Chariho School Parents’ Forum

August 15, 2007

Shocking info at last night’s meeting

Filed under: Chariho — Editor @ 12:14 pm

Perhaps this will not shock others, but I was floored by this info.  Last night it was revealed that we have had 108 arrests at Chariho over the last 2 years (67 & 41).  They did not have any other data.

Personally, I don’t think the state has a right to force me to put my kids in that enviornment.  Perhaps this can be a spark for school choice.

 I’ll post more info when I get it. 


management study update

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 12:11 pm

During last night’s discussion on the management study, it was looking like we didn’t have enough votes to get an approval.  Some of the concerns centered on the MGT bid proposal – was it appropriate and exactly what we wanted. 

As an example, we received a general outline of what they do and this outline included such items as transportation, food service and warehouse. 


Chariho does not have a warehouse, food service is performed by Aramark (a for-profit) and transportation in RI may be changing soon.  So I made a motion to ask MGT for an itemized bid, in ala carte style, so we could pick and choose exactly what we wanted them to do.


This change should alleviate concerns for some of the board.  I would expect that this new bid would be back in time for the next meeting and we can vote for it then.  If more objections come up, I think it will be time to fish or cut bait.


Please contact your rep on the board and express your support for this study.

 RichmondWilliam Day – 539-7197  Deborah Jennings – 782-0123Terry Serra – 539-2721  CharlestownAndrew Polouski – 364-8863  Giancarlo Cicchetti – 364-7399Holly Eaves – 364-8978Andrew McQuaide – 439-4912, HopkintonGeorge Abbott – 377-2279,  Robert Petit – 491-9184,  Bill Felkner – 377-9027,  Ron Pruehs –

August 10, 2007

Management audit proposed for Aug 14th school board meeting

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 10:26 am

At the Aug 14 SC meeting, board members will be voting to approve a management study performed by MGT of America.  Board member Robert Petit and citizen advocate Scott Bill Hirst have both published LTE’s supporting this idea.  As noted in Scott’s letter, I too support this audit.

From the Westerly Sun – Aug 8

“Chariho should undertake independent, outside management study”

The education of our children is cru­cial for our nation’s future success.
How we measure the success of our education system is simple – by the results we achieve. I think we need to assess and plan for new technology, evaluate our facilities, review educa­tional programs and audit system wide performance.
All of the team members from MGT have experience at one level or anoth­er in education. Not everyone on this school committee can say this, (I cer­tainly
can’t). There are a lot of questions that can be answered by this study: Are we overstaffed? Are we understaffed?
Do we have programs that are no longer performing to the level we expected them to? Are we paying too much for transportation, food, or even stipends?
Obviously, we can all see and agree
on the fact that our buildings are in major need of repair. I think some of us feel that the rest of the district is, at the very least, in need of some minor tweaks. It is time to take a good look at the whole picture here.
Let’s get a full understanding of where we are spending our money. I don’t think people realize how time­consuming being on a

School Committee is.
I have a lot of respect for the mem­bers of this committee and the time they take to give our children the best education and opportunities possible. This is why I feel an outside, non­biased company, full of educational professionals would be better at tak­ing a look from the outside of the box. I don’t think anyone has the time to look over everything the way it should be, unless you did this for a living. I think this would help us get a full
understanding of where we are today and where we would like to be in, say, 5 or 10 years from now. It can help us achieve these goals while keeping the costs down but the grades going up.
I hope the rest of the School Committee joins me in saying it is time to answer the public about where their money is being spent. To the taxpayers I say, it is time to be heard. Let your representatives know how you feel.
Do you agree with conducting a study or not? Are you ready to spend money to see if we can save money? Or are you content with status quo?
Please join us Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library
Bob Petit Hope Valley The writer is a member of the Chariho School Committee.

From the South County section of the Providence Journal, Aug 9

Letter to the editor

01:00 AM EDT on Thursday, August 9, 2007

Next Tuesday, Aug. 14, the possibility of an outside management study will be considered and debated at the Chariho Regional School Committee meeting at the Chariho Middle School, on Switch Road in Wood River Junction, at 7 p.m.I support the concept of a management study of school operations. I suggested it at a Hopkinton Town Council meeting and asked it to be on the Chariho Omnibus Meeting agenda. It was placed on it and I discussed it previously more than once at meetings.

I want to acknowledge Hopkinton’s Chariho School Committee member Bob Petit, who has been advancing this issue on the school committee. I also acknowledge the support of Hopkinton representative to the school committee Bill Felkner’s support. I do not know, however, where Ron Preuhs, a ,new Hopkinton representative to the school committee, stands on this issue.

There can be many reasons to advance an outside management study. Here are just some of them:

^ With level state funding as we got this year in education, it is crucial that we be more attentive to finances than ever before.

