Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 31, 2007

Analysis – Math

Filed under: Uncategorized — Editor @ 11:25 am

New information is on the Analysis-Math page – in the right-hand column.


  1. I think I misunderstood something. The vote on April 10th is for the budget, not the bond? The bond is to be voted on some time in the future?

    Mr. Felkner, what is you view on the budget? I’ve spend a little time today looking it over, and have several areas of concern.

    First, as I’ve previously noted, I see no reason why we are spending almost $1,000,000 in psychological services. In my budget review, I also discovered we spend over $300,000,000 for social workers! What the heck is going on!?! Social workers in school!?!

    Why do children need social workers? Social workers should work with adults. They should only be involved with children to the extent that parents want them interacting with their children. Please tell me that there is not also a state mandate for social workers? If there is, like psychologists, parents should determine for themselves if they need access and these services should be included in a school budget at the bare minimum that is required by mandates.

    I see that we are spending over a quarter million dollars for pre-school. I was not aware that Chariho offered pre-school. I could have saved thousands of dollars if I had known this, but then again, I do not feel it is the obligation of my fellow citizens to pay for my children’s pre-school. What is this item? Where is pre-school offered?

    There is a budget item titled “Self-Contained Program”. What is this? The proposed budget included over $2.7 million for the Self-Contained Program and it would be nice to know what it is? Maybe this is RYSE? That’s a ton of money for a few dozen students.

    The last big item I’m not familiar with is “Resource Services”. The budget for this category is over $2.2 million. Again, I am stuck on what this could possibly be? If you would be so kind, could you explain some of these budget categories and also give your opinions on them?

    Thank you.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2007 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  2. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. If you find out, please let me know and I’ll post the info. You could email Ricci directly though the Chariho website.

    I would assume that Social Workers are mandated. As well as the psychologists.

    I know self-contained is included in RYSE but not sure if it only RYSE. There may be self-contained personnel in the other schools. RYSE also includes the Alternative Learning Program (ALP).

    Resource Services are, if I understand it correctly, teacher’s aides.

    As far as what I think about the budget, the jury is out on that too. We were given the budget in our first month. There was no way to understand it well enough to make informed decisions. I will say that I did vote against passing the budget. I wanted the maintenance put in the budget rather than relying on the bond. As far as the services you mentioned, if they are mandated, we can’t cut them. But it might be a contract requirement too. The teacher contract was signed last year and is a 3-year deal.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 1, 2007 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  3. I simply can’t believe we are mandated to have $1,300,000 worth of psychological and social workers’ services and salaries? Maybe one roaming psychologist and administrative assistant, which would still be irritating, but I’d be stunned if we were mandated to have all these employees and services.

    Looking at North Kingstown, with 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school, and a proposed budget of around $55,000,000 for 2007 – 2008; their Social Service and Psychologists salaries combined were less than $360,000. There are 2 social workers and 4 psychologists proposed by North Kingstown.

    Chariho has 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school and a proposed budget of around $50,000,000 for 2007 – 2008. Here are some comparisons of note (dollar figures are rounded off):

    North Kingstown – $640,000 Social & Psychologist Services; Chariho – $1,300,000.

    North Kingstown – $518,000 for principals and asst. principals; Chariho – $842,000 (with 4 less schools!).

    North Kingstown – $2,300 for Dept. Head Stipends; Chariho – $95,300.

    North Kingstown – $120,000 for Superintendants; Chariho – $243,000

    North Kingstown – $0 Dean of Students; Chariho – $320,000 Dean of Students

    North Kingstown – $484,000 Maintenance salaries; Chariho – $210,000 maintenance salaries

    I could go on…but you get the gist. Apparently Chariho sees its mission to employ as many people as possible…except for maintenance because our school are in such great condition.

    When is that management study being conducted?

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2007 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  4. The school budget vote is Tuesday, April 10th at all Town Halls in Hopkinton, Richmond and Charlestown from 8am to 8pm. This is a simple majority vote – so one town can’t vote down the school budget.

    On the other hand, the bond vote is in November. This is now legislatively a full 26 million dollar bond. It is not, and cannot be, legislatively split into two parts. So that you could vote for one or the other or both. It is now simply an up or down vote. And this bond request can be voted down in total by one town. The school administration said that the building committee and the school board could separate the bond into two portions and build in a sequence, but they still have the 26 million to do as they choose within the confines of the bond.

    I do not have a problem with the high school and campus portion of the bond. The work here is long long overdue. The middle school and the RYSE school is the portion with which I have many concerns. Primarily because we still need a bond (or substantial maintenance within the school budget itself) to renovate all the elementary schools in all three towns. Let alone trying to bring back the 5th and 6th to education only within their town confines — which is a difficulty both individually and in concert. Our elementary students have had portable classrooms much longer than the RYSE school has had theirs. And those newer portable and enclosed classrooms are often better and nicer than the ones within the school itself.

    Maintenance put back into the school budget will raise that budget substantially, which is what GianCarlo and Bill have said. The budget is actually too low to accomplish the maintenance needed if the bond fails. When you realize that the school bonds have hit a brick wall four times in the last ten or twelve years it would seem obvious that they need to be split as Tom Buck originally suggested – brilliantly, I might add. Edward O. Wilson has said in his book “Consilience” that the “ability of the brain to generate novel scenarios and settle on the most effective among them is called ‘creativity’. The persistant production of scenarios lacking reality and survival value is called ‘insanity’.”

