Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 15, 2007

Clarification on the “endorse Campus 2010” debate

Filed under: bond,Campus 2010 flyer — Editor @ 11:25 am

In a previous post titled, “Your Tax Dollars at Work,” I brought up two concerns I have with the flyer being produced and distributed by the Chariho Building Committee (aka – your tax dollars).

The first issue is the fact that, by law, this brochure MUST NOT attempt to influence the vote – it is only allowed to supply “information.”  As stated previously, I’ll let you decide if the flyer is biased – read the flyer here.

The other issue was about the claim that town councils (Richmond, Charlestown and Hopkinton) have “endorsed Campus 2010, with fourteen of fifteen councilors voting “YES”.” (emphasis theirs)

My memory said that that wasn’t exactly correct.   Councilor Buck has posted more details.

*********

I believe we need to clarify some issues that have been stated concerning the endorsement of the campus 2010 plan.

You are correct Mr. Petit that the Hopkinton Town Council did approve the 2010 plan to move forward for the voters to approve or disapprove this bond. This was not an endorsement; it was an effort to move it forward for the voters to make the final decision.

During the tri-town omnibus meeting, I was the one to propose all capital improvements at Chariho be split 3 ways equally. My reason for this was that this was the area of the district that all three towns use equally. It should not be based on enrollment. If you have one or a hundred kids in school, you still need a roof, you still need fire suppression, etc… Also, to point out, to my recollection, this is not the first time this was proposed, but the first time all 3 town councils agreed.

I also recommended to the school committee and the building committee that we split the bond in three sections, the RYSE building, the middle school additions, and the high school and campus upgrades. This way the voters could vote for all or certain sections of the bond. But, as usual, Chariho has the all or nothing attitude. We have tried to pass bonds 3 times before with no success. I was looking for innovative ways to give this bond the option of passing in whole or in part.

Speaking for myself, I had a number of questions regarding the spending of these monies. At that time, I would not have voted for this plan, but I felt that it should not be left up to a few elected officials to say yes or no, as it should be up to the voters of the 3 towns to decide on its merits.

So, I guess your statement, Mr. Petit, and the one at the bottom of the flyer stating the bond was endorsed is partially correct. But, being at that meeting, you knew there were reservations by myself and other town councilors.

I believe I had stated that it is up to the building committee to inform the voters, and they should have the final vote. One of my concerns at that time was of thousands of dollars for the middle school stage curtain which had a small tear. Instead of fixing, it was listed as replacement. Also, the approximately $750,000 for a maintenance building (shed). This was the initial draft and I am under the impression that this has changed, since the beginning.

Our representatives from Hopkinton have not come to a town meeting to keep us abreast of the changes or the current status of this building plan. I further understand that the building committee is suppose to be putting on another update for the town councils. I urge the voters to come to this meeting and get themselves informed as they are the ones who will ultimately foot the bill.

Thomas E. Buck
Hopkinton Town Council

Comment by Thomas Buck, Hopkinton Town Council — September 15, 2007 @ 9:32 am |

First – here is the schedule for the building committee presentations Councilor Buck mentioned.

Oct 1, 6:30 pm Charlestown Elementary
Oct 11, 6:30 pm Ashaway Elementary
Oct 24, 7:00 pm Hope Valley Elementary
Oct 27, 10:00 am Chariho High School
Oct 30, 7:00 pm Charlestown Town Hall
Nov 1, 7:00 pm Richmond Elementary

Now a quick note on the 3-way split.  Putting aside the concern expressed by Councilor Buck, there another issue to consider.

If you notice in the “facts only” flyer, the contribution per town is as follows.  Richmond .39 cents, Hopkinton .32 cents and Charlestown .12 cents.

The reason for the difference is because Charlestown has a much larger tax base.  For ease of numbers, lets say that Richmond has $1.5M of taxable property, Hopkinton has $1M and Charlestown has $5M.   The dispersed debt responsibility in Charlestown produces a smaller individual contribution.

I assume that without the 3-way split, the disparity between Charlestown and the rest would be even larger.

We (Richmond & Hopkinton) are holding Charlestown back.  Imagine if you lived in Charlestown and wanted a brand new school – latest and greatest gadgets.  And why not, with a tax base that large, you could afford it.

But Charlestown can’t do that as a district (which is necessary to get matching funds) without bankrupting R & H. 

In my opinion, this is one of the reasons our Elementary Schools are falling apart while our budget is breaking our backs.   This fighting among individual towns also helps to keep a third party in control. 

Advertisements

81 Comments »

  1. I just wanted to go on record as saying I fully agree with what Mr. Buck has stated here. He did bring up the 3 way split for the three towns to pay. he also asked to have the bond split up so the voters could decide what they wanted and what they didn’t; I voted for and backed him on this proposal, which was voted down. I was just stating the fact that it was voted on to pass to the voters 14-0-1 by the councilors of all three towns. Ultimately, it will come down to the tax payers anyway and not what Mr. Buck or myself has done in the past for or against this bond. I just hope that the ones that stand against this bond today are the same ones that will take the responsibilty later. I don’t mean that to sound ignorant here either. This is why this country is so great,because we have the freedom of speech and right to vote as we want. But all to often the ones that make all the noise to get something defeated are the ones that dissapear after it is over. I am for this bond. I cannot change what has happened in the past but I can work on the present and the future. As someone once stated, If you were to major work on your house siding, windows and roof lets say, chances are you would get an home equity loan, as not many would have this much money just laying around, well this is basically the same we are doing here. And whether “IT IS TIME’ is biased or not, ANYONE, that takes a walk through these schools knows it is time to take care of them. When do we stop all the arguing back and forth about things that were or were not taking care of in the past and step up and take care of what we can now? Lets face it we are never going to agree on every aspect of any issue. Everyone has their own opinions about what should be done first, but while we sit here and argue this, nothing is getting done. So just incase anyone is in doubt on how and where I stand on this bond; I know “IT IS TIME” and I stand behind this bond and my vote will be “YES”

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 18, 2007 @ 7:45 am | Reply

  2. Hi!
    I may not always agree with Bob Petit but I greatly appreciate his acceptance of the concept of an outside management study and taking the ball and going with it.
    I hope it is realized this concept benefits BOTH taxpayers and the students.We need a better understanding of political sophiscation locally among those active in politics.You may not agree with one person on an issue but you may on another issue or be able to compromise on another.A number of people do not seem to fully appreciate that or understand that.
    How much various issues will impact the building vote coming up will be analyzed before and after the vote by some.However there seems to be a lack of serious reflection on those who involve themselves in various issues.People vote the way they for different reasons.The historic problem with Chariho is how it impacts member towns financially.In that sense Charlestown having one of the lowest property tax rates in Rhode Island is a distinct financial advantage over the other two towns.Richmond’s has the distinct advantage of the medium family income in that town is thousands of dollars more than the other two towns.In a nutshell the towns other than Hopkinton have two great financial advantages:Assessable Base, (Charlestown), and Richmond, (Medium Household Income), these two towns arguably can withstand the financial pressures from school related costs.These are not the only factors in play.
    Regards,
    Scott Bill Hirst
    Member,Hopkinton Town Council,1996-2004

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — September 20, 2007 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  3. I appreciate Mr. Petit’s participation here, but he is clearly wrong on the bond.

    It is illogical to vote for a bond to compensate for the past failures to maintain our schools. Why would we throw millions at a school system and administration that has a history of not getting the job done?

    I too am thrilled with Mr. Petit’s advocacy for a management study. In fact, I see the management study as the first step towards a reasonable solution to the problems with the Chariho District. Let’s see what objective outside experts have to say before we once again blindly throw our money down the drain.

    The bond also solidifies the permanence of the RYSE program. In reading about the bond on Chariho’s website, the bond language makes reference to RYSE and also to the Chariho Act. It is my contention that a yes vote on this bond may also be a yes vote for expanding the scope of Chariho to include RYSE. RYSE now exists illegally, but a yes vote on the bond could stick us with RYSE forever. Since neither the school committee nor Chariho’s administration will publically address this issue, we have every reason to fear that I am correct.

    Finally, passage of the bond virtually assures us that 5th and 6th graders will be indefinitely stuck at the Chariho campus. Too much money is being spent to then expect the school committee to reverse itself and get them out of this environment. A yes vote condemns our youngsters…a yes vote hurts our kids.

    Mr. Petit, your constituency has spoken and overwhelmingly has asked you to bring the 5th and 6th graders back to the appropriate environment. I’m not sure why you are ignoring us, but is is very disappointing. There is still time to admit your mistake and retract your support for this bond. I know you are under a lot of pressure from your fellow committee members, but doing the right thing should be your top priority. In this case, the voters know what needs to be done, and I still have hope that you’ll come around.

    Thanks again for participating here. I hope you stick around and engage the public.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 1:48 am | Reply

  4. […] Here is the Sept 11 meeting where I was told I may not ask about the arrests without board approval. […]

    Pingback by Recap « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — September 22, 2007 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  5. In response to CR and the last post here. As the RYSE program stands right now; it is not illegal. AT the end of this letter I posted an e-mail I received from Ken Swanson(RIDE)some time ago about the RYSE program. The school attorney said it was legal. I have yet to hear from anyone in a legal standing that it was not legal. A lot of accusations, but nothing concrete. As for the 5th and 6th graders, I am for bringing them back. I have said this before. If this bond passes, the three town councils could get together and discuss what they wanted to do about the 5th and 6th graders being returned to the elementary schools. With this; we “as a school committee” can put the 5th and 6th grade addition at the end of the construction phase. I can not see and will not support voting down the a bond because of the additions. I am more than willing to work with Hopkinton and any other town on figuring out a way to bring these children back. If we vote to approve the bond and push this to the end of the construction I see it as a positive,for everyone. It gives Hopkinton ( Barbara Capalbo) time to work on a plan, this is great! But it also leaves open the door should this fall through. It is called compromise. As for the RYSE program; I have sat in a lot of meetings and I’ve heard good and bad on both sides of this issue. My feeling is and will stand, “these are our children too and we need to help all our children” some of these children in these programs just need a little extra help, a push, or some guidance and they will be outstanding people in our communities. Lets not just cast them off becasue of some behavior issues, or because of some learning problems; I wouldn’t want this done to my children and I won’t do this to anyone elses, we need to help and educate all our children. Whether this bond passes or not; I don’t see this RYSE program going away, so you have a choice; keep paying for portable classrooms or put a building there and house our children in a better environment. Your choice come November 6th. As I said in a previous post, I supported Mr. Buck in breaking down the bond so the tax payers could decide what they would like to see pass and not pass in this bond. But; understand that I am of one vote on this committee, I have my opinions but I cannot do anything as an individual. We approve or reject as a committee. All I can say is if tax payers feel that strong on an issue; come to the meetings and voice your opinion you might make a difference in the next vote. So CR to make a long story short (too late) I will not change my vote on this bond. I will vote ” YES”. I do hear the majority of the voters saying to bring back the 5th and 6th graders, I approched Barabra and offered my assistance, and my offer still stands but that doens’t mean I should vote down this bond becasue of it. If a plan was in place and a cost attached that I could compare than my feeling might be different.I have to vote on the inforamtion I have in front of me. I have to vote on what I think is the best for the whole town of Hopkinton. And unless someone has information out there that I haven’t seen yet, I have too and will vote “YES” on Novemeber 6th.

