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Thumbs on the scale: Newmarket tips school vote

May 16. 2017 11:10PM

In March, voters in Newmarket overwhelmingly approved a $39 million warrant article for renovations to local schools.

The vote followed an all-out push from Superintendent Meredith Nadeau, who organized students and faculty to produce a series of videos touting the need to improve school facilities.

Unfortunately for Nadeau, such “electioneering” from public employees is illegal during work hours.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Buonamano last week admonished Nadeau for using school district resources to try to sway the vote.

Newmarket taxpayers did not hire Nadeau to work as a lobbyist in support of increased school district spending. It is her job to implement the decisions of the voters and the school board they elect, not tell voters what to do.

Nadeau started this job in July, so this was her first time through Newmarket’s school district budget process. But she was a superintendent in Maine for five years. Was she allowed to openly campaign for warrant articles in that job?

School district personnel should keep their thumbs off the scales when voters weigh warrant articles. We’re not surprised that a school superintendent would support spending more money. Nadeau has every right to her opinion. She was wrong to confuse her political preferences with her official duties.

If Nadeau can’t tell the difference, Newmarket should find a superintendent who can.

Education Editorial Newmarket

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