Sandown BOS Kills Withdrawal Plan

In a well-attended meeting, the Sandown Board of Selectmen last night voted against forwarding a minority opinion withdrawal plan to the state Board of Education by a one-vote margin.

  • Voting against submission were: Jon Goldman, Tom Tombarello, and Terry Treanor,
  • Voting to advance the submission were: Ciny Buco and Jim Devine.

The vote followed a 45 minute presentation by Cindy Buco, Arthur Green and Michael Costanzo.

The slide presentation will be posted on this blog on the weekend.

Every residence in Sandown received a giant postcard in the mail yesterday saying, “Don’t let Donna Green throw Sandown taxpayers under the bus!”  “Let’s face it – this isn’t just about taxes and quality schools – this is about our home values.”

Interesting that those opposed to allowing Sandown citizens to have a say in an educational choice now claim their primary interest is in taxes and property values.

You will see what happens to both in the coming years. The proposed* budget for SAU 55 is up 30% over two years and there isn’t a single thing you can do about it.

  • By “proposed” I mean draft, but I’ve never seen the SAU budget change after it has been drafted.
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56 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

56 responses to “Sandown BOS Kills Withdrawal Plan

  1. I stayed for an hour. It was obvious it was a stacked deck against it. Tombarello, Treanor, Goldman must go, vote them out of office Treanor & Tombarello are up re-election 2016. Mark Sherwood needs a civics lesson. 50 people is not a quorum, only a socialist flash mob.

  2. CAW’s postcard shows a selectmans meeting 10/19 is there one?

  3. Erich Beyrent

    Are you saying that Lee Dube and Cathy Gorman are ineffective on the budget committee and are unable to steer this another direction? Are you saying that come deliberative session, a grass-roots group of citizens can’t push for something different? One person speaking alone can’t do it.

    Look at what happened in Sandown last night, look at what happened in Derry. Citizens have a voice and CAN affect change.

    • In fact, the SAU budget cannot be changed by either the budget committee or the voters. Learn about the SAU buget and you will see this is correct.

    • What changed in Derry is people are stupid enough to pay higher taxes with no fiscal control. What happened in Sandown was nothing but a flash mob of liberal knee jerks who want the rest of the town to pay for their “little darling’s” education, let the cost be damned. How about break for the taxpayers? Welcome to DIVIDED SANDOWN.

  4. It was a strange meeting last night with more than a little bit of Deja vu. It felt like I was back at the TRSD Deliberative session this spring. The room was packed with employees of the TRSD, their friends and non-voters who supported them.
    Even though the BOS Chairman politely , professionally and repeatedly asked the people in the room not to yell out , clap and scream the vast majoprity of the people there were not concerned with following such requests. Over and over again they disrupted the meeting.

    The minority report was very well presented. Their figures showed that Sandown would be able to run its own schools more effeciently and at a lower cost to the Sandown taxpayers.

    Obviously, the selectmen had already formed their opinions before this meeting, and were not in any mood to look into the possibility of lowering the tax burden on Sandown residents.

    I am sure that the selectmen have excellent reasons for not wishing to look at the the chance to lower the tax burden for Sandown , but I did not hear their reasons expressed last night.

    • Lori Perreault

      I am a voter, tax payer and parent of a TRMS student. I am not a ‘friend’ of anyone on the school board or the faculty of any school.
      I was at the meeting with my 11 year old daughter last night. I didn’t find anything about Jim Devine’s behavior professional or courteous, in fact I had to explain to my daughter that she would NOT be arrested for clapping when she agreed with Mark Sherwood’s statements.
      I also don’t believe the numbers were accurate representations of what the town would be ‘saving’ on taxes. It wasn’t bad enough that we paid thousands on a ‘study’ that wasn’t supposed to cost anything? What’s a few hundred a year ‘savings’ on taxes when thousands are wasted on such things that the voters were lied to about?
      I want to applaud Tom Tombarello for his input last night and attempting to keep the meeting on track as it should have been. I am sure that the selectmen that voted against the withdrawal would have given you their reasoning had Jim Devine allowed anyone, other than the minority committee speak. Instead he chose to threaten to have people arrested for speaking ‘out of turn’ which we all know means- having a differing opinion then his own.
      I can tell you who will and will not have my votes next March.

    • MJ

      I am going to respectfully disagree, Mr True, that the chair started the meeting in a respectful or professional way! He did NOT point out (as the rules listed on official Sandown website detail) that those who were asked to be quiet but were unable to comply would be asked to leave and/or escorted out, instead he threatened them with arrest!!…I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the board and especially the chair to follow their own posted meeting rules!

      I will agree , at times, there were discourteous interruptions from both sides (not just one) but it’s a passionate issue, and that tends to happen in most public gatherings, especially when money and/or politics are involved. I don’t find a threat of arrest “respectful” in the least.

