Prequel to Rule #1 for the SAU46 (Merrimack Valley School District) - Challenge them. I did - with RTKs! - Granite Grok

Prequel to Rule #1 for the SAU46 (Merrimack Valley School District) – Challenge them. I did – with RTKs!

SAU46 Merrimack Valley School District logo

If one lesson is to be learned with Parents trying to deal with School Boards is this:

They aren’t used to being challenged

Most of us at my Grandfatherly age got and most earned decent educations K-12. It was subject matter after subject matter and not Social Justice during Block 1, Black Lives Matter in Block 3, and Critical Race Theory sprinkled throughout the day.

It was all about academic rigor (or, at least for those of us that thought it WAS important) and learning a knowledge base of facts FIRST and then learning how to do the intellectual connect-the-dots in order to start the process of learning how to think critically about the world.

No, not thinking that the world was bad (even as many parts of it were and still are) but how to reason effectively, put forward cogent arguments, and learn how to integrate more and more data points into that mesh network in your head to better yourself and those around you.  And, lest I forget, to learn WHAT you need to learn given what new venture or field you have either been thrown into or voluntarily chosen.

And often, that process means you need to be challenged by others. I enjoy the debate – many do not. I like the intellectual confrontation that makes me think about what I believe – and why.

School Boards, however, hate being challenged. In fact, when you combine some of their policies, chief of which is a Policy that says Public Comment is for the Public to comment – but School Boards remain aloof from the Public and act as the Easter Island Stone-faced Statues. Some would say that there’s more than a passing resemblance in looks and behavior – just an observation. They just don’t want to engage and I believe, until convinced otherwise, most can’t.

So, before Monday’s meeting, I decided to start that challenge with three preliminary RSA 91:A Right To Know Demands:

Policy BCA – School Board Member Ethics

    1. Where has the School Board been granted the  Power in demanding School Board Members not Follow the Law in managing the District?
    2. Where has the School Board been granted the  Power in demanding School Board Members in removing personal conscience when they do not agree with Board decisions?
    3. Where has the School Board been granted the  Power in demanding School Board Members not criticize people or processes at a Board meeting (thus obviating their Freedom of Speech)?

Transactions within the District’s General Ledger Account line items dealing with Legal expenses

This would include transfers into the line items, expenditures from it, and the document trail for each transaction (e.g., PO requests, Purchase Orders, Receipts, Vouchers, Payment Vouchers, Checks, EFT transactions, et al)

Transactions within the District’s General Ledger Account line items dealing with Curriculum expenses

This would include transfers into the line items, expenditures from it, and the document trail for each transaction (e.g., PO requests, Purchase Orders, Receipts, Vouchers, Payment Vouchers, Checks, EFT transactions, et al)

I am considering Tuesday being the first day. So far (until I go through my copious unread Inbox more thoroughly), I have not yet received a response that they have been received.  I’ll keep you posted.


Here are the emails sent:

—— Original Message ——
From: “Skip” <Skip@granitegrok.com>
To: slongnecker@mvsdpride.org; bmichael@mvsdpride.org; shirshdickinson@mvsdpride.org; jwheelerrussell@mvsdpride.org; lcarey@mvsdpride.org; achalsma@mvsdpride.org; tbricchi@mvsdpride.org; oharrington@mvsdpride.org; lvincent@mvsdpride.org; mmuzzy@mvsdpride.org; pjonesblanchard@mvsdpride.org
Sent: 9/20/2021 4:00:43 PM
Subject: RSA 91:A Right To Know Demand – Policy BCA: School Board Member Ethics

Good afternoon,

Your Policy AA (School District Legal Status) states:

The legal basis for education is vested in the will of the people as expressed in The Constitution of New Hampshire, the statutes* pertaining to education, court interpretation of these laws, the powers implied in them, and the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education.

RSA 197:1
RSA Chapter 33
RSA 194:2
RSA 195:6

This is also bolstered by your Policy BBA:

The Board may exercise all the powers and duties prescribed to it by applicable state and federal laws, and rules of the State Board of Education.

