Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dr. Metzler Tweets Deliberative Session

Here’s a Tweet by Superintendent Metzler during the annual school Deliberative Session.

Thank you to Dr. Farah for her always insightful remarks.  Too bad not everyone was paying full attention.

Supt. Metzler ‏@SuptSAU55

Dr. Farrah addressing the School Board at the Timberlane Deliberative Session regarding #timberlane

image1

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sandown Issues

Mr. Collins Clips Policy to Live Blog?

Here is a posting from Support Timberlane Facebook page on the day of school Deliberative Session.

FYI to everyone. I will be updating this page live at the meeting tonight.

Please attend if you are able, even if it is only for the budget warrant article, to protect it from those who might try to propose a massive cut. The budget is the first warrant article to be reviewed.

I will post if it appears this will happen so if you’re not in attendance PLEASE make an effort to get to the HS gym ASAP. Most residents of Timberlane are within 15 minutes. That should be plenty of time to get here to cast your vote.

Thank you!

Rob



Then someone, conveniently unidentified,  live blogged during the session.
Here is Policy BEAB
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER USE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DEVICES DURING SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS
School board members will refrain from using electronic communication devices during board meetings to communicate with members of the public regarding official school board business, agenda items, or other board matters that are properly discussed publicly during board meetings.
Some of us follow the rules.  Some of us don’t.

2 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

Getting the Government You Deserve

Timberlane’s annual Deliberative Session was held in the gym last night.  The empty seats far outnumbered the occupied seats and once again it was a sea of blue t-shirts.  And once again a motion to lower the budget failed.

Dr. Kim Farar, selectman from Danville, offered a very modest cut of just $333,958 to round the budget to $69 million.  Asked what a cut to the budget would mean, Superintendent Metzler instantly responded that it would mean cutting 6 teachers. No doubt if anyone would have ventured a deeper cut, the children would be bringing their own toilet paper to school and using outhouses.

A very perceptive Carsten Springer* from Danville questioned why Dr. Metzler would immediately go for the teaching staff when the administration is so top heavy in our district. There was no answer because of course there is no answer except, “What, you don’t like threats?”

Dr. Farar’s motion failed resoundingly. So here are the SAU’s predicted increases to the school tax rate (combined local and state) for the proposed budget alone without the incremental increases of the additional warrant articles.  Remember that town and county taxes must be added to this to give you your total tax rate come December.

2015               2016

Sandown:         $21.14                $23.62    (11.7% increase)

Danville            $23.58             $25.15      (6.6% increase)

Atkinson          $14.93              $16.08      (7.7% increase)

Plaistow           $17.11               $18.00       (5.2% increase)

Budgeted cost per student in 16/17 will be $19,600 – for every single student from Pre-K to 12th grade.

Not only do you have an SAU that answers genuine questions with reflexive threats, you have an ever increasing tax burden for no substantive increase in value anywhere.  This is going to continue until the entire public school system collapses under its own greed and mismanagement because parents are cowed by threats, voters stay home through indifference or hopelessness, and employees control the administration and the votes at Deliberative.

$50,000 War Chest

Kelly Ward motioned to add $50,000 to the budget, nominally for the cost of accounting research for a final buyout number for Sandown’s withdrawal. This was seconded by Sandown’s Lee Dube and ultimately fell to defeat by the body. I’m ashamed of my fellow townsmen for playing along with the district on this point. There is no circumstance in which Sandown would agree to a substantive buyout fee, so spending money to calculate it is absolutely, unequivocally unnecessary and everyone knows it.

But let’s look at what they are pretending to say. A few months ago the school board approved $30,000 (no bid, of course)to hire an accounting consultant.  Now it is $50,000 at $100 an hour (also no bid, of course).  This represents 500 hours of work.  That is 14 weeks!  Are the files in dry storage somewhere in Alaska reachable only by snow shoe?  We could have the whole district audited three times over for this amount of money and that would be a far better investment. What were your Sandown representatives thinking in putting this forward last night? It is one thing to be against withdrawal.  It is a much different matter to try to punish taxpayers in order to make a statement.

But that isn’t what they were really doing.  They were really trying to get $50,000 for the district to use as a war chest to fight Sandown in court over withdrawal. You heard it here first, folks.  That is exactly what is going on and when I tried to point this out at Deliberative the moderator cut me off. Using your money against you is a fine art honed at SAU55.  It started with phony criminal complaints and no trespass orders and it quickly morphs into court battles.  “This district has proved it cannot be trusted with a legal line,” said Arthur Green last night. It couldn’t be truer.

The Moderator Who Doesn’t Know His Job

Then there’s the issue with the moderator who won re-election by acclamation last year. Here is a man who does not understand that Deliberative Session is a meeting of the people – not the administration.  He takes pride in recognizing me last he when I have my hand up first, or not recognizing me at all.  He cuts me off with relish and turns the mic off on Arthur Green. He limits discussion on items controversial to the administration so strictly that it becomes comical to see people trying to make their points over his overbearing tactics.  He allows clapping and cheering as though at a pep rally.  Last year he had a police officer stand by my side should I attempt to speak over my 3 minutes. He is everything a moderator should not be because he wears his biases on his sleeve and imposes it on the body.

