Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you decide to cancel school?

A: Richard Wendell (School Buildings and Operations) shovels out his truck sometime after 3:00 a.m. and drives some area roads. Police reports and input from the bus company broaden his picture. He then calls the Superintendent who makes the decision: cancel, 2 hour delay, or school as usual. Then a phone tree is started to contact all administration, teachers, staff and media.

Q: How is the School Year Calendar determined?

A: The SAU #16 Joint Board (the combined school boards of the seven districts in SAU #16) agrees on the calendar by December. The N.H. Dept. of Education distributes a suggested calendar, with the understanding that individual districts may adjust it to meet local priorities. A particular challenge for our SAU is to coordinate the calendar with those of area high schools participating in the Seacoast School of Technology (SST): Epping, Newmarket, Raymond, Sanborn (Kingston), and Winnacunnet (Hampton). The calendars are posted as soon as they are approved on this website under Calendars.

Q: What is an SAU?

A: For purposes of administration and accountability, the State has created several “School Administrative Units.” Each SAU is directed by a superintendent of schools (technically a State employee) and one or more school boards. In SAU #16, the towns of Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields, and Stratham each elect a school board to oversee that town’s public education up through grade 5. The Exeter Region Cooperative School Board, responsible for grades 6-12 and Adult Education in all six towns, is elected by the combined voters of all six communities. The Exeter Region Cooperative School District is a legal entity, responsible for education in grades 6-12 as well as adult education, in the same manner that each town school district is responsible for education up through grade 5 in that town. For a chart of SAU 16 organization, click here.

Q: What are the advantages of a combined SAU?

A: Our SAU consolidates all business functions such as bookkeeping, accounts payable, receivable, payroll, etc. It also consolidates all of the human resource functions such as fingerprinting, FICA, annuities, retirement, health benefits, etc. Combining roles into a single office places emphasis on efficiencies by centralizing business operations, human resources, technology and administration.

Q: How is the COOP School Board selected?

A: Exeter Region Cooperative School Board - 9 members: 3 elected from Exeter, 2 from Stratham, 1 each from the towns of Brentwood, East Kingston, Kensington, and Newfields. In March during elections, regardless of the town a school board member represents, everyone voting has the right to choose the person they want for representation from any of the 6 Cooperative Districts. Example: John Doe is seeking election to the Cooperative School Board and lives in East Kingston. Voters from not only East Kingston could vote for John, but voters from Kensington, Brentwood, Newfields, Stratham and Exeter could also vote for him.

Q: What is the Joint School Board?

A: The Joint School Board consist of individual members of the 7 school boards in SAU 16. It meets three times annually, September, December and May. It is responsible for overseeing the SAU Administration and support staff. It also has budget responsibilities for SAU activities, i.e., technology, staff development, administration, etc. For Joint Board Policies, click here. For meeting minutes and agendas, click here.

Q: What is the SAU 16 Chairs Meetings?

A: The SAU Chairs is the meeting of all school board chairpersons. They meet on a monthly basis to discuss goals, concerns, activities, etc. of the SAU. They have prime responsibility for the evaluation of the superintendent. Regular meetings enable Board Chairs to keep their respective boards informed on SAU activities.

Q: What do the individual school districts do versus the SAU Administration?

A: Individual School Districts set policy, determine the budget, approve staff hirings & have facilities oversight responsibilities.

The SAU Administration recommends budgets, policies, facility improvements, purchasing, and the hiring of staff, etc. to the individual boards.

The SAU Administration coordinates school curriculums, staff evaluations, business functions, selected policies, professional development activities, human resource functions, etc.

Q: How can I find out when the next School Board Meeting is?

A: All Board Meetings are listed on the SAU 16 Event Calendar. Agendas are usually available a few days before the meeting.

Feel free to contact the SAU administrative staff at (603) 775-8400 if you have further questions or would like additional information.