The municipal election season has yet to officially kick off in the Queen City, but members of the two top boards are already talking about a possible trade.
Ward 7 Alderman Bill Shea confirms he is mulling over a run for his ward’s seat on the school board.
If that plays out, the current occupant of that seat — Ross Terrio — confirms he is interested in running for alderman in Ward 7.
“There’s a strong possibility I might consider running (for school board),” said Shea, the former Hallsville School principal first elected to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 1995. “I have an educational background as a teacher and several years as principal. I’ve been working with Hallsville Principal Chris MacDonald on a few possible solutions for a parking problem he’s had difficulty with, and I’m leaving myself open to the idea of running.”
“It might give me a different way of using my abilities that I’ve been able to gain both as a teacher and school principal, and alderman, in possibly helping the school district as it moves in a new direction with Manchester Proud and a new superintendent coming aboard,” Shea added.
If that domino falls, Terrio says he would love the opportunity to fill Shea’s chair, if not his shoes.
“I will run for alderman if Bill Shea doesn’t,” Terrio said last week. “If Bill runs for alderman again that will strongly discourage me. I have been thinking about running for alderman for a while. My son, who is my last child in school, is graduating soon, so although I still care about our schools my focus will be turning to the city as a whole.”
Will she or won’t she?
With Mayor Joyce Craig raising the curtain on her FY 2020 budget last week, the next big announcement expected out of the corner office at City Hall is whether she will seek a second term in office (this space says it’s a sure bet).
One possible opponent, former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan, has been very active on Twitter recently, pointing out issues in the city while using the hashtag #CraigsChaos.
During and after last week’s officer-involved shooting incident at the Quality Inn hotel, Sullivan tweeted, “Joyce Craig, ‘This is a reminder of the occasional dangers we face in this city …’ Is she serious? 3 dead after officer-involved shooting,” and “Friends are reporting that they were eating at Friendly’s last night with their children when it had to be evacuated due to gun fire at the hotel across the street. You should be able to go out to eat without worrying about the safety of your family.”
Derek Dufresne, partner and founder at political consulting firm RightVoter, said last week Sullivan hasn’t decided whether to run for mayor.
“She’s meeting with officials and having discussions with her family,” Dufresne said. “She continues to weigh her options, and is humbled by the support and encouragement she’s received. She’s looking to make a decision in the near future.”
If Sullivan decides to run, professional fundraiser Emma Tautkus will head up fundraising efforts for her campaign. Tautkus has previously raised funds for Republican congressional candidates Steve Negron and Eddie Edwards, and served as finance director for former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta.
After Craig announced during her FY 2020 budget speech that she is seeking a $4.3 million increase to the Manchester School District budget, and proposed bonding to purchase body cameras for all city police officers, a few security upgrades were almost lost in the shuffle.
“The safety of people in our city is one of our top priorities,” Craig said.
Among the improvements she proposed to increase the safety of residents, visitors and city employees are two full-time security guards at the City Library, along with security camera upgrades at the Central Fire Station and along the Downtown Riverwalk.
The budget also includes a list of projects for which Community Development Block Grant funds have been earmarked.
• Phase II of the Sheehan-Basquil Park project, which will add pickleball courts and a splash pad. Parks and Recreation will begin construction on Phase I this spring, which includes a soccer mini-pitch, new playground and parking.
• The Fun in the Sun Summer program.
• The continuation of the city’s Concentrated Code Enforcement Program, used to improve housing conditions in rental properties.
Craig’s budget also funds the FY’20 Road Plan at $4.5 million, allowing for upgrades or treatments to 50 miles of streets and roadways over the next year.
According to a memo from city Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard, the funding will be used to cover one mile of chip sealing; 1½ miles of cape sealing; 1½ miles of micro-surfacing; four miles of resurfacing; five miles of mill and overlay; three miles of cold-in-place recycling; and four miles of reclamation. In addition, 30 miles of crack-sealing work will be done.
Subject to possible underground utility work, below are sections of main arteries currently planned to receive upgrades:
River Road — North to Agawam and Rowell to Park
Smyth Road — Mammoth to Blodget
Chestnut Street — Webster to Bridge
Wellington Road — Mammoth to EJ Roy
Bridge Street — Maple to Mammoth
Hanover Street — Woodlawn to Candia
Spruce Street — Maple to Tarrytown
Cilley Road — Jewett to South Mammoth
Calef Road — Baker to Mitchell
Main Street — Granite to Sullivan
Putnam Street — Cumberland to Main
Front Street — Exit 7 overpass to Goffstown Road
Officials with the school district and Manchester Proud announced last week that the Council of the Great City Schools’ Board of Directors has approved the city’s application for membership.
Founded in 1956, the Council of the Great City Schools, CGCS, is a national organization, with membership limited to the country’s largest urban school districts. The mission of the council is to help inner-city school children “meet the highest standards and become successful and productive members of society.”
Among the benefits available to members are tools and services to improve districts’ professional development, leadership, governance, management and operations.
“What an extraordinary new resource this brings to Manchester’s schools,” Assistant Superintendent Amy Allen said in a statement. “The Council of Great City Schools is highly regarded for its public school performance measurements and benchmarking.”
“With their help we can understand and improve aspects of our own work, such as financial management, procurement, human resources, information technologies, food services, safety and security, and maintenance and operations,” added Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gillis in a statement.
“Manchester Proud, through its many funders and supporters, is delighted to sponsor this invaluable new resource,” said Ellie Cochran, a Manchester Proud council member. “This is among the first of many opportunities we can realize for our kids, by working together as a united community.”
“The acceptance of Manchester’s application was by no means a sure thing,” said Barry Brensinger, coordinator for Manchester Proud. “Although the largest public school system in New Hampshire, the Manchester School District is small when compared to other members of CGSC, and a number of other districts similar to Manchester have not gained membership. There are more than 13,000 public school districts in the U.S. and only 74 CGSC members, so Manchester is with pretty select company. In the end, a joint and deliberate effort by Mayor Craig, Superintendent (Dr. Bolgen) Vargas, and Manchester Proud, successfully presented a compelling case for membership. Central to that case was the Manchester community’s growing movement toward greater appreciation of the essential value of our schools and support for their improvement.”