Category Archives: My censure

Hiding Behind Facebook

Will the real author of the Facebook page, Support Timberlane, please stand up?

I believe it is Gretchen  Grosky, the hired PR specialist for Timberlane.  If so it would put the district on the slippery edge of electioneering.

The cover page says “Join us in telling the GREENS that our kids, our teachers and our school district are not simply numbers!  Deliberative Session, Feb 5th. 7 pm”

It also features a clip of me and Arthur Green suggesting a much lower operating budget for Timberlane.  The clip of me was taken out of a very interesting school board discussion from Dec. 18 and I would heartily recommend you watch the dialogue from which the clip was drawn. This link will take you to the relevant point in the recording which also includes Ms. Armfield explaining the consolidation plan:

http://vimeo.com/album/255898/video/115030879#t=1h21m15s

Most people who rail against the suggestion to lower the operating budget to something affordable for local families have not themselves challenged Arthur Green’s numbers or delved into the expenditures yet they insist cuts would harm the children.  Before Dr. Metzler’s budgets, our district ran on $61 million  for three years in a row. Now, with fewer students, we need almost $68 million and we have to close a school. Does this sound reasonable?  If management implemented cuts with earnestness, education would not be affected but the number of staff certainly would be. So what is this really about?  Education or jobs at Timberlane?

The plan to consolidate Sandown Central at Sandown North involves the consolidations of one second, third, fourth and fifth grade class.  That eliminates four classes and we will still not exceed the recommended maximum number of students per class as per Timberlane policy.  This should tell you that when there is a will there is a way to run on less without educational impact.  Atkinson Academy has the largest classes in our district’s elementary system yet they and Sandown Central are the highest rated elementary schools in our system according to Niche.com, which Mr. Bealo cites on Facebook.  Empirical evidence and academic study have exploded the notion that class size affects educational outcome.  Think back into your own education and you will know that classes of 30 plus were the norm in the 60s yet few of us felt short changed by our elementary education.  In any event, we are not advocating changing class size limits as set by Timberlane policy and we have shown that even with the staff reductions we recommend, Timberlane will have abundant resources to maintain the existing class size limits.

And Mr. Bealo, stop posting comments on Facebook about my personal history.  You have no knowledge of me, Arthur Green or our background and please don’t pretend you do.  Your facts are wrong and often deprecating. You and I have have one thing in common:  we were both censured by the Timberlane school board.  Mine was quite public and intended to discredit a dissident voice.  Yours was hushed up.  Would you like to tell us and your Facebook audience what your censure was about?

Support Timberlane, you are right.  Our school district is not simply about numbers.  It is about giving children the finest education while allowing families to afford their homes.  We are at the point where towns want to leave the district because they think they can do it better for less. What has gotten us into this mess is not Arthur and Donna Green, rather it is relentless school  budgets that are outstripping our ability to pay.

 

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Filed under Budget 2015-2016, Closing Sandown Central, Expenditures, My censure, Sandown Issues, Taxes

Collins Flashes His Guillotine Again

Rob Collins has a sweet, understated persona, but cross him and he’ll cut your figurative head off.  He was the major force behind the push of Jason Cipriano from the chairmanship of the SAU board. Mr. Collins’ presence as a substitute school board liaison at a Budget Committee meeting in Dec. 2013 heralded the first censure motion against me.  He was again the spur behind the most recent censure in July.  The district’s executioner is at it again.

Mr. Collins has written to the Sandown Board of Selectmen to ask them to REMOVE Cindy Buco from Timberlane’s Capital Improvement Committee. Ms. Buco is a Sandown Selectman.  She recently wrote a stern letter to Superintendent Metzler, urging him to be more responsive and respectful to the elected officials from Sandown. She followed that up with a measured radio interview with Rich Girard out of Manchester.

When you read his email to Sandown’s Town Administrator, Lynne Blaisdell, ask yourself, as I do,  what authority the co-chair of a committee has in asking for a change to a town’s nomination to that committee – without the vote of the entire committee.  I’m on the CIP Committee.  There was no vote.  There was no meeting. Chairmen are only authorized to run meetings and publish agendas.

