(The opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the New Hampshire Journal. The Journal welcomes opinions on all sides of issues and from all candidates for office.)
By KIMBERLY MORIN
Week after week a new story seems to pop up about out-of-control school boards either calling the police on residents speaking out or the backroom shenanigans that seem to go on away from the public microscope. School boards are supposed to be transparent and accountable to the people they are representing, aka taxpayers who foot the bill.
This week it’s the Windham School Board who called the cops on a committee member and resident who dared to speak out of turn while the board tried to ramrod a ridiculous $500K plus ‘no bid’ contract that wasn’t researched or reviewed by even the board members who were expected to vote on it!
Another week it was the Gilford School Board who had parent Billy Baer arrested for speaking out at a board meeting. The charges were dropped against Baer in the courts and the school board was excoriated by the judge presiding over the case.
Then there is the Manchester School Board who outright lied to parents that they wouldn’t be using Common Core standards then went right ahead and used Common Core standards.
There was the Dover School Board who accused a resident of carrying a concealed firearm (legal if he has a pistol license) while they were bullying another school board member. Turns out the guy simply had a tape measure on his belt.
What do all of these school boards have in common? The methodical bullying and attempted silencing of taxpayers and parents through force. These school boards don’t want to be held accountable for their actions nor do they want to be called out for their UNtransparent behavior.
School boards are elected by the people of their community. They are accountable to the people of their community. It is the people of the community who pay the bills for decisions the school board makes and whose children attend the schools. Whether a resident has a child in the public school system or not doesn’t actually matter, everyone succumbs to property taxes (whether you own or rent). If you look at what your property taxes pay for, you’ll see the biggest bulk is typically education. Everyone has the right to know the decisions school boards are making and how they came about.
This is a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. It’s one that has actually been going on for years but it’s only recently that more and more people are speaking up and drawing attention to the illicit behavior and outrageous bullying of New Hampshire School Boards. Don’t be a parent or taxpayer who sits on the sidelines. Don’t let your school board bully you into silence. Speak up, speak out and let your community know exactly what’s going on. There is strength in numbers. Only residents and taxpayers are going to force school boards to be accountable. Superintendents and business administrators certainly haven’t been doing the job.
(Kimberly Morin is the Manchester Political Buzz Examiner as well as the Political Buzz Anchor on Girard at Large. She is a self-described lifelong independent, policy researcher and conservative commentator who says that she doesn’t “shy away from asking tough questions and revealing the truth.”)