Letters

Vote no on Article 5

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To the Editor:

Mont Vernon voters are being asked to rescind RSA 40:13 (known as SB 2) as adopted on March 9, 2010 by three-fifths of the voters. One year of voting under SB 2 is not adequate in determining whether or not it works.

This critical vote will be via secret ballot Vote on March 13, 2012 Article 5. A yes vote on Article 5 says that you want to go back to the old School District Meeting form of voting. A no vote on Article 5 means you want to keep SB 2 and allow the true majority to speak relative to school spending.

A public hearing regarding Article 5 was held on Feb. 14. Few voters showed up at this hearing. However, the discussion was comprehensive. Several of the voters clearly were opposed to going back to the old School District Meeting form of voting. As chairman of the Budget Committee I advised that the Budget Committee unanimously opposes Article 5. One member of the School Board also indicated the he was opposed to Article 5. During the discussion a voter asked what the attendance was in prior years under to old School District form vs. the results of the 2011 voting under SB 2. I researched this data and found per the School District Annual Report published in the Town Report attendance was as follows: 2008: 100; 2009:161; 2010:95; 2011 SB 2 Ballots cast: 403. The number of registered Voters is 1,699.

In 2010 only 5.6 percent of the total voters voted. Under SB 2 23.7 percent of the total voters voted. This shows that SB 2 is truly a more democratic way to vote. The foregoing data also shows one of the major pitfalls of holding a School District Meeting vs. voting via the SB 2 form of voting. Under the old School District Meeting form a minority controlled school spending. I recall going to the School District Meetings during this period (2008-2010) and it was very clear that the majority of those present were parents with children in school and they had one agenda.

Why there were not more voters at these meeting is disturbing. Voter apathy was discussed at the hearing and a member of the School Board felt that SB 2 allowed people to become lazy in voting. A voter pointed out that he was disturbed by this comment as he and many others are informed voters but are often unable to attend meetings due to conflicting schedules. He felt that SB 2 eliminates this problem and allows the voter to cast their vote in a more democratic way.

The issue is not with the SB 2 form of voting but the manner in which information is gotten out to the voter. The School Board’s/SAU’s attitude is that public notices are in the paper and posted at various sites in town is adequate. This is not adequate. The board needs to take a more transparent approach and get detailed information out to the voter.

It should be noted that the school administration sends out an e-mail to all the parents relative to school public nearings but not the general public.

Keep your right and vote no on Article 5.

WILLARD ARCHIBALD

Mont Vernon

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