The Danville Board of Selectmen has asked to be added to the school board’s agenda. The answer from the school board chairman: no. (See below for actual email response.)
Danville is one of four towns in our cooperative school district. The two most powerful people on the school board, Chairman Steenson, and former chairman, Rob Collins, both represent Danville. One might question what “representing” means in this context.
At the April 2 school board meeting, Superintendent Metzler read a request from the Danville Selectmen asking the school board to provide the grade level and addresses of students in Danville. This information was requested by an experienced consultant who has been hired by Danville to update their impact fees. (Impact fees are charged to developers to offset capital costs that are incurred due to new development.)
In order to provide this information, the board would have had to waive their policy with respect to student information. The board was reluctant to do so especially given that the Danville school board representatives could not fully explain why the Danville Board of Selectmen needed this information. Since Sandown might also want to review its impact fees, I made a motion to put this issue on a future agenda and invite the Danville selectmen to explain their request to us. Like most of my motions, it didn’t even get a second. The board rightly did not want to waive policy given the paucity of information given to it at that time, but then denied Danville an opportunity to present its case as an agenda item.
Since then, there has been a lively exchange of emails among Rob Collins, Shawn O’Neil (Danvile BOS Chair), and Nancy Steenson. Ms. Steenson invited Mr. O’Neil to present his information during the five minutes currently allotted to individuals for public comment and during which comments from the board are not encouraged.
Fans of Pride and Prejudice might be reminded of the recurring expression, “Such affability! Such condescension!”
Not being fond of Jane Austen, I view this less jocularly. A town, which is a member of the cooperative school district, is making a serious request to be added to the school board’s agenda. The school board is uninterested in hearing them and kindly throws out the welcome mat for them to speak to the hand.
Ms. Steenson controls the agenda with an iron fist in the service of the superintendent. She refused to postpone the special education discussion that I requested, despite knowing about my absence more than 48 hours in advance of the meeting. As a result, the discussion involved building straw men, then knocking them down to the edification of no one. (More on that later.)
It is no wonder one town in the district is exploring separation. With treatment like this, Danville will be next.
April 9, 2015
Dear Chairwoman Steenson,
I would like to formally request that the Danville Board of Selectmen be added to the next School Board meeting to clarify some of Board’s discussion at their previous meeting relative to our request. The information that I would like to present will help explain the rationale behind our request.
Danville Board of Selectmen
April 16, 2015
As you know, the Board discussed this issue at our last meeting, based on a request from Dr. Metzler, who, I understand, spoke with you about this request. It was clear that no one on the Board was comfortable making a motion to waive policy. I’m not clear why you withheld some vital information prior to this. If you have any additional information, you are more than welcome to submit it to me or to the superintendent, or come and present it during Delegations and Individuals.
I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you; are you aware that this email was sent to Rob Collins, with a “cc” to me, although you addressed the body of the email to me? Thus the confusion…
Thanks so much,