Unanticipated Funds Need to be Publicly Accepted and Here’s Who Did

THIS IS INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY SANDOWN’S  INIMITABLE CATHY GORMAN,  SCHOOL BUDGET COMMITTEE MEMBER. This is in answer to the Timberlane school board’s claim that the unanticipated LGC refund did not need to be accepted in public hearing because it was not expended.  Our claim is that unanticipated funds need to be publicly accepted regardless of the intention to expend them.  Despite last night’s meeting, this debate is NOT finished.

Why does this matter?  Are we fighting about a sheer legal technicality?  Not at all.  RSA 198:20-b that deals with  unanticipated funds (i.e.; cash windfalls) was written to protect taxpayers.   In their usual fashion, the school board last night voted down a motion by me to have the Business Administrator give an accounting of the history and disposition of all the LGC refund monies. There is a third tranche of money being expected in September but this has been anticipated in the 2014-2015 budget so no hearing will be needed. Just to be clear, I am not insinuating that the district has done anything untoward with this money; I simply want an accounting that I can understand.

From Ms. Gorman:

A (quick) list of the towns that held public hearing to “ACCEPT” unanticipated funds:

Windham -School Board
ConVal – School Board
Alton-School Board
Gilford – Board of Selectmen
Raymond – School Board
Moultonborough – Board of Selectmen
Hinsdale – School Board

Language of the public meeting legal notices and links below:

PUBLIC HEARING
Windham School Board Meeting September 3, 2013
TOWN HALL
7:00 pm – Public Hearing-7:15 pm Public Session
Non-Public Session immediately following

The Windham School Board will conduct a public hearing as required under RSA 198:20-b regarding the acceptance of rebates from prior year health and dental insurance premiums fromHealthTrust (formerly Local Government Center)
http://www.windhamsd.org/pdf/wsb/agendas/2013-09-03.pdf

ConVal – School Board
PUBLIC HEARING TO ACCEPT UNANTICIPATED FUNDS
@ SAU Board Room
What School Board
When Feb 04, 2014
from 07:00 PM to 07:30 PM
Add event to calendar vCal iCal
Filed under: School Board
http://conval.edu/district/school-board/calendar-events/public-hearing-to-accept-unanticipated-funds-1

April 23, 2014
ALTON — The Alton School Board met for just over an hour in public session on Monday, April 14, and approved accepting nearly $300,000 in unanticipated funds, approved the school calendar for the 2014-2015 school year and approved school board meeting dates for next year.
http://www.newhampshirelakesandmountains.com/Articles-Baysider-c-2014-04-23-159163.113119-Alton-School-Board-approves-calendar-for-next-year.html

GILFORD BOARD OF SELECTMEN
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE APPROPRIATION OF UNANTICIPATED FUNDS
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
7:00pm
Gilford Town Hall – Conference Room A

The Gilford Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing pursuant to the provisions of RSA 31:95-b, as authorized by a vote on Article 12 of the 1994 Town Meeting; to accept $169,424 from the NH Department of Safety, Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division in the form of an Emergency Management Performance Grant.
http://www.gilfordnh.org/announcements/show/PUBLIC-HEARING-NOTICE-APPROPRIATION-OF-UNANTICIPATED-FUNDS-458

Town of Greenfield
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
The Greenfield NH Selectboard will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, July 2nd at 5 p.m. in the Meeting Room at the Town Offices, 7 Sawmill Road Greenfield, NH, pursuant to the provisions of RSA 31:95-b, for the purposes of accepting unanticipated funds, namely the NH Charitable Foundation grant of $5000.00.
Those individuals who are not able to attend the meeting may send comments to Selectmen’s Office, Town of Greenfield P.O. 256 Greenfield, NH 03047
http://www.greenfield-nh.gov/Public_Documents/GreenfieldNH_PublicNotices/I0490340D?textPage=

Notice of Public Hearing
RSA 31:95-B – Acceptance of a Gift of Money
The Moultonborough Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing in accord with RSA 31:95-b on the acceptance of a gift of $5,000 from the “Turn Up The Heat” committee to assist residents in the community who require fuel assistance at
7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 17, 2014 at Moultonborough Town Hall 6 Holland Street Moultonborough, NH 03254
http://moultonborough.org/Pages/MoultonboroughNH_MeetingsCal/S01D046AC-01D046BC.0/bospubhearing04172014.pdf

HINSDALE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY FEBRUARY 9, 2011
6:30 pm
Public Hearing
Per RSA: 198:20‐b III (a), the purpose of the PublicHearing is to consider the acceptance and expenditure of unanticipated funds.
http://www.hnhsd.org/~hsd/files/School%20Board%20-%20Minutes/Hinsdale%20Board%20Minutes%20-%2002-09-11.pdf

Cathy Gorman
Sandown

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1 Comment

Filed under Expenditures, Sandown Issues, School Board Issues

One response to “Unanticipated Funds Need to be Publicly Accepted and Here’s Who Did

  1. Cathy Gorman

    The following is confounding to me:
    The SB Chair determined the SB would seek legal advice regarding RSA 198:20-b. They must have been unsure if they are obligated by law to hold a public meeting (my assumption). The Chair determines this task needs to be delegated because they do not have the time available to contact the district lawyer. Rather than delegating the task to 1 of the 8 other elected members, the Chair delegates this to a district employee. (??)

    The other point I would like to mention: Based on legal advise the district received RSA 198:20-b holds the acceptance of <$5000.00 in unanticipated funds to a higher standard than accepting $5000.00 (+) in unanticipated funds. Section III (b) states the following: the school board shall post notice of the funds in the agenda and shall include notice in the minutes of the school board meeting in which such funds are discussed. The acceptance of unanticipated funds under this subparagraph shall be made in public session of any regular school board meeting.

    Yet if the District receives $5000.00 or more in unanticipated funds none of this is required:
    • The SB isn’t required to post this in their agenda?
    • The SB isn’t required to have a public discussion,
    • The SB isn’t required to accept the funds and
    • The SB isn’t required to have proper documentation in meeting minutes

    I think it’s odd, based on the legal advice, the SB is held to lower standard when accepting $5000.00 or more in unanticipated funds under RSA 198:20-b.

    Full language of section III (b):
    (b) A school board may establish the amount of unanticipated funds required for notice under this subparagraph, provided such amount is less than $5,000. For unanticipated funds in an amount less than $5,000, the school board shall post notice of the funds in the agenda and shall include notice in the minutes of the school board meeting in which such funds are discussed. The acceptance of unanticipated funds under this subparagraph shall be made in public session of any regular school board meeting.

    Cathy Gorman

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