      The report , as presented, had too many unanswered variables when it came to costs (capital costs of all those building improvements needed for instance, transportation, lunch service, special ed, just to name a few) for anyone to determine that taxes would decrease….by their own charts taxes would initially increase and then ~~possibly~~ decrease based on some assumptions that can not be assured at this time.

      While I have read that this is an overview and not the full presentation, it is what we have to work with for the time being…I would not want to risk my child’s education nor my property value on the chance that they ~~may~~ be right, without more information, some additional cost figures and some serious vetting of the calculations.

      I absolutely agree that the information should be made public and available and that the majority of voters in the town should ultimately make the decision, based on study information from all POV. I don’t think this particular WA/RSA directs that happen however, so probably a moot point.

    • Lori Perreault

      We are all obviously very passionate about our views on this issue.
      I can appreciate the residents that don’t have school age children wanting their taxes to go down. Don’t be fooled by the numbers given on the presentation last night. As stated in previous posts not once were the renovation costs included in any of the slides. Your tax rates at first will be much higher.

  5. Cathy

    [edited]
    For 3 BOS to disinfranchise 600+ people is disturbing. But then to have a small minority cheer the vote and say that is the democratic way is scary.

    Had the BOS taken the time to review the data/results and make an informed decision, that would have been an acceptable vote.
    To have a selectman support his motion to kill a report with “neighbors are fighting and friendships are ending” ?? , I don’t even know where to go with that one.

    Cathy

    • Michelle Chagnon Lavoie

      We voted for a study and we got a study. Two
      Studies really from the minority and the majority groups. Neither of these “studies” (that were supposed to cost nothing yet cost the district thousands- which we didn’t vote for) have given feasible or suitable options. I heard both side and still feel that my children’s education far outweighs the supposition that a total transformation of two schools would possible positively affect my taxes in a few yes. Study has been completed. The 699 got their info.

      • That is very nice to hear! Sandown’s elementary schools are very good. A Sandown School District could very well be the same because it is people and culture that make a school.

  6. Paul

    I am against withdrawal SOLELY for financial reasons. The value of your home in Sandown would plummet 30-40% if aligned to the Raymond or Salem SD. I cannot make that up with a few hundred bucks per year in tax bill savings.

    • That is groundless speculation in my opinion. We had an opportunity to create an exemplary school system for our students and enhance our property values. Pinkerton is a sought-after school.

      • Paul

        Pinkerton is a sought after school by many. I only mentioned Salem and Raymond above.

      • Michelle Chagnon Lavoie

        So is Timberlane. I moved back to Sandown after my family fell on hard times. My two sons has already changed schools twice and after only one month at Timberlane, they begged us to stay here because they loved the school. Their one request when we looked to purchase our home was to stay in this district. It was heartwarming to me that my boys loved the school that I had graduated from 20 yrs prior. They love the teachers, the opportunities that Timberlane offered and , most of all, they felt like they belonged and were supported. The taxes here were certainly higher than where we had moved from, but it was worth it for us. It is a small price to pay for Quality education in noI only school subjects but also commraderie and community.

    • And now we’ll never know. Let’s just keep plugging along the way its been. Timberlane’s motto should be “Sit down, Shut-up, and Shell-out CItizen.”

  7. Sheila Lowes

    Wow!!
    Were we at the same meeting?
    Seems to me the Chair , threatened
    People with being arrested!
    And there were also people there for
    The withdrawal, yelling, and speaking
    Out also. Oh and let’s not forget
    The woman who rudely told a woman
    With a child in her hands to “shut-up”!
    On her way out the door.
    So ya know glass houses and all that!

    • I was attending a school board meeting and can’t confirm this report.

    • Michelle Chagnon Lavoie

      My 15 yr old son was taunted and rudely disrespected by a grown man- a town business owner- for holding a Sign supporting the school that he loves. The gentleman sitting in front of me also screamed out several times during Mr Tomberellos comments and then to hear a woman scream to Shut Up . I just thank god that Timberlane (and myself) have taught my son to be respectful. He was disgusted by the childlike behavior as was I- especially after Chairman Devine told us all not to act like a bunch of teenagers. The kids were the mot respectful ones there… What does that tell you?!?!

    • Cbeyrent

      Yes because I was sitting right there and was told to shut up. Thank you Sheila Lowes. Great way to behave in front of children.

  8. Erich Beyrent

    I have a somewhat different perspective Chris.

