In an email to Board of Education Chairman Bruce Likly and Superintendent of Schools Gary Richards on May 22, Marissa Lowthert asked them each to \u201ccommit publicly to support the BOF investigation of the BOE offers.\u201d She asked that they do so at that evening\u2019s Board of Education meeting, and they did. Following an executive session discussion about the pending claim filed by Ms. Lowthert and her husband, Christopher, the board voted to cooperate in the special education audit. Mr. Likly publicly presented the subject for board members to discuss and decide \u201cwhether or not we feel we want to support that effort and going forward based on that,\u201d he said. When considering the special education audit, board member Christine Finkelstein said she believes the board\u2019s first priority has to be confidentiality. \u201cIf we can do that in a way, legally, where we don\u2019t betray any confidentiality, then I would think that that\u2019s something we would want to do,\u201d she said. Mr. Likly said that confidentiality has been a real challenge for the board, claiming it\u2019s the reason why the board has appeared to be twiddling its thumbs. \u201cWhy we look like we\u2019re \u2026 not doing anything is because we can\u2019t publicly react to a lot of what\u2019s going on,\u201d he said. Board member Glenn Hemmerle said aside from what\u2019s required by law to be confidential, the education board has \u201cnothing to hide.\u201d \u201cThere\u2019s no question that we need to be as open and provide support the best we can to help whatever process needs to be in place to resolve all the outstanding questions that have been raised,\u201d said Mr. Hemmerle. \u201cWe should really, as a board, do whatever we can, whatever we need to do to address the issues.\u201d Following board members\u2019 comments, Ms. Finkelstein moved that the board authorize Mr. Likly and Dr. Richards \u201cto enter into agreements to take such actions necessary to cooperate fully with town\u2019s attorney in conducting an investigation into the settlement negotiations with the family in question.\u201d The motion passed unanimously with the vote of the five board members present: Mr. Likly, Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Hemmerle, Laura Schwemm, and Chris Stroup. Finance board\u2019s next steps The Board of Finance has begun preliminary steps of investigation into problems raised by Ms. Lowthert. \u201cOne of the things I thought we should do is put our objectives and expectations into writing,\u201d standing Chairwoman Lynne Vanderslice said last week. A handout distributed at the meeting, which Ms. Vanderslice said was intended to \u201cfacilitate\u201d discussion, outlined the main issues before the board. They included: Who authorized settlement agreement offers to the Lowtherts? Were the offers legally authorized? Are there proper controls over Board of Education spending? Is the situation regarding the Lowtherts an outlier or \u201cbusiness as usual?\u201d Board member James Meinhold said during the meeting, \u201cI think at the end of the day, you want to make sure things were done correctly \u2026 and that the outcome was a responsible one.\u201d In seeking to understand the facts revolving around these questions, the board has requested a fair amount of information from the Board of Education but has received minimal response. One, according to the handout, occurred after the Board of Finance asked about the possibility of conducting an audit of special education spending by the Board of Education. The Board of Education\u2019s attorney, Thomas Mooney of Shipman & Goodwin, said such an audit was outside the board\u2019s legal authority. Another response was an \u201cassurance by the Town Attorney that this was a special education related offer, made after consideration of the costs associated with rejecting the parent\u2019s request for alternative placement due to harmful air quality.\u201d As of last week, the Board of Education still had not responded to a number of Board of Finance requests regarding: Local policies and procedures related to special education settlement agreements. Statistical data on settlements. An indication of the veracity of a settlement offer supplied by Ms. Lowthert. Affidavits from both the schools\u2019 and Ms. Lowthert\u2019s attorneys that indicate the negotiations between the parties dealt exclusively with special education services.