Reply to My Two Questions

A few posts ago you may recall two questions I asked of the Superintendent:  Where was the money coming from in the SAU default budget to pay for his raise, his bonus and the 2.5% merit pool for SAU staff?   I also asked what the hiring procedure was for new teachers.

By way of reply of a sort, Dr. Metzler forwarded me policy  GCF, which speaks to the hiring of professional staff.  The policy states that the school board may consider and select only those candidates nominated by the superintendent.  This answers one of my questions:  the school board does not see information about the candidates among whom the superintendent makes his selection.  

The policy, however, does not tell me if the school board sees the nominated candidate’s application or resume.  Are we voting blindly to hire new teachers based solely on the superintendent’s nomination?  I still don’t know and the chairman could not give a definitive answer.

The school board chair kindly spoke to me privately about my hiring procedure question.  She confirmed my own information that Dr. Metzler has changed the hiring procedure.  Previously, the school principal recommended their favored candidate to the superintendent.  Now, principals bring three unranked candidates forward to Dr. Metzler who then selects one.

Having the new procedure confirmed, I then asked how the school board could know that any candidate was indeed among the three put forward by a principal.  The fact is we can’t, because we are given no information about the pool of candidates.  This seems to me a very bad arrangement, not because I doubt Dr. Metzler’s hiring procedure but because I see this as a system that has the school board at a very bad knowledge disadvantage. Remember, school board members are not permitted to speak or communicate directly  with principals – a rule imposed a few months ago.  The school board could never know if a rogue superintendent were hiring his or her own candidates outside of the pool of three selected by the school principal.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that Dr. Metzler is doing this.  Not at all.  Nor am I critical of the changes he has made to hiring. My point is only that as a member of the school board I can’t confirm how a candidate came to be presented for our approval. This makes the school board vote nothing but a rubber stamp. If our duties require our vote, it means it requires our knowledge as well .

As for my other question about where the money was coming from in the SAU default budget to pay for raises and a bonus, the chair of the SAU told me the budget line that will be affected is 100.2321.111.57.30.   The list of account codes given to the budget committee does not list a 2321 but it does list 2320 (SAU #55 Budget).  111 is the code for administrative salaries.  So, what I am being told is that the money for the raise, the bonus and the 2.5% merit pool will be coming from the salary line itself.  I find this  hard to believe, but perhaps the SAU is anticipating being half a  person short next year….  We will see come July 1, if – as I have been predicting – money will be taken from the health insurance line to increase the salary line.

A sincere thanks to both board chairs for replying to questions I asked of Dr. Metzler.

UPDATE  6/1/14:   At the last school board meeting, a thumbnail sketch for each of the recommended candidates was given to the board.  Although I was happy with the information given, it did not include  information about the other two top contenders for the positions which would give me more confidence in a vote, but our school board policy forbids this for reasons not known to me.  I appreciate this information but still feel I am being asked to vote for candidates without enough information.  As with all my concerns about inadequate information, it is not because I mistrust anyone but only because I must be convinced that I am doing the very best job I can otherwise my vote is neither useful nor needed.











Filed under Budget 2014-2015, SAU 55 Issues, School Board Issues, The Mushroom Farm

2 responses to “Reply to My Two Questions

  1. Beth Blomquist

    First, let me say that I am not a Sandown resident so not technically one of the constituents you represent.
    Second, as a matter if disclosure I do not always agree with your opinions.
    If I’m honest I quite often do not.
    That all being said I want to thank you for your perseverance. I firmly stand with you that you deserve information when expected to make a decision. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. So even though we may disagree on some things once the facts are presented, I’m not sure how anyone can be expected to vote without information.
    Beth Blomquist
    Atkinson resident

    • Thank you, Beth. Appreciate your feedback and would like to know when you do disagree and why. I am always open to debate.
      Disagreement isn’t a bad thing as long as there is a shared goal and mutual respect. I worry that my goal of empowering the elected people on school board by giving them information is in conflict with what seems to me the overall trend in school districts of empowering the SAUs. The policies we are adopting are specifically limiting the powers of elected school board members in order to give greater authority to unelected SAU officials. This is not a criticism of the superintendent, but of the school board itself for adopting these policies – in my opinion.

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