Collins Threatens Green

Here is an email an abridged email chain from this morning. (These are the only emails sent to a quorum.)
Donna Green
8:39 AM (1 hour ago)

to nancypetunia, Rob, Kelly, Peter, Kate, Rick, TownofSandown, sue,

Dear Ms. Steenson:

Please provide me and the board as a whole with the legal opinion supporting Superintendent’s Metzler’s claim that Fifth Grade students can be educated outside of Sandown in consideration of the Timberlane Articles of Agreement.

The School Board has sole authority over the closing of facilities. If the budget committee is contemplating a budget predicated on the closing of Sandown Central, this will necessitate a vote by the school board to explicitly close Sandown Central.

I am available at any time to examine this legal letter in the SAU office and I expect to be provided it within this week.

Thank you,
Donna Green

Peter Bealo
9:33 AM (43 minutes ago)

to jack.sapia, me, nancypetunia, Rob, Kelly, Kate, Rick, sue
Madam Chair,

Would you please request that other members do not attempt to conduct Board business via email. Since not noticed and involving a quorum of members, I believe such attempts violate open meeting laws.

Best Regards,
Peter Bealo

Rob Collins
9:46 AM (29 minutes ago)

to Earl, Peter, nancypetunia, me
I think this is reportable and I think we should pursue this immediately.

Donna has had plenty of warnings.
Gentle Readers, I have been complaining about the perverse interpretation of 91-A with respect to email communication to a quorum for a long time.

Here are the relevant RSAs:
91-A:2-a Communications Outside Meetings. –
I. Unless exempted from the definition of “meeting” under RSA 91-A:2, I, public bodies shall deliberate on matters over which they have supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power only in meetings held pursuant to and in compliance with the provisions of RSA 91-A:2, II or III.
II. Communications outside a meeting, including, but not limited to, sequential communications among members of a public body, shall not be used to circumvent the spirit and purpose of this chapter as expressed in RSA 91-A:1.
Source. 2008, 303:4, eff. July 1, 2008.
91-A:2 Meetings Open to Public. –
I. For the purpose of this chapter, a “meeting” means the convening of a quorum of the membership of a public body, as defined in RSA 91-A:1-a, VI, or the majority of the members of such public body if the rules of that body define “quorum” as more than a majority of its members, whether in person, by means of telephone or electronic communication, or in any other manner such that all participating members are able to communicate with each other contemporaneously, subject to the provisions set forth in RSA 91-A:2, III, for the purpose of discussing or acting upon a matter or matters over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power. A chance, social, or other encounter not convened for the purpose of discussing or acting upon such matters shall not constitute a meeting if no decisions are made regarding such matters….

DG: Email is not in fact contemporaneous communication.


Filed under Budget 2015-2016, Right to Know issues, Sandown Issues, School Board Behavior, School Board Functioning, The Mushroom Farm

24 responses to “Collins Threatens Green

  1. Let it Go

    Reportable to who, Batman and Robin. It appears to be a request for information with reasons. It includes information should be provided to all board members. Just as Batman and Robin are not real, neither is there a violation for the information requested and how this information was requested.

  2. Rob Collins

    I’m simply asking Mrs. Green to follow the law as the rest of us do. Nothing more nothing less. She refuses to do so and continues to break open meeting laws. She claims to call for full transparency but then acts completely contrary.

    We’ve asked her to stop many times. At what point do you say enough is enough and make a stand holding her accountable for breaking the law?

  3. Cathy

    Since the SB would need to motion to vote on closing a school one would think ALL SB members would be provided the legal “opinion”.
    Compulsary (or formal) schooling in NH starts at age 6, 1st grade. The Aricles of Agreement follows the law as required. I find it hard to believe that 1 opinion can change the agreement.

    Per the agreement: [** emphisis mine]

    3.The Timberlane Regional School District shall be responsible for the public education of grades **1 through 12**.
    Pupils in the pre-existing districts shall be assigned by the Regional School Board to attend the **elementary schools** in the pre-existing districts in which they reside for no less than the **first five years of formal schooling**. Resident parents or guardians may voluntarily request that their grade 4 and/or **grade 5** student(s) be assigned to another in-district public **elementary school** on an annual basis as long as seats are available and that no additional costs (transportation, etc.) be incurred by the School District. The Regional School Board may assign pupils to a school other than one in the pre-existing district in which they reside for the purpose of special education not available in the pre-existing district. **Grades 6 through 12** may be maintained in **central schools** within the Cooperative District.

    The agreement clearly states if you want your 4th or (more importantly) 5th grader be assigned to another school in the district a parent can make the request to send their child another in-district public **elementary school**. How is it not clear that elementary school includes grades 1-5? I do not see how anyone misinterpret or re-interpret this language.

    My suggestion is to amend the articles of agreement per RSA 195:18 and section 15 of the articles of agreement. Or present plan to provide schooling for 5th graders in Sandown while closing Sandown Central. There is interest within the district to have this conversation.

    • Rob Collins

      The Articles do not say that 5th grade cannot be in a central school.

      They do provide a method for parents to move their grade 5 children out of their home town school if desired.

      I don’t see how this limits us if we move 5th grade to the MS.

