In ten years, SAU 55’s operating budget will have gone up 85%. Since Dr. Metzler assumed his position, the SAU budget will have gone up 68% – all while SAU 55 had significant declines in student enrollment.
At last night’s SAU 55 Board meeting, the board approved a staggering $2,185,511 budget for 2018-2019, an increase of 9.7% over this current year’s budget.
The board also voted to provide the superintendent with one additional full-time employee with unspecified duties for a maximum salary of $40,000 and full benefits. With this new position, SAU 55 will have grown by two full-time positions since Dr. Metzler began.
The budget includes a 3% merit pool. I motioned to eliminate the merit pool and freeze salaries, since we have the highest paid superintendent in the state, the second highest paid Assistant Superintendent in the state and the third highest paid Business Administrator in the state. This motion failed for lack of a second.
The 18-19 budget includes more than $10,000 for a new fingerprinting system when no satisfactory answer was given to me as to why our fingerprinting can’t be done by the Plaistow Police Department. This will have an ongoing annual cost of more than $1000 in maintenance fees. We were told the district does about 180 fingerprints a year.
The budget passed by a vote of 9 -3-0. Those opposed were me, Brian Boyle and Kim Farah. (Stefanie Dube and Kelly Ward were absent.) The Hampstead board votes in unison like a brain-dead zombie, but instead of searching for brains, it lurches around looking for scapegoats like Jorge Mesa-Tejada and me. [But that’s another story: SAU Board Attacks Green, Mesa-Tejada Villified]
In 2008/2009, SAU 55’s annual operating budget was $1,181,438. Next year it will be $2,185,511. That is what happens when voters can not touch a budget. No SAU budget in a multi-district SAU such as ours can be changed by voters. Here is the consequence of that – and elected officials who think pleasing the superintendent is more important than defending the interests of their citizens.
Buckle your seat belts. The November tax bills are going to be shocking for Sandown. Oh well, what can you do? Let’s not ever talk of forming our own school district with our own SAU.
And because insult needs to be added to injury, last night the SAU 55 board approved a SAU 55 Board Code of Ethics. It contains similar language to that which prompted the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union to write a sternly worded letter to Timberlane almost four years ago for violating their board members’ First Amendment rights. Here’s the objectionable language your SAU board clutched to is bosom: “Final board actions will be supported by all members of the board. Members will take no private action that will compromise the board or administration and refrain from private actions which would undermine or compromise official board action.”
I motioned to table the proposed “Code of Ethics” on the grounds of unconstitutionality. I was the only vote in favor of that sensible motion. The Hampstead board lurched in unison with their eyes rolled into their heads. Brian Boyle, Kim Farah and Greg Spero of Timberlane abstained. My motion failed by a vote of 1-8-3.
The “Code of Ethics” was subsequently approved 9-3-1. Me, Kim Farah and Brian Boyle voted against.
See the SAU staff salaries for 17/18 RTK SAU Salaries
See the “Code of Ethics”Code of Ethics
Read how the Timberlane board had to slink away the last time it tried to intimidate elected officials into zombie mode Unconstitutional School Board Rules