Threats and retaliation

$64M spent in 2014, 
Why do they need  $67.7M  in 2016?

$65M is the right number

 Go to Deliberative to vote for common sense spending!

The Facebook page which shall remain unnamed and the rumor mill say that a lower bottom line budget will result in athletic fees, charging for bus transportation and the elimination of the music program. Here’s a posting from Jan. 3, 2015:

They tried to cut the budget last year, this year and they’ll try again at the Deliberative Session in February.

They believe the firing of 39 staff will cut over $3M from the budget but the cuts will end up being much deeper than they say.

Teachers, programs, athletics, arts and AP courses are on the chopping block.

Tell them, “we are not a number!”  [typo corrected]


Here’s the truth.   Arthur Green’s proposed budget of $65 million does not cut a single line in the budget except for staff (and the elimination of the Public Relations consultant ).

  •  The budget for special education is exactly as the administration asked it to be.
  • The budget for AP, including a requested $50,000 increase, is exactly as the administration asked it to be.
  • The budget for student transportation, including the full requested increase, is exactly as the administration requested.
  • All programs, all facilities improvements, all EVERYTHING, is exactly as the administration requested, except for cutting $18,000 for  a Public Relations specialist which a public school system doesn’t need and shouldn’t have.

The $3 million savings Mr. Green will be asking voters at Deliberative to support is coming out of salaries and benefits – and no other place in the budget.

“Yes,” you might say, “but cutting staff hurts programs!”   Not when you have way more staff than you need to deliver your programs.  How can we say this?  Well, look at all the other districts of our size in the entire state who also run K-12 schools.  They are doing it with a lot less staff than Timberlane and in  a number of  ways, doing it better.
Arthur Green has shown convincingly that Timberlane is  greatly overstaffed compared to other districts of a similar size in the state. See his presentation here: Town Hall A Green Presentation Dec 7 rev Dec7   He is calling for just 39 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions to be cut of the 76 FTE positions he believes are excessive.
Hardly any of  these will come out of classrooms.  How do we know?  The class sizes of the comparable districts are virtually the same as our class sizes while having a lot less overall staff.  See:Class size comparisons with comparables.  And no positions have been or would be cut from Special Education in what we are calling the Responsible budget.
If the voters support a lower budget, and radical user fees are subsequently  imposed, you will know that retribution  and politics- not necessity – drove the “cuts.”  Just like during the Ontario teachers’ dispute with the Ontario government when kids were told to bring toilet paper  and boxes of tissues to school.  Just like when the federal government shut down parks, even parks that were not funded federally, during the budget stalemate.  We are not a number, nor are we stupid.
Companies are required to cut their budgets all the time.  They do not choose to hurt their customers rather than downsize staff.  If you believe those who are charged with caring for our children would do that, are we funding our district out of fear? Those who are trying to intimidate parents by threatening users fees, let those people show that  comparable districts like Salem, Hudson and Bedford  charge fees for these services.
There is no legitimate reason for these threats.  All of Mr. Green’s staff cuts were explained perfectly clearly during the Dec. 23rd budget committee meeting.  There is no reason for misunderstanding.  What we are seeing  isn’t misunderstanding at all.  It is propaganda by insiders determined to protect jobs whatever the impact on families. Education isn’t on the table. Services and programs aren’t on the table.  Only jobs are.
Today’s Union Leader had an excellent editorial about the steep decline in enrollment versus the ever increasing school budgets and asked some pointed questions about the way we are failing to respond to a pronounced demographic change at a painful cost to taxpayers.  Our particular situation is exacerbated by the fact that we have not been reducing staffing to reflect the declining enrollment.  It is a must read: Fewer Students? Fewer Schools?

33 Comments

Filed under 2015 Warrant ARticles, Budget 2015-2016, Expenditures, Sandown Issues, Taxes

33 responses to “Threats and retaliation

  1. “What we are seeing isn’t misunderstanding at all. It is propaganda by insiders determined to protect jobs whatever the impact on families. Education isn’t on the table. Services and programs aren’t on the table. Only jobs are.”

    Spot on.

