DOVER — The School Board's review of the proposed Dover High School replacement project followed state law, according to an analysis by an outside attorney.
Gregory Im, a lawyer with the law firm Drummond Woodsum, released his opinion on July 20, just hours before the school board endorsed the plan to build an $86.5 million high school alongside the current facility.
"We conclude on the facts described herein that the proposed actions of the school board at tonight's meeting are consistent with (state law)," Im wrote on July 20.
The School Board voted Monday night to release Im's analysis as a public document.
School Board Member Doris Grady sought the second opinion on the school board review following an explanation by City Attorney Anthony Blenkinsop. Ultimately, Im reached a similar conclusion as Blenkinsop, Superintendent Elaine Arbour said.
Grady has questioned whether the school board's endorsement of the proposed high school projects meet the state requirements for major building projects.
She has argued the presence of concept plans for the new high school instead of final blueprints might not meet the provision requiring "all plans" be approved by the school board. She also questioned whether the old school can be torn down, citing the law's requirement that unused schools be transferred to municipal control.
Im determined the lack of blueprints does not create a problem within the law.
"The statutory requirement that the school board approve ‘all plans' for new school buildings contemplates an ongoing process of approval of plans throughout the design process," he wrote.
The requirement that the existing school be turned over to the city is not triggered in this case, Im said, because the Dover High building project contemplates tearing down the structure to make room for new athletic fields. As such, the effort is part of a single project.
Grady did not immediately respond to comment on the contents of the letter, which was made available to the school board officials its July 20 vote.
The school district had to pay Drummond Woodsum for Im's opinion. The exact cost was not available Tuesday.
The Joint Building Committee and School Board have endorsed the plan to replace the 48-year-old high school with a new, larger facility. The City Council is expected to vote on Aug. 26 whether to approve borrowing needed to pay for the project.