Board represents whole district

To the editor:

The swirling of voices regarding what the ConVal School Board should do with the Local Government Center funds has brought me back to the basics of how we do things in New Hampshire.

Writing as a School Board member, I’m hoping it might help both my fellow newcomers as well as the seasoned residents better understand the framework in which we make our decisions. Selectmen are elected by their towns to “manage the prudential affairs of the town and perform the duties by law prescribed,” from the RSA. They are not elected to represent the individual people of their town; they are elected to manage their town. When the School Board gets a letter endorsed by a town Select Board, we do not (and should not) interpret that as the opinion of every individual in that town.

A recent letter to the editor from a Temple resident echoed this sentiment. Similarly, we School Board members are not empowered to represent or speak for the people of the district, or even of the individual town who elected us. We are members of a corporate board, exercising the authority outlined in the RSAs and nothing more. On the board, we listen to every resident in our district and give every individual equal footing. This democratic principle is constant, but is most pronounced during our district meeting where each individual has a chance to speak and influence our district budget regardless of the office they hold.

How does this relate to the LGC fund issue? For me, even if selectmen in each of our nine towns unanimously recommended a particular course of action, I won’t accept that as the will of the district voters. We had an excellent example of the difference between the two during last year’s district meeting, which reinforced our obligation to consider the residents in our entire district ... not just a small minority. I can’t speak for my fellow board members, but I’ll continue to respect the needs and desires of our whole district, answering to every resident in our district as long as my fellow voters in Sharon decide to send me forward.

Again, thank you for your continued support of ConVal, and feel free to contact the School Board member from your town — or any other town — with feedback or questions.

Matt Craig


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