Reorganizational Meeting 2016
Thursday night, March 17, 2016 was the re-organizational meeting of the Timberlane Regional School Board. It should be watched.(Video below.) It had everything from political payback, to an open checkbook for lawyers, to self-serving self-deception, to administrator disrespectfulness, and a sly move to further suppress board member rights. (Vimeo time noted as hours:minutes:seconds)
- Political payback = Kelly Ward being elected vice chairman (10:00)
- Open checkbook for lawyers = 7-2 vote to allow the superintendent to seek legal counsel whenever and wherever he wishes without knowledge or approval of the board. (0:25:56)
- Self-serving self-deception = the board ties itself up into a comical knot to ignore acknowledging our failure to follow our own Investment Policy provisions – specifically not requiring our auditor to do a periodic review of our internal controls.(0:46:17)
- Administrator disrespectfulness = SAU Business Administrator speaking off topic to berate me for allegedly being critical of SAU employees. (0:49:48)
Danville’s new member, Stefanie Dube, (0:50:44) made it clear that asking questions and expecting answers is not “putting someone down.”
Then there was the surprise re-introduction of the odious School Board Rules limiting the rights of school board members that were unanimously defeated last year. No one owned up to requesting them on the agenda and after some back and forth they were removed from our consideration.(0:57:34)
Regular Meeting 3/17/16 You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!
After the organizational meeting and hours into the regular evening, I made motions to obtain information you would think any board would get as a matter of course. Unfortunately the TRSB has an allergy to facts. Watch all of my requests for very basic information relating to student safety, fiscal prudence and workforce deployment get shot down in the last 20 minutes of the meeting. Seeing is believing because on most boards this would be unbelievable.
(3:12:30) I asked for a bi-weekly report of incidents reported by our Safety Resource Officer at the middle school and high school. Mr. Sapia said it was “Highly inappropriate that we discuss this at this level.” Dr. Metzler said I was “compromising the safety and security of the entire school district” to even mention such a thing and threatened to leave the room if the discussion continued. This is not to be missed.
Oddly enough, the very next day, after all this posturing, a parent posted the number of police responses to the MS and HS for 2014 and 2015 as published by the Plaistow Police on their Twitter page.
- TRHS 2014: 271 2015: 325
- TRMS 2014: 93 2015: 161
Then, suddenly, the school board received a report from Mr. Woodworth on the number of fights in the last two academic years and to date. You will have to ask the superintendent for those numbers as I have had enough threats about being personally sued to release them here though I believe them to be public and believe even more that you should know them.
Later, I made a motion (with no second) to put discussion of replacing our auditor on the next agenda. Our audit is once again more than four months late and the auditor’s relationship is with the SAU not the board as it should properly be – among other concerns I was not given an opportunity to voice.
I then asked to received the number of students per class now that students have their class assignments for next year.The board was incredulous. Why, after all, would we want to know how effectively our workforce is deployed? That request went down in flames with thinly veiled derision. (3:25:56)
Finally, I asked yet again to get the information to determine if the full-time kindergarten program was running at a profit or loss since the administration refuses to tell us. (3:27:00) Mrs. Dube seconded this request as she did with a number of my motions through the evening for which I am most grateful. What must be known specifically is the number of students enrolled and the number being given free or subsidized tuition. The board and Superintendent Metzler went on and on about how this information is not public and can’t be given to the board.
Oddly enough, the next morning, the same phenomenal parent showed that the information supposedly so private and impossible to provide (# of students in free and reduced lunch program) was actually published in Mr. Collins’ authored District Report Card every year!
It’s a new board, but the games remain the same. What’s new, and what you will be seeing a lot, is political payback. Stay tuned.