Examine the Independence of Your School Board Reps.

My worthy opponent, Erich Beyrent, has said many times his wife is a teacher.  What he has not said, is that his wife  is a teacher at Sandown Central.

At the Meet the Candidates night graciously and efficiently organized by the PTA, the observation was made by Sandown resident Bob Nickerson that the school board has 9 members but just two opinions – the board’s and mine.  That fact naturally leads one to wonder why that is.  I have a hypothesis that I’d like you to consider after you review the list below:

  • Mr. Feneberg, former acting superintendent of TRSD, Mrs. Feneberg is a teacher in Timberlane.
  • Dr. Metzler:  Mrs. Elizabeth Metzler,  Consultant for Spanish in kindergarten
  • George Stokinger,  Business Administrator: Mrs. Stokinger works in the office at Pollard School
  •  Rob Collins, TRSB:  Mrs. Collins is a  Timberlane school nurse
  • Sue Sherman, TRSB:  Daughter is a senior nurse at Timberlane
  • Jason Grosky, Chairman of Timberlane’s Budget Committee:  Mrs. Grosky is Timberlane’s new  Public Relations consultant
  • Jason Cipriano, SAU board member:  Mrs. Cipriano was hired last year as a teacher at Timberlane High School

These are just the relationships I know about and  there may be others still unknown to me.  Most other elected officials at the district have children in the system and as we all know, there is no parent who is confident that their child will not at some point require special accommodation from the administration.

I suspect that Dr. Metzler has encouraged individuals in his favor to run for public office and I strongly suspect he has encouraged others not to run so as not to dilute the vote.  Donald Blaszka, a neighbor and acquaintance of Dr. Metzler, put his name on the ballot to run for school board in Hampstead which could have placed Mr. Blaszka on the SAU board had he won. (Attorney Blaszka is on the ballot but has announced that he cannot serve on the board for professional reasons not specified. ) And just by sheer coincidence, Don Blaszka’s brother was hired as a Timberlane art teacher in 2014.

Now there is nothing wrong with a few school board members having relations employed by the school district or SAU so long as the school board member’s tenure postdates that employee hiring.  And there is nothing illegal with encouraging friends to run for elected office, but voters should be wary to not fill the board with these kinds of associations because it does not tend toward objectivity in voting and does compromise the willingness of elected officials to make decisions unfavorable to the administration’s wishes. Seeding oversight bodies with friends and neighbors, and filling Timberlane positions with personal associates of elected officials or the Superintendent undermines the objectivity of the oversight body.

I leave it to you to ponder whether my lone “outlier vote” is because I am nearly alone in having no personal or financial ties to the district.  I can call it as I see it and not worry about consequences – except being made to obtain public information through Right to Know requests, being barred from schools  and having to battle groundless police reports.

[Thank you to a commentator who corrected previously posted information on Mr. Fenegberg.  He did not have a Ph.D. and he was only ACTING superintendent and assistant superintendent.]

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26 Comments

Filed under Right to Know issues, Sandown Issues, School Board Functioning

26 responses to “Examine the Independence of Your School Board Reps.

  1. Good research. No surprise. If you got a hold of the voter registers for the deliberative session, I suspect you will find similar relationships. It’s not for the children; it’s for the money.

  2. Peter Bealo

    What a bizarre interpretation of conflict of interest. I, by the way, like you have no kids of K-12 age any longer and have never worked for the district. But my son DID take home a paycheck as a student worker in the PAC, getting paid by outside organizations to work for them while using the PAC. He has not done so in almost a year.

    But by your definition, we both would be conflicted because we have relationships with the district: we’re taxpayers, and our taxes pay for the district. Pretty ludicrous isn’t it? Just because someone has a spouse working in-district does not mean they are conflicted, it does however mean that in certain votes they can be conflicted and will have to step off the board. People know that, it happens all the time on boards of all sorts all across this country. And saying people are conflicted because they have kids in-district is just plain crazy: they do not have a financial interest, as conflict statutes require.

    Now, if you wish to rewrite the conflict of interest laws in NH or the USA, I suggest you speak with your legislators. Otherwise, please don’t try and inflict your bizarre ideas on the rest of us.

    I know you are in a heated election who’s conclusion is unknown to either of us, but your posting reeks of fear and desperation. It does not look good on you.

  3. Cut the BS

    What doesn’t look good Mr. Bealo, is your close ties with Dr. Metzler, Steenson, Collins and other on the school board. Do you have bias? Yes, you do.

  4. Cathy

    Good luck Donna.

    We definitely do not need the SB moving from 2 opinions to 1. You need to be re-elected to assure that doesn’t happen.
    Hopefully other towns will also vote for people that will bring an end to this 8-1 the SAU gets whatever they want mentality. The SB, as it stands right now, is a facade. The Residents deserve real oversight and management of the SAU.

