As concerns rose, and parents came together in various forums, it became clear that our elected officials (school boards) were not representing their constituent parents and taxpayers, but rather, voting inline with the recommendations of the superintendent, a hired hand of the Joint Board (33 school board seats representing many school boards within SAU16) . This is the polar opposite of how the system is set up to function. The school boards should be in control; not the superintendent.
Once momentum exponentially grew within our organization, we met regularly, set up a leadership team, and began digging deeper into the details of our SAU. Our members began attending and video recording all subcommittee meetings, budget hearings, and school board meetings. Those meeting minutes and video recordings were transcribed, dissected, and thoroughly reviewed for it's content accuracy. What became abundantly clear, and should be concerning for all parents, grandparents, current SAU16 educators, and taxpayers, is that none of our SAU16 school boards provide oversight to it's administrators, superintendents, and assistant superintendents, but rather seem to see themselves as cheerleaders, partnering with the administration, instead of acting to hold them accountable.
On issues of varying magnitude, the Boards never demand answers and accountability from the administration. During the 2021 discussions on the proposed 2022-2023 budget, a question was brought forth from a Joint School Board elected official in regards to the newly proposed salary increases proposed by Superintendent Ryan (for himself and other senior administrators); to paraphrase, "Can someone on the Joint Board make a motion to allow us (the Joint Board) the ability (power) to discuss, determine, and potentially approve any salary increases, compensation package changes, and bonuses for the SAU16 administrators including superintendents?" (Something that is standard for any type of board). Superintendent Ryan, confirmed on the spot that the Joint Board has the ability to take back that power by a simple motion, a second, and a vote. Astonishingly, no school board member (of the 33) then made what would seem to be a completely obvious motion to provide some accountability and oversight into administrator salaries. Is this not absolutely extraordinary?
So, it should come as no surprise that our SAU16 superintendent has one of the highest salaries in the state (and with vacation buy-backs and other perks, possibly the highest). Additionally, we have both the 1st and 3rd highest paid assistant superintendents in the state... and that is before the 3% raises that they just voted into the latest budget for themselves (completely unopposed by the 33 Joint Board officials). Wouldn't it be interesting to see what might happen if our administrators salaries were tied to state rankings?
How can you help? Get out and vote on March 8, 2022.