  4. Cathy

    They can move their 5th grade child to another in-district ELEMENTARY school. And it states 6-12 grades “may be” maintained in central schools within the district.
    The flexibility in this agreement is: we dont have to maintain 6-12 grade in central schools … but we “may”.
    1-5 shall be provided in the town of residense; the 1st 5 yrs of formal (or required) schooling. The only flexibility to that is a “parent” may request their 4th or 5th graders to attend another in-district (again) **elementary** school – not a central school within the district. The the middle school and HS are central schools.
    This is not rocket science. I realize closing the school may be a form of retribution to the town of Sandown OR it could be a legit concept. My perspective: if it were legit the SB would be hornoring agreement and following due process in order to generate a plan to close Sandown Central rather than injecting spin.
    Did the SB forget there are children involved? Moving to a new school is always a stressful event for children. Most are allowed the time to prepare for that move since it is very well defined when that will occur.
    Are you planning on sending ALL 5th graders to the mddle school or just Sandown?
    Will the middle school now be an elementary school as well as a middle or Jr HS?
    If this just impacts Sandown students; will Sandown 5th graders be considered middle school students and 5th graders from the other towns be elementary school students?
    How can the SB aree this is a viable option without providing these answers nor rrequest public input?
    The FB post tells people to call their reps for more information however when Mrs Green asked for more information at the last SB meeting the Board shut her down (as usual). So should the residents od Sandown just Call Mr Ward? Does he have these answers?
    I guess I will find out.

    • Rob Collins

      Cathy, you have a very interesting take on the Articles of Agreement. I disagree with just about everything you wrote. You need to have patience.

      If someone calls you and you don’t have the answers ask the Chair to find out for you. That’s what we do on the SB.

      For the record, Donna was not shut down flat the SB meting.

      • 'Cathy

        I see you’re only big on “asking” questions and giving others bits of your wisdom. And spin …

        I consider my interpretation pretty accurate considering I parroted the agreement language. But you are welcome to your opinion.

        Care to answer any of the questions in my previous comment? Or will we pretend this is a SB meeting …

      • Rob Collins

        Far from parroting. There’s a LOT of interpretation.

        On what basis are you making the leap that formal means required?

        You’re asking a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet.

        Spin by the Board? I’m not seeing it.

        Regarding retribution and punitive comments that have been made, that’s ridiculous. All anyone has to do is look at the numbers objectively to see how obvious this decision is. Impact thousands of students or impact a much smaller group for the same $. It made sense years ago when we wrote it into the CIP and it makes even more sense now. Enrollment has decreased considerably, remember?

        This is a very legitimate proposal.

      • And the voters already rejected it once.

      • Cathy

        Please provide “examples” of my interpretation. throwing out accusations or opinions with content to back them up is nonproductive and inefficient.

        There is no interpretation of the following: Resident parents or guardians may voluntarily request that their grade 4 and/or** grade 5** student(s) be assigned to another in-district public **elementary** school on an annual basis as long as seats are available and that no additional costs (transportation, etc.) be incurred by the School District.

        Riddle me this: how does this agreement not intend grades 1-5 to be ELEMENTARY schooling.
        More improtantly: How can a parent request to send their 5th garder to another in-district ELEMENTARY school if elementary school do not include 5th grade? By contract thet are required to have that opton.

        Rearding my questions: I didn’t think the SB thought this through …. apparently the TRSD FB post telling to contact out reps for information is inaccurate then – good PR.

        Certainly you are allowed to agrue the “definition” of formal however note thsis a legally binding contract and the words pertain to the legal meaning and the intent of the agreement at the time is was approved:

        Some definitions of **formal**:
        1- Being or relating to essential form or constitution.
        2 – Following or being in accord with accepted or prescribed forms, conventions, or regulations.
        3 – done in due or lawful form (a formal contract)

        Using a thesaurus – formal: (note the solid bullets are the primary and circle bullet are sub-bullets to the primary)
        • Official
        o Authorized
        o Certified
        o Endorsed
        o approved
        • prescribed
        o set
        o agreed
        o approved
        • RECOGNIZED
        o standard
        o acknowledged
        o established

        I have never said the concept should not be explored; but it is far from being a legitamate proposal sinve a proposal does not even exist by your own admission (You’re asking a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet.). I suppose you will agrue the definition of “proposal” howver.
        It is clear I am not going to be provided any comments of substance to allow for an intelegent dialogue during this debate to I will respectfully and gracefully withdraw 🙂

      • Rob Collins


        Just curious, when was the last Timberlane budget committee meeting you attended? I haven’t seen you there lately….

      • Like…. the last one. Dec. 3

    • Rob Collins


      I believe the last one was just before Thanksgiving, 11/25. I was there and Cathy was not.

      • I just watched the Dec. 3rd meeting on broadcast. Cathy Gorman was at that meeting. This is not yet up on Viumeo. Oh…. just re-read your comment. You are asking about the TRSD budcom. Cathy missed the previous meeting, the one where there was a quorum of the school board present, due to illness.

      • Rob Collins

        I believe she hasn’t been at a budget committee meeting since October…

      • From the sidelines

        Hey robbie, take a look at the Vimeo from the 25-Nov budcom meeting. Ms. Gorman was ill but made an attempt to attend via conference call. There was a motion but the “team” defeated the motion.

  5. Rob Collins

    The voters never rejected the closing of Sandown Central.

    • Bustergas

      Rest assure I will vote for closing just out of spite for all the trouble,wasted time and taxpayer money that gets wasted dealing with the greens.

      • Chris True

        I respect your openness and honesty in giving your opinion. I do point out however, that your openness would mean oh so much more if you had the honesty and openness to make posting under your full name.

        Thank you, my friend!

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