A Note to My Critics

Two people have written to me requesting my resignation.  They feel I no longer represent the people of Sandown because I strongly believe that Sandown should know its educational options. I support Cindy Buco and her band of extraordinarily dedicated volunteers.  Some see this as a betrayal of Sandown and would like me to resign my elected position to make way for someone else.

I have no intention of resigning.

  1. My election was a hotly contested one and I won a healthy majority of the votes. My opponents thought I would bring ruin to the district by endorsing Arthur Green’s call for a four million dollar budget cut.  Then the district announced a four million dollar surplus – after needlessly displacing Sandown’s children
  2. It is extremely likely that anyone who would replace me now would have a spouse as a teacher or some other personal connection to the district that would not give Sandown an independent voice. I am nothing if not completely independent, which is why you are learning things about your district many would rather not know. No one likes the messenger who brings bad news.

As for my support for the withdrawal analysis, which most upsets my critics now, this is an outgrowth of my participation in the district’s budget committee and school board. A number of the people supporting or involved in exploring Sandown’s educational options have had elected positions with the district.  Why does this close service seem to transform those of us who have neither children nor spouses in the district into seeming radicals? Could it be because we see things parents don’t, and school board members with personal interests won’t?

Sandown is suffering within a district that is not sensitive to the town’s ability to pay ever escalating school costs while providing a mediocre education for our children. I do not believe our money is spent with the care it deserves (many contracts don’t go out to bid, for instance), nor do I think Sandown can ever have enough influence in the district to correct the many things that should be fixed.

Philosophically, I would like to see Sandown control its own educational destiny with a chance to build a truly great school district that will serve our children well and increase our property values. Is it currently feasible and suitable?  Well, that I just don’t know yet and this is exactly why a “minority report” with a withdrawal plan –IF withdrawal is judged practical by Ms. Buco — is something that should be written and put before the voters.

There will be a high price for ignorance

Those who want to squelch a minority report/withdrawal plan are wishing to subject all of Sandown to ignorance. Those who wish to run me from office are also electing ignorance over reality. Sooner or later the runaway budgets, the poor fiscal controls, the lack of transparency, the nepotism and questionable hiring practices I complain about are not going to build a better education for your children; they are going to undermine any chance of it.

Cindy Buco is a fine person who has taken a lot of abuse at the hands of some majority members. The district has been less than forthcoming with information requested by her and Sandown volunteers assisting her: some data promised by the end of August still has not been provided, for instance. Every scrap of information the minority committee assembled was hard won; whereas, everything the majority committee has was given to them promptly by the administration; nevertheless, Ms. Buco has not withheld any material information from the district’s committee. I, for one, am grateful she stayed on both committees and continues to represent the interests of all of Sandown on the district’s committee.

For the record, Arthur Green has done a lot of analysis of the financials on his own as a volunteer to the committee, and not as a member of the committee.  This is his own work.  It was not presented and deliberated by the former minority committee and neither is it subject to the district’s committee.

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10 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

10 responses to “A Note to My Critics

  1. Ken in NH

    I support your fight. As a parent who moved to Danville a few years ago, I learned quickly the lack of quality in the education provided by Timberlane. We had moved from Arizona where we had more choice and our children were constantly complaining about being taught something they had learned in previous years. Well, we quickly found a couple of charter schools in the area and got all four of our children on the waiting lists. Thankfully, two schools had enough openings for us and we were able to choose the best school for our children. As we are approaching high school age, we are certain that our children will NOT be attending Timberlane.

    I have only recently discovered your blog and it only shows the cause for the end result we experienced.

    • Thank you for this comment. No one likes to hear their schools criticized but unless there is a willingness hear criticism there can be no desire for better. I always told my children I was their harshest critic because I wanted them to be their best.

  2. Jim Buckley

    Donna – Ignore those critics. They think you do not represent the people of Sandown. Well guess what, I don’t think they represent the majority of Sandown residents.
    I support you and your efforts. I also support the withdrawal analysis conducted by the “minority” committee. I was very disappointed with the Sandown BOS decision to disband the committee.
    Thanks for your efforts.

    • Thank you, Jim. Hope you will come out to the BOS meeting this Monday night as they will be once again discussing the topic with the possibility of another unfavorable vote.

  3. Cathy

    Donna,

    I agree with Jim Buckley; ignore the critics.
    I also do not believe the critics represent the majority of Sandown. Regardless of a person’s position on any topic impacting the Town or District, the majority want, demand, to be well informed prior to making their decision.

    Keep up the good work/fight! You continue to provide the Residents “food for thought”.

    Cathy

  4. mark Acciard

    Donna, as one who chaired the Atkinson budget committee, and has long been critical of the TR Budcom’s lack of fealty to their duties under the law My question to those who are critical of your efforts, is the same question I asked of my critics at a School dleiberative session 6 years ago;

    Why do you not demand transparency from your SAU, SB, and BudCom? Why do you not demand that the Budcom PREPARE the budget as RSA 32:5 demands? Why do you allow the SB and SAU to use the police to thwart requests for public records? and finally, When the SB/SAU are refusing to produce public info, WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO HIDE?

  5. Mary Munsell

    The high price for ignorance is your future tax bill when we ‘build’ a better education.

    • Having served on the Somersworth School District and SAU 56 boards as well as worked at SAU 56 in the Finance Dept for eight years, I can attest that this is not the way things were done at SAU 56. There was complete transparency under Dr. Charles Ott and no padding of the budget like I witnessed at the SAU budget work session on October 21. The administration worked tirelessly to cut costs not increase them with total disregard to the taxpayers. Dr. Ott retired and the district was never the same and sadly Rollinsford has now pulled away as Sandown is considering doing. Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.

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