    HERE IS THE EMAIL FROM RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:

    Mr. Petit, I sent a copy of your e-mail to Ken Swanson from our office of Special Populations. His reply to your questions are as follows:

    To respond to you questions regarding the RYSE Program at Chariho Regional High School:

    Regarding the legality, I am not familiar with the Chariho Act, but the program is an alternative program within the Chariho Public Schools, and as such, is a public school program.

    The program was reviewed during the last School Support System review, and appeared to be doing well. One issue that they were working on was the transition and communication between the High School and the RYSE program, which had been an ongoing focus of the Chariho Special Education Administrators.

    The program at Chariho is only one model not the model. The program focuses on students with specific social/emotional needs and attempts to provide wraparound services for them and their families. Other districts have chosen to do this in other ways via other models.

    In terms of the benefit to children, the program did maintain fairly solid behavioral data to track the progress of students. The program should be able to produce an overview of its data and overall student progress.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 24, 2007 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  6. Bob,

    You have logical reasons for feeling the way you do, I don’t dispute that. I would say that just because the school’s solicitor said it wasn’t a violation doesn’t make it so.

    And the email you posted, admittedly, does not speak to the Chariho Act, which is what is claimed to be broken.

    But since we are on the topic of the school’s solicitor – what do you think about the opinion given in this week’s packet regarding the Campus 2010 flyer. The solicitor infers that the flyer is only informational and does not influence the vote. Do you agree with that opinion?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 24, 2007 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  7. Bill,

    I agree with you that just because the solicitor says it is not a violation doesn’t mean tht it is not one. It is a legal opinion. Being on the school committee I have to hope that our solicitor knows the laws and The Chariho Act enough that when we ask for a legal opinion it is correct. If not we may get into some hot water. You are correct that the email dosen’t speak of the Chariho Act, but as a school committee they were in their rights/charge to bring back the program. It is a public program according to RIDE and any public programs can be modified or in this case brougth back to the district by a majority vote of the school committee, which it was. According to the Chariho act, a building cannot be raised without going out to the tax payers for a vote on a referendum, which it is now on the referendum with this bond. If the school committee that was in charge when the RYSE program was brought back to the district decided to move the 7th and 8th graders to the trailers and put the RYSE program in the 7th and 8th grade halls would we still be discussing whether or not the RYSE program was legal? If they did it that way, which they had every right to, we would now be looking at additions to the 7th and 8th grade and not the RYSE program.

    Now to answer you question about the Campus 2010 flyer. I do agree that it is informational. I sat on the committee that came up with the information and reviewed this information before it went public. I think it is an opinion that it is bias. In my opinion it is not. It states “It is time to” fix these buildings, well as I stated before “it is time to” fix these buildings. It doesn’t say it is time to vote yes. But than again it depends on what is happening at the time. If this same flyer said “ITS TIME TO” bring the 5th and 6th graders back to their respective towns, I have to wonder if anyone would question what the flyer was saying. I have said it in the past and will say it again, some of these buildings are pretty much in the same shape they were in when I attend these schools and graduated; and that was back in 1983; 24 years ago. So again I ask you when does all the arguing back and forth stop? When do we finally say “IT IS TIME TO” fix these buildings? I say it is now, we have a three way split and probably the best return rate on our money that we are ever going to get again. Sorry Bill, but I say Vote “YES” on November 6th.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 24, 2007 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  8. Unbelievable…the Chariho solicitor does not see the flyer as taking a position on the bond?

    To reach this conclusion, the solicitor must be in someone’s back pocket or a fool. The flyer is so obviously biased in favor of the bond I can only guess that the Chariho solicitor thinks we are all complete idiots.

    I challenge Mr. Petit to show the flyer to any outside person not familiar with Chariho, and ask them if the flyer is for, against, or neutral. I’ll bet $1000 that nobody with a reading comprehension beyond 8th grade will believe the flyer takes a neutral position.

    I wouldn’t care if every corrupt lawyer in Rhode Island claimed that RYSE is in compliance with the Chariho Act. If Mr. Petit and the rest of the committee is so sure, then let citizens vote on RYSE like should have happened in the first place.

    It is disingenuous for Mr. Petit to claim that opposition to the existence of RYSE is the same as wanting to abandon special needs students. This is obviously not true as special needs students educational needs were attended to before RYSE and will be taken care of when RYSE is long gone.

    One problem (of many) with RYSE is it takes a one size fits all approach to special needs students. Before RYSE, parents and students had a numerous options available to meet their individual needs. Because Chariho did not have to internally design specific programs for each student, but could turn to several outside sources, all with distinct programs, Chariho was able to offer flexible solutions to the issues of special needs students. Now we are locked into resticited programs with one group, one theory, which costs taxpayers an arm and a leg.

    RYSE also expands the scope of Chariho’s mission beyond education and into the world of psychological and medical services. Chariho should be single-mindedly focused on education. If students need psychological or medical help in order to be educated, then the help should be independent of Chariho, not part of Chariho. If taxpayers want to fund the psychological and medical needs of the community, let’s put it to a vote…not cram it down our throats.

    RYSE exists because a past administration wanted to experiment with our children. The current administration doesn’t want its empire to shrink so the experimentation continues. And RYSE expands its scope beyond students and now services families and takes responsibility for psychological and medical issues. We are all forced to pay the price for a substandard program.

    Contrary to Mr. Petit’s assertion that being against RYSE is akin to not supporting special needs children, I contend that RYSE is damaging many of our special needs students. RYSE has been largely unaccountable. When asked for concrete data about RYSE, the administration is purposely vague and confusing.

    Moving on to the bond’s impact on 5th and 6th graders, it is naive to think approval of the bond will lead to anything other than the permanent placement of 5th and 6th graders in the inappropriate environment which exists at Chariho. Chariho’s School Committee and administration has known since 1999 that parents and voters do not want 5th and 6th graders at the Chariho campus. They’ve done nothing…zilch…nada…nothing. Who is foolish enough to support a bond under the hope that the committee and administration now will do something about the issue?

    Here is my neutral flyer regarding the bond.

    -> It is time to offer special needs students flexible programs.
    -> It is time to make Chariho accountable for results, not intentions.
    -> It is time to comply with the Chariho Act.
    -> It is time for honest budgets which include school maintenance expenses.
    -> It is time for 5th and 6th graders to be placed back into elementary schools.
    -> It is time for Chariho to educate our children at a reasonable cost.
    -> It is time to make full use of existing facilities before building new facilities.
    -> It is time to stop the nonsense and do your jobs.
    -> It is time for Chariho to focus solely on education.
    -> It is time to allow parents the ability to determine what is best for their children.
    -> It is time to stop experimenting with our children’s futures.

    How do you like my objective flyer?

    Reject the bond. Reject business as usual. Vote NO.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  9. Mr. Petit do you have any experience with lawyers? I have a little, and can confidently assert that a lawyer will tell you just about anything you want to hear if you pay them to say it.

    Chariho’s solicitor knows who butters her/his bread. The solicitor also knows the majority of the school committee would be very upset if told that RYSE was instituted and exists illegally. Who do you think would vote to keep this solicitor if she/he came to any other conclusion?

    You rightly observe that the solicitor offers “legal opinion”. You also note that the opinion could be wrong. Unfortunately, you then tell us you must trust the opinion because it is the committees’ solicitor. I’m telling you that you must not trust the solicitor’s opinion because he/she is bought and paid for by the committee. The opinion offered is tainted by the solicitor’s knowledge that the committee wants a particular opinion..

    You should push for an outside perspective. Use a lawyer completely disengaged from the Rhode Island political establishment. Use a contract lawyer perhaps?

    I’m certain that OJ Simpson’s lawyers were very sympathetic to his case. He paid them to be so, and Chariho pays its solicitor to be sympathetic to whatever outcome they desire. Don’t be fooled.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  10. The question on the Chariho Act centered on if RYSE was an “expansion of the scope of the school.” And you are right, we could argue about it all day. You make valid points that it is not – I believe it is – Specifically to the diabetes and family services. Yes, if the parents are addicts, it would be helpful to the child’s education if they were in treatment – I just think we have to draw the line on “school related treatments” somewhere and I think RYSE crosses the line.

    RE the flyer – this is a subjective issue. For a third party to give an opinion would likely take so long it would be past November – so it’s a moot point. I just found his opinion interesting.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 24, 2007 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  11. While the flyer controversy might be subjective, it remains true that the information is presented in a format which says “It is time to…”.

    As Mr. Hirst has pointed out, Rhode Island Referendum question include factual information with little controversy regarding advocacy. They do this by simply reciting facts and data with no subjective terms such as “It’s time to…”.

    Whether one truly believes it’s “time to” or not, the phrase is clearly designed to state an opinion and not offer facts.

    I am disappointed that Mr. Petit would allow his own personal preferences to interfere with his common sense. As Mr. Felkner says, it is too late to fix the flyer, so why not just admit the flyer advocates for a yes vote and leave your integrity intact?

    If I have time, I’m going to email the “It’s time to” page of the flyer to friends and acquaintances unfamiliar with the Chariho bond. I’ll asked them if they think the flyer advocates a certain vote. If I get to this, I’ll post the responses here.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  12. Hello All,

    For quite some time the Chariho Solicitor has been unavailable — he has been ill I believe. Which is why there is now a new solicitor for the School Board, who may or may not be familiar with the Chariho Act.

    If anyone has been watching the School Board meetings you would realize that the solicitor has never been present – he usually is or should be. All the councils have our solicitor present at our meetings to prevent egregious errors of commission or omission by the members. This is specifically useful to address things like Mr. Cicchetti’s disagreement with the executive session for Mr. Ricci. Or perhaps the School Committee does not feel he/she is necessary to their meetings.

    Hopkinton’s solicitor is addressing the issue – it has taken time because the school solicitor is ill. We are not debating the educational portion of the RYSE program but the medical and clinical portion which exists no where else within our state or for that matter any of the states. (If I am wrong, please let me know where a program with this scope is operating within a public school framework – I do realize the program is within juvenile detention facilities.)

    And of course the flyer is an advocate for the bond. That was and is the Chariho Building Committee’s charge and it is what they believe.

    Comment by BarbaraC — September 24, 2007 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  13. The Building Committee may believe in he bond, but are they suppose to use public funds to advocate for the bond?

