About Me

Much of my time these days is spent prying information from the tight grip of the Timberlane School District. On March 11, 2014, I was elected to serve as a member of the Timberlane Regional School Board to represent Sandown, NH.  While I very much value education for personal enrichment and the general good of the country, numerous home renovations have taught me that money does not necessarily buy quality. Unfortunately too many people in education believe money fixes problems when sound management responsive to parents and transparent to the public is the solution.

My fight for Timberlane budget and salary information led all the way to the state Supreme Court.  On April 19, 2016  I won a Right to Know case in the New Hampshire Supreme Court against SAU 55 and the Timberlane School District. Because of this case, public bodies in New Hampshire must now provide public information in useful electronic form if it is requested and so available.

Recognizing the importance of this decision to the citizens of New Hampshire and their ability to effectively petition their government for grievances, the Nackey Loeb School of Communications bestowed on me their First Amendment Award in November 2016. I was proud to share 2016’s award with David Pearl, a Right to Know advocate who passed away suddenly in 2016. The New England First Amendment Coalition bestowed on me their Antonia Orfield Citizenship award in February 2017  in recognition of attorney Richard Lehmann’s successful action on my behalf in Green v. SAU 55, et al.

My experiences with SAU55 and my fellow board and budget committee members spurred me to found, with my husband, Arthur, and a group of committed others, the School District Governance Association of New Hampshire.  We began in August 2016 and announced ourselves to the world in December 2016. Our aim is to be an independent resource devoted entirely to educating and empowering elected school district officials to assert their lawful authority and be responsive to their electorate.

The people of Sandown re-elected me to the school board in March 2015 following a heated and closely contested race. In August 2014, I was honored to be awarded the title of Sandown Citizen of the Year (2014) for my public service.  (Thank you to the kind and appreciative people of Sandown!  The sash is fabulous!) Four months later, the New Hampshire Press Association awarded this blog a Better Media Award for best blog in the non-daily category. It is a most appreciated award from a group of professional journalists.

Before being elected to the School Board, I served on the Timberlane School District Budget Committee (from 3/2012), service which was preceded by four years on the Sandown Planning Board. The Sandown Zoning Board of Adjustments graciously accepted my contribution as an alternate from 2012 to September 2015.

I was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and raised in Tiverton, R.I.  My husband, Arthur, and I met while attending McGill University. We were married in Winnipeg where I earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba. After 13 years of arctic winters and Northern Lights, we moved to Oakville, Ontario where we raised three accomplished children, saw them off, changed the locks on the doors then moved to New Hampshire in 2007, just to be sure. Somewhere in between, I was a financial planner and a very busy personal finance freelance writer.  My most recent book, not all that recent anymore, is Dream Job Profiles, a non-fiction title for young adults published by what was then Houghton Mifflin – proving that education is no impediment to a dream job , and that a good book can be sunk by a struggling publisher.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.”  I firmly believe that participation in local politics is a duty of citizens who are able, except, perhaps, for those who disagree with me.

My opinions on this blog are fully my own and are no indication of the opinions of the school board, the school district, the School Administrative Unit (SAU55), or SDGA NH.

Donna Green
donnagre@gmail.com

  • Here is a video by Brendan McQuaid to introduce me at the Nackey Loeb First Amendment Awards evening:
  • The NH Supreme Court’s unanimous decision can be read here: Green Wins Supreme Court Case
  • The oral arguments at the Supreme Court took place on Jan. 7, 2016.  You can hear the arguments by going to the NH Supreme Court’s website and scrolling down to Jan. 7, 2016  Donna Green v. School Administrative Unit #55 (http://www.courts.nh.gov/cstream/index.asp)
  • My acceptance speech for the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award kindly bestowed by the New England First Amendment Coalition is here:
  • In August, 2014 the Timberlane Regional School Board’s censured me solely for the opinions I expressed on this blog.  You can watch the Chairman, Nancy Steenson, read the letter of censure and then see my response.
  •  The entire story of Timberlane’s inglorious action in censuring me can be found in the August 2014 archives on this blog.
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27 responses to “About Me

  1. Linda Meehan

    As a former Newfoundlander, I now understand you need to be a good citizen and be involved. Keep up your good work.

  2. Adam Fowler

    Thank you for standing up for the residents of Sandown. Taxes are out of control and I watched the school board meeting and nobody cared at all about being fiscally conservative at all, except for you. They just keep giving you the runaround. It was sickening to watch. Typical big government tactics.
    Keep up the pressure. Wish we had a lot more like you!

