HAMPSTEAD – A proposed Hampstead School District Policy hit a snag last week, as the School Board failed to approve it, even though it was on the agenda as a second reading. Policies are routinely approved by the School Board.
The Controversial Speaker and Program policy IMC was tabled until the Nov. 24 School Board meeting but will be an agenda item for the Nov. 10 meeting. This will allow the board to discuss the policy and make recommendations to the Policy Committee, which meets between the board’s Nov. 10 and 24 meetings.
Board member Jaye Dimando asked that the policy be separated from the other three policies that the board was to approve on the second read at its Tuesday, Oct. 27 meeting. She said she couldn’t vote to approve the policy because she thinks it involves a “common sense” issue and the policy is a knee-jerk reaction that doesn’t address the issue appropriately.
Board member Suzanne Barr basically agreed with Dimando, adding that she had a problem with the word “controversial.”
Board member Wayne Dinsmore wanted more time to look at the policy as it was written before it was amended following a flap over speaker Michael Donahue’s presentation at Hampstead Middle School last month at the Walk A Mile program, where he discussed topics such as suicide and cutting. Those topics upset some students, parents, and school personnel, and it was found that there was no written contract between the district and the speaker, a violation of the board’s own policies.
Board member Karen Yasenka, who was absent from last week’s meeting and who is a member of the Policy Committee, said when contacted, “It is the responsibility of the Policy Committee to deliver a product to the board for adoption. If the board is not satisfied that the policy is in the best interests of the Hampstead School District, they’re obligated to send it back for revision. That is how it is supposed to work.”
In other business at the Oct. 27 meeting:
• Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson introduced Geoffrey Dowd, a Hampstead resident and attorney, as the new School Administrative Unit (SAU) Business Operations Coordinator, formerly titled Assistant Business Administrator. As previously reported in the Tri-Town Times, in his new post Dowd will assist Business Administrator George Stokinger in all financial areas as well as oversee the facilities, maintenance, food service and transportation departments.
Dowd brings an extensive background in accounting, finance, budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and legal and negotiation support. He previously worked for Novell, Inc., where he held a number of roles, including Financial Analyst and Accountant, providing support to all general and administrative functions. He budgeted and forecasted for over $75 million in annual expenditures and was part of a team to implement zero-based budgeting as well as an implementation team for a multidimensional database reporting system. He is a licensed attorney and has also served as an adjunct lecturer in business law at Merrimack College’s Girard School of Business, Dowd is vice chairman of the Hampstead Zoning Board of Adjustment and is a member of the Hampstead Recreation Committee. He began his new assignment Oct. 26.