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Parent lays out plan for city high schools

Santa’s elf, in the form of Hooksett parent and HELP activist John Lyscars, delivered Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and the Board of School Committee’s present early this year, laying out a seven-point plan he believes will solve the contract and overcrowding crisis which has plagued the city district since September.

Whether the seven points prove to be a shiny red bike or a lump of coal for the Queen City, however, Lyscars left to them.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are at crosswroads in time,” Lyscars said at the Manchester Board of School Committee meeting, dressed in full elf brigade and accompanied by a Santa Claus. “A time when we will collectively work together to solve the educational and budget crisis before us as cooperating adults, for the sake of our children, or we will continue to stall true progress, spend money we don’t have and draw battle lines between each other that are truly unnecessary.”

At the Dec. 10 meeting, Lyscars informed the mayor that should the city not follow through on his plan, it would be posted publicly so that “all the citizens of Manchester, Hooksett and Candia will see what was proposed, and that the leadership refused to act.”

The seven points are as follows:

First, Lyscars asked for the “amicable withdrawal from our current contract,” arguing that the legal proceedings for breach will be costly and lengthy, and ultimately prove far more destructive for Manchester in the long term due to the loss of tuition and capital costs should the breach be upheld, which Lyscars is confident it would be.

Second, Lyscars proposed a five-year contract be negotiated so that the parties may “take a fresh look” at one another.

“This will drive Manchester to be competitive,” argues Lyscars, “and once again be the shining light on top of the hill for the state of New Hampshire when it comes to the education of high school students.”

Third, Lyscars stipulates that this contract should contain no minimum enrollment figure, leaving it “up to each family to choose Manchester or not.”

Fourth, on the other end, Manchester would be allowed to set a maximum enrollment figure for Central and West High. This, he argues, would give Manchester a mechanism for mitigating the overcrowding problem.

Fifth, Lyscars asks Gatsas to go before the Charter Commission and secure representation for Hooksett and Candia on the Board of School Committee.

“You must admit,” Lyscars said, “if you sent your children somewhere else, you would want to ensure their best interests were represented, and more importantly, you would want to help to solve any educational problems and provide solutions to those problems.”

Sixth, all students currently attending Central or West High Schools are to be allowed to continue their attendance “the school of their choice” through graduation.

Seventh, Lyscars asks for the language for the breach procedure, including the 180 recovery period, to be preserved, with “a caveat and ‘exception’ language to last a specific time frame to recover from the current problem.”

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