  3. Deb Catanese

    Is there a way to even out the costs between the four towns? Why should Sandown and Danville pay more? I heard Sandown has nearly as many students as Plaistow. Is that correct? I also heard Pinkerton was open to having more students. I have always been open to school option. Thank you for continuing to fight for Sandown!

  4. Christine

    Mrs. Green,
    You certainly seem passionate with your efforts, but boy, you’re out of control. Recount, really? You’d rather pay penalties than offer staff a decent health plan? As the person who is attempting to pinch pennies in the district, who pay pays for that?
    I wonder why you’re so motivated by our school system since you’ve raised your accomplished children already. You enjoyed them so much you changed the locks and moved of NH. Get back to your garden, Mrs. Green. Your thumb is needed more there than where it currently is.
    Mrs. Mason

  5. Kenny S

    To Mrs. Mason,
    It is your type of reply that puzzles me.
    Out of control? Um, what? This is what representatives are elected to do. Question things, make informed decisions, LISTEN TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS. Not just slavishly toe the party line.
    Where do you come up with the staff does not have a “decent health plan”? Based on what? Our teachers have an excellent salary and benefits package and are in NO WAY lagging in this. It’s funny, a few years ago, “decent health plans” were not important but a Preforming Arts Center was top of the list. Hmmmmmm
    There was a 2 million dollar SURPLUS, what “pennies” are you talking about? Declining enrollment Mrs. Mason

    Wow, just wow.

  6. Michelle

    I feel that Donna Green is doing exactly what she was elected to do and thank you for that. I question why not all the elected Selectmen from Sandown backed Mrs. Green and signed her letter to Mrs. Steenson and Dr. Metzler. When re-elections are here perhaps Selectman Brown is not the right choice for the towns people – if he feels that opposed to getting all the information. It makes me question his priorities. Exactly what “truth needs protecting” is Mr. Collin’s talking about? Is it perhaps manipulating the truth?

  7. Leane

    Mrs.Green, Our family supports you! Please let us know how we can help. Our tax dollars pay the salaries of SAU and they should be held accountable for every dime of “our” money they’re supposedly spending on “our” children. I digress. It seems to our family that you are being bullied. I thought Timberlane School District had a staunch anti-bullying stance.Thank you for fighting this good fight!

  8. Lauri Beaule

    I have been following the story of the school board – as a tax paying resident of Sandown I just wanted to thank you for bringing a fiscally responsible take to the board.

  9. Cheryl

    hi donna,
    Is there a way to start a petition to stop Metzler? I have been talking to a few concerned parents and citizens. He needs to go or be stopped. He is hurting us and our students. What can be done?

  10. Chris Gilardi

    Hi Donna,
    Danville resident checking in. My taxes were $5700.00 when I moved here nine years ago. With the last school tax increase for Dec. 2014 my new bill is a little over $9800.00. All the towns in this disrtict need to join together and put a end to this insanity that is Timberlane. It’s to the point where I will just stop paying my tax bill because at this point who would buy my home now anyways. All our towns need to unite and fight to have the State step in and audit this district. We all have to push for this everyone, every town.

    Chris

    • Chris,
      Forgive the delay in posting your comment. I seem to miss some comments when they come in and I’m not sure why. Thank you for writing. Please come to Deliberative Session for the school on Feb. 5, 7 pm at the high school gym. Let your vote count and your voice be heard.

  11. Barbara

    Hi Mrs. Green,
    I have lived in Sandown for about 12 years my second child will graduate in 2015 from TImberlane, I have to say although a good school the budget is out of control. I am also surprised that we still have such a large amount of children going to TImberlane considering the fact that many have moved out and moved on due to rising taxes. Something needs to change we do not live in the sixties and we do not have the revenue as does Plaistow because there is no commercial businesses here. I really feel that we need to ALL get together and change what we do not like, everyone complains but no on including me has stood up. I have said for the past few years that when my daughter graduates I am out of here because the taxes will never go down. At the end of the day I like it here it is a great little town. And also why I decided to write on your page, and stand up and stand by anyone else who has had enough. . I think the issues lie with the SAU as long as they get their raises and excellent health care and retirement (your welcome) they will push to keep it. Something needs to change, Plaistow has 200 less kids yet they have so much business in the town it should be a consideration, Danville and Sandown have been most effected by decisions made in the past. I believe that getting out and getting heard as 2 communites standing together for our common good and not taking no for an answer is closer to the answer. I will happily stand together with anyone who is as tired as I am about my tax bill increasingly rising since I have been here. We need a solution and the SAU does not want to hear it, well something has got to give here. Call a meeting, do not invite the SAU, educate people in both towns and when they try to shut you down again you will be hundreds strong and know that what you are fighting for is what others want but just haven’t had the audacity to say it or do it.