    It is disturbing that Mr. Petit, or anyone else, would deny the flyer advocates for the bond.

    Doubting that Mr. Petit will take me up on my bet, I took the bet myself and sent the following example of the flyer to numerous friends and relative throughout the U.S. Some of these people are teachers and professional writers. I’ve asked them if the flyer is pro, anti, or neutral on the bond. I’ll keep you posted on feedback.

    It’s time to…
    Renovate Chariho High School.
    Chariho High School was built in 1960 for students in grades seven through twelve. Even with previous expansions, today’s 1200 students are crowded in a facility with a failing infrastructure. Campus 2010 will:
    • bring the buildings into compliance with all fire codes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
    • replace heating and ventilation systems with new, more efficient equipment and upgrade electrical, plumbing and lighting systems.
    • refurbish the gymnasium, locker rooms, corridors, and bathrooms,
    • replace interior doors to meet new fire codes.
    • install new lockers, intercom, clocks, and windows, and
    • add approximately 15,000 square feet of space for new library, new agricultural science and general classrooms, band/chorus rooms, and an expanded kitchen.

    It’s time to…
    Improve Chariho Middle School.
    Chariho Middle School was built in 1989 for students in grades five through eight. There is current lack of space for three classrooms of students. Campus 2010 will:
    • replace the fire alarm system,
    • renovate the Middle School Auditorium for greater community use, and
    • replace three classrooms trailers with three permanent classrooms.

    It’s time to…
    Replace the leased temporary building used by the Reaching Youth through Support and Education (R.Y.S.E.) program.
    The R.Y.S.E. building houses the District’s alternative and clinical programs. The annual cost for leasing this space is $219,860; annual payments on a new building will be significantly less. Campus 2010 will:
    • replace the temporary leased classrooms trailers with a permanent building of the same size which will result in long-termed savings for the District.

    It’s time to…
    Benefit from state assistance and current school construction regulations.
    At the state level, the financial situation is not good. It is anticipated that reimbursement rates could be lower and that regulations could be more restrictive in the future. Campus 2010 will:
    * qualify for housing aid reimbursement under current regulation,
    * qualify for 60% reimbursement rate for more than half of the project; the remainder of the project will qualify for reimbursement at 56% rate, and
    * allow annual capital budgets to be focused on elementary school improvements.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  14. The Building Committee may believe in he bond, but are they suppose to use public funds to advocate for the bond?

    It is disturbing that Mr. Petit, or anyone else, would deny the flyer advocates for the bond.

    Doubting that Mr. Petit will take me up on my bet, I took the bet myself and sent the following example of the flyer to numerous friends and relative throughout the U.S. Some of these people are teachers and professional writers. I’ve asked them if the flyer is pro, anti, or neutral on the bond. I’ll keep you posted on feedback.

    It’s time to…
    Renovate Chariho High School.
    Chariho High School was built in 1960 for students in grades seven through twelve. Even with previous expansions, today’s 1200 students are crowded in a facility with a failing infrastructure. Campus 2010 will:
    • bring the buildings into compliance with all fire codes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
    • replace heating and ventilation systems with new, more efficient equipment and upgrade electrical, plumbing and lighting systems.
    • refurbish the gymnasium, locker rooms, corridors, and bathrooms,
    • replace interior doors to meet new fire codes.
    • install new lockers, intercom, clocks, and windows, and
    • add approximately 15,000 square feet of space for new library, new agricultural science and general classrooms, band/chorus rooms, and an expanded kitchen.

    It’s time to…
    Improve Chariho Middle School.
    Chariho Middle School was built in 1989 for students in grades five through eight. There is current lack of space for three classrooms of students. Campus 2010 will:
    • replace the fire alarm system,
    • renovate the Middle School Auditorium for greater community use, and
    • replace three classrooms trailers with three permanent classrooms.

    It’s time to…
    Replace the leased temporary building used by the Reaching Youth through Support and Education (R.Y.S.E.) program.
    The R.Y.S.E. building houses the District’s alternative and clinical programs. The annual cost for leasing this space is $219,860; annual payments on a new building will be significantly less. Campus 2010 will:
    • replace the temporary leased classrooms trailers with a permanent building of the same size which will result in long-termed savings for the District.

    It’s time to…
    Benefit from state assistance and current school construction regulations.
    At the state level, the financial situation is not good. It is anticipated that reimbursement rates could be lower and that regulations could be more restrictive in the future. Campus 2010 will:
    * qualify for housing aid reimbursement under current regulation,
    * qualify for 60% reimbursement rate for more than half of the project; the remainder of the project will qualify for reimbursement at 56% rate, and
    * allow annual capital budgets to be focused on elementary school improvements.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  15. As we heard when Elaine Morgan spoke – we had a student receiving day services at Bradley (paid for via school budget) and clinical services at South Shore (paid for by United Healthcare).

    When the girl was “forced” to attend RYSE, Chariho provided both of these services and both were covered by the school budget. And, I have recently learned this is not the first time this has happened.

    Similarly, we now provide diabetes treatments and family counseling at RYSE – according to the South Shore bid, they would send the child to the doc for diabetes treatments and to a private clinician for the clinical services (both covered under insurance and both choosen by the client). I’m not arguing with the benefits of “wrap-around” services. I’m suggesting that by doing them all at RYSE, they put more burdens on the budget and take choice away from the parent.

    Plus, now add in the number of kids we place at RYSE due to disciplinary reasons. At this rate, it will be 50/50 by the end of the year. You would not find this in the other specialized enviorments.

    When you and I were young, the threat was – shape up or it’s off to military school. Today the threat is to ship them to RYSE.

    How’s this for a radical idea. It costs $50ish thousand for a kid at RYSE. Dilute that with the discipline cases and we are down to $30ish. What if we told the parents, “here is $20k – this is your kid – where would you like them to go?”

    They could stay at RYSE if they wanted to, or maybe they would choose a military, boarding, charter, private or even home school (which we seem to have a large group here in south county – We will be approving 4 more kids at this meeting – that makes 9 for the year – but I digress).

    This is cheaper for us and empowers the parent (and places the responsibility there too).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 24, 2007 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  16. But, but, but…what will we do if Chariho doesn’t grow, grow, grow? Where will the promotions go? What will the diluted power structure do to justify higher salaries?

    To heck with parental empowerment! What does that matter when we have educators’ and phsychologists’ careers at stake? What will they do if they aren’t able to experiment on our children?

    The kids will adapt to whatever is thrown at them, so what’s the big fuss about?

    Besides, bucking the administration requires leadership by the school committee; and that might mean longer meetings; and since meetings already go past the bed times of Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski…how can we even think about what is best for kids and their families?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  17. Ooops, one of my posts appears twice…feel free to get rid of one and this one too.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  18. I received the first comments regarding the flyer from a very liberal friend in Minnesota. I did not tell her where I fell on the issue as you can tell from her response. Here is the email I sent followed by her response – so far I’m $1000 ahead:

    MY EMAIL:
    I was forwarded the following example of a flyer for a proposed school bond in my town. In Rhode Island, government referendum are supposed to be presented to voters in a non-biased fashion (not advocating either a yes or no vote)…just the facts ma’am. Anyway, if you got a minute or two, could you read the proposed flyer and tell me if you think it is pro, anti, or neutral regarding a building proposal? If you have any comments, they are welcome. Ignore the layout as it is messed up.

    RESPONSE:
    I read through it and think the “It’s time to…” is definitely a “pro” kind of introduction. The high school one is a little less “just the facts” than the others. This statement in particular is not worded well if the aim is to be unbiased, ” Even with previous expansions, today’s 1200 students are crowded in a facility with a failing infrastructure.”. There are less persuasive ways to make that statement while still informing that updates have occurred and that there are presently crowding issues and “failing infrastructure”. The crowding issue is addressed a bit more factually in the middle school portion. Are you responsible for wording this?

    Also, in re-reading this, the last portion that refer’s to the state’s financial situation as “not good” could also sound a bit biased. It should state something more like “reimbursements to the school district from the state are anticipated to drop/remain static and are not projected to cover increased operating costs” or something to that effect. More specificity would be good here.

    PS I’m generally “pro” referenda for schools, but I also wouldn’t want to seem like I was trying to persuade someone to vote a particular way on the actual ballot. That would make me less inclined to hit “yes” if I were on the fence. The PR time is earlier in the process…you know what I mean?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 24, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  19. Hello to all,

    I will try to answer all of the comments in this one post so it may be a little long.

    CR as to the flyer and having people read it; I have done just what you have said in your post about having people outside of Chariho read it. Some say it is bias some say it isn’t. I have asked tax payers in the Chariho District the same question, so say yes, and some say no. So again, as much as you disagree with this, I still say it is an opinion on whether it is bias or not. With that said, I can see where someone would think that it is misleading or bias, but I can also honestly tell you that this was not the intention. I don’t believe that “IT IS TIME TOO” is really going to change anybody minded on how they intend to vote. The information might but I truly do not think those words will. Also CR if you would read the post, you would see that I did back Mr. Buck’s request to break the bond into several questions to let the tax payers decide. I am not staking claim to abandon the RYSE program, I am telling you that the research I have done with solicitors and RIDE, in my understanding this program is not illegal. With that said, I do agree with Mr. Felkner, the scope of this program may be beyond what we should be doing, BUT, this is totally different than the program being illegal based on the Chariho Act. Your quote here “If taxpayers want to fund the psychological and medical needs of the community, let’s put it to a vote…not cram it down our throats” Let me ask you this CR, who do you think pays for these services when we send them out to other schools or programs? I would have to say the tax payers….now from some of the questions that Mr. Felkner has asked, I have to wonder if we get as good a return from medicare/medicaid as we would if they were out of district. You state that the RYSE program is hurting our special needs children while other parents are saying that it is a great program. You claim that since 1999 the administration has done nothing to bring the 5th and 6th graders back to the elementary levels. I say neither has Hopkinton, the tax payers want their children back, the Town Council knows this and yet nobody has done anything but complain about the bonds that have been placed out there. The 99 million dollar bond was over the top, but Hopkinton would have gained the most out of it, and yet they were the biggest voice in shooting that down. So I ask you CR, is it really aobut the 5th and 6th graders or is it just a way to voice displeasure against the administration? And by the way, KUDOS to Barbara Caplabo for at least taking the lead on coming up with a plan on how to get the children back to their respective towns. Someone finally doing something besides just complaining. As far as your neutral flyer against the bond….if you really followed the meetings and some of the information that Mr. Felkner has posted here you would see that we are trying to change osme of these things, sorry but Rome wasn’t built in a day and we will not change everything in a day either. We are working on it but some things will take time. Does this mean that the buildings should fall down around our children in the mean time? Does this mean we let the rest of the buildings turn into a 1904 dissaster so we can blame the administration and school committee for not keeping up the maintenance? I am trying to answer your questions as I read through the post…..I don’t believe that the solicitor would say that the RYSE program is legael if he thought it wasn’t. I don’t believe, with your intelligence that you believe it either. WE have to rely on his word to be to the best of his understanding of a law as possible. We are not lawyers, he is and if he were to misdirect us we could end up in a lot of law suits and hot water. I also ask you to call the Hopkinton solicitor and ask her what her OPINION is on the matter. I say opinion because this is what it is, whether from the town or the school. But, the school committee as well as the town council have to rely on these opinions to make our decisions.

