Londonderry School District “In a Box” on the Present and Legal Charter

The Londonderry School Board was addressed for the first time, on the fact that some feel the Deliberative Session is not legal by Glenn Douglas at the September 28th meeting. Up to this point the school district had been challenged in comments on this and other websites as well as letters to the editor.

The Londonderry Times a weekly newspaper in Londonderry even called for the School District to “revise the school district charter and eliminate the quorum.”  The Times further indicated, “The likely way would be to take the school district to court.”   Based on public and self proclaimed expert opinion, the newspaper at 2 Litchfield Road would “like the matter settled officially.” these recommendations are from a September 15th editorial.

Mr. Douglas read a email sent to the Schoolboard on September 22nd into the record. He indicated the question was in response to Mr. Greenberg’s op-ed in the Londonderry Times and on LondonderryNH.net. (It was also printed in the Derry News)


“Mr. Greenberg’s point that the voters have been presented the quorum question and chose to keep it is valid. There may be a legal argument to be made that the residents should be able to have a quorum if they choose. The fact is, however, that a number of “experts” in Concord are indicating the quorum is illegal. The State has on numerous other decisions told the Town what they can and cannot do. Anyone remember Workforce Housing?

The School Board should ask the AG’s Office for an answer specific to the School District Charter. Based on the AG’s response the School Board and residents can move forward. There is no cost to asking the Attorney General.

If the School Board does nothing it seems that there is a potential for a legal challenge. One person standing up at the Deliberative could throw the School District into a tail spin. Worse yet there is no telling what decision court would make only a few short weeks before the residents vote on the budget and other articles presented at the deliberative session.

Like it or not the question is now on the table. How it got there, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. Assuming that no response from the AG is an approval is a risky prospect. Let’s answer the question and move on.”

Glenn Douglas did a nice job of asking the board it’s opinion on the issue and opened up the conversation to the public.  These on-demand videos provide the questions he raised and answers to them.

The superintendent indicated that a document from the school attorney would be published on the website explaining the legal position of the school district on the quorum.  That was added to the school website this afternoon (October 8th) and can be seen at this Link as a PDF file.

The question is, can the school district file a declaratory judgment action without anyone else on the other side?

The document highlights what can and can not be done.

  • A declaratory judgment is not possible since the district has no open case or opponent
  • The superior Court has no jurisdiction to give advisory opinions
  • No Londonderry voter (it appears) has an adverse claim to support a declaratory judgment
  • The court will not provide a judgment based on hypothetical facts
  • If the district did go to court, the resolution would not be quick and remain uncertain with likely appeals

The council asked to provide the opinion, Diane M. Gorrow is in the same firm as the School Attorney Gorden Graham.

In the meeting John Robinson questioned, “Why would we ask the AG for an opinion? He can not issue an order on his own, even if he came out and said it was illegal the school board can not take action on his opinion.”  This related to Representative Baldasaro’s recommendations to get his opinion.

Chairman Ron Campo made it clear, “There are very little options available to us, we can not unilaterally change the charter, we can not ask the court for a judgment on it.  We are in a box ourselves for what we can do on it.”  The options to put it on the ballot, have it put on the ballot by voters also have issues that may not resolve the problem.

The district continues to review the issue and considers the Londonderry School District Charter legal.  Options as few as they are will continue to be evaluated and announced in the future.

For more stories on the quorum issue including many comments read;

Quorum Provision in the Present School District Charter A op-ed by Superintendent Greenberg

Representative Baldasaro Slams School Charter, AG does Not Address A review of Representative Al Baldasaro’s letter to the AG and the response.

The Attorney General’s office has been presented the charter several times in the past.  Including Attorney General Delaney before the vote this last March where the district asked the voters for a change.  The voters turned down the reduction in the quorum from 500 to 250 at the voting booth.

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kelly

    Wow Mr. Douglas is a real person who can speak. I guess we just keep hearing from him and his website buddies until they get their way. Can’t wait to find out who they all are in person. When they all come to the school board can someone ask them 2 questions. When did they move to town & why? Also, how old are their children and when did the graduate
    from LHS?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Mackenzie Douglas

      Kelly I would like to answer your question regarding Glenn Douglas. My family has lived in this town for over fourteen years. My parents originally moved here because my father accepted a job in Manchester. I am eighteen and I am a senior at Londonderry High School. My sister is sixteen and is a junior at Londonderry High School, and my other sister is seven and is in second grade at Londonderry South Elementary School.
      Sincerely,
      Mackenzie Douglas
      Londonderry High School Class of 2011

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1John

        Bravo….Bravo….Bravo Mackenzie!!!!! I don’t know you but I hope that my kids grow up and “stand tall” just like you!

        I don’t know your father but I am sure your posting here has made him proud.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Kelly

        Thank you Mackenzie for an excellent response. It apears that your family has done very well by the education provided here in town. I also have a second grader perhaps they will meet someday. I also agee with John your family should be proud of you for having the courage to get involved.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Freda

        MacKenzie:

        A truly excellent response to the anonymous “Kelly”.

        “Kelly”, it seems just can’t help herself. Imagine that she compliments you on your “excellent response” to her anonymous comments attacking your father, and attributes that “excellent response” solely to the “education you were provided here in town”.

        Apparently “Kelly” believes your parents and family had absolutely no impact on your upbringing, just the educational system the taxpayers provide. How pathetic. In Kelly’s world, everything is dependent upon what the government provides.

        And for anonymous “Kelly” it appears anyone who wants to try to make the tax burden less onerous, to make government more accountable is the enemy.

        Just for the record anonymous “Kelly”, I have two children in the Londonderry School system. And I like what your dad, Glenn, is doing to keep them accountable.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

    Why is it when you question the school on its budget you are automaticly assigned as the “enemy” of kids and education? Kelly and her minions use this line of attack every time.
    What happened to diversity of opinions?

