With the administration’s forecast of a 9% school tax increase in Sandown this year, I was reminded of the pioneering budget-busting work of Mark Acciard at the 2010 School Deliberative Session (Feb. 4, 2010).
Mr. Acciard was the first to understand the bloat in Timberlane’s budget and the first to elicit the now standard lies when it is threatened with a cut.
Below is a remarkable exchange between the trenchant and knowledgeable Acciard with, first the Timberlane Budget Committee, and then Superintendent LaSalle. Mr. Acciard begins by pointing out legal compliance issues in the budget process and then goes to a motion to lower the budget. He lost the motion, of course, because the deliberative was populated by Timberlane employees, as usual – a point that was noted by another commentator during the meeting.
However, his efforts were not for naught. In the years after this budget, Mr. LaSalle ran nearly flat budgets. True, enrollment was in decline, but the budgets were restrained for the next few years. The administration changed in the summer of 2012.
These video clips are riveting drama that I urge you to watch. As an aside, if you stick through it, you will see Mr. LaSalle contradict a claim by Mr. Acciard that the SAU raises were included in the default budget. LaSalle denied this but he was incorrect. TRSD does include the SAU salary raises in the default budget and there’s not a darned thing you can do about it. (Clips 3 and 5 are short by intention.)
Tomorrow I will post clips of Arthur Green and Dr. Metzler from Deliberative 0f 2015 discussing very much the same issues – though Arthur was given just 5 minutes whereas Mr. Acciard, in more democratic times, was given as much time as he needed, in keeping with the spirit of Deliberatives. They are supposed to be the meeting of the people, but they have become the meeting of the administration and its employees.