Boards try to hide information
Article 6 of the Vermont Constitution: “That all power being originally inherent in and consequently derived from the people, all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and servants; and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.”
When public institutions, such as the Rutland Addison supervisory school district, self-determine that it is a separate and distinct entity, not answerable to the public and immune to the rights of its taxpaying citizens, the only recourse, unfortunately, is the courts.
It is fortunate that the courts, in the instant matter, Rutland County Superior Court, recognize those rights and held the school district accountable pursuant to the Public Records Act.
The arrogance manifested by public institutions, to not only withhold public information, but to also treat questioning/dissenting citizens with disdain, is not limited to the Rutland Addison Supervisory Union.
The Orange Southwest Supervisory Union (Randolph, Braintree, Brookfield) has also been required by the Orange County Superior Court to provide information concerning the use of public funds to erect a building without either a public vote or advertising (publicly) for construction bids.
A practice that we, questioning/dissenting citizens, considered tantamount to a corrupt practice. We brought suit pursuant to the fact that public funds, employed and expended by a public (school) board, are public information.
That school district, under the direction of Superintendent Brent Kay, refused to provide information concerning costs and bidding, until the court ordered the district to provide the information pursuant to the Public Records Act.
Transparency and accountability, the very foundation of open government, are too often denied the public by public boards — trustees of the common weal.
Thankfully, in Vermont we still have a legal system and courts that are responsive to its citizens.