    Bill I did state earlier that I can agree with the fact that the scope of RYSE might be a little out streached. I also agree with you on the flyer,by the time a 3rd party was to read it and give an opinion it would be a mute point. Again, though I really don’t believe that those four words are going to make or break this bond.

    CR my integrity is still intact. That’s all I will say on that.

    I guess this is where I will end it as you rae right CR…..I will not take you up on the bet. Again to me it is the opinion of others, I agree with what Barbara said about the building committee and its chagre, but even with they said I am not on the building committee but am part of the committee that put together this flyer. I will tell you again that it was not the intention to make this seem bias nor do I think it is. As for your email, dosen’t do anything for me….you could have typed it out yourself.

    Bill I said earlier in this post that some of what is offered at RYSE maybe beyond the scope of the programs we should be offering and from my understanding from Barbara’s comments this is being looked into, hopefully we will find this out at soon as the Town finds this out? Please keep us posted Barbara. As for the discipline, I have some problems with sending some of these children there to, but unfortunatly, be the laws of this state we either have to pay here or pay there. Bill, you know as I now know that a lot has changed since we were in school. I don’t think much was for the better either, but as long as the state says you have to educate them somewhere after 10 days out of school I really don’t see where we have much choice. Like you said, back when we were in school, some of the things that happen in schools all across the nation. You would be expelled from school (period).

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 25, 2007 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  20. Mr. Petit the flyer should have been rejected if one person claimed it was biased. Nobody should be able to see bias in a taxpayer funded “fact sheet”. Simply put, facts are facts and a statement such as “It’s time to…” is clearly not a fact. The flyer is blatant advocacy whether you bury your head in the sand denying the obvious or not.

    It is not an opinion that “it’s time to…” tells voters that it is time to. You could have limited the flyer to listing the facts as to what the bond will pay to do; but it is not necessarily time to replace leased trailers. It is not necessarily time to expand classroooms (with diminishing enrollment). Those, and many other statements, are prejudicial advocation of your opinion, not facts.

    Many of the “it’s time to” items are debatable and therefore issuing a flyer that say “it’s time to…” is definitely advocacy and illegal under the laws of Rhode Island. Deny all you want, and I’m trying refrain from questioning your intellect and integrity, but something is awry when you try and defend a flyer so staunchly pro-bond. I’d advise you step away from this topic because you are so anxious for this bond to pass that you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 25, 2007 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  21. Nice to see Mr. Petit admit that RYSE may offer services beyond the scope of education. Not sure why it’s difficult to see for so many others? Or maybe they’ve known all along and it was only us they were tyring to fool?

    Now it should be a small step to admit that the Chariho Act is being violated by a program that offers medical and psychological services? You do not need to be Clarence Darrow to understand this…as it is constituted, RYSE goes well beyond the educational mandate of the Chariho Act.

    Is our political system so corrupt that we need lawyers to deny the obvious to protect ourselves from the truth? Does Mr. Petit and the others feel better about betraying the taxpayers and future generations because a lawyer tells them it is okay?

    Flyers that read “It’s time to…” when our money is supposed to be used to only tell us the facts; programs that offer medical services and psychological treatments at Chariho when our money is only supposed to be used to for education; buildings allowed to fall into disrepair when according to the Chariho Act our money is supposed be used for “maintenance, upkeep and operation of the buildings”…all of these things and more are painfully obvious to the common person, yet our elected officials obfuscate, lie, and deny.

    How does it feel taxpayers to be played like complete idiots?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 25, 2007 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  22. Now on to the 5th and 6th grade issue. In another post, I think by Mr. Petit, we were informed that the towns can do whatever they want, but ultimately, bringing the 5th and 6th graders back to elementary schools is totally the decision of the Chariho administration and school committee.

    I believe this is true, and Mr. Petit or others can correct me if I’m wrong, but if true, how convenient that Mr. Petit then puts blame on the towns for this not being done in the past eight years. We’re told the issue is in the hands of Chariho, but somehow Mr. Petit faults the towns?

    Mr. Petit contends the obstacle has been money for buildings. This despite the fact that Chariho enrollment has been steadily declining over the years. I’ve asked before and I’ll ask again, are students so much more obese now that we can’t fit them all in even though we have less of them? Were the buildings constructed with materials that shrink when they get wet? What are we doing now, with less students, that requires more space?

    Ironically Mr. Petit uses the 1904 building as an example of what can occur if we don’t throw more money at Chariho. He apparently misses the point that it is Chariho’s responsibility to budget for “maintenance, upkeep and operation of buildings” per the Chariho Act. The loss of the 1904 building is totally at the feet of Chariho’s administration and school committee.

    The town had no reason to think that Chariho wasn’t following the law. Hopkinton let Chariho off the hook because the legal expense of fighting Chariho over this issue would have wasted more taxpayer money. In Hopkinton, we would have been paying full legal cost to civilly prosecute Chariho and we would have been paying 1/3 of the cost to defend Chariho..a lose/lose proposition.

    The Chariho administration and school committe knew this and took advantage of Hopkinton. As a Hopkinton committee member, Mr. Petit should be outraged over the 1904 building ploy on the part of the administration and school committee. He should not be using the 1904 building as an explanation of anything other then the manipulative behavior of Chariho’s administration.

    I hope Ms. Capalbo and her group are able to bring forward a reasonably priced plan to bring back 5th and 6th graders. I expect this plan will include bringing the 1904 building into compliance with mandates. Since this building housed students not too long ago, I can’t imagine the expense will be anywhere near new construction costs.

    The 1904 building is large and should accomodate several hundred additional students. If Ms. Capalbo can deliver the solution at a low cost and quick turnaround, then I expect we’ll soon hear new excuses from Chariho on why they need to spend millions more to expand their empire. They can’t seem to help themselves.

    Reject the bond again Hopkinton. Put an end to the politicians playing games with our money and our children.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 25, 2007 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  23. A quick note on Medicaid reimbursement –

    I just happened to be looking through the April minutes (don’t ask) and the discussion reminded me what Kathy Perry said about Medicaid. We do receive more Medicaid dollars now than when we tuitioned students out. Here is why –
    Just as I had said previously, or shown in Elaine Morgan’s case, (in the pre-RYSE days) a student got day programs at Bradley (paid for by school) and clinical services at South Shore (paid for by insurance, was United in this case but could be Medicaid). When the student was placed at RYSE, both services were provided by RYSE and as such, RYSE could apply for the Medicaid reimbursement for the clinical services (which we could not do when the child was sent to South Shore). Unfortunately, this also means that the expenses not paid for by Medicaid are covered by the school. By sending them out, the non-covered expenses would be covered by private insurance.

    Just think about this – our SPED population has dropped by 27% since RYSE started, but our labor force has stayed the same and our expenses have gone up. Why? Because the school budget now covers a lot more stuff than it did before.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 25, 2007 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  24. CR you seem to have lots of time to post on here. Go find where it is illegal to have the RYSE prgoram at Chariho! Not by your opinion but by the law. Not by what you feel is right but by the law…show us…have some backing…you keep hammering away on the RYSE program as being illegal but have yet to show any evidence that it is. No one has said or proven that it is illegal in anyway, shape or form. It is hard to keep up a conversation on on subject when it comes to; your way or the highway. I have given you an email from Ken Swanson RIDE, Barbara Capalbo has said that the Hopkinton solicator is looking into the scope of the RYSE program and I have asked her to inform us when she receives an answer. The Chariho solicator has given his professional opinion that it is not against the Chariho act, but CR says it is; so it is. I dont have a problem with a disagreement on what I believe, I am not always right. But I try to get something to back what I am saying. I have yet to see that about how RYSE is illegal. As far as the flyer, we can go round and round on this so you have your opinion, (which I respect) and I have mine. I will not falter from my opinion because you think it will salvage my integrity. If that bothers you than it bothers you. No one claimed it was bias until after the flyer was all ready printed. As far as the 5th and 6th grades going back being the decision of the School Committee, Lets get it right if you are going to put information out there. THIS IS HOW IT WORKS. The school committee is in charge of grade configuration, so yes we would have the final say in how its configured. If it were to hurt the district than we won’t do it. This dosen’t mean Hopkinton can’t pull their children back, but they would be responsible for the elementary school, as it would not be part of the district anymore.A partial withdrawl is what Hopkinton would have to do. The reason I said the towns have known about it since 1999 and haven’t done anything is because the towns would have to approach the School committee with a plan before we can act on it, the same as they have for this bond, it was the the town council that approached the school committee and asked us to come up with a building committee and a plan. They can do the same for the 5th and 6th graders and I encourage you to go to your town councilors and ask them to do this. You are accusing me of not wanting to do what is right, I feel with the information I have in front of me this bond is right. Agree or not this is how I feel. The 1904 building is absolutly the responsiblity of the Chariho Administration and the School Committee, but just to clue you in, not this administration or school committee, we inherited the building problem and have done all we can with it trust me on that. I really can’t go into detail on it and I won’t.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 25, 2007 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  25. It is my understanding that the Chariho Act contains a section which states that the scope fo the school is not to be expanded without voter approval. There may be reference to “permanently” in there since some have claimed that avoiding permanency was the reason for leasing trailers rather than purchasing trailers.

    As a school committee member who is legally obligated to follow the Chariho Act, I would assume you know the document backwards and forward, so tell me, does the Chariho Act legally forbid expanding the scope of Chariho?

    For the sake of argument, let’s say that the Act does limit Chariho’s scope without voter approval, do you expect the community to believe that offering psychological and medical services is not an expansion of Chariho’s scope? Do you think bringing disturbed youth onto the Chariho campus did not alter the function and focus of Chariho?

    Now, let’s say that the Chariho Act doesn’t address expanding beyond education. As a member of the current school committee do you see any value in retroactively getting voter approval for RYSE? Or do you think voters, who pay millions every year, shouldn’t have a say in whether RYSE is best for our community and children?

    This isn’t complicated Mr. Petit. Either you believe the administration and the school committee should unilaterally dictate programs which cost millions of dollars or you think the people paying the bills should decide what is best for themselves and their families?

