The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) is tasked with representing home educators in New Hampshire to the Board of Education. School Choice for NH looks into recent HEAC actions.
Is HEAC Ignoring Rules?
The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) met on September 14, 2017 after a summer hiatus although the meeting was not disclosed in advance on the NH Department of Education’s website.
Because only five of 11 voting members were present, one member formally resigned and another effectively vacant, the council determined they did not have sufficient members present to constitute a quorum. It is not clear if Ms. Ellie Riel was in attendance as a guest or as a substitute for Ms. Heather Gage of the NH Department of Education as she was fully engaged in the discussion, apparently included in council emails, and the Chairman even gave Ms. Riel an opportunity to give a report “on behalf of the department” (see video 3 at 4:15). If Ms. Riel was a substitute, HEAC had six seats present to make a quorum. Nonetheless, the Chairman gave a “chairman’s report” (see video segment 1 at 4:39) and the council discussed matters for roughly one hour. At the end, they determined that they would not publish minutes, again because they said a quorum was not satisfied.
Per most parliamentary procedures including Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, 4th Edition, a quorum is a simple majority of voting members unless otherwise specified in bylaws. This was discussed at HEAC’s January 2017 meeting, so they are aware of how a quorum is determined. It is also considered “best practices” to exclude vacant seats to determine a quorum; refer to Mason’s Manual section 501.1. It is unknown whether or not previous meetings in fact met the conditions of a quorum with appropriate parliamentary procedural use. Member Cara Barlow was tasked in the January 2017 minutes to develop operating procedures that would address quorum determination.
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