Yesterday this author was contacted about disturbing things that appear to be happening in Windham. The Windham School Board seems to be out of control and has resorted to calling the police on the public when they dare speak out of turn. Apparently the Windham School Board wants taxpayers and parents to simply sit down and shut up when they disagree with outrageous and useless spending.
Last week the Windham School Board was given a proposal for “behavioral management” energy conservation (you can read the proposal on page 17). They were given this proposal 48 hours before their meeting. This contract would cost the school district almost $577,000 and was a “no bid” contract. Clearly there was something more going on behind the scenes because why would the school board and business administrator push such a hefty contract with only a couple of days to research and review?
The Windham School Board has been known for not being transparent. In the past several months, they changed the rules so that residents are only able to speak at the beginning of a meeting or at the end. If a question comes up during the middle of a meeting after a presentation or proposal, the people paying for that proposal (taxpayers/parents) aren’t allowed to ask further questions. Essentially they are told to sit down and shut up while the board votes on these things. When the public speaks at the end (often past midnight), the board has already voted!
Last week during their meeting the board decided to invoke this rule and push it even further when they were voting on the outrageous proposal by Cenergistic (formerly Energy Education Inc.). Remember, the board only had the proposal for 48 hours before the meeting. A member of the board, Ken Eyring, asked that the proposal be moved to a further date so that they could truly research and review it before making a decision on such a huge amount of money to be spent. When a resident spoke out, the police were called.
You can see at point 1:19:00 in the video that Tom Murray (a resident who is sits on the Facilities Committee), speaks out against the proposal and a recess is instantly called. The board demanded the video be stopped and someone called the police. During the recess the police spoke with Murray out in the hall. No arrests were made. Clearly the Windham School Board doesn’t want to hear from residents on outrageously expensive decisions they are making that the taxpayers are on the hook for.
Calling the police on taxpayers seems to be a disturbing trend for school boards in New Hampshire. This isn’t the first time this scenario has happened. Most people have heard of the Billy Baer case, in which he just won against the Gilford School Board for being arrested for speaking out at one of their meetings. There was also the case in Dover in which the Dover School Board was apparently bullying one of the members and called the police on a man standing up for her. The school board claimed the man was carrying a concealed weapon when in reality he had a tape measure on his belt.
The Windham School Board is not only trying to shut the people who pay its bills up but they are doing this in a methodical bullying manner. They aren’t giving enough time for proposals to be reviewed and researched by the members of their board and they aren’t allowing for public input, not even from people who sit on committees in the town! Calling the police on taxpayers is not only outrageous but it shows that the Windham School Board needs to be looked at more closely to see why they want to keep their taxpaying residents quiet.
Board member Ken Eyring actually took the time to do some research on Cenergistic and their program only to discover that PSNH could perform the exact same function for free. Eyring also discovered some back history on Cenergistic which was formerly called Energy Education Inc. This company apparently likes to give kickbacks in the forms of cash and other gifts to superintendents and administrators in return for pushing their proposals and contracts.
Further investigation will be done in order to shed light what is really going on in Windham. That the board would call the police on a committee member is not only outrageous but leads one to believe that something is indeed going on they want to hide. Pushing an almost $600,000 contract onto the taxpayers of Windham without a reasonable review period is not only ridiculous but shows they don’t want anyone to review Cenergistic or alternatives that may be less expensive. Calling the police on anyone who dares to speak out about this truly shows the board has transparency issues that need to be addressed.
Cross posted from Examiner