  12. Crystal

    Mrs. Green,

    Keep fighting the good fight! The majority of the school board have made this into far more than it should be. You have brought to light many of interesting and important items and I can certainly say that when the next election takes place in my town, I will be voting against the very ones that are responsible for this behavior. Although not a Sandown resident, you have my support and I hope that you come out on top!

  13. As a resident of Atkinson, I applaud your efforts. Thank you for getting us involved in the process with your recent mailing. Had you not done that, I would not be aware. I support you and will be at the deliberative this Thursday.

  14. Shirley C.

    Hi Mrs Green,
    Is there a way to show support in favor of the budget control vote. I missed the February voting at the school. I agree with you in 1999 I bought my house in Plaistow the taxes were 2900, they are now up to 5900. Did we really need such an elaborate theater to have band practice and now and then events.The raise of taxes due to the school systems budget is out of control and has been for awhile. Thank you for your “Just Do Your Job” work.

    • Shirley, forgive my tardy reply. Probably the best way to show support for a reduced budget now that Deliberate has passed is to withhold your vote on the school budget altogether on March 10th. The default is higher than the proposed budget so neither budget gives voters much of a choice. I intend to withhold my vote for the school budget though I will cast votes for all the other warrants on the school ballot. I particularly hope the citizen’s petition #12 passes as that asks the district to get a vote of the electorate before closing a school.

  15. Gail

    Donna,
    I appreciate your efforts on behalf of the taxpayers of Sandown, like myself, who meekly accept what is dished to them, but take no stands or risks as you are doing.
    Our town, our state and our country need more people like you.

    • Thank you so much, Gail. Arthur and I are in an unusual position of being able to speak our mind because we have neither children in nor relatives working for the school district. We can speak out without fear and we have some modest means to defend ourselves legally, as we have had to do when the district made an unjustified criminal complaint about me to the Plaistow Police Department – and the Right to Know case now at the NH Supreme Court. Based on our elective experience with the Timberlane District, we honestly believe the interests of Sandown are no longer served by being part of the Timberlane Regional District. We hope others like you want to stop meekly accepting exorbitant costs per student ($19,800) and strike out to forge our own district under our own local control with responsiveness to parents, students and taxpayers – something we don’t have now at Timberlane.

      • Diana

        Hi Donna, I was curious, can you explain more please

        “We hope others like you want to stop meekly accepting exorbitant costs per student ($19,800) and strike out to forge our own district under our own local control with responsiveness to parents, students and taxpayers – something we don’t have now at Timberlane”.

        What do you imagine that to look like, entail etc? Do you mean for Sandown to form their own SAU? If so, I’ve heard that could end up being more expensive for a town to break away from a larger SAU, what are your thoughts?

        I admire your passion on this whole topic. I’m still trying to understand more the whole situation myself of pro’s – con’s etc of rising cost per student.
        I imagine you to have a broad background of knowledge. I enjoyed reading on Amazon the profile of the book you wrote:
        “Dream Job Profiles: The Young and Successful Share Their Secrets”. I imagine it’s a great read and hope to read it one day. I was curious your thoughts on the debate around the pro’s of investing into a good school system for a town, and the belief that often naturally helps maintain high house values.
        I know in Hampstead rental properties are in high demand by families wanting to move for the school system. As reading your post reminds me of similar debates happening in Hampstead over the town/school budget and school renovations needed.

      • The cost of leaving an SAU depends on the length of time contracts are in place which is no doubt part of why our own SAU, in the cloak of total secrecy, extended Dr. Metzler’s contract to 2022. There is no need to leave SAU55 so long as there is a Memorandum of Understanding as to how the superintendent and SAU generally will conduct itself relative to a Sandown School District. Hampstead’s affairs are almost entirely supervised by the Assistant Superintendent, for instance. You can be sure a Sandown School Board would not permit a usurpation of their proper authority to the SAU that Timberlane has allowed. If it should become clear that Sandown would be better off leaving SAU55, that is a discussion to be had some years in the future and who knows, perhaps SAU55 would be under different management by then.

  16. Pingback: Green Wins Citizenship Award | timberlaneandsandown

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