On Nov 29, 2014 11:47 AM, “Rob Collins” <robcollins89@gmail.com> wrote:
Good morning Lynne,I hope you had a great Thanksgiving,I’m writing today asking you to forward this unfortunate request to the Board of Selectmen.As you know, the situation between the school district and three of the representatives from Sandown has been very dysfunctional.  There are many reasons for this and I’d rather not get into the details of this dysfunction at this time.  Rather, I’m writing to you to point out the actions of one of your Board members, Cindy Buco.  Last week Ms. Buco took it upon herself to go on a radio show and contribute to the disparaging of our Superintendent, throwing fuel on the fire.Weeks ago we were thrilled to hear that Sandown was sending a Selectman as the nominee to our newly formed CIP Committee.  We are setting off in a new direction, taking a task typically performed by the Administration and the Board, and broadening the scope to include community members in an effort to improve and strengthen the relationship between the community and the schools.  Dr. Metzler is an integral part of our CIP Committee and therefore all members need to have a functional, working relationship with him, the administraton of the schools and the other members of the committee.  Ms. Buco’s actions, whether or not you agree with what she has to say, have seriously impaired these efforts before we have had a single meeting.

I’m writing to you today to kindly request that you send a different nominee to the School Board to sit on our CIP Committee.  We are trying to take a step in the right direction and I fear that Ms. Buco has already pushed us backward with this interview.

You can listen to the interview yourself by selecting the link below.  Ms. Buco, in a very public forum, laughs at, agrees with and supports characterizations of Dr. Metzler that are less than kind (i.e. calling him a baby with his diaper on too tight, a brat, immature, etc…).

http://www.girardatlarge.com/2014/11/buco-enough-already-at-timberlane-regional-sd/

Please let me know how the Board feels about this request ASAP.  The School Board’s next meeting is this Thursday 12/4 and we would like to approve all nominees and move forward with the CIP Committee’s tasks.
Thank you for your consideration.Rob Collins
Co-Chair CIP Committee
————————————–
It is really too bad that guillotine is not used for unnecessary expenses instead of people the administration just doesn’t like.
How many more insults and bold efforts to stymie the elected representatives of Sandown are the people of this town going to to suffer?  If Dr. Metzler and Mr. Collins have a problem working with Ms. Buco, they are free to change their attitude.  The representatives of the people of Sandown have to stand up to this.

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Filed under My censure, Sandown Issues

Fresh Accusations

On Friday while I was participating as a school board member in a state-wide conference call by the NH Department of Safety about Ebola and the Enterovirus, I received the following email from the SAU office:

On Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM, Belcher, Catherine <Catherine.Belcher@timberlane.net> wrote:

Good afternoon Donna,

Dr. Metzler has been informed that you are communicating with district staff members to obtain free professional services for personal reasons.  It is his understanding this is not the first time you have done so.

He directs that any further requests to use district resources in either your capacity as a school board member or taxpayer, needs to be submitted to through the proper channels (School Board chair or the Superintendent).

Kindly refer to attached school board policy BHC.

In closing, Dr. Metzler indicates he would be more than happy to help you with any requests that assist you in performing your duties as a school board member.
Have a good afternoon,
Cathy

[cid:image001.png@01CFE47C.C91332F0]
Cathy Belcher
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
and Assistant Superintendent of Schools
(603) 382-6119 ext. 2217
catherine.belcher@timberlane.net<mailto:catherine.belcher@timberlane.net>
__________________________________________________________

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT NO 55
Serving the Hampstead and
Timberlane Regional School Districts

Begin forwarded message:
From: Donna Green <donnagre@gmail.com<mailto:donnagre@gmail.com>>
Date: October 10, 2014 at 9:31:46 AM EDT
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Audio problem on TRSB Vimeo

[Redacted],

I can’t get the audio to play on the TRSB Vimeos.  Audio plays on all other files on the Vimeo site.

Could you help me figure out what my problem is please?

Many thanks,
Donna

2 Attachments

Preview attachment image001.png

image001.png

Preview attachment BHC Board Staff Communications.pdf

BHC Board Staff Communications.pdf
—————————————————————————–

I was flabbergasted by this email from Ms. Belcher.  Quite the accusation:  “…[C]ommunicating with district staff members to obtain free professional services for personal reasons.  It is his understanding this is not the first time you have done so.”

I would not be so sensitive if I did not hear the guillotine being sharpened for the next censure motion.

