Earlier this month, the Manchester school district was audited by Curriculum Management Systems (CMS). They looked at what things were working, and what things needed to be changed. The audit, which came in at just under 300 pages, showed more examples of the same failed policies from the Mayor and the Manchester School Board.
Ted Siefer of the NH Union Leader reported:
“With cold precision, the CMS report marked Manchester inadequate in column after column, and it plotted graph lines that showed declines or scant improvement in test scores over four years.”
Since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year the Manchester School District has been one of the biggest continuing news stories in New Hampshire. Math classes with 40 kids. Classrooms so overloaded that children did not have desks, and were forced to sit on filing cabinets. Neighboring towns that participate in the Manchester Schools District scrambling to see if they could move students to different schools and threatened to not bring students back next year.
After the audit was released, mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold, released this statement.
“The audit validates what most of us in the city already know about the state of the Manchester School District – Mayor Gatsas’ failed leadership has left our school system in desperate need of a new vision for success.
Among the many challenges observed, the auditors made special note of the strained working relationships and infighting on the School Board. Mayor Gatsas’ my way or the highway management style does not facilitate resolution of this challenge, nor does it promote a healthy vetting or legitimate debate of the issues we face in our district. That is why I’m running for Mayor – because our city and our school district need new leadership and a collaborative approach to solve the tough problems we face.
In the meantime, I will ask the Joint Aldermanic-School Board Committee on Education to evaluate the findings of the audit and facilitate discussion on how best to execute the auditors’ recommendations for improvement.”
The NH Union Leader also highlights that the Manchester School Board is not the only issue the Mayor needs to address. The city is in negotiations with the Manchester Education Association for new teacher contracts. The United Steel Workers for contracts at the Water Works.
“No doubt, Roche (USW Representative for the MHT Water Works) wouldn’t be so upset were it not for the raw deal he feels is being offered: a fourfold increase in health insurance premiums – from 5 to 20 percent – with just a half-percent raise.”
As the mayoral elections are starting to heat up, we need to take a serious look at what Mayor Gatsas has done to Manchester over the last few years, and how it is going to take many more years to recover from those changes.