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Croydon man who tried to cut school budget in half steps down from Selectboard

  • Croydon, N.H., Selectboard Member Ian Underwood listens during a meeting of the Schoolboard, of which his wife Jody Underwood is chair, at the Town Hall on Monday, March 14, 2022. An amendment he proposed to cut the school budget from a proposed $1.79 million to $800,000 passed at the town's annual school meeting on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Published: 9/10/2022 2:54:55 AM
Modified: 9/10/2022 2:54:24 AM

Controversial Croydon figure Ian Underwood announced his resignation from the Selectboard in a letter to the board members on Aug. 16. Underwood’s letter provided no explanation why he was stepping down.

Chair Russell Edwards read the letter into public record at the board meeting on Aug. 23. The board voted in resident Amie Freak to fill the vacant seat later that evening.

The announcement of Underwood’s resignation received cheers and clapping from most of the 50 residents in attendance at the meeting.

Underwood, who moved to Croydon in 2007 as part of the libertarian-driven Free State Project, frequently drew criticism from many residents for his political views, particularly his opposition to public education, whose funding Underwood once equated to holding taxpayers ransom.

At the Croydon School Meeting in March, Underwood moved for a floor amendment to reduce the proposed school budget for the 2022-23 school year from $1.7 million to $800,000, a 53% cut. Voters at the sparsely attended meeting approved the reduced budget, 20-14.

Residents successfully overturned the budget cut in June through a revote following a campaign to bring out the required quorum of more than half of the town’s eligible voters for the Saturday morning meeting. Residents restored the original proposed school budget of $1.7 million by a vote of 377-2.

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