Recent elections have moved the Windham school board away from its unaccountable past. Daniel Popovici-Muller, Tom Murray, and Ken Eyring have created a more open and transparent body that is more interested in what parents and taxpayers have to say. They are interested in accountability as well as proper accounting, spending controls, and responsible leadership. But that is unpopular with past board members, individuals who would rather defer to lobbyists than parents.
A breathtaking number of past Windham School Board members–let’s call them the old guard–has come out to try and unseat current Board Member Ken Eyring who is up for reelection on Saturday. The uninitiated might find that sort of brute force opposition impressive unless they knew that it was motivated by real brute force opposition to parents, school choice, and open and transparent communication between the board members, parents, and those who pay for education in Windham, taxpayers.
They want Ken out because he isn’t part of the old guard, the good-old-boys and girls club. He’s less interested in what unelected lobbying groups think like the New Hampshire School Board Association, and more interested in the effective and efficient use of other people’s money for the purpose of educating students.
Ken has an impressive resume when it comes to looking for ways to eliminate waste and corruption that the old guard accepted as if it were business as usual. Saving the taxpayers money or defending the rights of parents was not on the old guard agenda but the interests of lobbyists and unions were.
The old guard’s massive waste is now legendary, as is their pursuit of it. The Windham High School cost overruns are a hallmark of the old guard’s business as usual. The construction was 25% over budget, and the parents and students got less than they were promised. A more recent example is the Cynergistic fraud which would have wasted $600,000.00 on an energy audit scam. But there were plenty of other examples in between.
Members of the old guard modified union contracts without board approval and favored union raises pushed by a conflict of interest on the board rather than give voters the opportunity to approve a much-needed construction project. They called the police to silence discussion to which they object, and preferred the advice of paid lobbyists about how to silence minority opinions on their own board. Old Guard members even opposed a charter school (just like the Lobbyists at the NHSBA).
This same lot want’s Ken Eyring out of office because Ken feels obligated to ensure that taxpayer money is spent wisely. He helped restore public input at board meetings and has shepherded proposals that eliminate wasteful spending as well as seeking ways for schools in the district to be more efficient and transparent.
Saturday, March 18th Windham taxpayers get to decide. Do they want to return to the kind of board that arrests taxpayers, bans dodgeball (while referencing the Sandy Hook shooting) and discusses the need to hire a mediator to help them work through their problems. Or do they want to re-elect Ken Eyring who has dedicated himself to putting students, parents, taxpayers, and education first?