FAQs on Withdrawal

This is an excerpt from FAQs on Withdrawal published on CASE2018.wordpress.com

Why Now?

At the time of the district’s founding in 1964, Sandown had very few students. Teaming up with other towns brought financial efficiency – especially given that the state was providing building incentives for cooperative school districts that single districts could not receive. Timberlane Regional High School was built in 1966.

Fifty-one years later, Sandown has 1016 students, the second largest cohort of students in the district, a close second to Plaistow which has 1127 students. Sandown is now large enough to sustain its own school district and is entitled to more control in the decisions affecting their children’s education. State building aid is no longer a factor.

Timberlane’s academic outcomes have been on a long decline, though they have seen an uptick in the last year. The Smarter Balanced assessment given in 2015 shows Timberlane’s 11th Grade students considerably under-performing the state average (and Pinkerton). Just 29% of our 11th graders are proficient or above in math, and just 50% in reading. We must do better by our children, and we can. (Pinkerton’s scores: 41% math, 70% reading.)

Timberlane has experienced very high budget increases (despite sharply declining enrollment district wide) that has resulted in nearly a $19,000 per student cost. This high per student cost is driving up our property taxes which are considerably higher than many comparable towns around us. This drives down our property values and no relief is in sight. (From 2008 to 2017, student enrollment will have declined 24%, but the TRSD budget will have gone UP 21%.)

Timberlane’s 20-year bond will be paid off in 2020. Now is the time to leave the district before new bonding makes any exit impossible.

Sandown CAN have great schools at an affordable cost.

For more FAQs and details on the withdrawal plan see




Filed under Sandown Issues

6 responses to “FAQs on Withdrawal

  1. Mark Richards

    Don’t forget to mention the elephant in the closet: a school board and its superintendent that is completely out of any public control. In fact, if this problem were solved (firings and resignations, along with a few indictments) then separation might not be such a necessity.

    Students tend to lose in larger, impersonal institutions, which is another plus for having smaller, more local schools. So, why not investigate a blend, where the current “district”, once cleaned up and brought under control, can provide certain centralized services (aggregate purchasing power and increased efficiency through resource sharing), while Sandown maintains and controls its local schools.

    It will take a few years to get there. The immediate problem could find a quicker solution if you had a state government that cared enough to step in and start cleaning.

  2. This is a great time to dissolve SAU 55. Hopefully, Danville will follow suit. With VLACs and other online resources, almost all of the advantage of a Big School is gone while the advantage of a Small School is as important as ever.

  3. Melissa

    Mark, you make valid points, but I don’t think you have all the information.

    1) You complain about the superintendent. Do you realize that even with withdrawal, Sandown would still be part of SAU 55? Therefore we would still be under his “control”.

    2) I agree with your point about a smaller, more local school. Again however, based on the withdrawal plan, our high schoolers would be attending either Pinkerton or Salem. Although I do not have exact figures, both districts are significantly larger than Timberlane.

  4. Mark Acciard

    I would like to address the comments pitting TRSD v. Pinkerton. As a parent who graduated TRSD in 1979, had a brother and sister graduate in the 80’s, and a son graduate in 2007, then moved to Derry where my two daughter graduated Pinkerton, and my son now is a Junior there, I feel uniquely qualified to detail my experience between the two.

    First let me say that I got a great education at Timberlane, as did my brother and sister. My oldest son, not so much. I was appalled by the curriculum, lack of standards, lack of discipline, and the philosophical comments of the Middle School Principal Mike Hogan, who told me that kids should be pushed through to the next grade despite getting 4 “F’s” and a D- in core subjects, as it is better for their self esteem, He told me “they will catch it up in high school”. His closing comment to me was “I would never say this outside this office, but let’s face it, how much of what they learn in the 8th grade will they ever use?” Needless to say I was appalled to hear this from a principal. I tried a variant of this excuse on my mother to get out of Calculus. it did not work then.

    Since moving to Pinkerton I have continually been impressed by their curriculum, course offerings, and the fact that despite there being 3,200 kids the head master knows most by name. The multi building campus makes transition to college easier, and they have many resources available to help struggling kids, from teachers available after school, peer tutoring, the Math center manned by AP math students to help other students, and similar set ups for Reading and Writing. The Junior and Senior essays are much like college papers and designed to teach the same they must be 10 pages plus, fully footnoted and bibliographed.

    The point is that I have yet to find something to be critical of Pinkerton over. Their communication is outstanding, and Their Aspen system is updated multiple times a day. I can see if my kid is at school but misses a class. I can see their grades, homework, tests quiz, and rolling grades.

    Also you can tuition a kid into PA for $10,800, I know many former TRSD parents who have done so.

    My experiences at TRSD under Dr. McDonald, LaSalle, and Metzler have been less than stellar.

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