    I understand that you can’t ask citizens to vote on every issue that comes before you, but with RYSE we are talking about millions of dollar in capital expenses; millions of dollars in operational expenses; experimental behaviorial treatments that have only been field tested on violent juveniles; pyschological services to families; medical services; and who knows what else. Does this sound like a program that has minimal impact on the community?

    I don’t buy the excuse that RYSE wasn’t brought to Chariho on your watch. You are our guardian now, and there is no reason that the lack of community approval can’t be rectified. There is also no excuse for RYSE being tied to this current bond vote. I accept that you favored separate bond items, but in the end, you and Mr. Buck did not prevail, so the bond is tainted. Yet, for some reason, even though you seem to agree that voters should be empowered to vote on the bond components individually, you still support the bond which does not allow us to do that very thing. This is very strange? You talk about compromise, yet compromise is ignored by the “other side”. Doesn’t make sense?

    I don’t think you’re a bad guy. I actually do think you got on the school committee to make a positive difference. Unfortunately, you apparently want to go along to get along. You want to be the “team player”, and perhaps being on the team makes political sense. I’m the kind of person who tries to stand by conviction and convince others to join my team. If they don’t, I stand alone.

    What you appear to be missing is the opportunity to be on the other team. Yes, the other team is undermanned. Yes, the other team faces stiff resistance from the veterans from the home team. BUT, the team you could join is hell bent on protecting the interests of children and taxpayers. The team you seek to disavow is concerned about free speech, open government, and complying with the will of the people. I hope you try on the uniform, because your good intentions will be meaningless if you continue to go along with the status quo.

    I’ll address your comments on 5th and 6th graders in my next post.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 25, 2007 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  26. I have no idea what is required for a town to remove their kids from the district, but I can’t imagine it would be easy or inexpensivie.

    On the flip side, it would be very easy for Chariho’s administration and school committee to implement a plan that allows Hopkinton’s 5th and 6th graders to go back to the 1904 building. This could be done in a matter of months.

    I don’t know about the facilities in Richmond and Charlestown, but based on declining enrollment, and based on the fact that these same building did accomodate 5th and 6th graders not too long ago, I suspect the only obstacle is the will of the administration and school committee.

    The district’s parents spoke back in 1999; Hopkinton spoke as a community in the last election; yet you belong on the present school committee that has the power to follow the wishes of your constinuency, and you blame the towns for not taking responsibility. This is shameful.

    Back to the 1904 building, the bad decisions regarding that structure may have been made by past administrations and committees, but that does not absolve this administration and committee of responsibility.

    Hopkinton students, parents and taxpayers got the shaft and as a representative of Hopkinton, you should shout this from the rooftops, not cringe in the shadows afraid to tell the public what went wrong and how you’re going to fix it this time and make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

    I continue to appreciate your willingness to engage the public here. I believe you are doing some very good things, especially as it pertains to pushing for the management study, but I also feel like you are extremely misguided and misled in other areas.

    I hope you find your footing and get yourself on the right track. Following Mr. Felkner’s lead might be a good start. I’m not always right either, but I don’t concede being wrong until it is proven. So far, you’ve proven nothing other than an ability to parrot the talking points of your team.

    I believe that the defeat of the bond may be the best hope for you. So far you’ve gone along with everyone else’s ideas. Perhaps if the bond goes down to well-deserved defeat, you will then be motivated to break free of the status quo and wornout thinking of the “veterans” and come up with some ideas of your own. I have hope. Vote no on the bond.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 25, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  27. Hello,
    I have filled out the application for appointment to the ad hoc group looking into ways of moving 5th and 6th grades to the elementary schools. Maybe I’ll continue to work on that effort or maybe not, depends on the town council but either way I feel this is very important for the town and children. Because of this I oppose approval of the bond. For many years the town or school could have done the move as they were told by voters. They didn’t do it. Now I don’t see them doing anything once money has been designated to go to them to grow the middle school. I do know that Bob Petit is good on the issue and I believe him when he says that approving the bond doesn’t mean we can’t still bring them back. He trusts the school committee more than me I guess because I think approving the bond is trouble for the kids and we can forget seeing them out of Chariho School.

    As for the flyer it is what it is. I think they were so excited about getting people to vote yes for the bond that it intefered with the ability to see it was telling people to vote for the bond. I agree with Barbara Capalbo who said of course the flyer advocates for the bond. Like Bill Felkner I agree it’s too late now but let’s hope it doesn’t happen in the future.

    I will not get into the issue of RYSE as the grade configuration is enough for me to vote no on the bond. I think the best shot for the kids is in Hopkinton as we usually are less trusting of spending at Chariho then the other towns. I am optimistic that something can be done at much less cost to educate 5th and 6th graders here. Maybe the 1904 building? If appointed I will join Barbara in looking into the matter and bringing plans forward to accomplish this goal. Thank you.

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — September 26, 2007 @ 7:15 am | Reply

  28. CR, It is my understanding that the only time it has to go to voter approval is if it is becoming permanent, such as buildings. As for the education part of the Chariho Act, It does talk about the scope or range of programs. George asked last night for a clarification on this issue. So when we hear you will be informed on how the range and or scope of a program should be handled. As far as your comment about bringing disturbed children on to the campus, just be happy you were blessed with a child that didn’t have special needs. I am tired of saying the same thing over and over to you, and this is my believe: these are our children disturbed (as you call them) or not we need to offer and provide education for them. I think we try to do that with the RYSE program. I have agreed with one of Bill Felkner comments, which was about the medical part of the program, that does concern me. But as far as bringing these children back to our campus, I will not falter on the fact that I feel the School Committee was in their right to bring these children back. Do I think that the tax payers should have a say whether or not the RYSE is best for our children or not? NO and you are right it isn’t complicated. Come on CR, think about it, you don’t like RYSE so you are against it, but you are not the only tax payer in this district. Should I go out and get parents that have children in the RYSE program to step up and speak? What do you think they would say about it? Not everyone has had a bad experience or is against the RYSE program. I truly don’t follow the argument with the millions of dollars that we spend on RYSE, do you think because these children are somewhere else it doesn’t cost? Out of sight out of mind ? Bill has brought to light some good information, but the administration at this point has provided more information on the savings. Again where is the information that it is costing us more money to have these children in district instead of out? I am not talking speculation, or assuming if we did this or that it would be cheaper, I am talking concrete facts stating that we are spending tax payers money on a program here that would cost less out of district. Again I don’t want you feelings I want to see proof, can you show any? As for the comment of joining your team, I feel this way about that. I have a job to do for all tax payers, if I was to change my mind every time a few people disagreed with what was going on, I wouldn’t get anything accomplished and I would drive myself crazy. Ask around, I am fighting my fights, I am working hard on this management study and I do my best to hold this administration accountable for their actions. I knew going in that I would not please everyone all the time. I will say this, just because something is posted here doesn’t mean it is the way the all of the Town of Hopkinton feels, so I do take into account the points you bring up but I also think of the rest of the tax payers out there to.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 26, 2007 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  29. Mr. Petit brought up a subject I need to expand on – parent complaints about RYSE.

    We all remember Elaine Morgan whose daughter was “forced” to attend RYSE (which ended up costing the town more money than previous services and hurt the child emotionally). I have heard from two more parents since then.

    One has a child that is obese and as such was teased by peers. The school councilor told the child to attend RYSE (contrary to Ms. Perry saying that it is always a student’s choice – and according to this parent, it was not the boy’s choice – although it is reasonable to assume he didn’t want to tell anyone he was afraid of the teasing). The parent was not happy and eventually got the child out but it took a while. She has also complained that the education he received was “dumbed down.” But unless she agrees to come forward, this is hearsay.

    Another person had a son receiving services at South Shore (like Elaine’s child). This boy was also “forced” to attend RYSE but his parents took Chariho to court and won (Chariho spent $78k fighting the case). This is not hearsay.

    Now ask yourself this – Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski were on the board when that case happened (03-04), so they know RYSE had a history of forcing at least one kid into the program. If they knew this, why didn’t they at least allow Elaine Morgan to speak? See if there was something to it – but they didn’t. Were they trying to hide something they knew existed? Did they forget a lawsuit? By stopping Ms. Morgan from speaking, was that in the best interest of the kids?

    I find this to be a very serious violation of the trust parents put in us – and something should be done about it.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 26, 2007 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  30. Bill,

    I can’t speak as to why she was not able to talk. I do feel she came out to speak and should have at the very least been able to voice her opinion. Now with that said, and I am sure you will agree, I can go out and find just as many people that are for this program as those that are against. I would go out on a limb here, but I am sure if I look I can find parents that have nothing but good things to say about the RYSE program and how it has helped their child. The Westerly Sun ran a letter form one of those parents some time ago. I am not going to say that the RYSE program is flawless, I know it is not. But, neither is the math program, you know and I know there are major problems here. Should we get rid of our math program? Now this does not mean I am against the parents who have had a tramadic experience with the RYSE program, I don’t think this should be going on with any of our children. I also don’t understand why (if back in 03-04 the family that was forced to bring their child to RSYE won a law suit against Chariho) didn’t these other families fight it? The presidence is set so it would not have been much of a case, can’t help but to think there is more there than meets the eye?

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 26, 2007 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  31. Elaine said she was fighting it but didn’t know she could do anything more than complain to Kathy Perry – so nothing more was done. Then the daughter had the breakdown and RYSE sent her back to the other location.

    I don’t doubt that the majority of clients are satisfied with Chariho (but I would also argue that they have only used RYSE and thus don’t know what other programs offer). But what I was seeing was a new program placing kids in it to justify its existence. Why pull one from Bradley. Why pull one from South Shore. Why send a kid to ADL just because he is getting teased.

    PS. Did you see the NAEP article in the projo today? I’ll post something over at http://www.oceanstatepolicy.org

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 26, 2007 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  32. Mr. Petit still doesn’t seem to get it. Emotional rhetoric about “disturbed” aside, to read him admit that the initiation of program, which costs millions, should not be decided by voters is very discouraging. As Mr. Felkner highlighted in another post, this is the attitude of Hugo Chavez. It should not be the attitude of the Chariho School Committee which functions within the borders of the USA.

    Whether RYSE works for some families misses the point entirely. We know it doesn’t work for every family, and we know for certain that the existence of RYSE resulted in limited options for parents of “disturbed” (or whatever politically correct term Mr. Petit prefers) children.

    Why are parents and students forced into this program?

    Why weren’t voters asked if they wanted to expand services delivered at Chariho?

    Mr. Petit notes I’m not the only taxpayer in Hopkinton. He claims that others may have a different take on RYSE. He is right. Sadly, he is not willing to take it to the next step and find out exactly how many taxpayers support their money going toward RYSE rather than external resources.

    Mr. Petit has no idea if I have a disturbed child. He assumes I don’t since I want taxpayers to have a measure of control before millions of dollars are spent on RYSE or for that matter, anything new at Chariho. I don’t support the bond either, but using his logic I must not have kids in the school system.

