Note: About two and a half hours after this posting was made, my materials were added to the Timberlane website. [DG 11/20/2013]
In conscientious preparation for the Budget Committee meeting on Nov. 14th, many hours went into the preparation of a summary spreadsheet of the school district budget showing historical comparisons. The SAU did not let me use the meeting room’s technology in order to present this spreadsheet, or the PowerPoint presentation that went along with it. Instead, I had to hand out paper copies to my fellow budget committee members at the meeting, copies the SAU refused to make or distribute for me. The administration is also refusing [see clarification at bottom] to put this material on the budget committee’s website with the minutes of the Nov. 14th meeting, despite the fact that the material forms part of the public proceedings. They don’t want you to see these documents. It would interrupt the spin. They say their proposed budget is up just 4%. In fact, it is up 5.5%. (Dr. Metzler suggested he would come back with a slimmed down budget on Nov. 26th. We’ll see what’s offered.)
For the curious, for those concerned with their taxes, for those who think education can’t be fixed with a check, here is the spreadsheet (now updated with the very most recent information) and the PowerPoint slides. I proposed a bottom line budget of $64 million, which represents a small increase over this current year’s budget (adjusted to reflect the change in the way SAU is to be budgeted for 2014-15 and thereafter). My motion to this effect was voted down by the budget committee, with only Cathy Gorman of Sandown supporting. Keep in mind, the district has been running $2 million surpluses, yet, like someone in need of a gastric bypass at an all-you-can-eat buffet, they continue to ask for more… more…. MORE….. all the while enrollment is declining.
As for getting my material televised at the meeting and on the screen for better explanation to my peers, here’s what the administration expected me to do: “Attached are the guidelines for presentations. Once all guidelines are met, the technology dept will review and upon approval, will make the presentation available at the respective meetings.” Only one person in the technology department, namely, Mr. Holland, seems to vet presentations in the meeting room and he was not available the day of the meeting, and from the fact he didn’t apologize for not being able to assist me, I wonder if he even knew of my request. Forget, if you can, the childishness of requiring an elected member of the budget committee to vet their presentations through a teacher/department head. Instead, get a charge out of the presentation guidelines below – guidelines so important that they prevented me from making my presentation available on broadcast and on the screen in the meeting room. I will hear you laughing from here, if you are not fuming as I am. In the meantime I am grateful private business does not operate like this. Truth be told, I doubt even the school district really operates like this. EffectivePPTvideo
CLARIFICATION: The chairman of the Budget Committee, Greg Spero, deserves thanks for intervening here and requesting my documents be added to the website. Although I was told Mr. Stokinger would not distribute any material for whose accuracy he could not personally vouch, the SAU did not say outright they refused to post my materials: they simply ignored my repeated requests to do so.