Sandown Signatures being Collected at Noon on Friday

Meet the man behind Sandown’s Citizen’s Petition demanding a study by the school board on the feasibility of withdrawing from the Timberlane School District.

He will be collecting signatures for the petition from NOON to 2 pm on Friday, Jan. 9th

Sandown Town Hall Parking lot.

Petitions require the signature of 25 registered Sandown  voters but generally more are turned in in case some are disqualified.

REMEMBER TO ATTEND SCHOOL DELIBERATIVE SESSION ON Feb 5th, 7 pm TRHS in Plaistow to vote to lower the budget.

There will be a secret ballot.

 

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14 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

14 responses to “Sandown Signatures being Collected at Noon on Friday

  1. Concerned Parent

    Withdraw to where? Which school board would do the study?

    • I was raised in Seabrook. When my older sisters were in high school, Seabrook was not part of any school district and did not have a high school. My sisters got to apply to high schools in surrounding communities and the town paid their tuition. One went to Newburyport and the other, as I recall, to Sanborn. There are a number of excellent alternatives to TRSD in this area. Most are less expensive and have better outcomes.

      We could invite a Charter Program to come to town. This could be one of the tuition options.

      We are using VLACS (vlacs.org) for math and science with my youngest. We chose this option because we did not think he was learning much at TRSD. In theory, this is an online program. In reality, it is more of a structured, facilitated, assisted home schooling program. This has worked well for us. VLACS offers a full time program as well as part time.

      We could use VLACS to give a Big School feel to our Little School by supplementing a core offering with online programs. For instance, VLACS offers a lot more foreign languages and computer programs than TRSD. VLACS students can earn college credits in high school too.

      This would keep costs down too as curriculum planning would be limited to the core program — no need for a Spanish consultant for our kindergarten, for instance.

      Of course all this and more would be determined by whatever authority was charged with defining the alternatives.

      Frankly, I think the only important consideration in this discussion is that we can return control of the schools to a legitimate governing body. The School Board has surrendered its authority to the local teachers’ union via SAU 55. The result is a poorly performing school system with skyrocketing costs.

  2. Shawn

    Len,

    The School Board may have surrendered authority, but it wasn’t to the Teachers’ Union. The teachers are simply pawns in this drama. It is irritating to say the least when I read these type of general stereotype references blaming the “teachers.” In the case of TRSD, most teachers go to work and do their job, the job they were hired to do. Teachers in general are in a political quandary all of the time between administration, parents, students and elected officials.

    Did the School Board surrender to the Administration? Well that you may be able to argue.

    • Let’s not confuse the teachers with the teachers’ union. Teachers are employees and, as long as they perform, I have no problem with them collecting their checks and benefits. I do not fault the teachers’ union for doing their job either. A union makes its money serving the interests of dues payers.

      The problem is that the side of the table that is supposed to support the students, parents, and taxpayers doesn’t. The School Board is supposed to negotiate not capitulate. Same deal on the budget. The School Board’s representative is not trying to control costs because the School Board is not measuring him on it.

      It’s perfectly OK for a governing body to say we can spend this much — see what you can do with it. The governing body is not supposed to be ‘selling’ the the SAU’s wish list to taxpayers.

      As things stand, the governing body is handing superintendent and the teachers’ union whatever they want and we cannot afford that.

      • Rob Collins

        The class of 2014 increased the average combined SAT score 39 points over the class of 2013 and 57 points over the class of 2012!!!! This was just presented last night and I look forward to Donna’s blog post about this spectacular news.

        That is very impressive improvement. This is one measure of the progress we are making with Dr. Metzler driving this train.

        This is only his third year and he’s not close to being done with the improvements at TRSD. With results like this as evidence, he is doing exactly what we hired him to do, make TRSD synonymous with academic excellence.

      • This is badly needed improvement in recovering lost ground. The newly announced SAT combined score matches that of the 2009 test takers. The most encouraging news is that the math scores are showing strong improvement. The science NECAPS, announced at the previous school board meeting, were disappointing, however, with just 21% of our 11th graders being proficient or better and 4th and 8th grades showing a continuing trend of losing ground as does the state in general. My point is that the SAT scores are very encouraging but we shouldn’t be patting ourselves on the back too hard yet. Seems a push to improve SAT prep was a big help, too. Parents should know there is a free prep course available. See the home page of my blog under the banner for more details. Keep up the good work, Timberlane!

      • Shawn

        Len,

        I don’t disagree with anything you have said, up until, “As things stand, the governing body is handing superintendent and the teachers’ union whatever they want and we cannot afford that.”

