By Thomas P. Caldwell
BRISTOL — Ever since School Administrative Unit 4 broke off from SAU 2 to form its own, single-district supervisory unit, members of the Newfound Area School Board also have served on an SAU 4 Board. Superintendent Stacy Buckley on Monday informed members that state statutes do not require separate boards for single-district SAUs and she said Newfound could eliminate the SAU 4 Board before the March School District Meeting.
State RSA 194-C:3 states, "Single district school administrative units shall be considered the same as a single school district and shall be exempt from meeting the requirements of this chapter, except that they shall provide superintendent services pursuant to RSA 194-C:4."
Currently, the SAU 4 Board, which chooses its officers separately from the Newfound Area School Board but comprises the same membership, hires the superintendent and oversees the central office budget. The Newfound Area School Board oversees the school district operations with oversight of the buildings and grounds, also preparing the district's operational budget. That budget includes the SAU 4 budget.
Most SAUs govern multiple school districts with a central office budget that is apportioned among the member school districts. Each of the school districts appoints board members to serve on the SAU Board.
Superintendent Buckley said that having two boards with the same members approving the same budgets is a needless duplication.
The discussion came up as the superintendent reviewed the central office budget at an SAU meeting taking place prior to the Newfound Area School Board meeting. Buckley pointed out that the budget they were reviewing had already been approved as part of the Newfound District budget.
"You can revoke your policy and have the SAU managed by the Newfound School Board," Buckley said, suggesting that the board take the matter to the policy committee for review.
SAU 4 Board Chair Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater, who also serves as chair of the Newfound Area School Board, said that board also could handle it by suspending its policy in perpetuity, but he warned that making any change would affect a number of other board policies.
"I would like to think about this for a while," he said. "We would have to change all policies referencing the SAU 4 Board."
Vice-Chair Ruby Hill of Danbury moved that the board send the matter of disbanding the SAU 4 Board to the policy committee for review and a recommendation.