In a surprising turn of events, the Timberlane Budget Committee did not pass a budget in their Thursday night session. The meeting adjourned at 11:20 p.m.. For the first few hours of the meeting, it was standing room only with many men sitting while many women stood. Yes, I am old fashioned.
My takeaway from the long evening is that no matter what the budget committee decides, Superintendent Metzler is set on closing Sandown Central. He claims the school board has already voted to do this. I guess we didn’t attend the same meeting when that vote was supposedly taken by the school board.
What became apparent to me tonight:
- Superintendent Metzler was challenged to answer direct questions with direct answers.
“What did you consider before you came to the need to cut Sandown Central?” [paraphrased.]
“We looked at everything.” [ from memory.]
- “What’s your plan to deal with the 135 students?”
“I’ve got names on classrooms.” [direct quote]
Really? How about sharing a vague plan with the school board or Sandown parents? What about costs to retrofit the special needs classes that need to be relocated from Sandown North? Let’s get some details…. any at all.
This approach to closing Sandown Central seems to be modeled on Obamacare: you’ve got to pass it before you can find out what’s in it. Oh wait, Superintendent Metzler says the school board has already passed closing Sandown Central! If he genuinely believes that, then you should ask where on the agenda such a momentous topic appeared.
The vote was taken under discussion of the budget on Dec. 4…. and it was to support the proposed second draft of the budget – not explicitly to close the school. For the superintendent to say that vote gives him authorization to close a school is a stretch bigger than a fat’s man’s briefs and is galactically insensitive to our community. Anyone serious about wanting to close a community school should not be doing it over a budget fight.
If you have four hours, you would be well rewarded to watch this budget committee meeting because you will get a very real sense of the people who are running our district. I will post clips of this meeting when the Vimeo recording of it is available.
A shout out to Mr. Cantone for his observations at the meeting. You can see the dawn of understanding rise on his intelligent face. As he noted, the budget process at our district is simply a negotiation. Yes, that’s what it is. There are no budget analytics whatsoever. My sympathies go out to Mr. Cantone and Mr. Horns who thought otherwise.
The budget committee meets one last time – on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.