In the long saga that is my complaint to the NH Board of Education concerning the hiring and salary setting practices of SAU 55, there approaches a happy ending though you may not yet recognize it. Even Superintendent Metzler does not realize it.
Superintendent Metzler is representing to the Timberlane school board that the Board of Education’s February 8th decision was a win for him. In fact, it is much more favorable to me.
The re-issued decision says that the Board of Education asserts jurisdiction over my complaint and refers it to the Department of Education for “review and investigation.”
For me, this is a fabulous outcome. The NH Board of Education’s previous decision on my complaint instructed the SAU 55 board to hold a fact-finding public hearing. At the Feb 8 NHBOE meeting, the board rescinded that decision and instead issued a new decision that instructs the Department of Education to look into my complaint.
This means I am saved a pointless sham “public hearing” by SAU 55’s board, which would have resulted in yet another appeal to the state Board of Education any way. Now the Department of Education is going to actually examine the facts and make a determination based on facts. SAU 55 would have considered only their own craven political expedience.
What Could Come Next?
It is quite possible that Superintendent Metzler is going to ask for a reconsideration of the NH Board of Education’s most recent decision. Why?
- Legal fees are no issue to the superintendent or the SAU board
- The decision asserts jurisdiction over SAUs and the superintendent disputes that there is any state authority over him
- A reconsideration is the first step in appealing to the state Supreme Court where the court would determine who, if anyone, has authority over superintendents.
Why the Timberlane School Board Still Needs to be Involved
The Timberlane School Board voted on Jan. 25, 2018 to request a special meeting of the SAU 55 board to discuss putting a stop to the needless legal fees being expended on my complaint. (I didn’t hire a lawyer and neither did they need to.) By policy, an SAU meeting must be called at the request of one of the constituent boards. Mrs. Sherman, chairman of SAU 55’s board, set a date of March 7.
As a result of Facebook chatter on Feb. 22, the SAU office sent me this note:
Please be advised that in light of the recent State Board of Education decision, the March 7th special SAU Board meeting has been cancelled.
This would be laughable if it weren’t so typical of the perversity of SAU 55.
- The point of the requested meeting was to put an end to further SAU legal action
- The BOE’s new decision can still be appealed by SAU 55
Will the Timberlane board permit the superintendent to unilaterally cancel an SAU meeting the board voted to request?
If you watched the Jan 25 school board meeting (conveniently not captured on video), you might recall Superintendent Metzler’s promise that no Hampstead school board member would attend a special SAU 55 board meeting on this topic. It could be that we can add clairvoyance to the other extraordinary powers of our superintendent if the real reason the meeting was cancelled was because of lack of quorum.
Will TRSB Do Anything?
The correct action is to insist on a special SAU 55 meeting to direct the superintendent to stop spending money to fight a complaint that should just run its course – no reconsideration, no Supreme Court challenge. Likely only a few members of the SAU’s board (namely, a few Timberlane members) will so vote, and the superintendent will go off with more of your tax dollars to fritter away in the pursuit of his ultimate authority over…. himself.
Regardless of the expected outcome, both TRSB and SAU 55 boards should convene and at least pretend to do their job defending your tax dollars. Sadly, your elected officials have given up their power to control the superintendent’s bat phone to legal services. All they can try to do now is control his actual legal actions.
If my complaint is upheld, taxpayers will be able to control the salaries of SAU employees via their elected officials. Right now, SAU salaries are set by the superintendent. You can read the basis of my complaint and why it matters to taxpayers here.
[DG: This posting has been corrected. The meeting where the vote was taken to call a special SAU meeting was Jan. 25, 2018 – not Feb 1 as I reported. The motion occurred at the school board meeting immediately after the second public hearing on the proposed budget. This meeting, though live streamed, just happened not to be retained on live stream archives or transferred to Vimeo.]