School Board Discusses Special Meeting Petition

By Alex Malm

During the Oct. 5 Londonderry School Board meeting the Board discussed how to respond to a petition filed requesting to hold a special school district meeting concerning masks.

The question would ask voters whether or not masks in schools should be optional for everyone in all circumstances, which currently isn’t the case for the Londonderry School District.

Gordon Graham, who is the School District’s Attorney, explained to the Board that under the state laws and statutes they have reasonable discretion to not have a special meeting.

In his view he felt that they reasonably didn’t have to call a special meeting.

“In our opinion… the Board is not required to call a special school district meeting in spite of the receipt of the petition,” Graham said. “It may do so but it’s not required to do so.”

He said that the petition was valid since it had 50 valid signatures.

“It’s up to you as a board to make a determination,” Graham said.

Graham explained that if they were to have a special school district meeting they would have a deliberative session where they present the warrant article to the community and then would have a ballot question election about seven weeks later.

“It would be full fledged voting,” Graham said.

He said that regardless of the outcome of the vote it would be advisory only meaning the School Board could vote to adopt their policy based on the outcome or not.

School Board member Bob Slater said that he thinks they should allow voters to give their opinions through the election.

“It would speak for the entire community,” he said.

Slater said that the issue has virtually torn apart the community and it would allow both sides of the issue to get people out to vote and then they could see how the results turn out.

In the interim they could continue doing what they are doing, he said.

“It’s been a lot on all of us,” Slater said.

Recently appointed School Board member Greg DePasse said that he thought it would be good to have a survey for parents and guardians so they could get their feedback instead of just getting feedback from voters in general. He pointed out they would likely be able to get the results back quicker and for a cheaper price.

One of the concerns that was pointed out by the Board was how they would be able to make sure the surveys are secured so they can get accurate results.

Superintendent Scott Laliberte said that they would be able to look at different options to conduct the survey to make sure it’s secured as possible. He said that they should be able to have a proposed option by the next Board meeting.

It was ultimately decided by the Board to table a decision regarding the petition until they hear the presentation from the administration about the logistics regarding the survey.

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