Michael Brindley

Morning Edition producer

Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor. Michael started his career in journalism working as a reporter for the Derry News. Michael is a New Hampshire native, born and raised in Nashua. He studied journalism at Keene State College.

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The national charter school movement is growing - 2.5 million students are attending roughly 6,000 charter schools.

Another 1 million students are on wait lists.

Still, there are issues: charter schools overall receive less funding than traditional public schools and are located primarily in urban areas, limiting access to students in rural communities.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Having spent 12 years working in the private sector, Academy for Science and Design math teacher Jay O'Connell says he has no problem with his salary being based on performance.

“I always think merit first,” he said. “If I do well, I know the staff will support me. I have no problem with that being based on how I perform. That’s how it is out in the real world, so no union here, it doesn’t bother me.”

As is common in public charter schools, ASD in Nashua has no teacher's union.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

For Dakota Benedetto, trying to get a charter school approved hasn't been an easy task.

They ask for a five-year projected budget. Since the first year is kind of pre-opening, but you’re still at least a year out from when you’re writing it, you’re looking six or seven years in advance, so how much money are you going to be spending on copy paper seven years from now? That whole process of trying to juggle the numbers and get the budget to work was challenging. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Two new charter schools that opened this fall each have a unique philosophy toward education.

But the first few weeks for these new additions to the state’s school choice roster show just how bumpy the road to opening a charter school can be.

www.nec.edu

Tom Raffio, chair of the New Hampshire Board of Education, says with declining enrollment across the state, the continued growth of charter schools need to be looked at from a public policy perspective.

"Public schools, regular public schools are starting to lay off teachers because of the fact that there are fewer pupils. If students also go to charter schools, there will be a further diffusion of resources. So we want to look at it from an overarching perspective."

Michael Brindley for NHPR

North of the notches, the only charter school choice for students is the North Country Charter Academy, which serves high school-aged students in Littleton and Lancaster who have struggled in a traditional school setting.

Avion Erceg is one of those students.

She’s 16 years old and lives in Lincoln, and is one of about 20 students sitting at their computers in a classroom at the Littleton campus on a recent morning.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

A federal review of New Hampshire’s charter school program raised concerns about gaps in state oversight when it comes to how public money is being spent.

A monitoring report of New Hampshire’s charter school program released in February found several charter schools were misusing their federal start-up grant money.

One example was a school that rented a “party bus” limousine to transport students to a symposium.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

At the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, National Science Bowl championship banners hang on the cafeteria.

Test scores here are some of the highest in the state; 96 percent of the school’s eighth-graders are proficient in math.

Compare that to just 64 percent statewide.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Many charter schools rely on parent volunteers to fill gaps due to lack of funding, whether it’s filling in at the front desk or helping teachers in the classroom.

But at some charter schools, volunteering isn’t optional.

At Surry Village Charter School, families are required to spend 20 hours a year volunteering at the school. That’s according to the “parent participation” section of the school’s parent handbook.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

  As charter schools continue to expand in New Hampshire, one thing is clear – how to deal with special education is a big sticking point.

The new-look Manchester Monarchs host their season opener Friday night.

This will be the Monarchs’ inaugural season in the ECHL, formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League.

That league is a tier below the American Hockey League, which the Monarchs played in for 15 years.

After the team won its first AHL Calder Cup championship last year, its parent team the Los Angeles Kings moved the franchise to Ontario, California.

That team was replaced by the Kings’ double-A affiliate, which kept the Monarchs’ name and logo.

Voters in Derry have overturned hundreds of thousands of dollars in budget cuts to the town’s public safety departments passed by councilors earlier this year.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Voters in Franklin will head to the polls Tuesday to vote for the city’s mayor, and other elected positions.

Incumbent mayor Ken Merrifield is running for a fifth, two-year term.

He is being challenged by Logan Barbosa, who has worked for the state Democratic Party.

Merrifield is the former vice chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.

Voters will also fill positions on the city council and school board.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

New Hampshire has lost out on a federal grant that would have helped create more charter schools in the state.

The state Department of Education had applied for a $5.4 million, five-year grant.

The state was told Monday it was not one of the eight states selected by the US Department of Education to receive new grants.

Indiana Public Media via Flickr Creative Commons

The chair of the Croydon School Board says the board is prepared to go to court over a school choice dispute with the state.

The attorney general’s office has given the board until Monday to stop using taxpayer money to send a small group of students to a private school, which the state says is illegal.

Board chair Jody Underwood tells NHPR's Morning Edition there are no plans to stop the practice, which she argues is allowed under state law.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is urging Republican colleagues not to risk a government shutdown over efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Ayotte was blunt: It’s time for Republicans to face reality.