Let me explain the background.  The school district’s official minutes are written with Vimeo time stamps which make the video recordings of our meetings part of the official record.  I often go back and listen to meetings to check my understanding.  I have done this hundreds of times. On Friday I was attempting to view TRSB Vimeo files on the Timberlane.net site and found that the audio did not play.  All other videos from Timberlane played as did advertisements on the internet so I knew it was not my computer. I contacted the technology staff member responsible for Vimeo postings, couching the problem as though it could be mine while all the time believing it was on the district’s side. Only about a month ago I reached out to this employee which resulted in him politely and immediately correcting a misfiled Vimeo recording on Timberlane.net.

Then I received this much more sensible email:

Metzler, Earl

AttachmentsOct 10 

to me
Donna – I have checked the audio from several computers and it appears to be working just fine. I am not sure what the issue with your equipment is.
Respectfully, Earl
Dr. Earl F. Metzler
Sent from my iPad
_______________________________
This is the reply that should have come in the first place.  It is saying, “Hey, we checked on our end and all is well.  Thanks for alerting us but we think the problem is on your end.”  And that would have been that. Instead I was sent an insulting email accusing me of using school staff for personal gain.

Here is my response, which was cced to my lawyer:

Donna Green <donnagre@gmail.com>

Attachments1:09 PM 

to Richard, Catherine, Earl
Dear Ms. Belcher:
Could you please be more specific in your accusations?  When exactly did I communicate “with district staff members to obtain free professional services for personal reasons”? Please specify all instances in which you believe this to be true.  What were the services requested and what were the personal reasons?
I await your response.
Thank you,
Donna Green
———————————–
Then came this reply:

Metzler, Earl

AttachmentsOct 10 

to me

Donna – I think you may have interpreted this incorrectly. Requests need to come through my office and I am happy to help if I can. Staff can’t be directed by Board members or citizens. I need to manage these requests for the obvious reasons. EarlDr. Earl F. Metzler II

______________________________________

Please note, gentle reader, that at no time did I did violate policy BHC.  You should also know that Mr. Green is an IT guy and a good friend is an IT guru so I have no need for free technology service from the district.  I was merely drawing attention to a problem. Arthur Green, by the way, figured out the issue.  It seems that some of the TRSB vimeos were recorded on only one audio channel.  I had changed my computer settings to the right channel only so when a meeting is recorded on the left channel only, I get no audio.  Was it my problem?  Yes.  Was it TRSD’s problem also?  Seems likely.

My learnings:  When I find an error of any kind at the district, write to the superintendent of schools and not the person who can immediately address the issue.

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Filed under My censure

Eagle Tribune Takes Aim at Need for PR Consultant

Today the Eagle Tribune newspaper today ran a bold editorial about the Timberlane School Board’s decision to look for a Public Relations specialist.  The editorial details many of my travails with the board and concludes: “Rather than attempting to control public perceptions of its actions by greasing the skids with a hired flack, the Timberlane board might try just answering some questions openly and honestly.”

Read the feisty editorial :Spin won’t solve Timberlane board’s communications problem

I’m grateful for their interest and their coverage.

 

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Filed under Expenditures, My censure, School Board Behavior, Spanish Consultant Contract, Taxes

Press Weighs in on Lawyer’s Letters

Attorney Richard Lehmann’s letters have made quite a stir in the press.

Rich Girard, radio commentator, was first off the mark devoting an hour to the controversy at Timberlane.  You can listen to his September 19th segment here:

Girard on Timberlane Sept. 19, 2014

Rich’s outrage is absolutely well founded.  I’ll be going on Rich’s show on Monday morning, Sept. 22, 2014 starting around 6 am.

The Union Leader’s story said: “She [Green] was issued a formal censure for violating open meeting laws and posting ‘disrespectful, inappropriate’ messages on a personal blog.” This sentence gives the reader the impression that the accusations in the censure letter were proven fact.  They are not and I dispute them.

Union Leader article Sept. 19, 2014

I do not believe I have violated any Open Meeting laws.  Writing to a quorum of a board is not a crime in New Hampshire. Furthermore, my blog is about Timberlane school district issues and is both accurate and professional.  Before moving to New Hampshire, I was previously a freelance writer with a number of respected publications.  (I was, for instance, the Canadian stringer for the Economist‘s Finance and Economics section for two years.)  The superintendent and my school board peers simply don’t like what I say so they discredit it as inaccurate and disrespectful when it is simply truthful or a fair expression of opinion.

The press has also reported that the letter of censure detailed 60 examples of inaccuracies in my blog.  The letter in fact pointed out 16 quotes and did not state what was inaccurate or otherwise objectionable about them.  I stand by every single word I have written. See these quotes for yourself.