        I have only lived in Sandown since 2008, so perhaps it was different before 2008 and the teachers/teachers’ union had a lot more influence. When I did move to Sandown in 2008 and started reviewing warrant requests I have not seen any unrealistic contract requests from the teachers union. In fact, a few years back I remember a voting on a warrant article without COLA increases, but simply renewing their contract. There was a cost to the contract for the “step” increases, but it seemed perfectly reasonable and the majority of voters agreed. As we all know, when it comes to pay increases for teachers they negotiate with the administration and the TRSB, but ultimately the voters decide at the ballot box. So it is unlikely they are going to ask for “everything” or anything big because it will never pass the voters scrutiny. We also cannot group the teachers’ union at TRSD with say the Boston teachers’ union which only negotiates with administration and school boards. In this case the voters just get passed the bill unlike in TRSD where their contracts are voted on individually by the voters.

        Like all of us in private industry the teachers have absorbed more and more healthcare costs and made concessions. This doesn’t sound like they are getting what they want. The Administration on the other hand, can get nice pay increases (and have their insurance costs payed still at 100%) by a basic vote of the TRSB. For the readers knowledge as well, it is not a requirement to join the teachers’ union. I don’t know what the percentage of membership is in TRSD, but I do know in some other districts around NH it is often less then 50%.

        This is why I don’t believe that you can put the superintendent and the teachers’ union in the same sentence/category. In your opening sentence in the post you state, “Let’s not confuse the teachers with the teachers’ union.” You cannot separate them. The teachers make up the teachers’ union. However, I would suggest a modest revision to your statement to say, “Let’s not confuse the teachers (or teachers’ union) with the administration.”

        FWIW – I am not a teacher nor a member of any other union. In fact, being a senior level manager I make decisions on a daily basis that affects the lives of employees. If I had operate within the confines of collective bargaining agreements it would make my job more difficult. However, I do support teachers themselves because most of the time they are undervalued and stereotyped into being the problem. When in fact the problem has nothing to do with the teachers but other actors.

      • I believe the SAU staff pay 10% of their health insurance premiums. They do not have 100% paid.

        Thanks for your thoughtful comments and very much appreciate this dialogue with Len.

  3. Jen C

    Thank you Donna, for placing the FREE SAT/ACT PREP on your blog in Nov. 2014!!!

    And thank you to Colby Library for providing this FREE SAT/ACT PREP information as well!!

    It took Timberlane a little more convincing, well a lot more, but Timberlane now has many posted options for SAT Prep
    http://wp.timberlane.net/hs/guidance/act-sat-psat-examination-dates/

    And TRHS guidance now has SAT Question of the Day Link
    http://wp.timberlane.net/hs/guidance/
    Thank you TRHS Guidance Dept.!

    Perhaps TRSD Facebook can get on board by posting these links, Rob!!!
    And Posting the TRHS Student Advisory Handbook on Facebook. According to the Curriculum Committee Meeting Minutes show you were suppose to do back in Oct..

    FREE SAT/ACT PREP
    For a limited time, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association is making nearly free SAT and ACT preparatory programs available to students. You pay for the cost of materials and shipping which results in a 91% savings over the normal $250 cost of the SAT prep course.

    To place an order online: http://www.eknowledge.com/NHIAA : Link to Eknowledge Offering
    To order by telephone: 951-256-4076
    Point of Contact: Lori Caputo
    Director, Sponsorship Alliance Programs
    LoriCaputo@eKnowledge.com, 951-256-4076

    Timberlane is a member of NH IAA. This program is made possible by the generous donations of professional athletes across the country.

    • Rob Collins

      Donna, I would think this warrants a separate blog post, no?

      You posted Cathy Gormans ridiculous and painfully obvious numbers stating that if you remove expenses from a school the cost per pupil decreases….but not this?

      • I don’t know what you are referring to. Shouldn’t you just mind your own social media site with your PR person and leave the administration of mine to me?

  4. Bustmore Gas

    Once again BOGUS info from Donna Green about health ins. for SAU staff 10%?…..they can only wish ………..get some facts and try reposting the real numbers not some bogus numbers thrown out of thin air to support your whacko conspiracy thoughts.

    • Well then, please enlighten us. The SAU contract is on the SAU site. Check for yourself and I will happily stand corrected if my memory failed me. I don’t have time to check myself right now.

  5. Shawn, you have to look at the whole contract. Teachers get COLA, step increases, and lump sums. In 2010 (as I recall), we approved a contract that gave long service teachers a lump sum then gave double steps to low service teachers the following year. This inflated the salaries of retiring teachers and double stepped their replacements. The cost of the ‘unanticipated’ double steps and retirement costs were not part of the approved warrant. You could argue that our negotiators were bamboozled, but I’d say the School Board bamboozled the taxpayers.

    The towns have counsel and the SAU has counsel. The taxpayers and school board do not. Bring control of the schools under the control of selectmen will at least give taxpayers some representation in the negotiation of the towns’ largest expense.

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