Editorials published by the
Association are written by various members and
contributing non-members of the GRA.
School board must make the right decision on August 20th
June 12, 2007
June 4th, the school board held its last meeting before
going on summer hiatus, and took up a discussion on two
requests by resident Guy Caron. The first asks the
board to change its meeting nights from the 1st and 3rd
Mondays of the month to the 1st and 3rd Thursdays to
avoid conflicts with meetings of the board of selectmen,
who hold their meetings every Monday night. The
second request was for the board to also move its
meeting location from Goffstown High school over to Town
Hall to provide live broadcasts of those meetings for
Caron attended the meeting, and during the first public
comment session (the school board schedules two public comments
sessions on its agendas), Caron offered praise to the board for
its recent decision to make meeting minutes and DVDs
available in a much more timely manner than had been
their previous practice. That change also came at
Later during the meeting, the board discussed the
proposed change in meeting days and location, but due to
the absence of so many members decided to put off a
decision until their next meeting, scheduled for August
It was disappointing to see so many school Board members
missing that night - nearly half did not attend.
But what was even more disappointing to us was School
Superintendent Darrell Lockwood's adversarial attitude
toward what we believe are two very reasonable requests.
During the second public comment, Lockwood first
attempted to dismiss Caron's past assertion that
providing timely access to minutes and DVDs was an
important issue. Lockwood stated that over the
years he had only received a single request for minutes
and school board meeting DVDs, implying that Caron alone
was the only resident interested in what the school
board is doing.
Caron quickly countered by asking Lockwood if he had any
idea how many residents over the years have called the
town library to obtain a DVD, or visited the town
library to obtain a DVD, or visited the school's own
website to read minutes or agendas.
Lockwood admitted he didn't.
But we believe Lockwood's point is irrelevant
anyway. Apparently he
doesn't understand that even ONE request from a single
taxpayer should have been enough to point out a flaw in
the school board's previous policy for providing minutes
and DVDs to residents. Fortunately, the school
board understood that on May 7th.
Lockwood then questioned Caron as to whether he had
approached selectmen with the idea of moving their
meetings to a different night instead of asking the
school board to move their meetings.
Caron said no, explaining that such a request would be
unreasonable. We agree.
Selectmen hold over 50 meetings a year, every Monday
night. There is no other night open to hold weekly
meetings. The school board, on the other hand,
only meets twice a month (the 1st and 3rd Mondays) and
takes the summer off. They can easily reschedule
their meetings to the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the
month, which has no regularly scheduled meeting of any
other board or committee in town. This would
provide residents with the ability to personally attend
both selectmen meetings and school board meetings.
We believe this is a
necessary and important change, and must be implemented
immediately. The actions and decisions of
selectmen affect every other board, committee and
department in town, not to mention 1/3 of the
budget. The school board controls the remaining
2/3 of the budget.
The Board of Selectmen, Budget Committee, Zoning Board,
Planning Board - even the Conservation Commission - all
hold meetings that residents can attend, or watch,
without missing any of the others. Not so with the school
We believe taxpayers have the right to attend one
meeting without giving up their right to attend the
We also agree with Caron's request that the school board
move its meetings from the high school over to town
hall. This would allow for live broadcasts of
their meetings as well.
No one is asking the school board to meet on Friday
nights or Sunday afternoons. The 1st and 3rd
Thursdays of every month are open to them. So is
the Mildred Stark room.
We are disappointed with Lockwood's apparent resistance
to promoting openness and public involvement in his SAU,
but we certainly can understand it: If we were
leading an SAU that once again yielded SAT scores well
below the national average, we might not want to take
steps to keep the public better informed and involved
We believe it is the right of every taxpayer to be
afforded the chance to attend 100% of the meetings that
affect 100% of their tax dollars.
The school board can easily make these changes if they
We're looking forward to their decision on August
Do you agree or disagree with the above
2007, Goffstown Residents Association. All Rights