    What we are seeing is a pattern repeated in every school district and by every political establishment going back to the beginning of time. What seems unique in your present case, is the depth of corruption, incompetence, and malfeasance. Hopefully, thanks to your efforts and bolstered by support from your resident taxpayers and voters, the present will be overcome so the past will not be repeated.

    Merely adjusting a budget will not solve the issues. So, don’t consider a win on numbers a win of the battle. It’s only a skirmish. A wholesale housecleaning, administratively and politically, should be the order of the day. Then, and only then, may the voters and taxpayers tip the balance back in their – and their children’s – favour.

    • Len Mullen

      I just think we do this backwards. The school tells the taxpayers how much money they need and the taxpayers write checks. The taxpayers should be telling the school how much there is to spend and the school works within that budget to provide a good education.

  2. Cathy

    Here is another comment posted on one of “those” FB pages that made me chuckle:

    Rob Collins
    January 11 at 6:59am.

    If you’re looking for information about Timberlane make sure it is validated and sourced, so you can do your own validation. You can find reliable information at the following pages. https://www.facebook.com/XXXXXXXXtimberlane and https://www.facebook.com/TimberlaneXXXXXXX

    “X” out as to not advertise the FB pages on this blog 😉

    I didn’t realize either site was “validated” and/or “sourced” since no-one will say who is behind either page. They also ban **anyone** that has alternated “sourced” information.

    • Thanks, Cathy. Validated and sourced but the administration is not behind it! Oh no! So who is validating the information then? Would they be so kind as to validate mine? No! We have to do Right to Know requests to get our information. And pay for it too.

  3. Bustmore Gas

    Donna Green have you ever once spent a minute in the special education rooms and seen what these people do or deal with?……Have you ever seen some of the children they work with?….even once?…..now be honest to your readers?…..because there is one thing that would stand out to you right away if you have.

    YES -OR-NO?………

    • Cathy

      Bustmore Gas: You seem to be , yet again, off topic. What does SpEd have to do with this specific blog?

      • Bustmore Gas

        Not off topic, I asked Donna a question, the point will be made when Ms. Green answers the question.

      • Cathy

        Then, Mr Gas, I am unclear why your question is germain to this blog since there are NO cuts proposed to SpEd. For the sake of agrument Mrs. Green’s rsponse can only be either Yes or No … Make your point for for “no” since that is what you believe.

    • Dear Mr. Gas,

      I fail to see how your question is relevant. No one is proposing cutting Special Ed in any way whatsoever. Why do you feel it is necessary to exploit the needs of special education children to inflame public sentiment?

      For some reason you seem to have overlooked the gigantic fact that I am barred from setting foot in a school classroom during working hours.
      Also for some reason you seem to forget I had three children of my own who were educated in public schools – not in Timberlane – but I have been in schools and I do know what children are like.
      All NH schools work under the same special education mandates.

      • Bustmore Gas

        Donna did I mention anything about cutting Special Ed or did you just assume that?…..I asked you a simple question using a simple example.

  4. Concerned Parent

    Would you please elaborate on the issue of fees and what you propose? Does this mean that if your children take the bus, you’ll get a bill each month? Does this mean if you play in the band, you’ll get a separate bill?

    • The Responsible budget does not call for or involve any fees other than ones that exist right now. There is a rumor mill threatening fees if voters cut the budget at Deliberative session on Feb 5th. That is not grounded in fact. Please read my posting again.

  5. Concerned Parent

    I was referring specifically to where you wrote:

    “Those who are trying to intimidate parents by threatening users fees, let those people show that comparable districts like Salem, Hudson and Bedford charge fees for these services.”

    That made me think you were advocating charging fees because comparable districts were too.

    Did I misunderstand?

    • Oh, thank you. I didn’t understand what you might have been referring to. My point was not that user fees are coming but that the leading comparable districts don’t charge user fees even though they run on less money per student. We are NOT advocating user fees and nothing in the responsible budget calls for that.

