Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 4, 2007

North Kingstown vs Chariho

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 12:42 pm

This was posted at Hopkinton Speaks – the author tried to post here but for some reason it didn’t work.  But the info has merit and I want to make sure everyone here got to see it.  

One point that must be made is that this comparison is based on the budget, not RIDE numbers.  So there can be no arguments about the validity (unless they want to claim that the budget is inaccurate).  Also, keep in mind that NK has about 4700 students, Chariho has about 3700. 

One descrepancy would be RYSE.  We would have more of certain services doing it in-house rather than out of district, but that should also mean less costs.  And it wouldn’t explain maintanance, administration and other differences.

After reading this information, ask yourself this question – is your money being well spent? 

We should also compare NK to Chariho on student performance.   Using NECAP scores for 8th graders, the percentage of students who score in the highest level (4) for NK were 14% reading, 21% math and 21% writing.  For Chariho the numbers are 7% reading, 16% math and 8% writing

Now lets look at the lowest performers.  NK has 5% in reading, 13% in math and 6% in writing.  Chariho has  8% reading, 22% math and 22% writing. 

I refuse to believe our students are not as smart as North Kingstown students.  There HAS to be another reason. 

If you believe that our students are not as smart, or as capable, then just continue to support the current situation.  If you believe they are capable of more, then do something about it. 

I’ll ask again – are you happy with the way your money is being spent?  Are you getting what you paid for?  Remember, RI per pupil spending on teacher salaries and benefits is the highest in the nation, and Chariho is amongst the highest in the state.

 From Curious Resident –

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 Superintendents; 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 thinks its mission is to employ as many people as possible…except for maintenance because our school are in such great condition. Keep in mind I’m just some person looking at two budgets with different formats, but some of the discrepancies are pretty obvious and very disturbing.

When is that management study being conducted?

[editor’s note] Not only should CR come out of anonymity, he/she should run for a political office!  We need more analytical thinkers.


  1. One big caveat…I am not a budget expert and the Chariho and North Kingstown budgets use very different formats and some different language.

    That said, the items I listed seemed pretty specific, and because North Kingstown’s budget actually tells us how many employees in each salaried budget item, those numbers should be accurate. I couldn’t find specific head counts in Chariho’s budget, so the only point of comparison is the dollar amounts spent. Since the superintendents’ each take up a budget line, it looks like we have two of them and North Kingstown has one.

    I will be voting against the budget for a host of reason. The lack of transparency in the budget is a big factor. Also, I’d much rather that the budgets be based on what we spend one year versus what we propose to spend in the next. I think it is an attempt to manipulate voters when surpluses and revenues are used to cloud spending comparisons. Chariho’s administration and school committee (Mr. Petit) are claiming that this budget is only a 3.06% increase, but I believe they are dodging reality by applying surpluses and including revenues. In my non-expert opinion, the real increase in spending is between 7% – 9%.

    As for specific budget items of concern, they are numerous. Psychological and Social services, RYSE, and Self Contained are among the list of high ticket budget areas that are not explained or understandable to the average taxpayer who is not intimately familiar with how the school operates.

    I looked at Westerly’s budget too, but found it difficult to compare since the budget format is so different than Chariho’s. I wish there was one budget format used for all Rhode Island schools so we could compare apples to apples.

    Addressing my anonymity, I am not as brave as many willing to put it on the line and fight against the tide of big government. I’ve had a few open battles with government in my life, and my family and I have suffered for it each time. I can’t tell you how much I admire Mr. Felkner, Ms. Capalbo and any other elected official who is willing to buck the system and do what is best for the community. Too often, politicians run on the platform of change, but almost immediately become enmeshed with the system to the detriment of the community.

    As for my political future, heck, I’d miss most of the meetings because of my family and work obligations. I’d be thrown off before I could analyze anything! Fortunately, we voted in at least two excellent representatives during the last election. These two listen to the community and consider the average citizen before taking a stand. My continued thanks to Mr. Felkner and Ms. Capalbo! I urge all political representatives to be as open and as engaged with the community.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 4, 2007 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  2. Bill,

    We comment in so many separate areas — perhaps you could condense them to one area per month or something. It’s hard to remember where the specific comment is located with all these reports. I do appreciate this forum though, thanks.


    Comment by BarbaraC — April 4, 2007 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

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