    I guess it doesn’t occur to Mr. Petit that spending money foolishly just because you might personally benefit is not the way everyone thinks. As a parent I am responsible for my child and while I appreciate outside help, I never depend upon it. I certainly don’t want to take money from other people without giving them a voice in how it is spent. This would not be a good lesson to teach children.

    The funny thing about this whole debate is that I might be convinced that RYSE is a worthwhile program. Unfortunately, because everything to do with RYSE has been under a veil of secrecy, I can’t say for sure.

    Let’s take a look at what we don’t know about RYSE:
    1. How much it cost initially.
    2. How much it costs now.
    3. Why wasn’t it voted upon.
    4. Why wasn’t a permanent building proposed right from the start.
    5. What has been the benefit to children?
    6. Are children forced into this program against the wishes of their parents?
    7. Are families forced into the program?
    8. Does the therapeutic model work on children with less than severe problems?
    9. The therapeutic model claims to have results demonstrating effectiveness with violent children. How many children at Chariho fit this profile?

    There are many more questions about RYSE. There are few answers and when asked, Ms. Perry cries and Mr. Ricci diverts. Why?

    I can honestly say that if RYSE was run openly and taxpayers were made aware of what they are getting for their dollar; if it were a good bargain and effective for all children; I would likely support RYSE. Sadly, we don’t know the answers and that makes me very suspicios.

    Voters should continue to reject any bond that includes RYSE until Mr. Petit no longer says “NO” to letting taxpayers and parents decide the fate of RYSE…we should all say NO to Chariho bonds until we are allowed a voice.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 26, 2007 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  33. Yes keep saying no because CR doesn’t have a voice. remeber he/she is the only voice.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 26, 2007 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  34. CR the questions you have asked have been answered time and time again. you can ask the same questions in a hundred different ways, as you have. I will not debate this anymore because I just feel like I am spinning my wheels. I respect your views and opinions and will continue to do the best job I can for our town, district and our children. I understand I will not please everyone and I won’t even try as there is no way to do that but if I do my best for all I will sleep well at night.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 26, 2007 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  35. Just give me a few more minutes and answer them one last time. If they’ve been answered, I haven’t seen it. Especially interested in the initial cost per student and the cost now per student. I’d like this to include the actual budget numbers used to calculate the cost.

    The other very important item is the actual success of the program. During the school committee meeting approving Psychological Centers, Inc., it was noted several times that the model has proven successful. In looking at the model further, we discover that it was designed for violent juveniles. This is all well and good, but assuming the majority of Chariho students in the RYSE program are not violent, then can you answer the success of the program on the range of students at Chariho?

    You may feel you are beating your head against the wall…well I do too. So we have that in common. If the answers are as well known as you tell us, I expect the other people can tell me too…do you know the answers to the questions Mr. Felkner?

    Until we, taxpayers, get answers and answers becomes a regular part of how the administration and committee operate, I will continue to vote no on every dime Chariho requests. I will continue to share my thoughts with my neighbors and friends in the community. Eventually, Chariho will need to be accountable or perhaps you’ll drive me out of town first…we’ll have to see who can wait the longest.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 26, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  36. I’m guessing I won’t be provided any answers to my questions about RYSE. I would like to do a comparative review of the 2001-2002 or maybe the 2002-2003 Chariho budget. Does anyone know if the older budgets are available on the Internet?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 26, 2007 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  37. CR what I am telling you is that the answers have been given to you and Bill has asked alot of questions and although you might not agree they have been answered. the problem is they haven’t been answered the way you want them, they haven’t been answered with “YOU ARE RIGHT AND THE REST ARE ALL WRONG” this is what you want to see and it is not happening with me. If you have watched the meetings and go back over some of the earlier post when Bill first started this blog you can find answers to a lot of these questions, look hard because they dont jump out and say “CR YOU ARE ABSOLUTLY RIGHT” but keep asking. I also believe that most people have made up their minds on how the are gong to vote on this bond, for or against and either way it comes out I will wake the next morning and start to hear the complaints of the budget,which is the next thing we have to work on. I knew this when I ran for this position and I will take the heat for it as I hold this position. I don’t blame you for wanting answers to your questions CR, but when you get answers don’t keep asking over and over again because you didn’t get the answer you wanted.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 26, 2007 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  38. Why are you so worried about who is “right”? How can I be right about numbers?

    Many of my questions have to do with the cost of the program. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been answered and it is not a matter of right or wrong, but simply black and white.

    I realize with the bond flyer the facts were presented along with opinion, but it is possible to present facts (numbers) without tainting them with opinion. That is what I am looking to get, and what I’ve seen Mr. Felkner ask for, but to my knowledge, not get.

    Since the school committee and administration does not seem willing to provide this data, I am now seeking the budget immediately prior to RYSE being brought to the school. I think it would be 2001-2002 or 2002-2003. I will try and get to the bottom of the numbers myself. And if you are nice to me, I might even share with you so you’ll actually have facts to go along with your opinion.

    I’d also like to see numbers (facts) about RYSE students. How many severe problem students do we have as gauged using the MST model? How many students are being treated with modified MST therapy? Do we have any data on the success rate of the modified treatment (because MST was brought to Chariho based only on its success with violent juveniles)?

    I cannot understand the reluctance to answer these questions? I don’t think they are unreasonable…unless the power structure is fearful the answers won’t impress the electorate?

    You claim the answers have been provided…since both the cost and the success of RYSE should be a top priority for you as a school committee member, I would expect these answers to be readily available to you. Please share with the rest of us. If the information has already been posted here, humor me and post it one more time. I hate to beg, but I’m begging. I’ll never ask again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 26, 2007 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  39. I hate to step into the middle of a good debate, but I have to chime in on the RYSE costs. RIDE reports the figure at $53k. Kathy Perry produced a single expense page that didn’t give a total cost per, but did give an out of district tuition. This is the price we would charge someone else to send his or her child to RYSE. The figure was $52k.

    Ricci said we didn’t know if the numbers were accurate or not. But we can say its $52ish and it doesn’t really matter as the only way to tell if RYSE is saving us money is to take each child currently enrolled and “shop” them at outside facilities to get a price (not practical).

    Ms. Perry will say it’s cheaper because Bradley is $70-80k. But not every child at Bradley needs that intensity of services and not every kid goes to Bradley. Before RYSE lots of kids went to South Shore here in the district.

    And this is indicative of the structure of RYSE, which I don’t like. It’s a one-stop service center for everything from kids suspended from school to severely disabled kids. I think we are trying to do too much.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 26, 2007 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  40. CR, you can find the current budget here http://cspf.awardspace.com/links.htm
    it has the last 2 years. Otherwise check the Chariho site. good luck

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 26, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  41. Hi!
    Five things:
    1.Don’t forget to watch Bill Felkner on “A Lively Experiment” tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM on Channel#36,PBS,.It is on Channel#8 on Cox Cable.Repeats Sunday at 12 Noon and I believe other times?
    2.I will miss watching the School Committee tonight.I am going to try to relax and watch other TV programming, and do other things probably.We will see how much effort the school committee and buidling committee do to promote the bond as well as town council members.It will be interesting how CURE proceeds.It will be interesting if the media gives Mr.Avedesian,a CURE leader, a pass on sending his children to a private school while not sending them to Chariho and advocating the bond which certainly is not illegal.It will be interesting on Hopkinton Town Solicitor’s Patricia Buckley’s legal views on the RYSE program.Whatever you feel about the bond, Chariho Schools have some positives.I think we have some improvement on the school committee than we have in the recent past.I do prefer some on it weren’t there, but remember it is tough to get people to run for the Chariho School Committee.I do not necessarily agree with their decisions.
    3.Don’t forget the events in Ashaway this weekend:
    A.Swamp Yankee Days,a Chariho Rotary Project both Saturday and Sunday at Crandall Field.
    B.At Ashaway Free Library Sarah O’Dowd will speak on “Seance,Solace,and Reform:Rhode Island Women And Nineteenth Century Spiritualism” on Saturday,September 29TH; at 2:00 PM,.Light refreshments will be served.
    c.At Ashaway at 3:30 PM,Sunday September 30TH a Hopkinton sign will be dedicated near the Westerly-Hopkinton line on Route#3,Main Street,Ashaway.Prior to that on Route#3,Main Street,Hope Valley at 2:30 PM a Hopkinton sign will be dedicated on the Richmond-Hopkinton line.
    4.Bill Felkner is willing to help other Chariho School Committee members put up their own web sites.I hope they seriously consider his willingness to do that.
    5.I need a lot of help to make the 250TH Anniversary Community Picnic a success on Saturday,October 13TH at Camp Yawgoog in Rockville.The program needs to take form and I need game coordination;someone to lead a sing a-long;we will will have a special postal cancellation; but volunteers to help me that day are needed.I plan to have a cake done by the Chariho Culinary Arts; and hopefully the schools will be represented.They have been given five posters by me.Anyone with any questions have them contact me immediately at 401-377-4643 or scottbillhirst@yahoo.com ,.Rain date for the event is the following day and the times are 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — September 26, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  42. Not quite right Scott. You have probably heard I have spoken to other district members looking to start blogs. While anyone in Chariho is certainly welcome to do so, and I would help of course, my goal is to get similar blogs in other districts.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 26, 2007 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  43. I assume that the number of students needing special services would remain fairly consistent. Do we spend more now for overall special needs care or did we spend more before RYSE?

    I would look at the budgets from before RYSE and add all the non-mainstream education budget items versus all the non-mainstream budget items now. I would add 4% annually for cost of living and whatever. If the total cost of non-mainstream education has declined, then RYSE has saved us money. If not, then RYSE has cost us money.

    If it is a wash, then the question turns back to the service and the success of the program. If it costs us more, then RYSE needs results head and shoulders above the previous programs. If RYSE costs less and delivers the best results, I’ll shake Mr. Petit’s hand and thank him for his obstinance despite the lack of proof presented to the public.

    One thing that seems pretty certain is that RYSE has reduced the power of parents to decide what they feel is best for their children and instead, RYSE has empowered the government to decide what is best. I can’t say I’m a big proponent of government over parents.

    Whether a fan or not, RYSE puts all students into one program. There may be flexibility within the program, but it would be hard for the program to be as internally flexible to individual needs versus several external programs, each with different treatment methodologies.

    If I had been involved when when RYSE was being considered, I would have supported including MST treatment methodology into the pool of choices, thereby giving parents another option. Perhaps if the MST method proved overwhelmingly effective, all parents would have chosen this treatment and there would be no controversy.

