The New Hampshire Union Leader published an editorial speaking directly to the expense of going to court over a pending lawsuit in SAU16. In Gender gymnastics: How much is this going to cost?, the editor makes several good points regarding the tax dollars that will be spent on this lawsuit.
Taxpayers in the Exeter School District will want to watch how their money is being spent to defend a lawsuit filed by a freshman at Exeter High. He is the boy who was suspended from the football team for a game because he declined to use “non-binary gender identity” in referring to other students. The school requires this.
Actions have consequences. Exeter should look to Loudoun County, Va. The school board there has agreed to pay part of the legal bill for a grade school teacher who was suspended for declining to abide by a school’s gender-terminology policy, which appears similar to that of Exeter. The Virginia Supreme Court has sided with the teacher. It ordered a stop to retaliating against Tanner Cross for speaking in opposition to the policy. The court also ordered the school board to remove references to the suspension from his personnel file, and to pay $20,000 for his lawyers.
The student has a good case based on the school policy that was used as a tool to punish him.
As I’ve said, with all of the show-boating by the Superintendent about diversity and inclusion, Christian students don’t seem to be feeling the love.
Students do not give up their first amendment rights when they walk through the school doors. The courts have put some limitations on speech but when you add religious rights to the mix, this student has a good case against the school district.
There is also another pending lawsuit in SAU16 that is adding costs to the district. It involves the refusal by Superintendent David Ryan to hand over documents for a 91-a Right-to Know-Request.
When the case went to court there were 43 documents Ryan refused to turn over to the resident who requested the documentation. Some of the information pertains to how the district was implementing Critical Race Theory. Maybe that’s why they want to keep this information hidden from the public?
I don’t know, but it sure makes you wonder.
I served on the Bedford Taxpayers Association (BTA) several years ago. I would scan through the school budget every year looking for ways to reduce expenses without hurting the quality of education. I would find some expenditures that the BTA would then request be eliminated from the proposed budget.
I have never seen such wasteful spending as I do in SAU16. I can’t imagine the taxpayers in Bedford putting up with the kind of reckless spending going on in SAU16 right now.
Here are some:
1) Legal fees and potential payouts to plaintiffs
2) Dues paid to The New Hampshire School Boards Association/ New Hampshire School Administrators Association. **Taxpayers fund them but have no say in how they lobby on legislation in Concord. Unfortunately most schools waste taxpayer dollars paying these dues.
3) Money spent on DEIJ
**Professional development, wages paid to staff on non-academic Critical Race Theory Agenda
4) $153,000 + benefits to a DEIJ Director
**Has presented no evidence his hiring will help students academically.
5) Uses a Public Relations Firm
**Is this to spin away incompetence? If so, it’s not working well.
**Organization used to push Critical Race Theory on staff, and is not focused on academic excellence in the schools.
This should require a thorough examination of the proposed school budget by taxpayers. For instance, wouldn’t it be better to reward the teachers in the classroom with a decent raise? What about higher wages for substitute teachers? LOOK HERE.
I never saw this kind of reckless spending in Bedford for the decade I served on the BTA. And their former Superintendent Tim Mayes agreed to put the check registry on the district website so we could check monthly expenditures without having to file 91-a/Right to Know Requests.
On the SAU25 web site: First click on Departments, then choose Business Services. Under that, you will see AP Check Registers, click it and it lets you pick the month.
I asked Tim Mayes, former Superintendent in Bedford, to post the check registry on the website. Not only does this reduce the time spent on 91-a requests, but it also shows the community a commitment to transparency.
You also have to look critically at the school board members in SAU16 especially Board Chairs Helen Joyce and Travis Thompson. Many of them have allowed this kind of mismanagement to continue, and taxpayers are not being well-served by those who forgot they are elected to represent residents.
Board members are not elected to make excuses for the administration. They are not elected to praise and worship administrators who can’t manage the finances better, or won’t prioritize the main mission of any public school: ACADEMICS.
School Board elections will be coming up in March. Many parents hope that through all of the scandals, fiscal irresponsibility, inability to resume in-person learning, a hyper-focus on Critical Race Theory; someone will step up to the plate and refocus attention back to what can make this school district great gain: ACADEMICS.
When you lose focus of your main mission, you need a new leader to step in and lead the district to excellence. That can be done with new board members who have the passion and excitement to lead SAU16 back to where it was in the past– back to a time when families moved to the district because of the district’s stellar reputation.
That no longer exists.
Enrollment and school rankings are down, and fiscal responsibility is absent. March is your chance to change direction. It’s obvious that many of these board members are ok with this trajectory. If you want something better, then support candidates who understand all of this and want real change –change that is focused on a return to ACADEMIC excellence.