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Alternative school board? A meeting of dubious legality

October 01. 2013 8:42PM

An amazing thing happened at Manchester City Hall on Monday night. The school district convened — without notice — a closed meeting of an “alternative school board” to discuss a personnel matter, refused to name all the members of this allegedly public body, and then claimed through the real school board’s attorney that the meeting didn’t really take place after all. There is so much wrong with this event that we haven’t the space to address all of it.

State law forbids public bodies from meeting in secret without a properly approved motion to do so. There was no school board motion to go into closed session on Monday night, which presumably makes this meeting illegal.

And the “school board” that met in closed session to consider a school personnel matter was not the school board. It was a group of others assembled for the purpose of acting in place of the duly elected school board. Our reporter identified four members of this alternative board: Aldermen Tom Katsiantonis, Pat Long, Jim Roy and Barbara Shaw. The other three to five members could not be identified, and the school district would not name them.

The school board governs the school district. How is it legal for the district to select a new school board to handle a personnel matter? These and many other questions remain unanswered. The school district needs to answer them immediately.

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