Voters and taxpayers of Timberane:  you have now gotten the government you deserve. The symptom is taxes. The disease is much more profound. Sandown at least has an option.  The rest are absolutely trapped.

P.S. The default budget is higher than the proposed budget so don’t think there is relief in voting down the budget. Suck it up, shell it out and be sure to stay positive because critical voices are destructive to the district.

*CORRECTION.  The original post named Curt Springer as the speaker.  It was, in fact, Carsten Springer.  Apologies to both gentlemen.

7 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

Legal Fees Gone Wild

At last school board meeting I demanded to see all the legal invoices for 2015.  I also asked the board to clarify under what circumstances the superintendent can undertake litigation and agree to legal settlements.  So far, I have heard nothing but flies buzzing around a straw hat.

Yet, somehow, Jon Goldman, Sandown’s selectman most vocal in opposing withdrawal from Timberlane managed within 24 hours to get a full listing of all legal fees “attributable” to Donna Green and withdrawal.

This list attributes more than $31,000 in legal fees to “Green” and nearly $10,000 to withdrawal. This tidy listing was posted to Citizens Against Withdrawal and then found its way onto Speakout Sandown.

You can see the listing here: Legal Fees

Here is what I replied on Speakout Sandown under the legal fee posting:    Wow! I had no idea I was responsible for the Sandown schools consolidation! Gee, Dr. Metzler is asking a lawyer to monitor my blog? Awesome! Who knew lawyers did online reputation management? I thought you had to hire a private company for that service. And asking a lawyer for every Right to Know request that comes through the door whether it is mine or not? Brilliant! So much easier than just giving out the public information in the first place. This is your tax money at work here, Sandown. Isn’t it nice to know that your superintendent is so conscientious in not only running to a lawyer at every turn but also in keeping track of all the expenses under one person’s name regardless of the factual connection? If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was an attempt to smear me, but I know it is just the good doctor doing his job all the while respecting your money and your vote.


Sandown taxpayers, we cannot leave this district fast enough.  Your tax dollars are being wasted, and when not wasted they are being used against you.  My opponents would like to trivialize this as a personality conflict. This is an issue of fiscal responsibility, transparency and prudent management that respects the sacrifices you make to pay your taxes in the belief that your money is going to educate children.

To learn more about leaving the Timberlane district:  CASE2018.wordpress.com

UPDATE Feb. 5, 2016:  Rob Collins said on social media that the RTK billings are for my suit in the Supreme Court right now.  I think the fractional RTK billings are for independent RTK requests, but that is my supposition.  The rationale, I suppose, would be that I am behind every RTK request. Or maybe they are phone calls about the RTK suit. From the list, one can’t know, though I do know from past examinations of legal invoices that at least some RTK requests are vetted with a lawyer.

5 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

More Exploits from the Mushroom Farm

Social media has been abuzz since Cindy Buco announced at Sandown’s Town Deliberative Session on Jan. 30 that the consultant supposedly hired by the school district’s withdrawal study committee  was never actually hired and never actually did any work – despite Rob Collins’ assertions in the past that this consultant had verified the preliminary buyout number.  Something isn’t making sense.

To clear things up I sent the school board chairman, Mrs. Steenson, an email yesterday:

Dear Mrs. Steenson:

Please add to the next School Board meeting agenda the following:
   Discussion and action on communication to the school board concerning the engagement and pay of the consultant associated with the TRSB’s Sandown Withdrawal Study Committee.
I await confirmation that this will in fact be placed on the forthcoming agenda.
Thank you,

Donna Green


Here is the reply I received today:

Mrs. Green

If you have a question about the  consultant, feel free to contact Rob. He’d be glad to answer any questions you may have. There is no need to put this on the agenda. Furthermore, we won’t have a meeting for two and a half more weeks. I’d like you to get any questions you may have answered a lot sooner than that.

Nancy


My reply:

I’m overwhelmed by your kind solicitude. Do you ever get tired of putting your head in the sand and covering for Rob?


Mrs. Steenson’s reply:

Mrs. Green,

I am trying to get your questions answered in a timely manner. I am sure Mr. Collins would be happy to clear up any confusion for you.

Nancy


My reply:

It should be evident that mine are not questions that need to be cleared up but rather to discuss an issue of Mr. Collins’ conduct.


Mrs. Steenson’s reply:

No, Mrs. Green, it was not evident. I suggested you contact Mr. Collins because you appeared to have a question about the consultant for the committee which Mr. Collins chaired. If you have specific concerns about the conduct of another board member, I’d be happy to set up a meeting between the vice chair, you and me to discuss your concerns. But I would suggest that an open dialogue with Mr. Collins would be a very productive first step for you in understanding his actions.

Nancy


My reply:

 This is an issue for the entire board and the public as a whole as it goes to the credibility of the district’s withdrawal study committee and apparent deception to the school board as a whole.  This needs to be dealt with in public at a board meeting.  You had no hesitation whatsoever in discussing issues with my behavior in public without so much as a notification to me in advance.  I see no reason why something much more seriously such as what appears to be outright dishonesty to the board should not be placed on the agenda for public discussion.

The agenda for our next meeting on Feb 18 was posted two and a half hours later with no inclusion of my requested agenda item.  Talk to the hand while it feeds the mushrooms.

1 Comment

Filed under Pinocchio Academy, School Board Functioning, School Board Issues, The Mushroom Farm