Here is the letter of censure in its entirety: Letter of Censure Aug 28

The Eagle Tribune did a much better job of reporting the story, though it, too, reported inaccurately about the censure letter when the reporter wrote: “Last month School Board Chairman Nancy Steenson wrote Green a letter, outlining about 60 specific blog entries she said were inaccurate.”  The Eagle Trib’s James Niedzinski  did an otherwise outstanding job on a complicated subject with a long history and he has my thanks.

Here is the Eagle Tribune story:  Board Member Stirs the Pot

UPDATE:  Sept. 22, 2014:  Listen to Rich Girard interview me at the crack of dawn:  Girard interviews Green     Thank you, Rich!

 

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Filed under Budget 2014-2015, DELIBERATIVE 2014, Expenditures, Fill-time Kindergarten, My censure, Non-public session abuse, Right to Know issues, School Board Behavior, Spanish Consultant Contract, Taxes

Green Turns Spotlight on Police

This is a letter written on my behalf by Attorney Richard J. Lehmann to Lt. William Baldwin of the Plaistow Police Department. This letter is practically a work of art and I am hugely grateful to have such an outstanding lawyer on my side.

baldwin letter

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Filed under My censure, Pinocchio Academy, Sandown Issues, School Board Behavior

Censure Letter: My Greatest Hits

The board presented me with a letter of censure tonight.  You might think it would contain things I regret, but in fact it has done wonders for my self-esteem.  All the excerpts they have taken from my blog and my emails to the board indicate a hard-working person with a flair for clear expression.  I stand by every single word attributed to me in that censure letter.  The board simply doesn’t like what I said.  My reply at the meeting to this censure letter will be posted when it is up on Vimeo.

In the meantime, read the letter and figure out, if you can, what they find so heartily objectionable,Letter of Censure Aug 28 or watch the video of the when the censure letter is read, followed by my response.

My prepared reply

You might also notice that the censure letter did not come on official letterhead nor was it signed by the Chairman.  It is nevertheless an official board document and what they handed me at the meeting.  And just exactly when did the rest of the board see this voluminous letter so that they could vote in the affirmative?

The whole meeting is here: 

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Filed under My censure, Pinocchio Academy, Sandown Issues, School Board Behavior

Green Threatened with Criminal Charge – update

UPDATE:  At 5:05 pm,  August 18, Lt. Baldwin left me a voice message inviting me into the police station on August 19 or 20th saying he had a few questions in order to close the file.  When I returned home, I sent him an email saying that I had decided not to meet with him since I have learned of his past service on the Timberlane School Board.

Here is the timeline of the action Dr. Metzler has taken against me which has culminated in police involvement. For background on “the incident” that was used as a pretext for what follows see my blog posting of July 24, “Target Acquired!
___________________________________
July 24, 2014     6:14 pm
Mrs Green – Today it was reported to me that you were both disrespectful and harassing to several employees. Of course I will investigate this report and if validated I will need to limit your access to the SAU. This is both disturbing and unfortunate. I will also be consulting with both the Plaistow Police Department and district council.
Respectfully,
Dr. Earl F. Metzler II
[I DID NOT REPLY TO THIS.]
_________________________________________
July 28   4:55 pm

Mrs. Green,

It has been reported to me that an investigation is being conducted by the Superintendent’s office concerning your interactions with an SAU staff member on July 24, 2014.  Until such time as the investigation is complete, you are hereby barred from entering upon the SAU #55 premises without the expressed written permission of the Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Metzler will make appropriate arrangements for you to conduct your duties as a school board member.

Nancy

[Nancy Steenson, Chiarman Timberlane REgional School Board]

[I DID NOT REPLY TO THIS.]

_______________________________________________________________

Dear Mrs. Green,

I have been assign to  investigate an incident that occurred on July 24, 2014 at approximately 11:30am at the SAU 55 Office . This incident took place at the SAU 55 Office which is located at 30 Greenough Road, Plaistow, New Hampshire.

On August 1, 2014 at 8:52am, I received an e-mail from my Communication Center Supervisor stating you had called the Plaistow Police Department and requested a return phone call in reference the incident at SAU on July 24, 2014. The call back number you left was  974-0758. On the same day I returned your call between 3-3:30pmapproximately and was unable to make contact with you. However, I did leave a voicemail. The purpose for me reaching out to you at this time, is to have you come down to the Plaistow Police Department give your side of the incident. I also will need a written statement completed as well. I look forward to your cooperation in this investigation.

