Acciard: Hero of 2010

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.

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13 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

13 responses to “Acciard: Hero of 2010

  1. Melissa O

    You know, for a school district you are supposed to support, you tend to put down the staff an awful lot. I was one of those employees at the 2010 Deliberative sessions, as well as most sessions before and since. Have you ever thought that we, like you say you do, want to see what is best for this district? Only those employees that live in district are allowed to vote, so it is not like we “stacked” the audience illegally.

    • I did not “put down employees.” Employees who live in the district, and their relatives are of course entitled to attend and vote at Deliberative. The model the taxpayers have defaulted to by not attending deliberative session is allowing the employees to control the budget. Do you think this is a prudent arrangement? The evidence of rising budgets almost in proportion to declining enrollment speaks to the folly of the taxpayers abandoning their own interests at Deliberative.

    • Mark Acciard

      Ma’am, with all due respect, when School district employees such as Mr. Metzler, Mr. LaSalle, openly lie to the face of their employers(the taxpayers) they have EARNED criticism. They have proven themselves unworthy of respect.

      And Ms. Green’s comment about the preponderance of school employees, relatives, family members, and PTSA parents in the audience was not a “put down” of these people, it was a notation that the people who benefit form the budget, control the creation and expansion of it. NEVER a good situation.

      When I chaired the Atkinson budget committee, I was always amazed that the very people most concerned about their rising tax rate did not bother to go to the deliberative session responsible for 80% of it.

      • Melissa O

        I’m not saying you need to agree with Timberlane staff and employees, some criticism had been rightfully earned. However, I believe, even in disagreement, ALL people should be treated with respect. I know right hasn’t been offered by both sides, so both sides are to blame.

        I agree that the deliberative sessions are poorly attended. Much like many school events and trainings offered, people take little time out to participate, yet are the first to complain about things the way they are. You are right that I benefit from the budget, but I don’t see those benefits solely through the eyes of an employee. I have three children in this district, so yes I am vested. I want what is best for them. I would think that as a father yourself, that you would feel the same.

        For the past 30 years, I have had some ties to the Timberlane district; as a student, a student teacher, an employee, a tax payer, and finally as a parent. Although I don’t agree with everything the district has done, they are trying. I’m not what Mrs. Green likes to refer to as a rubber stamp. I have voted against the budget before (unbelievable, I know). I do think things need to be, and should be questioned.

        My greatest concern, and the point that I was trying to make in my initial post, is that Mrs. Green never seems to show any pride in her district. Surely in the several years that you have been our representative, you must agree with something. I just feel that you tend to post all negatives. God, even when pipes burst in Pollard, you had to question it. It seems like everything is a big conspiracy with you. Maybe you do agree with some things, I don’t know. If that is true, maybe you should try to put that out there more. As the old saying goes, “you can catch for flies with honey, than with vinegar.”

      • I always find it curious when my critics are solicitous of my message by reminding me that one can get more flies with honey than vinegar.
        The school board is comprised of many cheerleaders for Timberlane. It has gotten us to where we are now. IF you like that, vote for another cheerleader and you’ll most certainly get what you wish with the taxes to go right along with it.

        I lived in Canada more than 30 years and a pipe never burst in any public building to my knowledge. Wouldn’t you like to know if building codes are different here?

    • Melissa, I have attended deliberative sessions since 1990 and have had children in the district’s schools almost as long. I do not believe that the school district employees want to teach — never mind do what is best. One of the metrics I have asked for is the number of days a student is in a classroom for a full period with the assigned instructor. Metzler has told me that this is personal and private information. My own accounting puts that number at 155 days over 24 years. How many FULL days do you teach each year?

      • Dr. Metzler has long promised the results of the classroom instructional time survey that was conducted a year ago. The results have never been forthcoming. Just to be clear to my readers, I believe the vast majority of teachers do want to teach and if students aren’t in their classrooms with their assigned teachers, many issues are at play – and we should know about them.

      • Mary

        Wow. So you honestly think teachers don’t want to teach? They must be doing it for the huge paycheck and kickbacks from the district. Lmao.

      • Melissa O

        First off, thank you Donna. It has been my experience that all teachers want to and DO teach.
        And to you Mr. Mullins, I’m not sure what you are trying to get at. Do students miss class for things aside from academics? Yes, there are other things that happen in schools. However, studies have proven that there is much that students learn outside of academic subjects. Have you not seen the studies about how important something as simple as recess is? At the elementary level, aside from a seasonal party a few times a year, students are always learning. Assemblies teach acceptable group behavior, gym class teaches motor skills and working as a team, recess is a time to build social skills.
        In regards to MY schedule, it may appear different than a classroom teacher, as I am a special educator. But, I can tell you aside from my 30 minute lunch and 45 minute prep time, I am always with students and/or parents. I will even say that myself, along with many teachers I know, volunteerally give up their lunch, prep time, or after school hours to spend it with students.

      • I think Mr. Mullen was most concerned about absenteeism among teachers, a metric the school board has no knowledge of whatsoever, but we should.

    • Mark Acciard

      Ma’am this is in response to your response below to Mr. Mullen. With all due respect, I believe Mr. Mullen was discussing the fact that state law requires 180 days of school. However this already low number of school days does not reflect days of academic teaching, as every parent knows. As a Timberlane parent I was appalled one year to learn that the last 10 days of school my son watched movies. I was particularly appalled at the choice of movies, one day it was Napoleon Dynamite, a movie that raises slackerdom to an art form. His government class watched Legally Blonde 2 as part of a lesson on how a bill becomes a law. Schoolhouse rock would have been more efficient and appropriate.

      as for your comments on teacher pay, i am always amazed to hear these complaints. According to the DoL, the average public school teacher in America makes $36.61/hr. more than chemical engineers. Their problem is not the pay, but the fact that they work far fewer hours.

  2. Mark Acciard

    Ms. Green, I am honored and flattered. One slight correction, about the time allowed. the moderator tried to disallow my questions, however I reminded him that he had already allowed the subject matter to be discussed, therefore he could not squelch rebuttal, by Robert’s Rules, which he purported to adhere to.

    But yes, LaSalle was a liar, and unabashedly so.

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