At the very end of the April 2 school board meeting, Chairman Steenson said that she would be arranging training for the school board. As for me, thanks but no thanks. It’s the SAU who needs training to understand their role in serving elected officials.
Nevertheless, here’s a warning for the one new school board member, Mr. Sapia from Atkinson: get ready.
The 2014 training was introduced as the usual training for all new school board members. Then two high powered lawyers showed up to tell us things that in some cases served the interests of the district and not necessarily the interests of elected officials who have a job to do. For instance, one of the lawyers said that school board members should not be signing letters to the editor identifying themselves as school board members. I pushed back at this and said I had every right to so identify myself and so did every other elected official. He then replied that he was speaking of best practice. Best practice for whom and whose interests does this supposed best practice serve?
As I have said many times before, the interests of elected officials are not the same as the interests of the district but we are trained as though our interest always align. Those elected to serve on the school board and the budget committee are charged by citizens to question and challenge the administration and the administration is required to provide whatever information (with some privacy exceptions) is asked of them. Not when it is convenient to the SAU but when it is needed by the elected officials.
The Timberlane Budget Committee voted to get the budget in a live spreadsheet. They also requested to get a preliminary end-of-year report emailed to them in the summer. Superintendent Metzler said during the April 2 school board meeting that the budget committee would get what they get when the SAU is ready to deliver it. Reading between the lines, there was a strong indication it would not be in spreadsheet form (“numbers all over the place”) and it would not be in the summer. (Watch the short video clip below.)
This February when Mr. Collins was foaming at the mouth on Timberlane related social media trying to influence Sandown voters, he published a list of legal costs that “The Greens” had caused the district. He included that school board legal training for a whooping cost of $3,181.52. Mr. Collins posted that “This training session was specifically tailored to address ongoing issues created by Mrs. Green.”
Be good, Mr. Sapia, or this year’s legal training will be blamed on you. Budget Committee members – you are next. (Keep up the good work.)