Please give me a call today (August 4, 2014) so we can set up the interview.   I  certainly appreciate in advance your time and cooperation in this matter.

Respectfully,

Lt. William M. Baldwin

Operations Lieutenant/Emergency Management Director

Plaistow Police Department

27 Elm Street

Plaistow, New Hampshire 03865

Dispatch:    (603) 382-1200

Office:          (603) 382-1200 ext. 326

Fax:              (603) 382-4172

Cell:              [redacted]

Email: wbaldwin@plaistow.com

____________________________________________________

August 5, 2014   10 pm

Dear Lt. Baldwin:

Please forgive my delay in responding.  Here is a signed written statement concerning July 24.  If you have any further questions, please call me before Friday, August 8th as I will be in Canada for a week without easy phone or computer access, returning on August 15, 2014.
Thank you,
Donna Green
[The statement says the same thing as my blog entry but with names.]
 _______________________________________________
August 5, 2014  10:05 pm
Lt. Baldwin,
I would like to see and copy the security recording at the reception desk for the time period I was in the building.  Did you in fact order the SAU not to release this recording for viewing?
If so, could you give me an indication as to when this recording will be available to me?  It should be completely exculpatory and I do hope you have viewed it.
Thank you and best regards,
Donna Green
___________________________
August 6, 2014 9:03 am
Dear Mrs. Green,

I appreciate the email you sent yesterday and the written statement.  However, I need to speak with you in person because I do have questions related to the July 24, 2014 incident. Please let me know when you can come to the Plaistow  Police Department either this afternoon or tomorrow. Thank you very much .

Respectfully,

________________________________________________________
August 6, 2014   11:50 am
Dear Lt. Baldwin,

I am available this afternoon at your convenience.  Please name the time and I’ll be there.  Could you tell me how long this might take as I have some other errands to run in Plaistow.
Thank you,
Donna Green
____________________
August 7, 2014 1:06 pm
Dear Lt. Baldwin:

As we weren’t able to connect yesterday, could you please tell me the status of the investigation?
Do you know yet if you are gong to be laying charges?
I wanted access to the building today to review invoices but permission was not forthcoming.  Could you tell me my status with respect to my access to the SAU building if you don’t lay charges?
This is a very odd situation with respect to an elected official (who did absolutely nothing wrong) so I do hope we can resolve this matter soon.
Thank you,
Donna Green
__________________________________________________
August 7, 2014 1:19 pm

Dear Mrs. Green,

I appreciate your email.

In respect to yesterday, I was in a meeting all day( August 6, 2014).

I need to sit and talk with you in reference the incident on July 24, 2014. I have a some questions that I need clarified by you. I cannot be rushed or be on place a time crunch while I am interviewing you. So your cooperation is need and I need you to call and make appointment as soon as it is convenient for you. I realize you are going away, however I did reach out to you twice prior to your first email to me so I could speak with you.

Again, this is an ongoing investigation. You stated this is an odd situation with respect to an elected official. In actuality it is not odd situation. Harassment depending on the circumstances can be a very serious situation.

As far as your access to the SAU building, I do not control that nor do I have any say whether you can go in there or not. That issue is between you and the District/Dr. Metzler.

Please let me know when you can sit down and speak with me at the Plaistow Police Department.

Respectfully,

_________________________________________________

August 7, 2014  2:27 pm

Dear Lt. Baldwin:

My lawyer is not available today.  As it happens, he and I are going on vacation at the same time.  He will be back in the office on August 18th at which time I will get back to you.

Thank you for your patience.

_________________________________________

August 7, 2014 2:55 pm

Dear Mrs. Green,

I appreciate the email.  Certainly it is your option to bring a lawyer, but not necessary at this time. My purpose of that statement is  to get your side of the incident.  Please call when you can to set up an appointment as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time.

______________________________

Shortly after this exchange I left a voicemail message with Lt. Baldwin telling him of my (generous) availability upon my return from vacation and asking him to call and leave a message as to when he would like to see me.  So far, he has not emailed or called.

Lt. William Bladwin was formerly the chairman of the Timberlane Regional School Board.  He served on the school board with many of the same people who censured me: Mr. Mascola, Mr. Collins, Mrs. Steenson and Mr. Bealo.  Mr. Baldwin is currently the chairman of the Atkinson Board of Selectmen.

