Finally, the Manchester School Committee’s “secret” meeting about secret dealings regarding spending on a program, not supervised or approved by the Committee, hit the public.
Once again it took a pry bar for Manchester taxpayers to see where funding for another program, which looks suspiciously like the special interest of a single employee of the school, comes from.
The “pry bar” in this respect was a group of dedicated elected officials on the school committee who cling to the public’s right to know. I must mention the lead “pry bar” was Committee Member Rich Girard.
And, in a time-honored New Hampshire fashion, a little re-understanding of words and phrases was used to circumvent law, policy and common sense up until now.
Here is one flimsy excuse for hiding $30,000.00 worth of spending on a contract: It was actually a “memorandum of understanding” not a contract. This is like letting thousands of non-NH citizens vote here in NH because we don’t have a solid definition of the word “resident.” It is a workable scam if the sheep fall in line and pretend to believe it.
This paragraph from the now public minutes sums up what was going on and why it needed covering up for 14 days shy of a year:
“Vice Chair Beaudry stated that he is frustrated with the entire process. The Board had concerns based on previous issues. Matt Courchesne is the cousin of an Alderman. Three years ago, the Board unanimously told Mr. Courchesne they were not allowing him to continue based on the previous issues. He then circumvented our board and went to the Board of Mayor and Alderman and they gave him $30,000 to run the program. He should be removed from the schools and this should go out to RFP, which follows our rules and see what comes back. There is no curriculum in the program, there is no substantial data. If the Board eliminates the HOPE program and the Board of Mayor and Alderman do not reallocate the funds, then it is about the person running the program and not actually about the kids.”
If this controversy sounds a bit boring to you, remember, this is where the billions we spend on public education go – one line item at a time.
Ed Naile is Chairman of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, a longstanding and prominent taxpayer watchdog and Right to Know advocacy group. ~Publius