Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 3, 2007

Welcome back to school

Filed under: 5th & 6th grade,bond,Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 9:57 am

And welcome back to the school trying to take more of your money with a bond because they can’t manage their finances.

If you, like me, attended any of the opening day orientation meetings, you would have been presented with a fancy flyer entitled, “It’s Time.”  This slick propaganda piece correctly tells us “it’s time” to fix many of our problems.  Unfortunately, it has the solutions and revenue source all wrong. 

I’ll provide more details in the months to come, but here is the gist of the flyer.

“It’s Time” to remove temporary buildings used for RYSE and purchase permanent structures (and, theoretically, save us money).

First, let us not forget that we started with temporary buildings so Chariho didn’t have to take a vote to start the RYSE program (a very clever way to evade voter approval, and questionably legal).  And, by placing this on a bond, if it were to be approved, they could use this as the ‘voter approval’ for a program that has not been proven effective or cost efficient.  Very clever indeed.

Secondly, it says, “It’s Time” to upgrade the Middle School. 

Of course, once again Chariho has ignored the wishes of the parents.  The MGT study in 1999 made it clear that the parents wanted 5th and6th graders at the elementary/town level.  (Remember, this is the study Andy Polouski incorrectly described as a “sham” in the last meeting – he also got just about everything else wrong when discussing this topic).  A survey done in 2003 said the very same thing (>70% of those surveyed want the children brought back home).  The School Committee tried to do the survey again, but Superintendent Ricci acknowledged that this is indeed what the parents want (gosh, after 8 years, do you think they may actually do it?  Trust me – not without a big push).

Finally, the flyer says, “It’s Time” to make much needed repairs to the High School. 

 I can’t argue that the HS needs work.  But anyone with a passing knowledge of business economics knows you don’t run to the bank (or the taxpayers in this case) every time you need to repair your facilities.  

I have a better idea.  I say “It’s Time” we took control of our runaway budget and start operating with some common sense. 

No longer will the people tolerate 1 employee for every 6.7 students (it was only 1 short generation ago that the ratio was 1 employee for every 20 students).

No longer will the people tolerate pensions, healthcare, sick days and contracted time off that far exceeds that of the private market.

No longer will the people tolerate 10.7% raises for half the teachers with ABSOLUTELY NO requirement for achievement (did you know that even the teachers we want to fire due to their incompetence get the same raises as our best and brightest).

No longer will the people tolerate the nations highest per pupil expenditures on teacher compensation accompanied by academic performance that ranks in the bottom 10.

No longer will the people tolerate this behavior.  When the people vote “NO” on the bond in November it will mark the beginning of change at Chariho.  We will tolerate nothing less.

PS.  At a cook-out yesterday, a parent asked me why I had not written in the papers during the referenda vote for the 5th and 6th graders.  They also asked me if it had anything to do with the Executive Session hearing when Superintendent Ricci accused me of attacking his integrity with a previous letter to the editor.

After discerning where this person got the info from a closed session hearing, I assured them that the hearing didn’t do anything other than strengthen my resolve.

I didn’t write during the referenda because I didn’t need to.  Even though the Westerly Sun came out against the vote (how much $ does Chariho spend at the Sun?) and even though someone name Doreen Dolan came out against the vote (she also neglected to tell the people that she is on the building committee and her family owns a company in the construction biz – wink, wink) and even though Union officials were shooting out emails to everyone on their list, I didn’t need to speak out against them because no matter how much propaganda they throw at you, you know what’s best for your kids.

On a related note – the Duke Study on grade configuration (see “5th & 6th grade” link on right) will be discussed in an upcoming board meeting.  Read the study and watch Chariho try to spin it.  It should be entertaining.  Then ask yourself this – “why does Chariho continue to deny what I want for my kids? And, whose interests are they serving?”  

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6 Comments »

  1. When is this upcoming board meeting, which will discuss the Duke study?

    I look forward to their discussion.

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 3, 2007 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  2. On a positive note a Hope Valley School teacher informed me that TERC math curriculum is not being used this year – at least not in her class. This teacher was so happy she slapped me five!

    I’m not certain exactly where we stand on the issue of moving 5th and 6th graders back to elementary schools. Last time I spoke with Barbara Capalbo, we are still waiting for inspectors to tell us what, if anything, needs to be done to the 1904 building so it can house students.

    I’d like to see concrete info out in front of the voters prior to the bond vote. As Bill tells us, we know that Hopkinton voters want young children placed back in elementary schools, and obviously acceptance of the bond will make it very difficult to get our kids back where they belong. If voters see reasonable proposals for getting this done, it will reinforce the need to reject the bond.

    I hope Lois plans on attending the meeting where the Duke study will be discussed. I imagine she will have quite a bit of info to contribute.

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — September 5, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  3. Hi

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    Comment by sdjkfygslas — October 3, 2007 @ 6:41 am | Reply

  4. I am a 10th grade student at the RYSE school, and I totally disagree with Mr. Felkner. We aren’t trying to “take” your money.If you’ve ever stepped foot inside our building, you’ll realize that it’s not the best thing in the world. Sometimes in the winter, our heat doesn’t work, and in the summer the airconditioning doesn’t always work. And if you haven’t, then i suggest it’s time you did. We aren’t bad kids, and we are normal like everybody else.

    Comment by Michelle Dwyer — October 12, 2007 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  5. Michelle,

    I do not believe anyone has said anything negative about you or other students at RYSE. Our contention has always been that we have not been shown that the program is either cost effective or better than the alternatives.

    As a matter of fact, Chariho spent $78,000 in legal fees to keep a child at RYSE against the parents’ wishes. Chariho lost that battle. THis is no different than what happened to Elaine Morgan – who spoke at a board meeting but was silenced by Mr. Day. Worse yet, Mr. Day knew about the previous lawsuit and still didn’t let Mrs. Morgan speak even though he knew Chariho had a history of forcing kids into the program. Of course, the majority of the board supported him. Why would the board hide this from the public? Are they more interested in what is best for the kids or protecting the school? And these aren’t the only parents I have heard these stories from.

    Parents who have experience at other locations tend to preferred them for their children – but Chariho takes that choice away from them. Furthermore, by providing all the services at RYSE, the tax payers now cover all the expenses where in the past some of those expenses were paid for by insurance (so I guess you are right about that – residents don’t like their money being taken away when those expenses should have been covered by the families insurance). Perhaps you have more socialist leanings and believe that the collective society should pay for everyone’s wants and needs – I do not.

    These are the things parents don’t like. A loss of choice and unnecessary burdens on the budget.

    PS. You should also be aware that when people post on this webiste I can see where they are posting from. You are working at a Chariho computer. This is similar to the last bond when so many of the phone calls supporting the bond came from Chariho exchanges. Again, our tax dollars at work.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 12, 2007 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  6. PS. I appologize if you really are a student – you have every right to speak (even using a CHariho computer, assuming its not when you are supposed to be doing something else). But considering actions of the past, we are suspect that you are just a Chariho employee.

    And yes, I have been to RYSE. I’m also very familiar with the industry standards.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 12, 2007 @ 9:23 am | Reply


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