    We are nothing if not persistent.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 4, 2007 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  5. Ms. Capalbo, why do you not have a problem with a bond that enlarges the High School and Middle School? It is my understanding that the enrollment number are in decline?

    With TERC curriculum and declining education of our children, it is likely that more parents will look to private schools so rising enrollment isn’t likely any time soon.

    In looking at the budget, there is certainly substantial cost savings attainable if Chariho stops trying to be a social service organization and returns to the mission of education. As I’ve discovered when comparing our budget to North Kingstown’s, we spend much, much more in administrative salaries and much, much less in maintenance. We need to reverse this before I’ll accept any budget.

    I continue to ask all citizens to vote no on the bond and the budget. When Chariho acts responsibly, and treats my money like their own, then I’ll vote for proper funding. Until then, voters would be irresponsible to fund a school that doesn’t get the job done and demands more and more money every year.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 4, 2007 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  6. Hello CR,

    I do have a problem with enlarging the middle school — that part was a simple misquote. I wanted the high school maintenance plan (which includes some building as well) and the campus plan to be on one portion of the bond. The middle school and RYSE school on the second portion of the bond. The high school — as you have pointed out — has had effectively no maintenance (since there is so little in the budget) and truly needs to be renovated. I assume the track may need this as well – and many community and school people use this facility. The maintenance building is iffy, but may be needed.

    I am not against the bond in total. I am thoroughly against giving Chariho the entire 26 million, which it will do with as it chooses, without giving all our citizens in all our towns the opportunity to vote for or against these two portions. And if it was not done legislatively it could only be done if Chariho feels like it. I believe this is not to our advantage as tax-payers. For all we know, Chariho would have gotten all of the bond passed, but as they continue to disbelieve history thay are damned to repeat it. I was actually trying to make sure they got what they needed, not necessarily
    what they wanted.

    I also believe that Tom Buck and I were the only ones in all three towns at least trying to question the bond and trying very hard to get the separation of program to the public for their vote. It is now only an up or down question legislatively. And one town can still vote it down — Hopkinton being generally the chosen culprit. “Not to be silent and ever on our guard” is not simply the town motto but the town truth. I have a great deal of respect for Yankee ingenuity and frugality. I believe all three of the towns would have voted to pass the high school and campus needs – and the school should have given us all the option. It is now, however, All or Nothing.

    I respect your research and your comments CR — some are just perfect (but I think it is AdD). But some of us have to stand in public and be vilified for our positions – which are complex. Tom and I are not simply for or against the school issues –we have town positions too which need our research, opinions and thoughts. And we will not always be on the same page — but overall we are on the side of better education for all our children – the brightest and the most troubled.

    Thanks for your comments (and you too Foxes) and all your valuable time.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 4, 2007 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  7. Ms. Capalbo, I empathize with you and I certainly hope that you are not villified by anyone for looking out for the interest of the town and our children.

    I am also not against the school. I am against needlessly wasting taxpayer’s money, and I always remain aware that the money spent by government is earned by citizens.

    Many of us struggle to manage our own household budgets and we scrimp and save merely to get by and continue to live in this community. When I look at a school budget with frivolous spending and unrealistic expectations of what we can afford, I am discouraged and frustrated.

    My neighbor’s talk about moving to another state where their children can receive a better education at a lower cost, and I can’t help but feel anger toward educators and politicians who speak and vote as if they live in a different place than the rest of us.

    For all the whining about teachers’ pay and benefit; with all the chicanery surrounding the amount of administrators at Chariho; I can’t help but wonder how out of touch the decision-makers are with the ordinary Hopkinton citizen working long, hard hours simply to afford to live in this community? Where is the compassion for these people.

    You referred to the old trick of using children as shields in one of your letters to the editor. When I see this tactic employed it makes me wince. Our children’s entire life does not revolve around Chariho. Our children come home to their parents where they are being taught values, decency and respect. Chariho may seek to build the Taj Mahal, but children also need their parents to have enough money to provide decent housing, food, and life essentials. It would be nice if our town left us some crumbs so we could afford some amenities too.

    Don’t people get tired of living life on the financial edge while government seems to have not a financial care in the world? I know I do.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 5, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  8. I understand and agree. Parents are the most important people in the lives of children. Our comfort and calmness often is the result of a balance in our financial lives not just our balance of home, family, church, community. We give to our neighbors, our churches and our families on all levels, but finances are particularly stressful and when parents are worried and frightened it reflects poorly in the home. Reasonably.

    Hopefully other people will look at the scores – not even nationally, just within the state or district. It’s on Chariho’s own website. It’s not hidden – look at the NECAP scores and compare them to another community. This is the same test, same state, same kinds of students. North Kingstown and Barrington are not in a separate country – look at how they run their schools. Compare. Maybe we do some things better, maybe they do. Intelligence is never afraid of comparisons or passionate discussions – and we are all passionate because we care.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 5, 2007 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

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