Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents
Association are written by various members and
contributing non-members of the GRA.

School Board takes first step, but more is needed
Meeting minutes and DVDs to be available within a week
May 8, 2007
At their meeting last night, the Goffstown school board took its first step towards helping to increase public involvement and their own accountability by agreeing to post meeting minutes on their website and make DVDs of their meetings available at the town library, both within a week of those meetings.

We commend the board for their effort, and for their response to the concerns and requests of the taxpaying public.  We also look forward to the board following up on their announced plans to address the more pressing problem of re-scheduling their meetings so as not to conflict with those of the board of selectmen.

Obviously, the board's decision last night goes a long way toward increasing public involvement and keeping them better informed on what's going on in our school district.  Too often in the past, lack of information, or worse, incomplete information, has often led to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

But the board's actions last night alone are not enough.

The board of selectmen's meetings are fully accessible to the town's residents, either via personal attendance or live broadcasts on GTV-22.  Re-broadcasts of those meetings are also available on GTV-16 (click here for broadcast and re-broadcast schedules).

The real problem lies in the school board's meetings being scheduled on the same nights as those of the board of selectmen.  Selectmen control 1/3 of our tax dollars, and oversee every other board, committee and department in town.  The school district controls the rest of our tax dollars.  Yet residents cannot attend one meeting without missing the other, nor can they watch school board meetings live as they can with selectmen's meetings.

These two boards control all of the town's tax revenue, yet taxpayers have no way to attend both boards' meetings.

The school district, in a letter to the GRA, has promised to work with GTV on increasing the number or re-broadcasts of school board meetings.  This, along with the steps announced last night, will help fill the gap.

But the real need is to provide taxpayers a way to attend meetings of both boards.  As far as we can see, one of the boards needs to reschedule its meetings to a different night.

Selectmen hold meetings at least four times a month; every Monday night, and occasionally on other days or nights as well.  The school district holds only two meetings a month, also on Monday nights (the first and third Monday of the month).  In our view, it is the school district's responsibility, and not that of selectmen, to make the change to a different night of the week.

Such a meeting schedule change is imperative towards promoting openness, accountability and public involvement in our school system.  

With a 33$M+ budget under control of the school district, the public has the right to be able to attend school board meetings without giving up their right to attend selectmen meetings as well.


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  Copyright© 2007, Goffstown Residents Association.  All Rights Reserved.


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