Dr. Metzler’s Visit to the Sandown BOS

On April 14th, Dr. Metzler met with the Sandown Board of Selectmen to answer questions from them and the public. Cathy Gorman preceeded him with comments about her difficulty getting detailed financial information on the full-time kindergarten program to be implemented in September and her Right to Know requests.

Unfortunately, I had a family obligation that night and could not attend; otherwise, I would have challenged a number of Dr. Metzler’s statements. The Vimeo recording is not yet out of the meeting, so what follows is my reconstruction of Dr. Metzler’s statements from one viewing of the meeting on Channel 17.

M: The School Board is discussing the budget now and moving numbers around.
DG: I have not missed a meeting of School Board since the default budget was voted and there has not been one single breath about the budget. If budget numbers are being moved, this is without any deliberation of the board.

M: The School Board has a plan to drive Spanish into elementary grades one advancing year at a time.
DG: This has not been discussed at the school board level. Dr. Metzler has said he intends in future to introduce Spanish to other elementary grades, but this particular strategy has not been discussed.

M: Timberlane cost per student is under the state average.
DG: The state published cost per pupil figure has a significant lag. The per pupil cost Dr. Metzler is citing is actually the cost under Mr. LaSalle’s final (2012/13) budget. Our per pupil cost has risen significantly in the past two budgets, and the comparable DOE average for 2013/14 will not be available until later this year.

M: The revenue from full-time kindergarten will fund the cost of the other elementary Spanish teacher required for the higher grades as Spanish instruction advances grade by grade.
DG: Show me the money. Cathy Gorman, Sandown rep on the school budget committee is highly skeptical that full-time kindergarten will even pay for itself let alone fund another staff person in the elementary grades to teach Spanish. Furthermore, how are parents going to feel to know their tuition for FT kindergarten is funding public education?

M: The textbook Mrs. Green requested was removed from the high school and moved to the SAU so she would not disrupt classrooms.
DG: The history text I requested to see was left for me at the high school front office. I would not have even been in a hallway let alone a classroom. Although flattering, in reality it’s been at least 40 years since my presence in a high school was disruptive. The text was made available to me at the SAU office a day and a half after it was removed from the high school.

M: Mr. Green’s information requests would take thousands of pages. I invited him in to meet with me on Sunday but I was alone all day.
DG: Mr. Green was never invited to meet with Dr. Metzler on Sunday. (He would be happy to post the entire email exchange with Dr. Metzler concerning his information request.) Further, Arthur’s requests are what anyone would expect a budget committee to receive – with perhaps the exception of balance sheet information. My husband is not insisting on balance sheet information and would just like to get what our financial reporting system produces. There is no need for Dr. Metzler to be in his office on weekends cobbling numbers together. His staff has simply to hand over standard financial reports. Mr. Green, a member of the school budget committee, continues to wait.

Here is what Arthur Green requested in order to be prepared for a knowledgeable understanding of the proposed budget when it is presented on November 13:
Proposed Information Baseline for 2015/16 Budget Preparation
Background materials to be provided by September 30 (earlier if practical):
• 2013/14 Budget Year
• 2014/15 Budget Year
• final expenditures and revenues by function and object code
• format as live spreadsheet .xls format (Microsoft Excel XP)
• list of carryover expenditures into 2014/15
• final approved (default) budget, updated with impact of Warrant Articles,
including revenue
• format as live spreadsheet .xls format (Microsoft Excel XP)
• full 2014 tax impact form including ADM and assessment – in draft if final
version is not available
• Staffing reports as prepared for NH DOE showing FTE details for calculation of
student/teacher ratios
• Complete organization chart
• for each position, indicate
• Position Title
• Employee/Contract
• Reporting relationships
• Full time or % time
• Classification per the Annual Report staffing matrix
• Classification per the NHDOE FTE staffing returns
• Bargaining unit or equivalent
• Professional Certification
• Position vacant
• Annual salary

• Format to be discussed, preferably live spreadsheet
• Balance sheet including
• Depreciating assets – vehicles, computers etc
• Real Estate, including breakout of land and building values, book value,
• Short term and long term debt
• List of upcoming special items impacting 2014/15 but not included in budget –
NH pension, health, NHDOR etc.
current value
Supporting materials to be provided together with the 2015/16 first draft budget:
• Headcount projection per annual report
• FTE projection per NHDOE format

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Filed under Budget Committee, Fill-time Kindergarten, Sandown Issues

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