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October 27, 2013

Timberlane School Board changes mind about eliminating federal organization

School Board reverses decision one week later

PLAISTOW — The Timberlane School Board decided on Oct. 17 to recommend abolishing the federal Department of Education. Last week, they changed their minds.

The School Board voted, 4-3, Wednesday not to move forward with the previously passed recommendation. The board would have written a recommendation to the New Hampshire School Boards Association to eliminate the federal department.

“I didn’t see a clear rationale as to why we would ever want Congress to abolish our Department of Education,” School Board Chairman Rob Collins said. “The information that was presented to us was incomplete and cherry picked.”

At the meeting Oct. 17, School Board member Roger Barczak made a 10-minute presentation highlighting why the Department of Education should be closed.

“The main activity of the department is to provide grants to state and local governments,” Barczak said at the meeting. “However, channeling taxpayer dollars through Washington and then back to the states is an inefficient way to fund local activities such as education. It would be better if the states funded their own education programs free from all the paperwork that comes with federal aid.”

In the presentation, Barczak said the DOE’s budget had increased significantly, but that increase had little effect on the nation’s test scores.

Following the presentation, Barczak, Peter Bealo, Michael Mascola and Kelly Ward all voted to go forward with the recommendation. Susan Sherman, Kate Delfino and Nancy Steenson voted against it. Collins was not at the meeting.

But on Wednesday, the board reversed course. Collins made a presentation which shot down Barczak’s claims.

“He didn’t produce all the data,” Collins said. “He only showed (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores for 17-year-olds. But, if you look at 9-year-old scores and 13-year-old scores, the assessments don’t appear to be flat.”

The board voted again and the recommendation was rejected, 4-3. Collins voted against the motion, while Ward abstained.

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