Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 8, 2006

Building committee given go-ahead for $30,000,000

Filed under: Middle & High School — Editor @ 3:47 pm

Last Thursday approval was given for the formation of a building committee to spend up to $30M on the main campus.  For those who missed it, here is my letter explaining my vote.  Your comments are welcome.

 

“Vote to form a new Chariho School building committee is premature given lingering questions” 12/06/06

  On Thursday, Nov. 30, a vote was taken at the Chariho Middle School to form a building commit­tee addressing construction at the middle and high school cam­pus – I voted against it. 

A shortage of space at the main campus, most notably with the RYSE program is the impetus for action. I’m not convinced that $ 30 million allocated only for the main campus is the only solution. My concerns are twofold:  

• My first question addressing the space issue is if the main campus is appropriate for 5th­and/ or 6th- graders? They cer­tainly have more resources, but at age 10- 12, are they better off in a more familiar location closer to home? Most importantly, do they achieve better academic per­formance on the larger campus  

• The second question is regarding the RYSE program. Special needs and alternative learning services were previously provided off campus, often with expensive tuition and transporta­tion costs. Locating these stu­dents on the main campus cre­ates tremendous savings, but will it still be a savings when bond and corollary expenses are accu­mulated. 

And, obviously, we need to be sure we are providing a better service for the students. Intuition tells me yes, at least for some, but I think it’s too soon to tell.  There are other schools in the state that have pulled students from tuitioned placements and ended up sending them back because they couldn’t meet the students’ needs. RYSE provides a variety of services, and I would want to know we had all our bases covered before locking it in with new construction. 

Hopkinton Town Councilor Sylvia Thompson’s proposed amendment could have addressed these issues. She pro­posed to include the elementary schools in the building commit­tee’s construction options. Construction or repair at the ele­mentary level could have result­ed in fewer students at the main campus, thus creating more space for RYSE. This would also provide us time to thoroughly analyze the program’s viability and potential needs, before investing. But it was defeated. 

I honestly have not made up my mind. But voting for the building committee, to me, would have said I had. A vote of that magnitude, with an impending fire safety bond, seemed prema­ture at best. And after $ 30M on the main campus and unknown millions for fire suppression, will we be able to afford the elemen­tary school needs? We need to evaluate our priorities. 

Clearly, the building committee is not the end of the road. It will forward a recommendation to the school committee. If and when it is approved, the voters will have the final say. I am sure there will be a lot of discussion in that time.

On a related note, one of my campaign platforms was to open a communication link so that I and other committee members could listen to more voters about these and other issues.  Please visit http://cspf.award­space.com ( no “ www”) and share your thoughts.

 Bill Felkner Ashaway member, Chariho Regional School Committee

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1 Comment »

  1. […] It has always been my contention that the 1904 building could and should continue to be used.  I am not convinced that the $3.2M figure estimated to fix up the building is accurate (and there has been no formal evaluation that I know of).  However, even if we accept it as accurate, I still believe that a new building would cost considerable more.  […]

    Pingback by Hopkinton Town Council Denies Chariho Lease Change « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — December 21, 2006 @ 8:40 pm | Reply


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