SANDOWN – Though the Timberlane Regional School District board voted to support one its members in creating a committee to honor Sandown voters’ request to study the feasibility of withdrawing from the district, responsibility for that committee was shunned.
At their meeting earlier this month, the board voted to support Sandown representative Kelly Ward in his volunteering to set up a withdrawal committee with Sandown selectman Cyndi Buco.
Though the process looked as if it were going to wrap up quickly, Sandown’s other representative, Donna Green, asked for clarification on what the board was voting on.
Chair Nancy Steenson said they were only giving their support to Ward, not taking ownership of the committee.
Steenson said it was not a school board committee, as neither the board nor the district had voted to conduct the study; it was a town responsibility because the town voted for it.
Selectmen and those who spearheaded the petition warrant article that asked for the committee argue that the law is clear in saying the opposite: that the district is the facilitator of that committee.
But in the days immediately following the vote superintendent Earl Metzler said that according to district lawyers, the responsibility is the town’s.
The town’s lawyers said the opposite. As both attorneys came from the same firm, the selectmen have since found new counsel for the issue.
Green said it was a school board study, to be fostered and driven by the board. She added that a vote only to say that they support Ward “seems pointless, to say the least.”
“That’s not my understanding,” said Steenson. “The district didn’t vote for this, the town of Sandown voted for this.”
Green then asked whether, because the committee was not under the school board’s umbrella, any information requested for the study would be forthcoming from the School Administrative Unit (SAU).
“I can’t answer that. I don’t work for the SAU,” said Steenson.
“Well, it’s certainly not going to interfere with the business of running the district, but we’ll try to help as we can,” Metzler responded. “We’ll see.”
“Has anyone read the law here?” asked Green.
All voted for the motion but for Green, who abstained.