    – I heard the elected chairman of the BOS threaten an entire room with arrest if there were outbursts. I also heard him tell the audience they “can leave, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
    – I heard the chairman attempt to prevent public comment, and get overruled by his fellow selectmen
    – I heard a BOS member question why, when they were told this study was going to cost nothing, they’ve spent tens of thousands of our taxpayer dollars to go down this path
    – I heard a BOS member warn Arthur to stop grandstanding and politicking or he’d walk out
    – I watched a presentation that was an executive-level summary, as promised, and presented very little aside from promises of lower taxes without providing any numbers
    – I heard about startup costs for new schools without enumerating what those costs actually are. Newsflash, they’re likely to be in the millions.
    – I heard the suggestion that the town budget committee would also control the school budget outside of the town school board, an idea that’s problematic at best.
    – I heard a plan that involves transforming a wing of Sandown North Elementary into a middle school, which will entail millions of dollars of upgrades and retrofits, athletic fields, teachers, staff, supplies, music and art.
    – I heard nothing about SPED costs and how that would be handled.
    – I heard nothing about transportation costs.

    This wasn’t a plan, it was an idea. A plan contains specifics, and without specifics, you can’t call it a plan, nor can you call it feasible and suitable.

  9. Erich Beyrent

    Also, file this under whatever category you want, but I saw a grown man, a local business owner, actually make rude noises and faces at Sandown students who were holding signs. I saw and heard another grown man sitting the front row, shouting at the top of his lungs at other Sandown residents, and I saw a grown woman telling people to shut up as she walked out.

  10. Mary Munsell

    Chris True – “Their figures showed that Sandown would be able to run its own schools more effeciently and at a lower cost to the Sandown taxpayers.”

    What lower cost? There were only estimated education costs, without taking into account any ramp out renovations, the cost of the buyout, the SPED suite, transportation, sports fields, parking, staffing, headmaster salaries, etc. All I saw was a pretty graph, that showed education costs per year going down….but no real data to back it up. Of course ALL Taxpayers want to pay less, but nothing proved to me that we would actually be paying less by withdrawing.

    What efficiency? I’d like to know how a band and orchestra would play concerts on the cafeteria stage at North. How 7th and 8th graders would handle being cooped up in one hallway for the school year? How 9 year old 4th graders would be transported to the school – with 14 year old kids? What qualified educators would be interested in teaching at the school. I don’t find this efficient or suitable for any children.

    • All the costs you say weren’t included actually were – except for the buyout which we dispute. The presentation did not have time to go into the financial details but they are there and will be released.

      • Mary Munsell

        I would have loved to have seen it! Maybe if shared with everyone your proposal could have been given more thought. So why not share and show it? You yourself scream for transparency! I question this!

  11. Cindy

    I remember a grown man (Erich Beyrent) that came to one Minority Committee Meeting screaming at the Minority Committee Members and lashing out throughout the meeting. Completely unacceptable behavior from a mature, grown adult.
    File that under the “Glass House” category.

    • Erich Beyrent

      Screaming, huh? You have quite a dramatic flair. I certainly raised my voice, and regret that.

      • Cathy

        With all due respect, you were loud, aggressive and interrupting people when they were speaking. You needed to be told to be respectful and to follow the rules of public comment.

  12. MJ

    I do agree with Cathy’s post above, those present at the meeting were not any where near a majority of the town (nor registered voter total) I also think those who did vote in the majority deserve to have their voices heard as well. I would have much preferred a town wide vote, based on all the information gathered by both committees….but unfortunately, the way the gathering of info was handled, the contentious atmosphere and banter back and forth among the gatherers and the minimal amount of information sharing both with each other and the public made a large and vocal portion of the public uneasy about what the immediate future held for their children…..fight or flight kicked in…that’s what parents do!

    What was finally presented, didn’t give a clear or concise picture of anything feasible or suitable….Quite possible that could be created down the road, with more time and money….but folks with kids in the system now don’t have time to wait for those “building blocks” and don’t want their kids to make do with less while the construction, literal and figurative, takes place.

    • Cathy

      What was presented wasn’t final. It takes quite a bit of time to collect appropriate data and analyze it. Last night was an overview of potential options. It has been stated numerous times more data would be forthcoming.
      People realize it would take time to create a district yet it seems people also think the study to create that district should be pulled together over night ? Everyone knows, by now I would hope, the law provides 180 days. Six months may seem like a long time but it is not when doing this type of analysis.
      It is quite frustrating to have first hand knowledge regarding how much time and effort the volunteers have put into the study; and it is “still” not completed, and then have certain people demand information like it can be pulled out of thin air.
      Had the minority committee had the luxury of taking data; data provided to us by a 3rd party, and then discounting all that data in one evening, then yes, the study would be complete. The crowd would be cheering the great work and effort of the committee and patting backs/shaking hands.
      The (disbanded) minority committee was clear – beginning of September it was stated (by me) data would be available to share by the end of October; it was presented early, it’s not complete.

      • “Had the minority committee had the luxury of taking data; data provided to us by a 3rd party, and then discounting all that data in one evening, then yes, the study would be complete.” Very true, Cathy.