Readers should know that no one from  the school board has contacted me about my censure which occurred in my (deliberate) absence from a meeting; neither has anyone from the school board or the SAU board contacted me about the no trespass order issued by Dr. Metzler which restricts my access to the SAU building – except to announce it to me; nor has anyone from the school board or the SAU contacted me about the cause for the initial argument with the SAU employee.  The reason for this is clear.  It is not the issues which are important here, it is only the attempt to discredit me that matters.

 

 

 

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Filed under My censure, Pinocchio Academy, Sandown Issues, School Board Behavior

Overexpenditures DO REQUIRE SB VOTE

Last week on this blog we proved that the receipt of more than $1 million from the LGC HealthTrust did, in fact, require a public hearing despite the School Board’s claims to the contrary at the special July 16th meeting.  (See July 26th post )  Now let’s destroy the other claim made by the School Board at this meeting; namely, that the School Board doesn’t need to vote on overexpenditures.

Here are the School Board Chairman’s  exact words from the July 16th meeting,  (Time: 2:40:00  – 5:45:00)  If you become befuddled, it is because Mrs. Steenson is talking utter nonsense, but please continue reading.  Your taxes depend on all of us understanding the sophistry at play here.

Mrs. Steenson:

The first item I’d like to address is policy DBJ – Transfer of appropriations. I’d like to begin with some prepared words and then open it up to the board.

I’d like to address the issue of variances in the 2013/2014 budget.

First of all I’d like to remind the board and the public that we operate on a bottom line budget. We are given $65 million, give or take, by the taxpayers of our four towns, to run our school district. Some line items are over budget, and some are under budget. It is all legal and ethical.

Policy DBJ, which has come into question by some, requires approval of the school board to transfer funds over $5,000 between object codes.

Policy DBJ does not require school board approval to appropriate or spend more than $5,000 on any one item.

To illustrate this, because I’m not a budget person and I’m gonna assume some of you aren’t either, imagine a ledger sheet with two columns. The left side of the page is the planned budget for every line item and the right side of the sheet is the actual appropriation or money spent for every line item.

A transfer of funds results in a change on the left side of the ledger sheet, the planned expense. A transfer of funds has nothing to do with the right side of the ledger, or what is actually spent.

At the end of our fiscal year it is common to show variances. Some line items are over budget, and some are under budget, as I said before.

If we were to transfer funds as needed for expected expenditures, then we would not show any variances at all at the end of the school year. It is the practice of this district not to transfer funds as needed. The variance that results transparently shows the board and our taxpayers where we overspent and where we underspent. A transfer of funds would have negated that.

We exceed our budget on line items that we’re well aware of, such as the high school modulars the board approved last spring, or line items over which we have limited control, such as utilities,  due to the increasing cost of heating oil.

It makes no sense at all to keep moving or transferring funds from code to code to cover such variances.

In summary, the superintendent and business director cannot and do not overspend our bottom line budget, nor do they require board approval to overspend or underspend on any individual line item.

Do any members of the board have any questions or comments?

SEE  segments 2:57:00  TO  5: 44:00  AND ESPECIALLY   6:45:00 – 7:00:00

First, some vocabulary.  A budget line approved by voters is the APPROPRIATION.  “Appropriation” means simply setting aside for a purpose.  In order to pay a positive variance in a budget line, a transfer of appropriation must take place (per NH budget law RSA 32:10). Policy DBJ says that when the variance is $5,000 or larger and the money is being moved between object codes, the School Board must approve the transfer. (An object code is a broad budget line identifier as presented to voters at Deliberative.)

Way back in October 2013 when I was on the school budget committee, I asked Mr. Stokinger about transfers of funds.  Here is Mr. Stokinger’s response to my question about transfers of money between line items in the budget.  Here he states that, by policy, overexpenditures of $5,000 or more must be approved by the school board.   It makes perfect sense:

So, Mrs. Steenson, I don’t know “whether you don’t understand or you don’t like it” (as you said to me in the July meeting), but you are wrong and you promulgated your misinformation at a public meeting called to specifically set the record straight. Furthermore, you should have known you were incorrect.  Only 5 months before, in February, you voted for a fund transfer from the High School to move funds from a math book account to a  math online access fee account.

Here is  an excerpt from the school board minutes of February 22, 2014:

A fund transfer was requested from the High School to move funds from a math book account to a math online access fee account to purchase a 6 year license and books for an online program for two different math programs.  Motion: Mr. Blair motioned to approve the transfer request of $6,271.04 for the High School online math program. Mr. Bealo seconded. With no further discussion the motion passed by unanimous vote.

