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.]