Superintendent Apologizes for Improper Email
By STEPHEN BEALE
School Superintendent Stacy Buckley last night apologized for a mass e-mail she sent to parents asking them to show up to a budget committee hearing and support the proposed school board budget.
The e-mail was sent out Jan. 9, in advance of a hearing Jan. 13. In the e-mail, Buckley notified parents of the date and location, then asked them to back the school board’s budget. “I would encourage all Goffstown residents to attend this hearing to provide support for the School Boards recommended budget,” Buckley wrote.
At the time, the budget committee was recommending a $561,379 cut to the school budget.
The e-mail was sent out to a list used to notify parents of school closings, their children’s grades, and other, routine announcements. Over 80 percent of parents in Goffstown are on the e-mail list, according to school board chairman Keith Allard.
At least one parent and one budget committee member, Bill Gordon, have protested the e-mail as a misuse of school district resources for political purposes. “It wouldn’t be so bad if they said just this, ‘There’s a meeting. You may want to attend. This is what it’s about,’” said parent Bill Wynne. “Once they said support the budget, the proposed budget of the school board, that steps over the line.”
Wynne called Buckley and asked her to resign over the matter. She refused. But, last night at the beginning of a school board meeting, she apologized for the e-mail.
“I sincerely apologize to the public for this e-mail,” Buckley said. “I in no way intended to create mistrust with the public. Please know that I understand the difficulties this has created for some people and I apologize for that. I appreciate the public’s understanding and concerns for the appropriate use of all district resources and information. Please know that in the future you can be certain that this will not happen again.”
Allard, the school board chairman, also apologized to the public last night. He said he and Buckley had spoken about issuing a message to parents about the budget hearing, but he said they did not discuss the wording or how the e-mail would be sent.
Allard said he was concerned about one sentence in the e-mail where Buckley asks for the public to support the budget. “Usually we try to be more generic and encourage parents to come out and be part of the process,” Allard said in an interview. “That’s been our common past practice in the district.”
Allard said the e-mail did not violate any school district policy or laws of which he was aware. Also, he said Buckley has the authority to send the e-mail without having it proofread or approved by the school board beforehand. But he said he would ask the school board to draft a policy establishing guidelines for future communication with parents.
by Keith Allard, January 19, 2009
by Stacy Buckley, January 19, 2009