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Wing Soares

    I applaud Glenn for directly asking the question to the school board. I am wondering if a request to amend the budget is made to the school board on deliberative session evening and there are not 500 people in attendance and the quorum is challenged doesn’t that only effect the School Board Budget (which has been, for the past few years, lower than the default budget.)? And if that is the case, and the school board budget is not put to the voters while the challenge is veted through the court system, won’t the default budget still be on the ballot, and the only option for the voters, defeating the purpose of those who are trying to eliminate the quorum?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Freda

      Mary:

      It’s not really a question of eliminating anything. Given the Attorney General’s Opinion and the fact that no other town in NH has a quorum, the question is why should Londonderry voters be denied the right to offer amendments to the School Board Budget. The voters of Londonderry School District are the “legislative body” of the district and the quorum as the AG indicated imposes an “improper voting restriction” on these voters.

      Maybe the question should be why shouldn’t the voters in the School District deliberative session have the same right that you exercised two years ago when you proposed adding $1.9 million dollars to the Town operating budget in order to finance the North Fire Station. The same right every citizen in every other town in New Hampshire has, guaranteed by the State Constitution.

      And let’s be clear. NO ONE brought this up, until the Town’s Attorney told the Charter Commission a quorum would be impermissible under the state law and the Attorney General confirmed that a quorum would be impermissible under State Law.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kathy Wagner

        Tom,

        I think you might be in error “NO ONE brought this up.” The whole thing was brought up by Representative Al Baldasaro on his State letterhead about the school district quorum. He sent the request to the Attorney General. I believe that you and Sean where also part of the process since both your names were carbon copied on Al’s request and the Attorney General’s reply.

        I look forward to your attack and response.

        1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Freda

          Kathy:

          Attacks are your stock in trade.

          Al brought up a question to the Town Attorney. He responded on the quorum and some other issues. Then Al took it to the AG’s office, who confirmed the Town Attorney’s opinion. You don’t like these facts, because you like things like they are, it just doesn’t seem to be what the vast majority of voters want.

          What’s another term for that, maybe “special interest”.

          Also, Sean and I were not part of Al’s request. We were cc’d because we filed election law violation complaints with the Attorney General, due to the illegality of the quorum.

          Finally, good job on the Commission Minority report. No answers to the problem of Saturday Town Meeting denying votes to absentee voters, including those serving in the military.

        2. Kathy,
          I was not going to post on this subject anymore but I can’t just sit back and see that the truth is not being posted here.

          I hate to bust anyones bubble who supports this illegal School Quorum issue but you do remember our Charter Commission meetings; right?

          The real truth is the quorum came up during the Charter Commission Meeting which was during the summer by the Town Attorney and the Assistant Secretary of State? Hmmm, both said it was illegal. Don’t you remember asking the Assistant Secretary of State and the Town Attorney questions about the Illegal Quorum?

          This caused a lot of interest with many in town about voter rights and nothing against the school. I was asked to get an opinion by my constituents and I did which saved the Tax Payers money , where the School District used Tax Payers money to get an opinion that is wrong.

          The two or three people who post on this site are the only ones I have confronted that is in support of the school illegal quorum.

          The School District does teach the constitution in school, right? Then they need to practice what they teach and then look at the Supreme Court decisions over the years on Voter Rights. With all those years of education amongst the key decision makers, I would think they could interpret the Supreme Court opinions on Voter Rights.

          Tom and Sean names were put on my letter as copied to by the AG’s office and they were not on my original letter to the AG. I have received allot of interest on the school not complying with the state constitution and the NH RSA’s.

          In my opinion, all it will take is for someone to challenge the school at the next deliberative session and then file a complaint with the AG’s office on Voter Fraud/Disenfranchisement of a Voter and that will start the ball rolling for an AG investigation into Voters Rights.

          I would hope that the school board does the right thing by March to protect our rights and the pockets of the Tax Payers from the School Lawyer who will be soaking the town in Attorney Fees!!!

          This is a constitutional issue and will not go away!!!

          Just my opinion!!!

          AL

  4. Kathy,
    I was not going to post on this subject anymore but I can’t just sit back and see that the truth is not being posted here.

    I hate to bust anyones bubble who supports this illegal School Quorum issue but you do remember our Charter Commission meetings; right?

    The real truth is the quorum came up during the Charter Commission Meeting which was during the summer by the Town Attorney and the Assistant Secretary of State? Hmmm, both said it was illegal.

    This caused a lot of interest with many in town about voter rights and nothing against the school. I was asked to get an opinion by my constituents and I did which saved the Tax Payers money , where the School District used Tax Payers money to get an opinion that is wrong.

    The two or three people who post on this site are the only ones I have confronted that is in support of the school illegal quorum.

    The School Board does teach the constitution in school, right? Then they need to practice what they teach and then look at the Supreme Court decisions over the years on Voter Rights. With all those years of education amongst the key decision makers, I would think they could interpret the Supreme Court opinions on Voter Rights.

    Tom and Sean names were put on my letter as copied to by the AG’s office and they were not on my original letter to the AG. I have received allot of interest on the school not complying with the state constitution and the NH RSA’s.

    In my opinion, all it will take is for someone to challenge the school at the next deliberative session and then file a complaint with the AG’s office on Voter Fraud/Disenfranchisement of a Voter and that will start the ball rolling for an AG investigation into Voters Rights.

    I would hope that the school board does the right thing by March to protect our rights and the pockets of the Tax Payers from the School Lawyer who will be soaking the town in Attorney Fees!!!

    This is a constitutional issue and will not go away!!!

    Just my opinion!!!

    AL

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