Desperate Threats of Pay to Play

At the public hearing for Timberlane’ proposed 2015-2016 budget on Jan 15th, Superintendent Metzler pulled out a slide show showing the Draconian consequences of a cut to the budget.  It included outrageously expensive fees for sports, music and bus transportation.  The Superintendent’s presentation was a display of scaremongering.

Our proposed Responsible Budget is just 0.75% less than projected spending for this current year.  Does anyone reasonably believe that a cut of just 0.75% WITH A SCHOOL CLOSING will cause the district to go into such a tailspin that they can’t pay for buses, or athletics or our wonderful music program when all the budget lines in our Responsible Budget are fully funded as requested by the administration?

First Desperate Claim:  $3.5 M cut on the line

No one is advocating for a $3.5 million cut to the budget.  Mr. Green’s Responsible Budget proposes a $2.8M cut and that’s what he’ll be motioning for at Deliberative.  We have been explicit on this blog and at Budget Committee that the Responsible Budget is $64,940,900.

Second Desperate Claim:  Fees will be necessary

In Mr. Green’s Responsible Budget, all the budget reduction comes from staffing cuts. There are no cuts to any of the budget lines the administration requested – except for the elimination of the PR consultant at $18,000 a year (which was not explicitly budgeted either this year or next).

Third Desperate Claim:  Unemployment insurance costs will double number of staff cuts

Superintendent Metzler’s presentation said 69 teachers would have to be cut to get to the savings of the 39 positions of our Responsible Budget.  This is breathtakingly disingenuous.

  • We are not advocating all 39 positions come from teachers.  Interesting that Dr. Metzler can’t conceive of laying off some administration or other non-teaching staff.  We are asking for only 39 positions cut from the entire staff  of 688  full-time equivalent positions, which includes everyone from cleaning staff to administration – not only teachers.
  • Staff reductions can be largely accomplished through attrition.  This past summer the school board filled 65 teaching staff vacancies in just two months.  The administration has already removed 3.4 positions in the proposed budget due to the closing of Sandown Central.
  • The closure of Sandown Central was initially claimed to remove 9 staff positions, but the administration showed no increased unemployment insurance liability in their figures to budget committee.

Here are some numbers for those who are not numbers

                The Responsible Budget:

  • $1.2 million dollars more than what was spent in the year just ended.

  • Just half a million dollars below planned spending this year (according to administration projections of a $1.9 million dollar surplus this year.)

  • Total cut of only 0.75% from this year’s projected spending!

Pay to play is a threat, scaremongering of the worst sort because it manipulates students. If it happens, then we will know something very important:  that protecting staffing is more important to the administration than all the things students value about Timberlane.

Is that the kind of administration you think we have?

Watch Arthur Green explain the Responsible Budget at the Jan 15 Public Hearing:


You can see the whole meeting here: vimeo



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Filed under Budget 2015-2016, Budget Committee, Sandown Issues, Taxes

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