Chariho School Parents’ Forum

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.



  1. I am letting my Hopkinton School Committee members know that I am for an independent audit. I hope Mr. Preuhs votes for the audit as it appears our other 3 candidates are for it.

    I urge Richmond and Charlestown voters to urge their members to vote for the audit. Having an outside perspective on the running and spending of our schools is a no brainer.

    Having done a little research on some things regarding the schools, I believe it is necessary to receive an objective analysis of all aspects of the running of our schools. If it is determined that the administration has the ability to perform this important analysis, then it is my conclusion that they have way too much time on their hands and we are overstaffed.

    I applaud the Hopkinton candidates that have taken a stand on this issue and have even admitted their inexperience to perform this task. As a wife of a Hopkinton councilman, I understand the time and effort all the school committee members have put into their positions, as I have seen the amount of time my husband puts into his.

    I agree with Mr. Petit that this activity needs to be performed by the people who do this for a living. If MGT are the best candidates for the job, then by all means vote for it.

    Comment by Lois Buck — August 10, 2007 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  2. Tomorrow night, Tuesday August 14th, at the School Board meeting the Management Study will be discussed and probably voted on. I also believe that this is a very good tool for the citizens and for the school board to have an objective look at the organization, its structure, its potential as well as finances for new and for old.

    The cost (I believe it was approximately $100,000) is only a problem if the School Board refuses to apply the cost saving measures suggested. Then it is a waste of taxpayers money.

    There is a new Chair of Regents for the Department of Education in RI — Robert Flanders. Hopefully he will be making and suggesting changes to the present structure of elementary and secondary education to accelerate our students national rankings. Mr. Ricci also informs us that he is working strongly on ‘rigor’ at Chariho and adding advanced work when he can find the teachers approved by the system (Latin, Chinese, Economics, etc) so that our students are prepared for business and services in the 21st Century.

    We have had a great deal of discussions concerning the ‘high performing’ student needing advanced classes and the ‘special needs’ student — I would like to be an advocate for the average and above average student. These are the kids who finish high school (may even go to college), give few problems, handle their issues (generally without us interfering), get jobs, marry, have kids and pay taxes. They ask the least of us and give back the most. Maybe this Management Study would show us how to support them as they deserve.

    Comment by BarbaraC — August 13, 2007 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  3. Any update on the Management Study vote? If it passed, was there a timetable put in place? If it was not passed, shame on the politicians who defeated this much needed study.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 15, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Reply

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