March 20, 2014 · 11:45 am
Eight teams of ballot counters will be at the Timberlane Middle School cafeteria at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Friends are stepping forward to be observers. Eight are needed.
The public is welcome to attend. (Expected duration around 4 hours.)
Results will be reported here.
In other news, Mr. Collins has undertaken to have the Spanish consultant’s contract to me before the School Board meeting tonight, in fulfillment of my Right to Know request.
And in the good news department, the Sandown Board of Selectman appointed Arthur Green to the school budget committee to fill my vacant seat. The board will enjoy his quiet, logical approach to budget issues.
March 12, 2014 · 10:51 am
THANK YOU AGAIN, SANDOWN!
Sandown voters sent a message last night that the school board and SAU need to hear. Voters decisively defeated all but two articles on the school board ballot. All articles relating to spending failed. The petition to rescind the stand-alone SAU budget also failed in Sandown. Yes!
The district as a whole also sent a message. Four articles dealing with money were defeated. The district operating budget will be a default budget. The SAU will also be operating on a default budget. No money will be put into capital reserve and the costly Sandown kitchen renovation will not happen. All this is necessary to control our tax increase next year which will be considerable even with these savings. I am disappointed, though, that the petition to rescind a stand-alone SAU budget passed in the district. It is odd that district voters took advantage of defeating the SAU budget, (which wouldn’t have been possible had the budget not been removed from the district budget), but then voted to take that option away from themselves in subsequent years.
Election results by town
Sandown voters also elected me by a healthy margin to school board. While being on the school board is more like a jail term than a walk in our scenic town forest, there is a lot of work to be done and the voters of Sandown have entrusted me to do it. Plenty of good people get onto school board with enthusiasm and a desire to change things, then something happens. Perhaps they get intimidated by the task before them. Maybe they get overwhelmed or fear looking stupid or being at odds with their fellows. Many become silent when they should speak up. I sincerely hope that won’t happen to me. I’m not in elective office for my own comfort but to advance the interests of the taxpayers and parents of Sandown. Don’t let me forget that.
To Joe Morris, the gracious incumbent who stepped up to fill Roger Barczak’s seat, I say thank you for your service. You didn’t have a chance to do more than get your feet wet, but I hope we can work together in the future. I also hope Joe McKinnon will stay interested in board decisions as we need more people like him who speak up when policies need to be fixed.
Now I’ve got a lot of school board policies to read and a lot more blogging to do.
Thanks again, Sandown, for your strong support on school issues. If Arthur Green is appointed to my vacant seat on the school budget committee, we’ll be able to work both sides of the budget next year. With Cathy Gorman on budget committee, too, we’ll have a mighty strong voice.
February 27, 2014 · 8:11 pm
Here is my opinion on Timberlane School District warrant items. This is a letter published in the Tri-Town Times Feb. 27, 2014.
As Sandown heads to the polls on March 11, I’d like to explain my votes on the Timberlane School District Warrant Articles in the hopes that others will add to my vote and also to give voters a sense of my candidacy for the School Board.
Article 2: Operating Budget: NO because I believe it was possible to present the district with a level-funded budget this year. Despite “information” to the contrary, this is a 4% increase over last year’s budget, which I do not believe is justified in the face of significantly falling enrollment and no overall staff reduction.
Article 3: SAU Operating Budget: NO. The SAU budget is up 10% this year- supposedly because of needing to provide insurance coverage to every single SAU employee. Well run companies find savings within their operations and do not pass all cost increases on to their customers, in this case, the taxpayers. Better cost control needs to be demanded of this organization. Thankfully we have the option of a default budget.
Article 4: Capital Reserve Fund: NO $350,000 is too large a contribution and is not necessary. Furthermore, it is not correct to think this has no tax impact because money not put into the capital reserve fund is used the following year to reduce school taxes.
Article 5: Sandown Central Kitchen: NO $385,000 is a staggering amount of money for a kitchen renovation. Furthermore, a new capital improvement plan has just been launched by the district and the Superintendent has said that all options are on the table – including closing Sandown Central. The proposed renovation is one year premature and way overpriced.
Article 6: Timberlane Support Staff Agreement: NO The Superintendent says the staff are looking for some security and want insurance benefits with just a modest raise. We simply cannot afford to extend public benefits when we cannot afford the benefits we already provide. The teachers’ pension fund is woefully underfunded and the district is required to pick up more and more of that expense going forward.
Article 7: Special Meeting on Article 6 NO I would not authorize a special meeting to approve a renegotiated union agreement. If both Articles 6 and 7 are defeated, the Superintendent should take a message and wait until next year to approach the voters again – or let the union petition the court at their own expense.
Article 8 : Budget Committee doesn’t vote on this.
Article 9: Rescind SAU budget: Budget Committee doesn’t vote on this but I heartily hope all voters will vote NO to this petition and keep the SAU budget separate so voters can have a default option and can also be very aware of the entire cost of running the SAU, an organization that is strictly administrative.
As always, these are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others are the Budget Committee. Should I be elected to School Board, I will immediately resign my seat on the Timberlane Budget Committee.