Why do we fund an SAU?

Rob Collins likes to repeat on social media that he asks questions outside of meetings so he doesn’t have to “waste time” in meetings. Below you will find just today’s example of me asking questions outside of meetings. See the response Dr. Metzler sees fit to give me. Perhaps the chairman will be more responsive.

Here is mail exchange from today starting at 1:07 pm.  It wasn’t addressed to Dr. Metzler but he kindly responded anyway.


Was an RFP issued for the TRSD APP developed by Black Board?
If so, please provide this to me.
Please also provide the contract as well as all invoices and purchase orders for this APP.
I’d also like to know from what line in the budget this was or will be paid.
Thank you.

I’m sure you would like to minimize the number of Right to Know requests the district receives and your assistance would be most appreciated.

2:01 from Dr. Metzler:     See DBJ and DJE

2:31 from D. Green:

Ditto for SchoolMessenger.

Thank you.

2:32 from DR. Metzler:

See DBJ and DJE

2:44 from D. Green

The policy is irrelevant.  I want to see the financials and the discipline used to make purchase decisions. Thank you.

3:28 from DR. Metzler

Wrong again…

So, either Mr. Collins is lying about getting information outside of meetings, or the administration sees no need to answer my particular questions.  And then they complain about how many Right to Know requests they get.
Sandown, Danville, Atkinson and Plaistow: is this what you are paying a million dollars plus a year for? (That is Timberlane’s cost for running the SAU.)
Yes, communication apps are a good thing. How they interface with our current systems should be a topic for discussion with the school board because we have invested a great deal in implementation fees and annual fees in communications software already. The school board was neither notified nor consulted about these purchases.  Once again the school board is marginalized in a headlong rush to be seen to be responsive to an advisory group rather than the school board.


Filed under Sandown Issues

6 responses to “Why do we fund an SAU?

  1. Both disrespectful and unprofessional, “wrong again”. Might we implore the board to revisit the policies to put the power back with the SB where it belongs? I’m tired of watching how this man treats school board members and the public. He’s like an errant child who needs discipline and needs to learn how to respect authority.

    • “Implore the board.”

      I like that… We, the people, beg, implore, make most obsequious request to the school board to do your job.

      Not meaning to make fun of your comment, but the way you worded it seems to perfectly sum up the current situation. Thanks for commenting, as always.

  2. Sarah Machemer

    I have to disagree with your thought process concerning the involvement of the SB to determine if the new APP would be compatible and properly interface with already established communication systems. Any software development company answering an RFP for this work would have to be aware of the type of communication systems the district has in place, and from there would know if their software developers would be able to create a compatible application. Are you a software developer? Are you a subject matter expert? What would you, as a SB member, be able to bring to the table that a developer would not be able to determine upon examination of the established system? That is the job of the company accepting the project. They need to make sure that whatever software they create won’t mess up their clients’ communication system. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be in business very long.

    • I have no evidence this went out with an RFP. I’ve asked to see this document and have been forced to make a Right to Know request. Danville’s Mr. O’Neil has kindly taken up my question and done the RTK himself. We await learning if indeed there was an RFP issued. And Yes, we should be checking if our current capability is just not being fully utilized rather than buying a whole new package and so on.

  3. Sarah Machemer

    Copying/Pasting from FB, since not all of your readers go to the Friends of Education page, where we are also having this conversation:

    Ok, I was using the RFP process as a general example in a business situation… but OK. Glad you did that, hopefully it shines a light into the darkness…..
    However… you did not say that the SB should be “checking if our current capability is just not being fully utilized”… You said the SB should have been allowed to ask questions concerning how the new app would interface with the current systems — implying that the SB would some how be able to identify a compatibility issue, that the Technology Director wouldn’t have been able to.

    Ensuring there is no duplication in functionality is different than wanting to ensure the two systems will be compatible.

    So, did you want to ensure there was no duplication, or did you want to ask questions about compatibility? Because they are two very different things, and it seems to me that you are now changing your story. If, however, you simply want to ensure that due process was followed, then say that instead, since that’s the only thing you will get from seeing an RFP.

    Your Reply:
    “I want to be able to question everything and anything and I want answers to those questions, too. My supervisory responsibility does not end at the technology director’s desk.”

    My Response that that…
    Wow… OK.. Have you considered entrusting the professionals the district has hired with specific responsibilities and experience to be the experts in software compatibility and function, ensuring they are in fact making the correct choices for the district? I can understand wanting to confirm that the RFP process was followed, but we have professionals who are experts in this industry; they should be allowed to make decisions based on that knowledge and expertise.

    Adding a bit more… Another FB user pointed out that it could very well be unlikely that we even put this out to bid, which I have to agree with. The size and scope of this project is probably relatively small for most software companies, it is more likely that we sought out a service provider and began discussing the project directly with them. But, more to the point – we have hired teaching and industry professionals who are expected to make purchases to do their jobs every day, we can’t expect them to put every purchase out to bid, nor is it realistic to expect to be able to ask them to justify every single purchasing decision. They are the industry professionals, they have the expertise to make these decisions independently. No professional, in any industry would tolerate the amount of scrutiny you are demanding. It simply isn’t realistic.

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