HAMPSTEAD – Jason Cipriano of the Hampstead School District is the unanimously elected chairman of the reorganized School Administrative Unit (SAU) 55 Board. Peter Bealo from the Timberlane Regional School Board was unanimously elected new vice chairman.
SAU 55 encompasses both the Hampstead and Timberlane school districts; the Timberlane district covers Sandown, Atkinson, Plaistow and Danville.
Superintendent Earl Metzler noted the 2014-2015 budget is the default budget, at $1,455,409.
Donna Green of Sandown questioned whether the merit pool was in the default budget and whether salary increases would be forthcoming.
After some discussion at the Wednesday, April 16 meeting, Metzler said, “This is a zero-based budget and the line items will all be adjusted, but I have $1,455,409 to run the SAU business. Merit pool is included and when the evaluations are complete, I will give merit pay and raises as I see fit. Because it is a bottom line budget, I can do that so long as I do not overspend the bottom line.”
Dates were set for the Superintendent’s evaluation, with the first of several meetings set for May 7 for the board to discuss compilation of review forms provided by staff and the self-evaluation from Metzler prepared by Cathy Belcher, administrative secretary.
Metzler said that while the board stipulated last year that the evaluation forms could be anonymous if the staff or board members preferred, “I do not find them very useful because I think it is important to know where the evaluation information is coming from.”
At a meeting on May 21, Cipriano and Bealo will present for the board’s approval the evaluation letter, and plans will be made to meet with Metzler to review the evaluation prior to June 30.
In other business:
• Metzler also provided a Food Service update. He said the Timberlane District is about $67,365 less in the red this year than last year. The total indebtedness for Timberlane was $105,836 for 2013, while this year to date it is $38,471. He said this is more manageable and the changes introduced and put in place by provider Whitsons and the SAU are paying off.
He noted that the Hampstead and Timberlane Districts still charge much less for lunches than many other districts. The Hampstead School District was in debt $44,266 for 2013 but this year has a $6,820 debt.
“While we are almost going to break even in Hampstead for the year, we won’t in Timberlane but we are much closer,” he said.
The board briefly discussion whether it would make sense to bring Food Service in house. Metzler ended the discussion by noting an in-house Food Service program would never be profitable and would pose risks not now born by the districts.
• The board was asked to approve a summer schedule with a four-day work week. The Timberlane district has already voted to be closed on Fridays. A couple of board members questioned the reasoning behind the four-day week, noting there wouldn’t be much of an energy saving at the SAU if people were still working on Fridays even if the office was officially closed, but Metzler maintained that a flexible summer work schedule made sense and the majority of employees liked the four-day week for the summer.
The four-day week for the SAU was approved.
• The Superintendent’s Goals Update, a 400-plus-page document, was handed out for the board members to take home and review. The meeting schedule for the SAU Board was set, with the budget meeting Oct. 8, a work session Oct. 22, and a public hearing on Nov. 12.