  6. Rock

    To Concerned Parent: While the Greens say they are not proposing any fees, the superintendent says their $3.5 million cut will force him to institute fees for buses and sports. Those are the consequences of such a massive cut.
    Also the Greens keep hiding behind the word that they are cutting “staff’ yet they won’t be specific about which staff. Make no mistake, these cuts will affect teachers – classroom teachers, arts and music teachers, special education teachers. They want to make the cuts ,but by refusing to say who should be cut, they think they absolve themselves of the responsibilities of their actions.
    Mr. Green is on record as wanting to cut AP classes for our students, while Mrs. Green slams our students because the fantastic improvements made by our kids wasn’t good enough for her. Let’s see what happens to those scores if these cuts go through.
    It’s quite obvious the Greens have no concern for our students. They have created so much dissention and become such a distraction on their retrospective boards that the focus has been taken away from what is truly important – our students and their futures.

    • The usual nonsense. See my first posting.

      Your favourite maladministrator determines how the money is spent, and to a remarkable degree it seems (which is another of the many issues). He determines who is laid off; whether to hire replacements for retiring staff; how to administer the budget. Donna Green does not make these decisions.

      What she has been saying, if anyone cares to read, is that a competent administrator can do a lot with $65 million, just as the other districts of comparable size.

      Threatening to cut teachers is an old, and wholly transparent ploy.

      Try something new.

    • Bustmore Gas

      Rock so very well said and spot on, one thing is for sure ALL of Plaistow will be out in force to vote, and they will not forget how she has conducted herself and made a mockery of our school.
      SUPPORT TIMBERLANE!

  7. Do you seriously expect people to believe that such significant budget cuts will not affect our students? Oh it’s just 39 staff members, just jobs so it doesn’t matter. Well, we can’t cut the basics so the teachers cut will be the ones teaching the “other” courses AP, Art, Music, Theater etc. so that means possibly losing these programs. Giving our kids a bare-bones education is Not Acceptable. Also, there is no way such huge cuts will not result in fees for programs and services which are considered “extra.” So once again students from struggling families will lose out, this is the only opportunity for many kids to play sports, participate in music, plays etc. These things help students obtain scholarships and opens doors for them. Is a child’s future really worth saving a few hundred dollars a year on our taxes? Not in my eyes!

    • We are back to the basic question: How much is enough to deliver a fine education? The district’s answer is “Unlimited!” That quite genuinely is their answer. They cannot give a number per pupil that they would be happy with. Instead they threaten draconian cuts when a whiff of budget common sense is suggested in the air. User fees! The sky is falling! Children will not be able to get into college! The fact is that there are more than enough resources to fund an outstanding education for our children. I’ve looked at the numbers. I only ask that you do the same apart from the administration’s electioneering and scaremongering.

      • Rob Collins

        A 1% increase over a default budget is “unlimited?”

        It’s the budget committee’s budget by the way, not the districts.

      • The SAU wrote the budget. The SAU presented their own draft against the instructions of the budget committee in the third draft. It was the budget committee’s in name only. They simply ran out of time to make it their own and that was no accident. The same tactics are used every year.

  8. Concerned Parent

    Has Mr. Green proposed exactly which 39 positions should be cut? It’s hard to get behind a proposal like this without knowing the details. Since Mr. Green is proposing the cuts, it falls under his responsibility to support his proposal by advising precisely which positions are extra and should be cut. It would be up to the administration to agree or disagree, but you’ll get a lot more support if you sell your case with specifics.

    • Thank you for writing. I’ve heard this question over and over. Our job as public officials is to know when too much money is being spent and to identify where. Our job is not to make personnel decisions – nor would anyone want us to – including ourselves. Mr. Green is not the superintendent of schools. Cutting staff to meet a budget is his job. We are asking voters to require him to do that job by cutting the budget.

      • Concerned Parent

        Without having specific recommendations, how can you expect the voters to not spread FUD? There are lots of ways to cut 39 positions, and Mr. Green must have had some sort of idea in order to come up with 39 positions.

        Forget that you are public officials – you’re proposing the administration cut 39 positions, and you want public support. The public won’t support something it doesn’t understand, and if you let the administration control the message, you can be sure that you won’t get any support.