The state attorney general’s office is ordering school officials in Croydon to stop using public money to pay for private school tuition.

The Croydon school district is paying tuition for roughly a half-dozen students to attend a local private school.

This has been presented as an option for parents since last September, after the district ended its agreement to send students fifth grade and up to schools in Newport.

Kate Harper for NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest teachers union is backing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

The state chapter of the National Education Association announced its endorsement of the former Secretary of State this morning.

NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray calls Clinton a "tireless fighter for both students and educators."

The endorsement comes with the support of the union’s more than 16,000 members in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

On Sept. 11, 2001, The Exchange held a special call-in program in the afternoon. Laura Knoy hosted and was joined by Jon Greenberg. Former 2nd District Congressman Charlie Bass called into the program, saying, "This is the event we feared the most." We've pulled the audio from our archives.

DD via Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Dover is being eyed for one of the state’s four medical marijuana dispensaries.

The dispensary would be located in a Dover industrial park and would serve patients in Rockingham, Strafford and Belknap counties.

But before doors can open, Temescel Wellness, the company that would operate the dispensary, must submit detailed floor plans to the city, and get police to sign off on a security plan.

The city must also hold a public hearing, as required by state law.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu says he’s running for governor in 2016.

The Republican announced his candidacy Monday, taking aim at Gov. Maggie Hassan, calling her "government-first solutions" wrong for the state.

Nashua City Hall
Tracy Lee Carroll / Flickr Creative Commons

Voters in Nashua are heading to the polls Tuesday for the city’s mayoral primary.

Six candidates are running, and the top two vote getters will face off in the city’s general election in November.

Aldermen Jim Donchess, David Deane, and Dan Moriarty are all running for the office.

Local businessmen Mike Broderick and Doug Carroll and former Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Williams round out the field.

The city’s first contested mayoral race in eight years has been marked by record fundraising.

Mark via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8mdNZs

New Hampshire’s first medical marijuana dispensaries are getting closer to opening.

Officials in Plymouth, Lebanon, and Merrimack have been holding hearings, gathering public input on proposals to locate dispensaries in those communities.

But federal law and tax codes could complicate things for the companies that will run the state’s dispensaries and marijuana grow centers.

Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP

Tourists aren't the only ones who'll be flocking to New Hampshire this Labor Day weekend. 

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham get a jump on the weekend with events across the Granite State Friday.

But Saturday is when things really get going.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Portsmouth to accept the endorsement of New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Republican Carly Fiorina sets out on a three-day Labor Day weekend visit to New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College

The president of Colby-Sawyer College plans to step down next year.

Thomas C. Galligan announced this week that he will leave the job at the end of June, when he’ll wrap up his tenth year at the helm of the small New London college.

Allegra Boverman

New Hampshire Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster says she’ll vote in support of the proposed Iran nuclear deal.

In a statement, Kuster says after carefully reviewing the deal, she believes it’s "the best option we have to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran."

The White House this week secured the support it needed in Congress to guarantee the deal will pass.

Moving forward, Kuster says Congress must ensure military and intelligence agencies have the resources they need to monitor Iran’s actions.

National Park Service

Starting this month, fourth graders and their families are now able to get into the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish free of charge.

That’s thanks to the federal Every Kid in a Park Program, a White House initiative granting fourth-grade students across the country free admission to all national parks.

The program began Sept. 1.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn't take kindly to President Obama's recent decision to rename Mt. McKinley to its Native American name, Denali.

"If I become president, I’m going to name it back to Mt. McKinley," Kasich said, speaking to NHPR's Morning Edition.

The Alaskan mountain - the highest peak in North America - had been named after former President William McKinley, an Ohio native.

"This is not something we appreciate or agree with in Ohio," Kasich said. "I don’t know why (President Obama) had to do this."

Juliana Robidoux via ManchesterInkLink.com

Teachers in Manchester are starting the school year Wednesday with a new contract.

Aldermen voted 10-3 Tuesday night to pass the three-year deal, overriding a veto by Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Ward 6 alderman Garth Corriveau said passing the deal is an important step forward for the city's school system.

"This would have been the third school year our teachers operated without a contract," he said. "The fairness of this contract - both sides - really I think reflected well on trying to reach a compromise."

polariseducationalfoundation.org

New Hampshire is running out of federal money that helps new charter schools with start-up costs.

The state Department of Education has about $600,000 left in its federal start-up grant for new charter schools.

“That is about one charter school. Depending on the size of the school, it could be two,” says Caitlin Davis with the DOE.

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