Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 4, 2007

Hopkinton endorses bond proposal 4-0 w/ 1 abstain

Filed under: Budget,Chariho,Hopkinton — Editor @ 12:26 pm

There is more to this story than was reported.  Hopefully the entire story will come out. 


Hopkinton council joins in backing Chariho plan By Brian Quinlan The Sun Staff HOPKINTON –

The Hopkinton Town Council joined its Richmond and Charlestown counterparts Monday night in supporting the Chariho Regional School district’s building plan. With four councilors voting in favor of the $26-million project and coun­cilor Barbara Capalbo abstaining, the council paved the way for Chariho offi­cials to submit legislation to the General Assembly in advance of a vote next November. If voters approve the project, construction could start in June 2008 and be finished by June 2010. 

Following the vote, Superintendent Barry Ricci said he was very pleased that not one councilor voted against the proposal in the three towns.

 “I think it’s great that in the three towns, 15 councilors voted and no one opposed the project,” said Ricci. 

The building plan calls for a 14,800­square-foot addition to the high school and a 4,050- square-foot addition to the middle school, as well as a new 12,000-square-foot building to house the Reaching Youth through Support and Education School. That program is currently housed in portable class­rooms. The plan also suggests a num­ber of upgrades to the buildings on the Switch Road campus, including improved gymna­siums, locker rooms and heating ventilation and air conditioning systems. 

The proposal represents the fourth building plan within the school district since 2000, with voters turning thumbs down on the previous three. Monday night’s Hopkinton endorsement for the current project did not pass without a fair amount of discussion. 

Capalbo and Councilor Thomas Buck suggested splitting the bond to allow voters to decide separately on the three different ele­ments of the plan. Both said that by splitting the vote, it would preclude opposition to one part of the plan from sinking the entire project. Buck said that he couldn’t imagine the high school improvements and addition – which is the largest part of the plan – not passing if the question was split. “Wouldn’t it be nice to get a piece of the pie instead of the whole plan failing?” Buck said. “We’ve tried to pass bonds and nothing gets through … Look at our his­tory. All or nothing has got­ten us nowhere. I want to give this the best chance to pass.” 

Capalbo said this morn­ing that she abstained from the vote because the town council’s language wouldn’t force the building commit­tee to split the plan. Capalbo said she favors splitting the vote into two parts, with the RYSE addi­tion as one question and the middle school and high school additions as another question. “It can still be split, but they don’t have to do it,” she said. “Since we didn’t do it legislatively, the split will be at the discretion of the building committee.  If you give the people two or three options, there’s a better chance you won’t lose the whole thing.” 

While the council was mostly in favor of splitting the question, Councilor Beverley Kenney, whose husband Gregory chairs the building committee, strong­ly opposed the idea and said she wanted to see the bond put before voters in one piece.

On the other hand, Council President Vincenzo Cordone said the idea had merit. Ricci said the idea of split­ting the vote was “interest­ing” and that if councilors prepare a resolution for him, he will take it before the school committee. Nevertheless, he said it would still be up to the school committee to decide whether the vote would go before voters as a whole or in pieces. 

Gregory Kenney offered a 20- minute presentation during last night’s meeting, complete with pictures of the current conditions at the school and cost break­downs for the entire project. Over the course of the 20­year bond, Kenney said interest would total roughly $ 14.5 million, for a total project cost of about $40.5 million. He said the district anticipates receiving some $22.68 million in state aid, which would leave $ 17.8 million to be funded by tax­payers. With the cost split equally by the towns, the annual cost to each town would be about $ 296,853. Hopkinton’s tax rate would increase by 30 cents per $ 1,000 of assessable property valuation and Charlestown’s tax rate would be rise by about 14 cents. Richmond would see the greatest impact of about 35 cents per $1,000, said Kenney. The additions would allow the district to stop using portable classrooms, which would save $ 296,552 on operating costs, Kenney said. 

Buck, a local business­man, cautioned the district to really look at “what it needs.”“ There’s a difference between what you want and what you need,” Buck said. “We have to look at this project in terms of what needs to be done.”



  1. That must have been one heckuva presentation that Mr. Ricci made Monday night? I’m glad I taped it and I look forward to being brainwashed when I get a chance to watch it.

    Mr. Ricci managed to convince 4 elected officials to support a bond that ensures continuing social damage to our 5th and 6th graders.

    He managed to convince the, seemingly, only Councilor with a conscience to abstain, rather than vote no.

    He managed to fool a reporter, Mr. Quinlan, into believing that the State of Rhode Island has access to money it doesn’t get from taxpayers, and therefore the only “taxpayer” funded part of the bond comes from the towns. I guess Rhode Island will be picking the rest of the funds off the money tree in back of the Capitol Building? I hope they watered it.

    He managed to elicit support for enlarging the middle and high school even though enrollment is stable or declining.

    I’m not sure where he learned these skills, but Mr. Ricci must be a hypnotist. Either that, or the citizens of Hopkinton have once again elected a band of fools.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 4, 2007 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  2. I am sorry – I responded under Analysis Math.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 4, 2007 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

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