    RYSE is a good example of what can happen when elected politicians and arrogant administrations take over the parental role. RYSE may be great, it may be terrible, or it may be benign, but it definitely should be held up for scrutiny as children deserve no less.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 26, 2007 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  44. CR I do agree that all programs including RYSE should be held up for scrutiny as children deserve no less. Here is my proposal to you, since you have so many questions and they have been spread out through this debate we have had,please give me a list of questions you would like answered. You have my word I will look into everyone of these questions. I still believe that Mr Felkner has probably,all ready covered most if not all of your questions at one point or another but I will look into it. This may take sometime so please bear with me as there is a lot going on right now with negotations, as well as the fact I work 2 jobs and work with my sons boyscout troop in my spare time. Bill, I would request your help on this as I would like to try and get an answer to all of his/her questions to the best of our ability. I just ask one thing of you CR, once we get these answers we move on….again the answers might not be what you want to hear or how you want to hear them, but I will do my best. Write me a list if you will, and this goes to anyone else that might have a question about the RYSE program, you can add to the list. I will do my best to answer them. My email is b_petit@hotmail.com you can send these questions to my email as well as post them here so everyone knows. Thank you CR.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 27, 2007 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  45. Thank you for your offer Mr. Petit. I’ll try to limit my request to information that should be readily available from the RYSE program and/or administration. If they are forthcoming, it shouldn’t require much effort or time on your part.

    1. The current budgetary costs of all special needs programs and services. Costs should include salaries, materials, capital, etc.

    2. The budgetary costs of all special needs programs and services the year just prior to RYSE implementation.

    3. The budgetary costs of all special needs programs and services the first year of RYSE’s existence.

    4. The number of students being treated using the proven MST treatment (the one for violent juveniles). The number of students being treated using modified forms of MST treatment. If all students are receiving the same treatment or if treatments are individualized, then data on the severity of needs among the Chariho student population.

    5. The total number of students receiving help by RYSE and other special needs programs. I’d like to see this broken down by grade or at least school, e.g., middle school, high school, elementary school.

    6. Services offered at Chariho not directly related to education, e.g., psychological services, family services, medical services. If the cost of the non-educational services is broken out from the overall special needs costs, that would be good to receive.

    7. Any information on the success of RYSE and other special needs programs. I’m not sure how, or if, this is gauged, but I’m looking for information that will tell taxpayers that the special needs programs actually help children and are not in place simply to make adults feel like they are doing something positive.

    Here’s my promsie to you. If you can deliver the information on costs and success measurements, and if RYSE is proven effective and has saved taxpayers money, I will champion the RYSE program henceforth.

    My objective is not to villify RYSE, but simply to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value for their money and special needs children are getting appropriate help.

    If RYSE is a great program, I’d have no problem saying it, but I won’t say it until they prove it. I’ve never understood the reluctance to publicize details on cost and success if the program works. If it were me, I’d be sharing the details with every taxpayers. The fact they don’t makes me justifiably suspicious.

    There’s no question that Rhode Island communities outspend most of the rest of the country for education, and our children haven’t been getting a decent return on our investment. I’m sure you’d like to be a part of changing this dynamic, and that’s my goal too. Thanks again for your offer to get information to the public. It is much appreciated by me.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 9:25 am | Reply

  46. CR,

    I promise to look into all of these questions for you.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 27, 2007 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  47. I look forward to receiving the information.

    By the way, good job pushing for the Management Study at Monday’s meeting. Sorry you were shutdown by the protectors of the kingdom.

    I didn’t see it on camera, but did any of the those voting to table a vote on the study ask for copies of the testimonial emails?

    Mr. McQuaide expressed concern about MGT’s credibility, and with 15 emails from various schools attesting to the value of their MGT study, I’m sure he must have been very eager to learn more about MGT’s credibility, right?

    Mr. Polouski also expressed doubts about MGT’s competency, so I’m sure he asked for copies of the emails, right?

    Oh, and Mr. Ricci was concerned about their integrity because the employees didn’t know about a 1999 study that included Chariho. (I would have thought he’d be more understanding given his proclivity for forgeting things that occurred 9 minutes ago, but I guess he didn’t recognize the irony.) I’m sure he requested copies of the emails, right?

    Mr. Day?
    Ms. Jennings?
    The other two ladies who like to hear themselves talk but rarely add anything of value? I’m thinking they are Ms. Serra and Ms. Eaves? (Somehow I came up with the name Dolan, but that’s not right.)
    Mr. Pruehs?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  48. CR,

    No one asked for any of the e-mails but the confusion was on the % of the discount they gave us. Actually just about all the people that you have mentioned hear are in one way or another for a management study. They just want to make sure it is done the correct way and that we can get the most for our money without just throwing it out there for the sake of saying we did a study. I think this committee has tried hard to come up with solutions to our problems both with education and with spending. For a relatively new committee. I think we have moved in the right direction…..some things take time. The problem I see is the ones from Hopkinton that do the most complaining just complain to hear themselves, they don’t look at the whole picture and what this school committee is trying to do. They see and hear what they want to see and hear, than put their negavtive spin on it and throw it back out there.But, these are the same people that even when we do something good, they ask “why didn’t they do more” because their way is the best and only way. they just look at it like statis quo, new committee just like the old committees. Oh an by the way CR, I guess you are the only one that has any questions in Hopkinton about the RYSE program, the rest are riding you coat tail.

    Comment by Bob Petit — September 30, 2007 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  49. So many questions to be answered with so little time. So for CR, Lois Buck, Bill Felkner, Barbara Capalbo, Jim LaBrosse and everyone else here is the answers you’ve wanted to see.
    1.The special needs costs for all items are $8,231,083.
    2.The same thing for the year before RySE is $9,000,202
    3.The cost for the first year with RYSE is $8,023,991
    4.There are 17 students with regular MST treatment. The treatmens are individual. The severaty is many levels.
    5.72 kids are in RYSE. 24 in elementery. 19 in middle school and 29 in high school.
    6.Chariho has many services and all of them are needed to educate.
    7.RYSE is very good. The kids are great. They all deservce chance for life.
    Now I’ve answered all the questions please give me some time of other tings I have to do. I’ve been patient and will vote yes for the bond. This is not pefect but it is the best for now. The committee is new and learning how to work on problems. We dont have all solutions and cant get them wihtout patience from the towns. We dont have to get along with each ohter but that would help us in the long run. Wait and you will see many good thigns happening at Chariho.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 1, 2007 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  50. you are all little children playing with the grown ups.

    union power is strong and you can’t even spell Mr. Petit so you belong with Mr. Felkner!

    Comment by Pete Gingras — October 1, 2007 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  51. All this fighting will solve nothing. Yes we need to improve conditions for children. This cannot be done without the adults coming to agreement on priorities.

    I would like to see more emphasis on development of the great minds among our children. Resources for higher learning have dwindled over the years. We must get back to a balanced place where our concern is not only for those children with special needs, but a place where special also encompasses students with extraordinary intellectual capabilities.

    I will be working with others to bring fifth and sixth grades back to Hopkinton. Maybe this will be the start of progress. The ad hoc committee will be formed soon and you will hear more as the public participates in the process.

    The bond stands in the way of our efforts. We will try to put together proposals very soon.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 1, 2007 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  52. Hi!
    I may not always agree with everyone but acceptance of the concept of answers to the questions and taking the bulls horns and going with it.
    I hope it is seen this idea benefits BOTH taxpayers and the students.We need a better understanding of what is behind school politics.You may not agree with one school committee member on an issue but you may want to compromise later on.Some people do not seem to forget this.
    How much various issues will impact the building vote coming up will be analyzed before and after the vote by some.However there seems to be a lack of serious reflection on those who involve themselves in various issues.People vote the way they for different reasons.The historic problem with Chariho is how it impacts us all financially.Tax rates are important to consider.These are not the only factors in play.
    Regards,
    Scott Bill Hirst
    Member,Hopkinton Town Council,1996-2004

    Comment by Scott Hirst — October 1, 2007 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  53. Bob,

    There is no single line item for “special needs,” actually quite a few of them. Can you tell me where you determined that amount? THx,
    The budget is here for those following along.
    http://cspf.awardspace.com/links.htm

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  54. PS. When Kathy Perry gave us the presentation at the last meeting, I thought she said there were 59 people at RYSE. Where did you get the 72?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  55. Now to answer you question about the excellent students. I do agree that it is important. I sit on the committee that come up with ideas and review information in front of the public. I think it is an opinion that this needs to be done. In my opinion it may not be neccessary. The Chariho act states we cant expand beyond education adn to offer advanced programs may be expanding. It doesn’t mean we have to do this or we can do this. It depends on what is happening at the time with all spending. If this idea said we should spend more on regular students that would be okay, I have to wonder if anyone would question what the spending would be if we thought of all students. I have said it in the past and will say it again, some of these students are pretty much in the same shape they were in when I attend these schools and graduated; and that was back in 1983; 24 years ago. So again I ask you when does all the arguing back and forth stop? When do we finally say enough is enough? I say it is now, we have a chance to do the right thing. Sorry Barbara, but I say Vote “YES” on November 6th.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 1, 2007 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  56. Unbelievable…the Chariho School Committee does not see the RYSE program as a drain on school resources for other students?

    To reach this conclusion, the committee must be in someone’s back pocket or foolish. The committee is so obviously biased in favor of RYSE students I can only guess that the administration thinks we are all complete idiots.

    I challenge Mr. Petit to highlight RYSE to any outside person not familiar with Chariho, and ask them if RYSE is for, against, or neutral toward the high achieving students? I’ll bet $1000 that nobody with a lick of sense will believe that RYSE is helpful to high achievers.

    I wouldn’t care if every corrupt psychologist in Rhode Island claimed that RYSE is in the best interst of all students. If Mr. Petit and the rest of the committee is so sure, then let citizens vote on RYSE like should have happened in the first place.

    It is disingenuous for Mr. Petit to claim that opposition to the existence of RYSE is the same as wanting to abandon special needs students. This is obviously not true as special needs students educational needs were attended to before RYSE and will be taken care of when RYSE is long gone.

    One problem (of many) with RYSE is it ignores the mainstream students. Before RYSE, parents and students had a numerous options available to a range of learning abilities. Because Chariho did not have to justify spending on mainstream students, RYSE was implemented as a solution of special needs students. Chariho was able to offer inflexible solutions to the issues of special needs students and offer no solutions to mainstream students.. Now we are locked into resticited programs with one group, one theory, which costs taxpayers an arm and a leg and very few special programs for all other students.

    Talk about expanding the scope of Chariho’s mission beyond education misses the point that mainstream students have educational vehicles not offered to them. If students need psychological or medical help in order to be educated, then the help should be independent of Chariho, not part of Chariho, but if mainstream students need EDUCATIONAL services and don’t get them because of the cost of psychologic services, this is tragic.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 1, 2007 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  57. “you are all little children playing with the grown ups. union power is strong and you can’t even spell Mr. Petit so you belong with Mr. Felkner!”

    Yes, Pete. Name calling is certainly a sign of strength (and maturity).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  58. STOP AND READ!!

