Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 28, 2006

Enrollment numbers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Editor @ 11:04 pm

Per request – enrollment by school attending and enrollment by residence has been posted here.

Is the budget increase 3.5%, 7.5% or somewhere in between?

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 6:05 pm

There is some confusion on the budget increase when taking the surplus into consideration.  The paper reports (as does Chariho) that the budget is increasing 3.5%.  Is this accurate?

There is currently a $2,370,000 surplus.  That money is yours – it was not given back to you (or your town) so it could be viewed as a deposit towards future budgets or past budget overruns.

A simplistic view would be to say that the $2.37M is approx 4% of the total budget ($51M).  In this light the budget actually is raised by 7.5% (the reported 3.5% plus 4%).   But this isn’t how it is being handled.

$1.17M of the surplus is being applied to last years budget (apparently due to costs not projected in the previous budget), thus whatever increase we were sold last year was actually $1.17M higher than originally presented.  However, if the money sent to last year’s budget is paying for capital improvements that are actually done over several years, it could just as easily be applied to this year’s budget. 

$1.2M of the surplus is being applied to this year’s budget.  Thus the current proposal is approx 4.5% higher than last year’s budget, as presented (it would be 5.5% but other revenues offset this increase).  However, when you apply the $1.17M to the previous budget (and the resulting interest earned on this money), the increase falls to approx 4%.  Deduct other revenues and the budget increase is actually closer to 5%.

Make sense? 

Personally I would prefer to have all surplus returned to the towns.  This way we can be presented with a more accurate account of what the school is costing us.  But I am 1 of 11 board members.  I do not doubt that other board members feel the same way, but since we are inundated with many many issues, it is impossible to deal with them all (thus the impetus for this website – to get parents involved).

Change will only come when we hear from the people who pay the bills.  You can find these figures in the “Revenue Projections” section of the budget page.

Now do you want to come to the budget meetings and express your thoughts? 

Budget online

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 3:39 pm

You can find the budget here.

[information pulled for further review]

Don’t forget the Hopkinton Town Council meeting on Monday Tuesday, this issue will be discussed.  Or tune in on Channel 18.

December 27, 2006

3.5% increase in proposed budget

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 9:20 pm

On the 21st, the Chariho Times reported on the proposed 3.5% budget increase.

Property taxes have doubled or tripled in the last 5-6 years.  We have a large number of senior citizens in our communities, often on fixed incomes.  If the budget goes up by only 1%, someone may loose their house because the property taxes have become too great.  If we increase the budget by 3.5%, the odds are even higher that someone (or several) may be forced to move.  We cannot avoid all budget increases (often due to mandatory salary increases and escalating health care costs) but we should keep this fact in mind as we discuss this budget. 

If you are concerned, do something about it.  Attend the meetings (next budget workshop is 1/14 – 6:00 at the Middle School library), write the papers, do whatever it takes to let your voice be heard.

On a related note, the article mentioned $942,000 in capital expenditures for the elementary schools.   I’ve heard there will be a presentation at the Hopkinton Town Council on this topic Be sure to tune in.

Bumping in school – the price paid by students

Filed under: National,Unions — Editor @ 7:32 pm

The NY Times ran an editorial against teachers union seniority rules.  Since it is nearly impossible to fire an incompetent teacher, principals and superintendents pressure them to transfer to a different school.  Seniority rules built into union contracts ensure that the teacher cannot be denied, bumping those with less seniority, even if the new school doesn’t want them.  

Are seniority rules in the best interest of the students?

December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas – even in California

Filed under: National,PC — Editor @ 9:45 pm

Winter and Spring breaks are once again called Christmas and Easter break in a California school district

“We’re just trying to uphold American cultural and religious history,” said Chad Vegas, a minister and member of the Kern High School Board of Trustees who proposed the name changes Dec. 6.

“Uphold American culture and religious history” –  in California no less.  It looks like it will be a very merry Christmas!  

My best wishes to you and yours for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a prosperous and moral New Year.

“Old Ashaway Elementary: The school that no one wants”

Filed under: Hopkinton — Editor @ 7:57 pm

The 1904 debate in today’s ProJo.

Superintendent Ricci was quoted as saying that the school “has no use for the building …. citing falling enrollment in the district, especially at the elementary level.” 

That “falling enrollment” will age to the middle and high school level.  And with the new private school in Richmond, enrollment may be even lower.  Something the building committee should keep in mind.

Narragansett finds “New Math” in need of additional support

Filed under: Elementary Schools,Student Performance — Editor @ 7:42 pm

As discussed before, the “New Math” or “Investigations” math has not been a huge success.  Students and parents alike find it difficult.  The only ones who seem to like it are those who continually tweak curriculum.  Perhaps if we focused on the basics, we wouldn’t need to supplement this teaching model with after-school programs.

“The complaints from parents tend to be along the lines of children not learning how to solve math problems and not learning the basics, such as their multiplication tables.”

Students around the world are eating our proverbial lunch (America ranks 12th (4th grade) and 15th (8th grade) in math scores worldwide).  In this global market, this will naturally lead to a dwindling standard of living for our children.

I wonder how many additional programs and instructors will be needed to bring math performance back up to the standards seen with the “old math.”  

December 20, 2006

Private School coming to Richmond

Filed under: Richmond — Editor @ 10:44 pm

This article in the Westerly Sun describes a private school coming to Richmond.  I’ll let you parse the details but two points strike me.

 As with any non-non-profit, you don’t go into business unless there is business to be had.  Perhaps this is connected to the reduced enrollment at Chariho listed in the previous post.

Secondly, the school administrator Charlotte O’Brien stated that the average teacher salary is below $30,000.  It is said that you should not to be too tough on teachers (reducing benefits, etc) because you want to attract the best.  If private schools consistantly outperform public schools (NAEP scores, the only test take in all states, is always higher in private schools), and they pay less, how do they do it?

There is a report that suggests public schools outperform private when adjustments are made for parent income.   These reports suggest that low-income students in public school perform better than low-income students in private schools.  Middle and upper-income students in private schools continue to outperform the public school students.

Westerly Sun reports repairs, maintenance and upgrades at the 1904 school

Filed under: Elementary Schools,Hopkinton — Editor @ 10:28 pm

The article outlined $68,170 spent on the school since 2003.  The approx $33,000 per year is 50% more than the $22,000 average claimed in the memo reported in a previous article.  Details were provided on such expenditures as repairs ($5,874 to Munro Electrical Supplies), maintenance ($38,290 to Martone Painting Company for masonry repair work (September 2003)), and upgrades ($4,988.15 to M.C. Electric Co. for lighting fixture, $3,880.95 to Modern Security Systems for security system installation (September 2004)).

During Monday’s Hopkinton Town Council meeting, a member of the Education Options Committee questioned whether funding for these expenditures at the Hopkinton Schools was equivalent to the money spent at Richmond and Charlestown.  

The Education Options Committee sent out some information outlining the amount of money spent at each school.  The info was garnered from the State Dept of Ed and shows approximately $250,000 spent each year on building maintenance, upgrade and repair at Hopkinton. 

I’ve toured this school recently and must say I thought it was an impressive building.  Large, bright rooms with high ceilings.   Ashaway classroom

It appears that that board voted against using it for one or more of the following reasons.  They don’t need the space due to the removal of 5th and 6th graders and dropping enrollment.  The condition of the building is so bad that it would be cost prohibitive to fix or upgrade it.  

I disagree with the second point and the first is a self-fulfilling prophesy. 

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