Your Policy BCA School Board Member Ethics:

In order to fulfill its duty under state law to provide education to pupils within the District, the Board adopts the following expectations for each of its members.

AS A MEMBER OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH MY OATH OF OFFICE, I WILL STRIVE TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION BY STRIVING TO ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING EXPECTATIONS:

1. Attend all regularly scheduled Board meetings, insofar as possible, and become informed concerning issues to be considered at those meetings.

2. Understand that the Board, as governing body, does not manage the District, but rather sets the broad goals and standards for the District by way of policies adopted by a quorum of the Board at proper meetings under the Right-to-Know law.

3. Be informed about current educational issues by individual study and through information, such as those sponsored by state and national school board associations.

4. Make decisions and take votes based upon the available facts, the full deliberation of the Board, and my independent judgment, and refuse to surrender or subordinate that judgement to any individual or special interest group.

5. Work respectfully with other Board members by encouraging the free expression of differing opinions and ideas.

6. Seek opportunities for the Board to establish systematic communication channels with students, staff, and members of the community.

7. Recognize that as a general principle the District and its students benefit when Board decisions, which have been made following consideration of all sides and vote of a quorum, receive the subsequent support of the whole Board, whenever practicable.

8. Respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law or is received in confidence or non-public session.

9. Recognize that individual Board members are without authority to act relative to School District business, and that I may not individually commit the Board to any action except as specifically designated to do so by Board action.

10. Understand the chain of command and refer problems or complaints to the proper administrative office per applicable School Board policies.

11. Work with the other Board members to establish effective Board policies, and foster a relationship with the District administration toward the effective implementation of those policies and management of the District operations, personnel and facilities.

12. Communicate to the Superintendent and to the Board (only as consistent with the Right-to-Know law) expressions of public reaction to Board programs, policies and other Board actions.

13. Present personal criticisms concerning District operations, staff, etc. to the Superintendent, not to District staff, the public, or unnecessarily at a Board meeting.

Thus, pursuant to the Right to Know Law (RSA 91:A), I am requesting public access, within 5 business days, to the following governmental records:

  • Where has this subdivision of the State been given the Power to obviate, in Ethics Rule #2, the clear wording of RSA 189:1-A / RSA 189:1 as to not be Following the Law as dictated by this Policy?
  • Where has this subdivision of the State been given the Power to overrule, in Ethics Rule #13, the clear wording in the US Constitution’s First Amendment and the NH Constitution’s Articles #22 and #30?

 

  • The discipline schedule for School Board members that decline to follow one or more of the above strictures over some amount of time.

In order to have the Power to discipline your members, I expect that the District will also supply the backup documentation in which the Legislature has granted to these Powers subdivision of the State in this matter.  Threatening disciplinary actions requires that such objective actions are in place, otherwise such actions against a member would be capricious and arbitrary and may well violate existing State statutes which outline what a School Board is allowed to do.

  • Signed copies of this Ethics document by each of the members of the Merrimack Valley School Board. After all, there is nothing in State statute that holds that merely winning an election automatically gives consent to such a document; consent must be voluntarily given.

Please let me know when these records are available for inspection or you may email the responsive records to me at Skip@GraniteGrok.com. If the volume is turns out to be substantial, I’ll be happy to supply a backup drive sufficient to hold all of your responsive records.

Thank you for your lawful attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

-Skip


—— Original Message ——
From: “Skip” <Skip@granitegrok.com>
To: slongnecker@mvsdpride.org; bmichael@mvsdpride.org; shirshdickinson@mvsdpride.org; jwheelerrussell@mvsdpride.org; lcarey@mvsdpride.org; achalsma@mvsdpride.org; tbricchi@mvsdpride.org; oharrington@mvsdpride.org; lvincent@mvsdpride.org; mmuzzy@mvsdpride.org; pjonesblanchard@mvsdpride.org
Sent: 9/20/2021 4:24:36 PM
Subject: Right to Know Request per RSA-91A – Transactions within the District’s General Ledger Account line items dealing with Legal expenses

Pursuant to the Right to Know Law (RSA. 91-A), I am demanding access, within 5 business days, to the following governmental records: For the District starting July 1, 2020 to today, September 20, 2021.

