In case you missed it, voters in the town of Croydon came out in droves on Saturday to block far-right extremists’ attempt to defund their public schools.
On Town Meeting Days in towns all over the state, pro-public education Democrats won big. This huge win in Croydon is just another example of Granite Staters’ rejection of the far-right, anti-public education agenda of the NH GOP and the power of grassroots mobilization and activism. Granite Staters want strong, pro-public education leaders at every level, and will come out in huge numbers to elect them this November.
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Over half of Croydon’s registered voters flooded a meeting on Saturday to reverse a budget cut that many feared would spell disaster for the town’s public school system.
At issue was the local school budget, which funds a school for children through fourth grade in town and covers tuition for older students to attend private and public schools in neighboring towns. At a poorly attended annual meeting in March, voters approved a measure to cut the school budget by more than half, from $1.7 million to $800,000.
The Croydon school budget that was cut in half at the annual meeting in March on a motion by Free Stater Ian Underwood was restored to its full $1.7 million at a special meeting with a huge turnout Saturday.
Townspeople rallied since to petition for a new meeting going door to door, sending out mailers, handing out pamphlets and talking with neighbors and friends to get a new meeting and vote.
Union Leader: Croydon vote restores school budget
While the vote was being tallied, McGuffin said in his 25 years as a moderator he has never seen such a powerful grassroots effort. “This is the best grassroots effort that I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And it showed. They got 379 people here.”
For the special meeting to have any power, half of the town’s 565 registered voters needed to attend, which is 283. Turnout was 379 registered voters casting ballots. The special town meeting drove registration with 75 new registered voters since the March meeting.
A total of 379 registered voters turned out for Croydon's special town meeting on Saturday, with all but two voting in favor of over-turning the drastic school budget cuts that were passed back in March.
"I've never been so proud of my town in all my life. I think it's amazing we had all these people come out and support our children and public education as we know it," said Thomas Moore.
Nearly 60% of Croydon’s registered voters filled the vast dining hall at Camp Coniston to standing-room-only capacity on Saturday and reinstated the small town’s $1.7 million school budget.
The vote count was 377-2, and its announcement by Moderator Bruce Jasper was greeted by prolonged cheering. Residents and public officials alike hailed the meeting as an example of the power of democracy, and perhaps an overdue reminder.