Mascola: You don’t normally need our permission to do this.
Collins: Over $5,000… and if it changing object codes, I believe… so that’s why.

Furthermore, on May 22, 2014,  SAU employee, Cathy Belcher, circulated to all school board members the following email from Dr. Metzler [emphasis mine]:

May 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM, Belcher, Catherine <Catherine.Belcher@timberlane.net> wrote:
Due to the late cancellation of tonight’s school board meeting I want to inform you that under policy DBJ I will be spending approximately $120k on Guided Reading Libraries curriculum with funds originally budgeted for math curriculum. The math curriculum program change was not adopted by the board in June 2013. Although not adopted in June 2013, these monies were actually budgeted for and approved for spending during the 2013-14 school year. Some of the original funds were expended for math curriculum to support our current program. This literacy need has been identified as this is a top priority by our elementary principals. Again, per policy DBJ, the object code for these two curriculum items are the same, thus it is within my authority to authorize this purchase. Additionally, the deadline for this order is this Friday, May 23rd. Savings to the district for meeting this deadline is $26,221.50. Scholastic Classroom and Community Group indicated the order must be placed no later than May 23rdin order for us to receive this discount. It was my intention to bring this up at our board meeting tonight; however, due to the cancellation this email will now serve as my notice to you. Dr. Earl Metzler

It should be clear by now that Policy DBJ absolutely applies to overexpenditures on budget lines and that the TRSB has abdicated all fiscal oversight over the budget by twisting the interpretation of Policy DBJ at the July 16th meeting so that it is not only meaningless but absurd.

TRSB Policy DBJ
It is the intent of the School Board to limit its spending to the amount specified for each line item. However, the Superintendent is authorized to transfer funds between line items when necessary to achieve school Board policy goals, except that excess funds may not be transferred from the Unemployment Compensation line item. Any transfer of non-grant funds between object codes (expense code) that is $5,000 or more requires School Board approval in advance.
Statutory Reference: RSA 32:10;  RSA 282-A:71, III;   Per RSA 32:10

For a very detailed refutation of Mrs. Steenson’s “interpretation” of Policy DBJ, see the fabulous work of Cathy Gorman, Timberlane school budget committee member on this issue.  She kindly permitted me to reproduce her handout here.  It was originally given to the Sandown Board of Selectmen on July 28, 2014.

Ms. Gorman Proves Policy DBJ Applies to All Variences

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Filed under Budget Committee, Expenditures, My censure, Pinocchio Academy, School Board Behavior

News Flash: Green Barred from Entering SAU Building

Email today from Nancy Steenson, Chair of Timberlane School Board. Received at 5:02 p.m.

Mrs. Green,

It has been reported to me that an investigation is being conducted by the Superintendent’s office concerning your interactions with an SAU staff member on July 24, 2014.  Until such time as the investigation is complete, you are hereby barred from entering upon the SAU #55 premises without the expressed written permission of the Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Metzler will make appropriate arrangements for you to conduct your duties as a school board member. 

Nancy


I might note that no one from the SAU has contacted me about this incident, so thorough has been their investigation to date. Nor have they provided the security recording I requested that will exonerate me from this ridiculous “investigation.”   The clock is ticking on that.

AUGUST 1, 2014 UPDATE:  More than a week from the supposed “incident,” no one has contacted me – not Dr. Metzler, not the police, not anyone.  The security recording has not been given to me in disregard of the Right to Know law.  Dr. Metzler has been reported as saying that Green is an obstructionist and that I will not be allowed to use rudeness and disrespect to accomplish my objectives.  The only rudeness and disrespect going on here is that from the administration towards me. At the July 16th meeting Dr. Metzler said I was a waste of a representative for Sandown. This is an odd statement coming from an employee talking about an elected official who is charged with overseeing his performance.

I would draw your attention to something I posted here on July 18 in reply to my censure:  “It is true that I refuse to meet with Dr. Metzler because I will not make myself vulnerable to accusations of backroom deals. Public business is to be conducted in public.”  My apprehensions about interactions outside of the public eye have been born out.  Timberlane must surrender the security recording  or stop trying to ruin my reputation and impede my service to Sandown.  Have there been any sanctions against the employee who raised her voice to me?

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Filed under My censure, Pinocchio Academy, Right to Know issues, SAU 55 Issues, School Board Behavior