    Mr. Felkner I believe your website has been invaded. This my first time posting here since last Wednesday, 9/27.

    I suspect that you’ve been spammed by someone(s) not happy with the commentary here. The answers provided above by Mr. Petit seem off and I wonder if this is him or not?

    Many of the other posts left since I last posted also seem suspicious.

    As the administrator of this site, please check the email I provided to you with this post. This is an actual email and I am Curious Resident.

    I hope Mr. Petit can clarify whether the answers above are his or not? If not, I continue to look forward to the answers. If they are the answers, I’m afraid I’ll have many more questions because these answers do not give details that are needed to properly analyze RYSE success and spending.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 1, 2007 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  59. FYI – This same tactic of impersonation happened at Hopkinton Speaks many months ago. It effectively discouraged participation as posters became frustrated trying to refute posts that did not belong to them.

    The administrator at Hopkinton Speaks instituted a rule requiring registration before you could post. This really caused a downturn in participation as many of us were afraid to register and take a chance on being publically identified.

    The way Hopkinton Speaks is set-up now is that new posters require approval before their posts get on the board. You do not have to register, but you do sometimes have to wait for your posts to appear.

    You may want to consider something similar here if the nonsense keeps up. It’s not ideal, but it beats having someone put words in my mouth.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 1, 2007 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  60. Yes, CR, I have noticed that, too. Maybe its Andrew McQuade again….

    I have noticed not only the fraudulent posts but ISP addresses that I think come from Chariho (and we have already seen the jump in posts from NEA). I’ll let their actions speak for themselves.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  61. yes someone is posting information just to start trouble. my last post was an answer to CR on the on the 27th.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 1, 2007 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  62. yes, it is good to see we are getting to them (them being ip72-200-174-252.ri.ri.cox.net). Same ip that comes through with one’s email…

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  63. I see some posts have been removed. Post #56 is not mine. Looks like they edited something I previously wrote to make it believable.

    I think Mr. Petit’s last real post is #48. Please correct me if I’m wrong Mr. Petit, but the post providing answers isn’t really from you?

    Can you block that address Mr. Felkner, or at least tell us when something is posted from that address so we know it is bogus?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 1, 2007 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  64. I would rather not block them.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 1, 2007 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  65. You know what? Even ENRON fell under of veil of deception,lies and “cooking the books” The current practice of having an “executive session” for many issues that SHOULD be shared with the taxpayers of this area is despicable!

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 2, 2007 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  66. I am reposting in this area, as I am curious, and there are more entries in this area. Also, what if two towns vote FOR the bond, and one votes against, but the MAJORITY vote is FOR the Bond? THEN what happens???

    While we are also talking about the bond issue, I would like to know the following:
    How much will insurance cost to “repair, renovate, and build”? Understand that there is about 6 feet of fuel oil under the Middle School. This a slowly moving tide dependent on the flow underground. There are unusable water sources on the property which are contaminated.
    Since I do not know of any mortgage insurer which would allow a HOMEOWNER to build on a “Brownfield”, which is just what this parcel is in some areas, how does the building committee plan to obtain building insurance and liability insurance? This will be needed in case they strike this “Brownfield” and further pollute/contaminate any additional water supplies in the area. Will we have to be in a self insured “pool” and be liable for ourselves and others if disaster strikes? How much will THAT cost?
    Since no one was even sure of where the remaining (potable) water supply was located, can this motley crew be trusted to carefully plan, construct and build, renovate and move various buildings? Recall, the original plans had to be redrawn, the library placed in another area, and other plans changed when they realized WHERE the well was situated on the property. (I guess no one looked before the plans were drawn up)
    Finally, with a declining school enrollment, should we even THINK of building new buildings? When you consider that even with the healthy amount spent each year on maintenance and custodial staff, without direction, supervision and leadership in these areas any new building built will be in poor repair within 10 years.
    Curious minds want to know.

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 5, 2007 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  67. It is my understanding that the bond needs to receive approval from all 3 towns. The annual budget requires majority approval regardless of the breakdown by town.

    As we experienced with the all day budget referendum, Charlestown and Richmond are very generous regardless of Chariho’s failures and lack of transparency and accountability. The majority of residents in these towns are apparently the type that think education problems are solved by throwing away more money.

    The majority of Hopkinton voters rejected the budget. I’m hoping this is indicative of Hopkinton’s awareness of the problems with Chariho’s management.

    We do see that Hopkinton’s School Committee members are the most willing to question Chariho’s administration and provide at least a little oversight. They could do better, but defintely are not as embarassingly ignorant (and happily so) as most of the committee members from Charlestown and Richmond.

    Hopkinton can say no to Chariho with this vote. When we reject the budget, our votes are overwhelmed by our more affluent neighbors in Richmond and Charlestown, but we have the edge when it comes to bonds, and we need to take advantage of our voice by voting no. My greatest hope is that Charlestown and Richmond citizens have finally had enough of Chariho’s games and all three towns reject the bond. I’m not optimistic, but I can dream.

    Perhaps if Hopkinton stands up one more time against out-of-control spending and the lack of public accountability the other towns will get the message that we won’t join them in throwing money down the drain. Maybe then they will also start to demand proper oversight and fiscal restraint at Chariho? Maybe they won’t…maybe they’ll continue to accept the status quo that fails children and taxpayers…but until Chariho delivers results at a reasonable cost, I will continue to vote no every time.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 5, 2007 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  68. Has the school committee appointed Mr. Ricci their spokesperson? Seems so from the articles in The Westerly Sun.

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 6, 2007 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  69. I don’t read The Rag. It is unreliable, exploitive, and presents slants information. Mr. Ricci is very verbose when it’s to his benefit and very morose when he’s hiding something.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 6, 2007 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  70. Well, I wonder how paying for fully 1/3 of the bond is going to go with Charleston Residents? For the overage that they will be paying after the change of the CHARIHO ACT, they could build their OWN building, or repair and enlarge their OWN school. Course if the darn thing passes, that is probably the ONLY part I will like about the bond. At least we will pay less, and Charlestown will pay more.

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 10, 2007 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  71. While it is good that the towns agreed to split everything equally three ways, don’t worry too much about Charlestown.,..with their tax base, even with an equal split, Hopkinton’s taxes will increase 3 to 4 times more than Charlestown.

    Unfortunately, Charlestown residents don’t feel the same level of pain as those of us in Hopkinton. Supporting a foolish bond isn’t a big deal when it has little impact on taxes.

    Maybe after global warming is fully implemented we will have some summer residents living in million dollar beachfront properties in Hopkinton. They will help keep our taxes low and we can throw money away without too much thought. I’ve been breathing as heavily as I can trying to hasten the arrival of global warming!

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 10, 2007 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  72. AND>>>>> Can ANYONE tell me WHY we need MORE money to do upkeep which SHOULD have been done? According to IN$ITE, for the school year of July 2005 to June 2006, CHARIHO spent $939 PER STUDENT for “Building Upkeep”. I don’t believe we need a bond for more money, we need more accountability!

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 11, 2007 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  73. “Accountability”? Now there’s a unique concept for Chariho. I wouldn’t hold my breath. The people who could tell you “why we need more money to do upkeep” aren’t very good at sharing.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 11, 2007 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

  74. As a member of the district I will tell all of you taxpayers this: The money that some of you want to give him is not for what you think it is for. Mr Ricci and the building committee have other things in mind for that money but you are just “the stupid taxpayers” and once you give him (or them) your money you will be sorry. That’s all I’m going to say. You can go ahead and say “oh they don’t know anything”. That is fine but when all is said an done and if the bond passes, I will say “I TOLD YOU SO”.

    Comment by OH BOY — October 19, 2007 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

  75. An elaboration would be great here. If there is anything more you can say to inform the public, we would appreciate.

    Many people feel that there is a shroud of secrecy with the current administration and the school committee. It seems by your above comment that you agree with this assumption.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 21, 2007 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  76. Oh Boy,

    Yes, please give more details. This is very concerning because everyone knows that once the money is in the budget, they can do pretty much whatever they want with it. It is the duty of the school committee to ensure that the people’s wishes are being met (and we know where the SC allegiances lie).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 21, 2007 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  77. While I don’t trust this administration and most of the School Committee, I wish OH BOY provided more specifics. Why not simply tell us what their plans are for the money?

    There’s plenty of non-secretive reasons to reject this bond. We shouldn’t need CSI to reach the conclusion that this bond is harmful to our children and our community.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 21, 2007 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  78. Hello guys,

    I’ve never been on this section before — therefore #51 wasn’t mine either.

    Bill is right, if the bond passes, the school board can re-organize and spend the funds as they determine the needs. Yes, the middle school addition would be at the end of the bond, but I have always assumed it would be there anyway – no news there. George Abbott is right – I would also guess that the RYSE building would be first as they figure out the high school pattern of renovation and reconstruction.

    Why in the world we cannot build two floors like most high schools to keep a smaller footprint on the earth as well as making class changes not so far for the students. An elevator is not a new idea or a bad one either. The scattering of our buildings make parking, movement of people far more complex. Just because we have land doesn’t mean it must be used. The library is so far from many classrooms that it almost becomes an out-building. It’s beginning to feel and look like a Super Wal-Mart.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 25, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  79. Well, the 2010 flyer certainly endorses the bond which is patently illegal — so unfortunate. But now, today, I discover that Mr. Ricci is meeting with the senior citizens at the invitation of Mrs. Dolan of the Building Committee to discuss the bond at a lovely lunch at the Career and Tech Center. I am sure this will be a thoroughly neutral conversation.

    We know the students who are in culinary are very good cooks and we know the lunch will be delicious. Since this is another marvelous opportunity to receive information about the bond at no cost (except for the school general budget funds) I firmly intend to request a similar reservation at the table. They were serving stuffed shrimp, steak or a chicken wrap (if the other two didn’t entice you). I absolutely want the stuffed shrimp and my husband opted for steak — I am planning to call the administration tomorrow to reserve a seating.

    Now, I have spoken to several other people (approximately 24) so seating may be limited. I will let all the rest of you know after I have the new date. Is this not a wonderful opportunity! Excellent food, a charming conversationalist, wonderful companions and information about the bond. We are indeed a lucky community to find such helpful school personnel. And at no cost! Stuffed shrimp at no cost!! I love it and may go twice.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 25, 2007 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  80. […] Town Council member Tom Buck wrote a letter dispelling this misinformation.  He also attended a recent school committee meeting and told them that the HTC not only did not […]

    Pingback by Superintendent Ricci - failing memory or questionable integrity « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — October 31, 2007 @ 8:09 am | Reply

  81. […] Thomas Buck (Hopkinton Town Council) – Sept 12 – ProJo […]

    Pingback by Campus 2010 in the news « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — November 2, 2007 @ 9:05 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: