Manchester aldermen rebuke mayor, vote to contact SNHU dean
MANCHESTER - The aldermen have voted to send a letter to the education dean at Southern New Hampshire University urging him to reconsider his decision to no longer assist in a strategic planning process for the school system.
Tuesday's vote came after Mayor Ted Gatsas at last week's school board meeting called on SNHU Dean Mark McQuillan to appear before the board to explain comments he made at a community meeting that there was "good evidence" that the school district was underfunded.
In response McQuillan, who volunteered to facilitate the strategic planning process, stepped down from his role.
Alderman Joyce Craig made the motion to send the letter to McQuillan.
"This was an open meeting, an open dialogue. This strategic plan is something this board determined should move forward," she said. "To turn Mr. McQuillan away the way we did, I think this is wrong. I think we should let him know our board appreciates his work."
Gatsas said he welcomed the involvement of the dean, but he questioned whether he was playing an impartial role, based on his comments about under-funding, as reported in an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
"If you're going to facilitate a discussion, you're not on one side or the other of the issue. You're in the middle trying to find solutions. That's what a facilitator does - a good one," Gatsas said.
Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur was among those who voted unanimously, in a voice vote, to send the letter.
"An opposing view is not always a biased view," he said.
Several parents during the public comment period before the meeting also decried Gatsas' comments about the dean. "We talk so much about bullies in schools, but I have to say we are at the mercy of the bully at the head of the school board," said Leslie Want, a parent who has often spoken out about school issues.
Alderman Craig also called on Gatsas to explain how he intends to keep the towns of Candia and Hooksett from pulling their high school students from the district. She was critical of the mayor for not allowing public comments at a recent meeting between the Manchester and Candia school boards.
"If these towns walk away, that's a loss of $7.2 million," she said. "I'm not willing to just let them go. To shut the door and not let them speak at a meeting - these towns have other towns courting them."
Gatsas replied that discussions with the towns about their contract with the Manchester district were ongoing, and that the issue was beyond the scope of the aldermen.
"My plan is to sit down with the school board, not this board," Gatsas said.
- - - - - - - -
Ted Siefer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- New NHIA president painting a picture of expansion - 0
- Sources say former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to be tapped as Franklin Pierce president - 0
- Students prepare to set sail at Tri-City Christian Academy - 0
- Local teacher makes trip to arctic - 0
- Teacher 'thrilled' at being reinstated - 7
- Scholar of the Month: Plymouth junior operates on 'full-sprint theory' - 0
- Software upgrade delays grades - 0
- Derry School Board to hold forum on Facility Needs Study - 0
- Londonderry High forms team to get help for teens struggling with depression - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: It took a while, but now they're on Wright track - 0
- Newmarket blacksmith has forged a career shaping the elementsof steel - 0
- Kathy Sullivan: We need to rethink some of our county government positions - 0
- Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass. - 0
- H.S. Football Power Poll: No doubt - Astros finish on top - 0
- College Hockey: Wildcats home to RPI on Tuesday night - 0
- Manchester school board OK's contract for driver’s ed program - 0
- Unrest erupts after grand jury decides against charges in Ferguson, Mo., shooting - 1
- Malkin, Crosby foil Bruins in overtime - 0
Clinton has 'historic' lead in poll
Sources say former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to be tapped as Franklin Pierce president
Randy Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz lead HOF ballot
Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass.