BOSC approves putting state funds toward development for teachers

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Mayor Joyce Craig on Dec. 9, 2019. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Monday, the Board of School Committee (BOSC) approved a recommendation from Manchester School Department Superintendent’s John Goldhardt for $3.25 million in additional state funds.

In Goldhardt’s recommendation, the majority of this incoming funding will go to professional development efforts, with $1.4 million going to add five professional development days for educators before and after the school year.

Ward 9 BOSC Member and BOSC Vice Chairman Arthur Beaudry voiced concerns that more of the money was not being placed into reserve trusts in case of emergencies. Goldhardt responded that the current lack of professional development time for teachers has become an emergency, with teachers needing to take time off to plan their classes.

At-Large BOSC Member Richard Girard voiced concerns that Goldhardt’s request violated bargaining rules with the Manchester Education Association, also voicing concerns with using these one-time funds for what is a recurring need for the district.

Ward 4 BOSC Member Leslie Want also voiced concerns over using one-time funds even though said she agrees with the need for more professional development funding, an opinion shared by other members of the board.

Ward 8 BOSC Member Jimmy Lehoux also said that some of the money may be put to better use by providing more materials for educators, who often currently have to pay out-of-pocket for teaching supplies.

While Goldhardt did not directly disagree on any of those points, including the temporary nature of this funding, stating that he would prefer 10-15 professional development days along with other addressing other funding needs. However, he told the board that teachers are already leaving the district due to this problem and the problem must be addressed immediately.

Mayor Joyce Craig also said that an additional $13 million is expected from the state next year, with Craig and Girard debating with each other how much of that money would likely be allocated toward expected capital projects.

The BOSC voted 11-3 in favor of approving Goldhardt’s recommendation, with Girard, Lehoux and Ward 7 BOSC Member Ross Terrio voting in opposition and Ward 5 BOSC Member Lisa Freeman absent.