        I know you and Mr. Green believe that these cuts are necessary and doable, but I feel that you need to help the public understand that by making specific recommendations. I’m not asking for “decisions” because only the administration has that authority.

      • Please see page 35 of this presentation for a staffing chart.

        Sorry I cannot copy a chart in this response area.
        The chart shows a staffing model that Arthur is advocating from his study of comparable districts of similar size in the state with stronger academics. It shows a staffing level of 612 for the administration’s projected enrollment next year. But this is not the model Arthur is advocating in his Responsible Budget for 15-16. That would be too radical a change for one year. Instead he is advocating for a staffing level of 649 for the 15-16 year….. this is much more staff than the leading districts of our size. We are currently at 688 this year, going to 684 next year.

      • Bustmore Gas

        BOY! DELETED

      • Dear Mr. and Mrs. Intestinal Distress:

        Any comments of yours that are personally insulting, juvenile or fail to advance the issue in any substantive way, will now be trashed before publishing – as this one was.

  9. Concerned Parent

    I saw that chart and had a hard time understanding exactly what positions would be cut. Does Mr. Green have an updated chart for the 649 positions he recommends we should be at? Which positions at which schools would he cut if the decision were his? Are we talking classroom teachers, paras, band directors, coaches?

    • I have already replied to this. We do not have the staff of the SAU at our disposal and we are only two ordinary individuals with busy lives. Cutting staff is the administration’s job. Controlling the budget is our job. We have provided ample information for the Responsible Budget. You must now make your own decision.

  10. Nice Education

    ARE LOCAL BOARDS OUT OF CONTROL? MORE REASON TO GET INVOLVED

    You may have heard about the incident at a Gilford School Board meeting where a parent, William Baer, was arrested for speaking out about questionable material his daughter had been required to read. He was recently cleared of all charges.

    http://www.wmur.com/news/man-says-free-speech-rights-violated-in-arrest-over-book/25834676

    Or you might be following the antics at the Timberlane Regional School Board where they tried to censure board member Donna Green for exposing them as lacking transparency.

    http://tritowntimes.net/2014/09/green-hires-legal-counsel-timberlane-school-dispute/

    And recently, at a Windham School Board meeting, police were called when a taxpayer questioned the idea that no public input would be taken on a the acceptance of a no-bid contract with a ‘green’ company that was before the board, despite the fact that board member Ken Eyring had asked for discussion.

    Windham School Board calls police on resident over ‘no bid’ contract
    http://www.examiner.com/article/windham-school-board-calls-police-on-resident-over-no-bid-contract

    Why didn’t the Windham School Board research Cenergistic?
    http://www.examiner.com/article/why-didn-t-the-windham-school-board-research-cenergistic

    And most recently, a Bedford taxpayer was told there would be no discussion on suggestions that they raise the bar for how many students must pass the “IB” program.

    This has become the disturbing trend among school and town boards.

    Some are limiting public input, others eliminating it altogether. Manchester’s school board recently explained that while it would hear the concerns of parents and taxpayers, ultimately their decisions would be based on the advice of ‘consultants’ and other ‘experts’ they’ve hired.

    This is why it is important that you get yourselves and your neighbors out to town and school meetings (and deliberative sessions) which have started in January. There is where the funding for expensive schools, libraries, police and fire stations, town hall buildings, round-abouts and Master Plan suggestions from the Regional Planners, will be decided. This is where you get to voice and vote on your concerns over school budgets and question who or what is driving the curricula.

    IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE, but this can’t happen unless you show up and vote.

    Please spread the word.

    And let us not forget “Granite State Future”, which is a statewide project among all of the RPCs coordinated by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and funded through a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Many of the regional ideas worked into this plan are ideas that did not come from the people.

    Find out more about which RPC your town might belong to, and what plans they have gotten your town to accept or if they have helped your town create a Master Plan.

    http://www.granitestatefuture.org/about/history-and-overarching-principals/

    http://www.granitestatefuture.org/get-involved/blog/developing-municipal-capital-improvements-program/

    The season is here for speaking up and preserving your rights, lowering your taxes, and keeping it local from January through June at town/school meetings near you. Once again, check your town’s website for more details.

    – Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s