      • Erich Beyrent

        And yet, this group is claiming the plan IS feasible and suitable. You’re so desperate to push this through, you’ve suspended rational thought and you’re presenting pretty graphs backed by assumptions and data you don’t have. It’s kind of like pushing through a school consolidation without having the plan worked out.

        I’m sure you’re going to continue this work and try again in March.

      • Cathy

        The presentation never stated it was feasible and suitable.
        The presentation stated it would be feasible **IF** the assumptions of the buyout were accurate and it would be suitable **IF** the “town” voted in March to withdraw.

  13. Paul daigle

    Vote out the Two Hags (Buco & Green), and get rid of the bitter old chumps and grab control of your future , the younger ones should not have to “Settle for Less” because a few old cranks didn’t plan out there retirement well.

    • Well, aren’t you a pleasant and respectful person!

      • Paul daigle

        Have you seen your own blog? respect you lost that along time ago with your snide comments that infer wrongdoing without any substance about anyone whom you disagree with , like the comments bout Metzler, his wife Union district employees, Rob Collins Mr. Beyrent the list goes on and on.

      • Quote some specifics. My criticisms are always directed at the board generally or the administration with some rare exceptions for particularly outrageous behavior. Specifics. Specifics. Broad stroke criticisms are just intellectually lazy and dishonest smears.

  14. MJ

    I certainly understand it’s a huge undertaking and thought I acknowledged in my comments that the presentation was an overview and not complete…I apologize if I didn’t convey that well…When I said “finally” presented, I didn’t mean to imply it was complete, more that when the public “finally” got to see something, even if preliminary, what was presented wasn’t enough to “add up” to an appearance of feasible and suitable.

    I don’t know who makes these decisions, or why it was decided to make the presentation early…I think that was a disservice to those who did put in tons of work and research and also to the community.

    I don’t think waiting a week or two would have harmed anyone, nor the outcome, and more questions would have been answered.

    No one expected an overnight answer, though I recognize that comment may simply be frustration, they did expect some workable numbers when the plan was presented….Not to be told it will all make sense later, come back with questions later, etc….None of that was made clear until just before the presentation.

  15. Sheila Lowes

    With the exception of Donna and Cathy, because their children were not educated here. Who exactly paid for the others children’s education, Mr Devine, Mrs Buco etc children… The tax payers! So that now, while YOU no longer have children in the district, it’s now ok to complain, I’m pretty sure the older folks of the town, then complained also! This is NH ! The majority of property taxs go to education! That is Fact! I am also confused as to why people move to Sandown or to NH ( with no children) from other states or countries, and not realize again that NH funds education thru taxes.

    • Cathy

      Some people are concernly about taxes Sheila. My position is: for the amount we pay for education, are we making the best investment? Are we getting the best bang for our buck?
      The goal is not to lower taxes. The goal is to confirm if there are other/better options available to invest.
      What did initiate this was in fact the ever increasing district taxes as enrollment decreases, an average education and a SB that does not listen to their constituents and has no control (or wants no control) over their superintendent.

  16. Lorna

    My mistake, I thought I was asking Cathy. Since you answered though, I thought I either read or heard you disparaging the value of standardized tests. Did I confuse you with someone else?

  17. Sheila Lowes

    The is more to education, than testing.
    Sorry, but I have one child that is awful in testing, however graduated as NHS. And just got accepted to an accelerated Master Program My other child is ok at testing however, is as a Junior on 3 honor societies. If that is how you are basing the education as adequate, you are simply wrong. I personally don’t care about standardized testing.. Really never did.. The only test, I as a parent care about are the ACT/SATS. And only because of merit scholarships for college. Not every child can test , plain and simple

  18. Sheila Lowes

    Cathy,
    We have children from this district going to Ivy League schools, and some really other wonderful colleges, I firmly believe that with ANY district, these kids are going to get back what they put into it. And if they are not? Well that’s for the parents to decide. My biggest problem with this whole thing is that like you, families did their research on where they wanted to live. Again the district was part of my decision 20+ years ago. I am not going to let anyone take that decision away from me. However I do agree the the state of NH has been pushing the cost of education on the property owners to the breaking point, and that is where the focus should be….

    • Cathy

      This isn’t a state issue; it’s a bloated budget issue.
      And as you don’t want your voice taken away regarding staying in TRSD nor do others want their voice taken away as it was by the BOS last Monday.
      I’m sure those that think there is a better option will make sure that option isn’t taken away from them either.

  19. Mary Munsell

    Question directly to Donna Green….is the education tax donor program still valid? And if so, are we a donor or a receiver town? I apologize for not knowing much about this system, but someone asked me this question and I did not have the answer. TIA.

    • I will get back to you on this. Being a donor town is an old structure. To answer this requires a lot of explanation about how the state funds education to the towns. I’ll post on this issue in a few weeks. Thanks for asking.

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