  • Starting value of all General Ledger Accounts (“GL lines”) dedicated to Legal matters.
  • A transaction summary report, for each GL line, of all transactions types to include (but not limited to):
    • Additions to such a GL line
    • Expenditures from such a GL line
    • Transfers into and out of such a GL Line:
      • Listing the destination GL line
      • Description as to why the transfer was desired/needed
      • Name of the authorizor for that transfer.
  • All Invoices (and other such documents requesting payments) against those Legal GL lines
  • All payment vouchers, copies of checks, documentation for any type of Electronic Funds Transfers (e.g., ACH, Paypal, et al), or other instruments of payment against those Legal GL lines

Note: I am not requesting what may have been discussed with Counsel – just payments to them.

Per RSA 91-A:4 IV(c) If you deny any portion of this request, please cite the specific exemption used to justify the denial to make each record, or part thereof, available for inspection along with a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the information withheld.

Please let me know when these records are available for inspection or you may email the responsive records to me at Skip@GraniteGrok.com. If the volume is turns out to be substantial, I’ll be happy to supply a backup drive sufficient to hold all of your responsive records.

Thank you for your lawful attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

-Skip
Co-Founder, co-owner
GraniteGrok.com


—— Original Message ——
From: “Skip” <Skip@granitegrok.com>
To: slongnecker@mvsdpride.org; bmichael@mvsdpride.org; shirshdickinson@mvsdpride.org; jwheelerrussell@mvsdpride.org; lcarey@mvsdpride.org; achalsma@mvsdpride.org; tbricchi@mvsdpride.org; oharrington@mvsdpride.org; lvincent@mvsdpride.org; mmuzzy@mvsdpride.org; pjonesblanchard@mvsdpride.org
Sent: 9/20/2021 4:36:58 PM
Subject: Re: Right to Know Request per RSA-91A – Transactions within the District’s General Ledger Account line items dealing with Curriculum expenses

Pursuant to the Right to Know Law (RSA. 91-A), I am demanding access, within 5 business days, to the following governmental records: For the District starting July 1, 2020 to today, September 20, 2021.

  • Starting value of all General Ledger Accounts (“GL lines”) dedicated to Curriculum matters (texts, handouts, classroom wall art, teacher handouts, electronic materials, and similar other items for a like purpose)
  • A transaction summary report, for each GL line, of all transactions types to include (but not limited to):
    • Additions to such a GL line
    • Expenditures from such a GL line
    • Transfers into and out of such a GL Line:
      • Listing the destination GL line
      • Description as to why the transfer was desired/needed
      • Name of the authorizor for that transfer.
  • All Invoices (and other such documents requesting payments) against those Curriculum GL lines
  • All payment vouchers, copies of checks, documentation for any type of Electronic Funds Transfers (e.g., ACH, Paypal, et al), or other instruments of payment against those Curriculum GL lines).

Note: I am not requesting the actual curriculum, at least not at this time.

Per RSA 91-A:4 IV(c) If you deny any portion of this request, please cite the specific exemption used to justify the denial to make each record, or part thereof, available for inspection along with a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the information withheld.

Please let me know when these records are available for inspection or you may email the responsive records to me at Skip@GraniteGrok.com. If the volume is turns out to be substantial, I’ll be happy to supply a backup drive sufficient to hold all of your responsive records.

Thank you for your lawful attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

-Skip

And in case you are wondering who the emails are:

Seelye Longnecker, Bobbi-Jo Michael, Sally Hirsh-Dickinson, Jessica Wheeler Russell, Lorrie Carey, Andrew Chalsma, Tracy Bricchi, Owen Harrington, Laura Vincent, Melissa Muzzy, Peggy Jones-Blanchard

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