Goffstown School Board Blinks In Challenge with Dunbarton Resident over Right to Know Request

Clement T. Madden gets them to release improperly sealed minutes regarding tuition negotiations with Dunbarton School Board

MADDEN submits submits letter hammering GSB Chair Pancoast on tuition contract representations.

Dunbarton NH March 11, 2013 12:30 PM–Dunbarton resident Clement T. Madden filed a 50 page complaint against the Goffstown School District for its willful and continuous refusal to release information regardng the district’s negotiation with Dunbarton over the tuition contract.  Madden’s complete court filing is here (ctm v gtown petition for inj rel 022713 scrub.pdf)  for your review.  Those who follow Girard at Large are no strangers to the systematic obstruction engaged in by Goffstown school officials when information is requested.

The case was supposed to go to court on Tuesday, March 5th.  However, after yet another non-public session, the Goffstown School Board voted to release the minutes they sealed from meetings held in October, November and December of 2012.  Those minutes, which Goffstown Superintendent Stacy Buckley has refused to transmit via email or fax, instead requiring Girard at Large physically pick up copies at the district’s offices, can be found here (gsb unsealed nonpublic minutes 030513.pdf)  We are not aware, at this time, that Buckley has posted the minutes to the district’s Web site for public scrutiny.

Having reviewed the minutes, Girard at Large does not believe that the Goffstown School Board acted properly to seal them under RSA 91-A:3, nor do we believe they acted procedurally in a proper way to have them sealed.  We have routinely called them out for their procedural flaws and questionable use of the law in entering non-public session.  RSA 91-A:3 III, which governs when minutes may be sealed, can be found here.  It’s pretty clear.

RSA 91-A:3 II is also pretty clear when public boards may go into non-public session.  What is not clear is whether or not these sessions were properly entered into. Aside from the fact that there is no recorded roll call vote, which is required by the law, it’s hard to know exactly which provision of the law was used to discuss this information.  What is also clear is that the procedures used to enter into and then seal the minutes vary from meeting to meeting.  We believe that is because of the pressure our show and audience have brought to bear on the board as we’ve raised and hammered away at these issues.

Finally, Madden fought to get the documents as part of an attempt to dispel what he and others in Dunbarton believe is a disinformation campaign waged by GSB Chairman Phil Pancoast.  In his nicely written letter to the editor, he raises those points better than we could, so we’ll let him speak for himself.  Here it is:  letter to the editor 030813.pdf

Bow voters voted by a crazy margin to accept the newly negotiated agreement with Dunbarton to allow their middle and high school students to attend its schools.  The vote was over 300 to 10.  On March 16th, voters in Dunbarton will have the opportunity to choose between the newly negotiated agreement with Bow or the agreement available with Goffstown.

We will keep you up to date.

sau 19 gsb correspondence 91a request 021213.pdf

gsb unsealed nonpublic minutes 030513.pdf

letter to the editor 030813.pdf

ctm v gtown petition for inj rel 022713 scrub.pdf