Department to make special arrangements.
We’ve linked to a Web site provided by the department where you can get more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 29th event. (DEA Diversion website) Bedford residents may also contact Detective Lt. Michael Griswold with any questions. We’ve got his number and extension with this news read at Girard at Large dot com. 472-5113 Ext. 338.
Is the Candia Police Department engaged an effort to cover up the horrendous crime wave that’s terrorized the town for the last five years? Well, we’re forced to ask that question given the department’s most recent crime stats release. The department didn’t fill in the blanks in their template announcing the number of motor vehicle warnings and summonses issued. Suspiciously, our request for the information has gone un-answered. Add to that, the department only reported four arrests in the past month and you have to wonder whether or not Chief Mike McGillen has taken on the role of Lt. Frank Drebin (of Naked Gun movie fame), telling us there’s “nothing to see here,” while mayhem rampages through the streets.
What the Candia P D has admitted to is the arrest of three of its own citizens on charges of domestic violence, simple assault and on a warrant from another town. They also disclosed that some chick from Deerfield was arrested for operating without a valid license and with a suspended registration. We’ll keep digging until we get the real stats out of the crime riddled community of Candia!
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!