    Cathy

  5. Peter Bealo

    Donna, bringing up irrelevant and old issues doesn’t remove the spotlight on your “unusual” views. Your wish to deflect the conversation must even be obvious to both your non-relative supporters. The views that YOU brought up yourself, not that anyone accused you here of having. If you didn’t spew such garbage I wouldn’t be forced to point out that the Empress has no clothes.

    And Mr. BS, an appropriate name if I ever heard one, “Close ties”?? You mean I know how to work with people to accomplish goals?!?! You mean my method of working with people is not to antagonize them and attempt to wear them out through self-described “Chinese water torture”?!?! Thanks, I appreciate the positive recognition for how I conduct myself like an adult and a professional. I am glad it is recognized, but I am too modest to bring it up myself.

  6. Lynn

    Mr. Bealo,

    You motioned to increase $250K to Timberlane’s budget at Deliberative, for an item that should be a separate Warrant article if needed, with a reason to test the room to see what kind of support Mrs. Green had in the room. You did outside of budget committee and school board weighing in making thoughtful. discussion and a planned decision
    It was a childish reason on your part.

    Somehow fail to see as , ” how I conduct myself like an adult and a professional.”

    Lynn

  7. Sandown Voter

    It is disappointing that Mr. Beyrent did not disclose this important piece of information.

    Due to conflict of interest wouldn’t this mean that Mr. Beyrent would have to recuse himself on any discussion and vote regarding Sandown Central?

    • I don’t think his wife’s job is on the line. No teachers were let go in the consolidation; therefore, he would not have to recuse himself – but there is an argument to be made to your way of thinking.

  8. Richard Marx Tribute

    Ms. Green,

    I know how important being factual is to you so allow me to point out some mistakes in your post and to also ask some pointed questions.

    1. There have been many split votes, beside 8-1, that you are ignoring. Why is that?
    2. While you seem to be in the habit of bestowing doctoral degrees to others (Kim Farah) you should know that Mr. Feneberg is not Dr. Feneberg, although we are talking about the same person…. It should also interest you to know that he was never the Superintendent, he was the acting Superintendent for a short time.
    3. Do you have any evidence of special accommodations for the children of Board members or is this another desperate accusation thrown against a bare wall with the inevitable fate to lie on the floor with the rest of them…
    4. Haven’t you been beating the drum for years that your property tax IS a financial tie to the district?
    5. Your right to know requests and being “barred from schools” are not because of how you vote, they’re guidelines all community members must follow. Our schools aren’t open for anyone to take a stroll through and as a Board member I would think you’d need to be invited and/or allowed by the Board to enter a school for official purposes…
    6. Battle groundless police reports? It appears your paranoia is shining through like the brilliant sunshine on a beautiful September morn….. I like Neil Diamond as well as Richard Marx! I thought that police report was because you verbally assaulted SAU staff. Perhaps you could produce the affidavits you received when you made your RTK request of the Plaistow PD?

    Let me know your thoughts on these as we wait with baited breath to hear your answers! Election is only days away after all!

    RMT

  9. Richard Marx Tribute

    Dearest S Lynn T,

    How would you qualify a cut of millions at deliberative from a sitting school board member and her husband, a sitting budget committee member? Something the budget committee did weigh in on, and rejected…

    How would you qualify this behavior?

    All the best!

    RMT

  10. Cathy

    Hello Donna,

    Do you mind telling me what school Sue Sherman’s daughter is at? Is it one of the elementary schools?

    TY

  11. cb

    I’m really saddened that there have been so many comments from Donna M. Green about people living and working in the same district towns. That is Fantastic that we have teachers making community connections! I coach youth sports with the same kids I see everyday! From my perspective, that is what community is all about. Building strong bonds and relationships with families makes for happy, healthier, and better performing students. I’m not sure I see a problem here.

  12. As I long suspected, most of the people on the school board have a financial interest in maintaining the status quo at the taxpayers expense. People screaming the loudest about Donna Green and wanting to change the way things are done have most to lose or DARE NOT rock the boat. Transparency hurts only those who have the most to hide or dollars to lose.

  13. A Mom

    I must say that I too am an outsider….one who didn’t grow up in the Timberlane District. After living in this awesome Community just a few years, I must admit your are missing something Mrs. Green. Take a moment and look around you. People stay and work in this community not because of who their husband/wife/mother/father are BUT because they LOVE this community! My children attend the Pollard and there is not a group of people that I would trust more with my children. We are a VILLAGE and if you would take 2 seconds to observe just who we are instead of the monies we have or spend you my friend would see that. If you cannot then perhaps working towards the betterment of this community is not for you.

    “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.” – Ben Franklin

    • How philosophical. Explain to me how that lowers my tax rate? Explain to me how the cost of the school district goes up, but enrollment is down? Explain to me how an elected representative can’t get straight answers at a school board meeting but can only get them with the superintendent in private? Finally, explain to me why Earl Metzler demands respect that people address him as doctor, but shows no respect to the elected School Board representative of Sandown, Donna Green?

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