Is Your Local School Board Breaking the Law?

Ann Marie Banfield, writing last week, pointed out that some school boards around the state pay membership dues to the New Hampshire School Board Association (NHSBA) which then lobbies the legislature. State law prohibits the School Board from using any taxpayer dollars (so no money from the school budget) to pay those “dues.”  It is prohibited by law.

That leaves the question of whether the parents know this and have taken action to ensure their board is following the law because believe it or not, they won’t just do it. YOU have to make them.

To that end (I am told) the State Department of Education included a requirement that these boards or authorized members acting for the board sign a document which provides an assurance that they are not paying dues to the NHSBA using taxpayer dollars.

So, are they? If your school board paying dues to the NHSBA? Are they paying them a commingled account or as a generic line item on the school budget? Are they violating RSA 15:5?

Here’s the RSA

15:5 Prohibited Activities. –
I. Except as provided in paragraph II, no recipient of a grant or appropriation of state funds may use the state funds to lobby or attempt to influence legislation, participate in political activity, or contribute funds to any entity engaged in these activities.
II. Any recipient of a grant or appropriation of state funds that wishes to engage in any of the activities prohibited in paragraph I, or contribute funds to any entity engaged in these activities, shall segregate the state funds in such a manner that such funds are physically and financially separate from any non-state funds that may be used for any of these purposes. Mere bookkeeping separation of the state funds from other moneys shall not be sufficient.

Source. 2006, 21:7, eff. June 2, 2006.

If they are and they have signed a document saying they are not, well, then, they are breaking the law and lying about it, on the record.

Contact your local school board and find out, then tell us a story we’ll be happy to share…with the State Department of Education.