GILFORD — Gilford Budget Committee member Norman Silber last night accused the Gilford School Board of "obfuscation and lying" about the accuracy of the school default budget.
He made the comments at a public hearing on a proposed $2.24 million bond issue for repairs and maintenance at the Gilford Elementary School.
Silber said that he and his wife will vote against the proposed bond issue, citing "obfuscations," which means obscuring the intended meaning of a communication by making the message confusing or willfully ambiguous, at school board meetings.
He added that he intends to review videos of the last two school board meetings to see if public employees are lobbying to support the proposed bond issue and said that if he finds evidence he will take the matter to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office and ask for an investigation.
Silber said that there was "obfuscation and lying" to the elected officials of the budget committee in the school board's recent presentation of its default budget.
School board members did not reply to his allegations during the hearing. Other members of the budget committee present for the hearing did not express an opinion on Silver's allegations.
The budget committee voted 10-0 last week to support the proposed bond issue, which the school board voted 4-1 in favor of last Monday night.
Chris McDonough, the school board member who voted against the proposal, said he is opposed to doing the work at the present time and suggested that the school district wait until a major bond issue which the district will pay $1.1 million on this year is retired.
Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Leandro said the committee and the school district have been talking about the elementary school repairs and maintenance for several years, and in retrospect it might have been more prudent to have prepared for it.
"We have all seen this coming. We should have started a capital reserve fund five years ago," said Leandro.
Christine Lewis spoke in support of the bond issue, maintaining that putting it off would cost the district more in the long run.
"If we don't do it now, when will we do it?" she asked.
She also said that she thinks the school should be equipped with a sprinkler system, which is not part of the proposed package of repairs.
She said that the number of students in the school district is on the rise, a statement which was questioned by budget committee member David Horvath, who asked Superintendent of Schools Kent Hemingway for a history of enrollment numbers.
Hemingway said that 15 years ago the district had 1,555 students and that has dropped to 1,207 in the current school year.
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