Dublin considers education attorney for input on ConVal withdrawal article

Town of Dublin

Town of Dublin COURTESY PHOTO

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-29-2024 8:16 AM

Dublin Select Board members are considering seeking an attorney for a legal opinion on town warrant Article 18, related to the proposed restructuring of the ConVal School District.

Article 18, which was submitted by petition from a Dublin resident, reads, “To see if the town will vote to direct the school board of the ConVal school district to initiate a feasibility study of Dublin’s withdrawal from the ConVal school district, pursuant to RSA 195:25.”

Board members discussed the possibility of seeking a legal opinion during their meeting Monday night. The town hopes an attorney who specializes in school districts would clarify whether the warrant article is simply advisory, or whether the School Board would be required to fulfill the request.

While some skepticism was expressed over whether the town had the ability to direct a school board to conduct such a study, it was noted that New Hampshire law contains language that allows a town to do so “by a majority vote on a warrant article at a regular or special town meeting,” according to RSA 195:25.

Should the town vote to initiate the feasibility study, the school board would be asked to determine Dublin’s financial obligation to the district should they decide to withdraw. The board had a list of potential education attorneys prepared, but their names were not shared during the public section of the meeting.

It was also noted that Francestown’s town warrant contains an identical article, and Select Board members expressed interest in reaching out to Francestown for input on their experience. Dublin would still seek its own legal opinion even if Francestown had already done so.

Article 18 is a response to a proposal put forth by the School Board, which puts the Dublin Consolidated School – along with three other district elementary schools – at risk of closure. If the district votes to give the School Board power to close the schools, they would look into which, if any, should be closed.

The Select Board has not taken a position on the warrant article, and hopes the petitioner will speak up about it on the day of Town Meeting. The Dublin Education Advisory Committee recommends the passage of the article.

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Dublin’s town elections take place on Tuesday, March 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Dublin Town Hall. Town Meeting is Saturday, March 16, at 9 a.m. at the Dublin Consolidated School.