Your Government

What is your town or school district’s scope of authority  

In New Hampshire, towns and school districts are political subdivisions of the state.  They only have authority if the legislature gives it to them, and the legislature is free to retract it at any time.

The legislature provides for authority to towns and school districts in the language of a state statute.  These statutes are published as the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSAs).  Thus, a town or school district only has authority if a law grants it to them.  If a law does not exist which grants them the authority to take action, then it is generally interpreted as a prohibition against such action.

A fundamental rule, often not understood is that the BOARD has NO AUTHORITY beyond that exercised at the board table. When the meeting is called to order each member is empowered with the right to vote on each issue. When the meeting is adjourned, that power is gone. Only a majority of the board has the ability to set policy, hire and fire staff, negotiate contracts or make requests.   The board may empower, with a vote, the chair or subcommittee to take action outside of the board meeting but such power is only given by the full board.

New Hampshire State Government Resources

State Constitution: http://www.nh.gov/constitution/constitution.html

General Court:   http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/default.htm  Lower left has links to many other state websites.

State Laws (RSAs):  http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/default.html  RSA 91-A is the Right to Know Law.

Office of Energy and Planning:  http://www.nh.gov/oep/     Hint: Check out the Resource Library.

New Hampshire Grafton County Government Resources

Office of the Commissoners: http://www.co.grafton.nh.us

Registry of Deeds: http://www.nhdeeds.com/grafton/GrHome.html

New Hampshire Municipal Resources

Municipal Association:  http://www.nhmunicipal.org/

New Hampshire School District Resources

NH School Board Association: http://www.nhsba.org/

NH Laws related to Schools:  http://www.nhsba.org/documents/NHEdLawsatyourfingertips.pdf

NH Law – Title XV Education:  http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XV.htm  Chapter 194 – School Districts

NH Dept. of Education: http://www.education.nh.gov/

NH Dept of Education – School & SAU info:  http://www.education.nh.gov/data/school_sau.htm

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