Sound Off About Concord Middle School Project, Charter Commission

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CONCORD, NH — The city has the opportunity to tell officials what they think of a new college plan and minor changes proposed by a commission conducting a 10-year review of the SAU 8 charter.

The Concord School District Charter Commission will hold the second and third public hearings at 7 p.m. on April 12 and May 10 at the SAU 8 central office in the basement of 38 Liberty Street. The April 12 hearing will be “for the purpose of explaining, in general terms, the preliminary report proposed by the Charter Commission and receiving additional comments on its proposal.” The purpose of the second hearing is to discuss the preparation of the commission’s final report.

The Concord School Board will also host a college project update at the Rundlett Middle School media center from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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During the Concord School District Charter Commission’s first public hearing, members discussed its draft report (linked here), which includes at least five potential ballot questions for the 2022 election.

The commission proposes to delete the old wording of the previous charter. It also changes the name of the district seats for the council to school voting area seats to avoid confusion between school district and district seats. School voting area seats are currently six members elected from ward groups around the city instead of citywide. The commission will also propose requiring candidates to declare their campaign contributions, which currently does not happen with candidates. The proposal will also allow council members to set the amount of stipends for members. The commission would also like council to be able to appoint the positions of treasurer and clerk instead of allowing voters to elect them. A final proposal would add an amendment to update and clarify local charter changes and review processes, specifically adding State 49B provisions for procedural and voting thresholds — after spending so much time between 2008 and 2012 to remove the district charter from the state process.

As was known prior to the 2021 charter commission election, since most of the candidates who won said they did not support the provisions, members rejected consideration of government and self-governance. Financial District, rejected consideration of a public vote for the approval of bonds and the sale of real estate. estate, and rejected the idea of ​​allowing residents to vote on employment contracts.

Members also voted 7-2 against increasing or changing the current number of school board members, but introduced motions to consider changing the overall structure relative to the district and not holding board member elections. than non-national election years. And they also voted 9-0 not to consider merging their systems between Concord School District and Merrimack Valley School District.

During the public comment period, two people came forward to comment: Linda Mead, who moved from Bow to Concord in 2017, and Charlie Russell, a local lawyer who has been involved in school and municipal issues for many decades.

Mead called the inability to allow residents to not be able to vote on new school buildings or budgets “taxation without representation” and said members should allow residents to vote on many provisions the commission rejected. .

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Betty Hoadley, the chair of the commission, said she expected residents to come forward and talk about the issue, but none did. The city does not have a municipal assembly form of government. Hoadley told Mead that she came from one form of reality while other townspeople had another reality and that the members would not reconsider the proposals.

Commission member Bill Ardinger said voters have the power to influence budgets and plans by electing new school board members.

Tom Croteau, another member, said that some public hearings get a lot of comments while others don’t get very well attended.

Mead, however, countered that the councils and those involved did not want to hear from the public. She called many of the city’s processes “cliquey.” Mead likened the reaction from officials to that referred to by parents and taxpayers as being “patted on the head” – basically, they weren’t taken seriously or listened to. People, she added, were very busy, often too busy to give their opinion, and, at the same time, parents and taxpayers knew the solution was in place, and officials did not care. they thought.


Charter Commission documents are available online here.


Bill Glahn, a commissioner and former school board member in the 1980s and 2000s, said it’s not because the members didn’t agree with Mead or didn’t put a provision in the charter that they did not listen to it, nor anyone. Often, he says, these town hall-like votes cause residents to ponder which is more important, a teacher or a new fire truck? If Mead and others didn’t like what the school board was doing, they should elect them; the only way to change things in a democracy is to go and vote, he said – ignoring the fact that town hall meetings and votes on budgets and projects were another form of democracy that the commission was preventing. inhabitants to have.

Ardinger also suggested that Mead run for the school board.

Russell, who had attended a number of meetings, made some procedural and project suggestions.

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