Friday, October 16, 2009

Charter Commission seeks citizen input

By Rep. Rick Watrous

Tuesday night, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m., there will be a public hearing concerning the Concord school district charter. Concord citizens are invited to the City Council Chambers at 37 Green St. to provide input to the school district charter study commission.

Our duties, as stated in the law (HB 319) that created the commission, read:

"The commission shall study the historical relationship between the general court and the Concord Union school district and evaluate whether and in what manner the present legislative school district charter should be preserved, amended, or terminated in favor of a new school district charter."

The key phrase here is “legislative school district charter.” Concord’s school charter is unique in that it exists in legislative chapter law and can only be changed by action and approval of the state senate, house of representatives, and the governor. Currently neither the school board nor the voters of Concord can change their school district charter without a law being passed by the state house.

The commission is studying how well this unusual arrangement serves the public, and whether and how it should be changed. We have heard from the secretary of state, the school district attorney, and an assistant attorney general. Now it is time to receive vital input from Concord citizens.

As the Concord state representative appointed to the commission, I invite interested citizens to attend and offer testimony on this important subject. A report is due from the commission by Dec. 1.

Rep. Rick Watrous represents Concord Wards 5, 6, and 7 in the Legislature.

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