Monday, February 3, 2020
First Annual Oyster River Deliberative Dinner Party, Tuesday Feb 4, 5pm, ORHS
Dinner and Music before the Deliberative Session
I'll see everybody at the high school cafeteria at 5 pm Tuesday February 4, which hopefully will be today or tomorrow by the time you read this. This year the district is making a concerted effort (quite literally) to get folks to attend the Deliberative Session. Here's the schedule:
5 pm FREE spaghetti dinner (RSVP requested, not required)
6 pm Concert by the ORMS Jazz Band and the ORHS Studio Orchestra
7 pm Deliberative Session, a real election, free child care available
(My daughter is in the high school band and she was surprised I knew about her gig before she did. That's just one example of the useful information that goes by at a school board meeting.)
The school district operates under what I think is called "SB 2", a form of government in which our election is divided into two parts. Tuesday Feb 4 is the the first part, the Deliberative Session, which is the vestige of the traditional Town Meeting. A majority of district voters present may amend the warrant articles, which are the ballot questions. On March 10 we have the second part, election day, where the eligible citizens of the district get to vote YES or NO on each question.
For serious voters in the district the Deliberative Session will be the first of five or six elections this year. There's the presidential primary next week on February 11 (teachers' workshop day at school), municipal elections on March 10, state primary on September 8, the general election on November 3, and some of the towns have their own Deliberative Session.
The district generally wants the warrant not to be amended at DS. Lately only around 50 people have been showing up at ORCSD DS, which means 25 of them can rewrite the school budget and seriously screw up next year's plans. I'm not sure if the district's attempt at getting more folks to vote at DS helps that; we'll see tomorrow I guess.
Really the only possible amendments at DS this year are to screw around with the middle school bond, effectively tanking the middle school for this cycle even before the March vote, and to add or subtract to the general budget of the school. The recommended school budget we're to approve is already $700,000 below the default budget (what we get if NO wins) so it's hard to see anyone amending this.
I hope and predict the warrant will survive DS unamended. The school district wants you to participate and has arranged dinner and a show for you beforehand. I've unofficially called it The Annual Oyster River Deliberative Dinner Party. If it works out this will be the first of many. Hope to see everybody there.
Please check out my last post for more information about this year's warrant and deliberative session.