Although the school board and the SAU have completely ignored Arthur Green’s call for an explanation for budget policies not being followed, at least one Sandown citizen was listening. Here is a letter from Sandown resident, Christopher True, sent to the school board, quoting Mr. Green’s observations based on expenditure reports. The reply from the school board is a classic, but Mr. True’s response cuts to the chase.
June 6, 2014
To Nancy Steenson-chair and the TRSB:
At the TRSB meeting last night, 6/5/2014, some very serious questions were raised in regard to the school board and what appears to be an extreme failure by the school board to properly and legally carry out their job functions.
I am asking for an immediate response from the TRSB explaining what appears to be either gross negligence of the TRSB’s fiduciary responsibilities or unlawful expenditures of tax payer’s monies by the school district in the amount of over $750,000.
My concerns are with, but not limited to the following issues raised at the meeting:
1) Under Policy DBJ “Transfer of Appropriation” any transfer of
funds exceeding $5000 between budget lines requires board
approval in advance. As of April 31, there are 10 budget lines
with expenditure exceeding budget by more than $5000.
There are an additional 13 lines with contractually
committed encumbrance exceeding budget by more than
$5000. The total amount of the overcommitments
on these budget lines is over $775,000. The school board
has not taken any action to review these items as required by policy.
2) two of the line items have NO budget appropriation – they
are zero-funded in the voter-approved budget. RSA 32:8
and 32:10 (e) prohibit spending or incurring a liability
“for any purpose for which no appropriation has been made”.
The amount at issue is $40,000.
3) the auditor’s report for the 2012/2013 year has not been
published. According to the auditor’s contract, this should
have been delivered by the end of November 2013, more
than 6 months ago.
Thank you in advance for your prompt response and clear explanation.
Please note that on the TRSB website, there is not any email given for Michael Mascola and Susan Sherman. I ask that the chair gives them a copy of my request.
HERE IS HIS REPLY FROM THE TRSB CHAIRMAN (courtesy of Mr. True).
June 10, 2014
I am in receipt of your email. You seem to be drawing conclusions based on one person’s misunderstanding. Mr. Green, who spoke at the Board meeting, is in receipt of a budget report which he appears to be misinterpreting. The accusations that he made stem from this apparent inability to understand the report or the appropriate management of district funds. I can assure you that policy DBJ and all other relevant policies and laws are being followed. There is no “gross negligence of the Board’s fiduciary responsibilities,” or “unlawful expenditures of taxpayers monies by the school district,” nor is there “an extreme failure by the school board to properly and legally carry out their job functions.”
The district operates on a bottom line budget, and the Superintendent and our Business Manager manage it very effectively on a day-to-day basis. They are quite skilled at this process, and are well aware of what is right and appropriate. Their integrity is above reproach. As TRSB Chair, I am well acquainted with their work and am thrilled to have such honest and careful people in charge of our budget.
Regarding the auditor’s report: it is expected to be available in a few weeks.
At your request, I forwarded your email to Mr. Mascola and Mrs. Sherman. Posting private email addresses is not required of Board members. They do, however, review all correspondence emailed email@example.com.
I hope helps to clarify any misunderstanding.
Timberlane Regional School Board
MR. TRUE’S REPLY:
June 10, 2014
Thank you for replying to my email. After last years taxes hit me very hard, this year , I plan on learning as much as I can concerning the ins and outs of the school board and our school district’s operations.
To clarify specifically concerning :’Policy DBJ “Transfer of Appropriation” any transfer of funds exceeding $5000 between budget lines requires board approval in advance.’
Are you saying that the school board has voted its approval in advance ( please bear with me… I can’t find the votes in the on line board meetings, during which meetings were the votes taken?)
or are you saying that Mr Green is mistaken, and that there actually has not been any transfer of funds exceeding $5000 between budget lines?
or are you saying that what is posted on line concerning the TRSB policy DBJ is posted in error, and that school board is not charged with the fiduciary responsibilities of voting to approve any transfer of funds exceeding $5000 between budget lines in advance.
I greatly appreciate the time and effort you give to the district and to my questions and concerns.
For Arthur Green’s full comments to the board about expenditures, see my posting of June 6, 2014, “Arthur Greens Calls for Financial Management.” Thank you, Mr. True, for permission to reproduce the emails and for your interest in this issue. Mr. Green is my husband. There is little he has an”inability to understand,” except perhaps Tom Cruise.