SAU Posts Salaries: taxpayers win

The Tri-Town Times today ran an excoriating editorial criticizing the SAU 55 Board for not wanting to know staff salary information during SAU budget deliberations. [The SAU Board is composed of all the school board members from Timberlane and Hampstead.] Editorial: Right to Know

At the SAU meeting on Oct. 8, I requested this information but was ultimately refused by the board for two reasons: 1) the SAU board has no authority over SAU salaries; 2) SAU employees get merit raises and publicly disclosing their salaries would expose each individual’s merit raise.

I dispute #1 and do not care about #2.  All public employee salaries are public information and need to be such so taxpayers can see where their money is going.

The good news is that Superintendent Metzler has posted the current SAU salaries on the SAU website:  2014-2015 SAU Salaries

This was done at the end of business on Oct 14, two days before the editorial came out, and there is evidence that the administration intended to do it even sooner.  On Oct 10 they posted information about a NH legal case determining that teacher salaries are a matter of public record.

The Superintendent is now also posting monthly expenditure reports to the Budget Committee even though the School Board refused – after my request –  to consider having them provided to the board.

Do you see a pattern here?  Many of your own elected officials have long been in the habit of making it easy to keep vital information in the dark but the Superintendent is starting to listen to public outcry.  Thanks to Jaye Dimando of Hampstead and Sue Sherman of Timberlane for supporting my information requests at the SAU meeting.

Watch the relatively brief meeting here:]


Educational Ignorance

Source:  Granite Grok


Filed under SAU 55 Issues, School Board Behavior

4 responses to “SAU Posts Salaries: taxpayers win

  1. The information provided is cursory at best. Surely this information release is not the end of the story? The budget posted shows almost $1 Million in salaries, yet the total budget is around $60 Million, correct? I must be missing a fundamental here, which doesn’t speak well to the clarity of this release.

    The case law referenced is quite clear that all salaries are public information. As salary is ordinarily a large chunk of any budget, then taxpayers might wonder where the remainder of the public information is located.

    I won’t stoop to praise the (minimal) effort on the part of Metzler. As he should have already provided this, and has therefore been in violation of basic practice and disclosure law by refusing to release it, what sanctions might be forthcoming? The fact he released this just a day before the editorial suggests that he received a courtesy call from the Tri Town Times and therefore attempted to throw water on the fire.

    Too late.

    One might also look into the “conference and travel expenses” line item for more detail and “office rental”. What’s up with that??

    More detail on overtime, “buyouts”, and a ridiculous chunk under the heading “2015-2016 Salary Budget Increase” should receive close attention.

    Clearly, micro-management is needed, until this mess is brought under control.

    • Thanks as always for commenting. Office rental …. the SAU pays Timberlane rent for the SAU office building. The SAU budget is separate from the Timberlane budget this current year. In the 2015-16 year it is back to being one untouchable line on the School districts’ budgets. Forgive my haste. I’m pressed for time right now. Cheer and best.

  2. Cathy

    The SCHOOL BOARD has control over how much is allotted the Superintendent for merit increases; 2%, 4% …6%. The amount of the merit pool is not at the discretion of a district employee; allocation is. The School Board minimally should have requested the salary information to determine if the ~6% merit pool would be a burden on the tax payer. I would like to add a 6% increase is unheard of during these difficult economic times. Town employees have received and continue to receive a 2% increase. I hope town employees realize they can kiss that increase good-bye as it will be needed to pay for the increase in the 2015-2016 school budget if the BudCom doesn’t step up and represent their constituents. Lord knows the School Board doesn’t plan on representing their constituents.

    • “…the School Board doesn’t plan on representing their constituents”

      Actually, observed from afar, I think they *do* represent their constituents. And therein sits the problem: for resident taxpayers are not among the interests of these coat-holders, but rather those whose contracts and jobs depend upon the public revenue stream our hard work provides.

      I only feel like a constituent in late October. Lasts about two weeks and – poof – I’m forgotten ’til next time.

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