Senate Bill 2 also known as RSA 40:13 fared pretty well this year despite a campaign of misinformation against secret ballot voting.
The best case of this was in Hampton Falls where an all out effort was made to rescind this popular piece of enabling legislation at the town level. It actually reached a majority vote. This is a first in ten years. The last time a town rescinded SB2 was back in 1996 in some very small towns right after adopting it.
Hampton Falls voters have lived with secret ballot voting at annual town meetings long enough to know it has many advantages. Voters in this town chose RSA 40:13 to conduct their meetings in an organized fashion by the required 60% super-majority vote some years ago. Now snowstorms, heated debate full of misinformation and attendance by large groups of town employees has less of an effect on the Town's bottom line.
The anti-SB2 crowd has been throwing around silly arguments about uninformed voters. But this same argument is made every time some article the tax and spenders wants is voted down. It is old news.
Former Governor John Sununu's editorials in Hampton Falls newspapers against SB2 reveal how little he knows about town and school meetings. Back when he was governor we had separate line items in budgets and voters could chose what to and what not to fund. Now we have bottom line all or nothing budgets thanks to the NH Municipal Association and the public school industry. Many meetings are a simple formality and “informed discussion” is not worth spit.
With a bottom line budget the elected officials can send inside that bottom line figure as they please. Voters are not stupid as many tax and spenders claim. They know a fix when the see one.
Candia voters adopted SB2 this year. Good for them.
Pittsfield came close. They voted 57% for and 43% against SB2 for the school side.
Northwood and Hopkinton got majority votes on the school side but not the 60%.
The votes to RESCIND SB2 were more telling. Take Deerfield for instance:
For the Deerfield School District 291 to rescind – 696 to stay with SB2.
For the Town of Deerfield, 288 to rescind – 702 to stay with SB2.
The Deerfield votes show the hole in ant-secret ballot voting. Deerfield voters are informed about SB2. They have lived with it.
Not to forget the “alternative” to SB2 I should mention town charters. The scam of the century. Any anti-secret ballot spender will repeat loudly and in complete indifference to facts that a charter is the way to go. To municipal bankruptcy maybe.
Take the Kearsarge Regional School District. They have the SB2 alternative “charter' provision created by HB141 back in 1995 and designed to thwart SB2.
How's that deal working?
Check this out.
Kearsarge Regional Operating Budget Warrant Article:
To see if the School District will vote to raise and appropriate the Municipal Budget Committee's recommended amount of $30,268,095 for the support of schools, for the payment of salaries for the school district officials and agents, and for the payment for the statutory obligations of the district.
The School Board recommends $30,268,095.
So here is how the charter works. You get to vote on the exact same number! Two choices and no “none of the above”. Heads, the school board number wins – tails, the budget committee number wins! Who wouldn't like that. Democracy in action.
No wonder so few towns and schools adopted charters. And no wonder one has and more will change back when they figure out the scam.