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Inter-Lakes board member says vote for slate of officers was prearranged, violating spirit of the law

MEREDITH – The Inter-Lakes School Board's vote last night to elect its officers for the coming year was nearly unanimous. But one member declined to vote because she believed the action violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the state's Right-to-Know law.
Richard Hanson was re-elected board chairman, Lisa Merrill was elected vice chairman, and Sally Whalen was re-elected secretary.
The sole dissenter was board member Carol Baggaley, of Center Harbor, who abstained from voting on all three motions. As the votes were being conducted, she said only that she was abstaining on the grounds of RSA 91-A:2-a.
RSA 91-A is the statute number for the state's Right-to-Know law, while Subsection 2-a requires that a public body discuss and decide matters in public, unless the topic is one that can be discussed in executive decision.
After the meeting adjourned, Baggaley said that she abstained because she believed that other members of the board had effectively decided to elect Hanson, Merrill and Whalen before the meeting took place, making last night's vote merely a formality to ratify what had already been decided in private. She felt that was inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of the Right-to-Know law.
NOTES: The board approved using up to $5,000 in School District funds to help defray the cost of the Inter-Lakes High School Destination Imagination team to travel to Tennessee to compete in the Global Final Tournament. The team consists of seven students. While the School District appropriation will help with the cost, the team will be doing fund-raising in order to come up with the balance . . . . . . The board approved allowing Inter-Lakes High School French students to participate in a joint three-day field trip to Quebec City with students from Newfound Regional High School. Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said that having the two high school collaborate on the trip made the cost more affordable.

 
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