School Boards Acting Badly with Impunity

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THIS BLOG POST IS ONE OF SEVERAL GUEST EDITORIALS THAT WILL BE PUBLISHED DURING SUNSHINE WEEK (March 15 – 21), HIGHLIGHTING THE NEED FOR MORE GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY.  

By Donna Green

George Hoyt, a Milford resident, submitted a citizen’s petition to the Milford School Board calling for the resignation of the superintendent and the school board chairman. The petition was submitted on January 14 and according to reporting, the petition was properly completed. The Milford School Board did not place Hoyt’s petition on the school district ballot, nor did they tell Hoyt or his petitioners that they would not be placing it on the ballot. Hoyt learned this eight days after after he submitted his petition when he was notified by the Milford Town Moderator.

According to Hoyt, the Milford School Board meet in a three-hour nonpublic session where they decided not to place his petition on their ballot. Hoyt has received the minutes from this meeting which do not provide the board’s reasoning for this decision. Hoyt has made a Right to Know request for the district’s written legal opinion which he believes was discussed at this nonpublic session. He has also filed a complaint for violation of RSA 39:3 with the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

Right to Know New Hampshire has long fought for more robust nonpublic minutes and has supported the call for verbatim transcripts of secret meetings.

For the local reporting of this story, see

https://www.cabinet.com/news/cabinet-news/2020/01/30/milford-privately-nixes-petition/

Donna Green is a member of RTKNH. She can be emailed at righttoknownh@gmail.com