^ It is a more objective look at school operations, by someone selected outside who knows how schools operate and who can enhance the knowledge that can help the district’s students, staff and general public.

^ We must remember in Rhode Island we have a “maintenance of effort” rule that requires the same funding as the previous year; supposedly the only exceptions to this rule are a decrease in student enrollment and nonrecurring expenses.

^ The Chariho towns and school district are under financial pressure .It must be remembered the largest amount of local tax dollars goes to education. This pressure results from different sources,but one element is that the state sees fit to enact budget caps which makes it more difficult to meet for local officials.

^ The finances of the Chariho Regional School District need to be more transparent than in the past. This type of study portends to help this matter, or at least improve it a little.

^ The cost of this study portends to pay for itself and would appear to “pay for itself” in a short time.

Please be advised there is no guarantee that this outside management study will happen. For example, both Chairman Bill Day and Vice Chairman Andy Polouski are known to oppose this. The “magic number” of this vote is six, a simple majority of the Chariho Regional School Committee.

Please come if you can Aug. 14. School committee members in Chariho are, from Charlestown: Holly Eaves, Giancarlo Cicchetti, Andrew McQuaide and Andrew Polouski; from Hopkinton: George Abbott, William Felkner, Robert Petit, and Ronald Preuhs; from Richmond:William Day, Deborah Jennings and Terri Serra.

Scott Bill Hirst


The writer served on the Hopkinton Town Council from 1996 to 2004; the Hopkinton Finance Board from 1991 to 1996; and recently applied for a school committee vacancy that went to another candidate.

 [CSPF editor’s note] Mr. Hirst has informed me that George Abbott’s name was inadvertantly omitted as a supporter of this study.

Hopkinton 5th & 6th grade Ad Hoc committee cranks up

Filed under: 5th & 6th grade,Hopkinton — Editor @ 10:18 am

Two posts in the comments section of the last header deserve ‘header’ status.  First post is from James Labrosse, ad hoc members.  Second post by Barbara Capalbo, town council member and leading the committee efforts.

Hello all. Per the voters’ request, the group looking into the options for moving Hopkinton 5th and 6th graders back to elementary groups has been started. At this time it is an ad hoc committee. I’m told that ad hoc allows us the flexibility to independently work on the multitude of options. Less meeting and more work is right up my alley!

I’ll be looking into cost estimates for a variety of options. A couple of others will also be doing this part. I’m still waiting for information and a listing of some of the potential options. I have reviewed a floor plan for Ashaway and Hope Valley schools, and with a cursory review, it seems to me that the schools can easily handle K through 5th grade. If the 1904 building is included, there easily should be enough space for K through 7th.

There has been some talk of estimating renovations of the schools, but I tend to not favor this approach, at least not if it is linked to bringing back 5th and 6th grades. If renovations are needed, I would like to see this presented as a separate option. My view is that the voters do not need or want another building committee proposal and I’m not comfortable going beyond the scope of the voters’ request.

Also, I feel Chariho should be responsible for renovations to the extent possible. Why should Hopkinton taxes go to Chariho for building maintenance and then go directly to the schools because Chariho is not maintaining the buildings? It’s like we are paying for the same thing twice.

I’ll try to come here to keep you posted as things evolve. Please don’t hesitate to offer me suggestions or criticisms if you think I’m off track. I’d like to get this done so our children can be put back into the appropriate educational environment ASAP.

Comment by Jim LaBrosse — August 3, 2007 @ 7:38 pm | Edit This

Good afternoon,

I wish to follow up on Jim Labrosse’s comment. We have begun the research into the 5th and 6th grade referendum question. It has been divided into three parts and anyone who would like to assist in these areas should call me at home – 377-2254 and I will get you in touch with the persons working on each section.

The first area is Why we would like to return the children to a K-6 format. Lois Buck will head this direction. She and others will research the studies on grade configuration and national scoring, preventing delinquency, strengthening emotional well-being and the family unit through these early years, etc. Even the school board realizes that the overwhelming majority of people in all three towns would like to see the return of the 5th and 6th to their home town elementary school as much as that is possible.

The second section will be the research needed on ’special needs’. The mandates where spatial needs exist(classrooms or offices for speech, physical therapy, learning assistance, etc.) must be planned for within our present elementary school buildings or portables. These classrooms may be able to fluctuate between elementary schools in the district.

The third area is cost. Jim Labrosse and myself will be researching this portion of the question. We want to know the least amount of money needed to bring the 5th and 6th graders back to Hope Valley and Ashaway. We will also let the citizens know the approximate costs of upgrading options.

The questions are quite complex and anyone wishing to assist any of us or comment on an area, or just question us is welcome to do so. We will have workshops once we have something to discuss.

Comment by BarbaraC — August 9, 2007 @ 2:33 pm | Edit This