Chariho School Parents’ Forum

October 18, 2007

Did they, or didn’t they?

Filed under: bond — Editor @ 7:52 am

Way back in April I had conversations with several Hopkinton Town Council members regarding the implications of voting for the Chariho bond.  It was a difficult position for them to be in – they didn’t necessarily want to vote for the bond but didn’t want to deny the citizens of Hopkinton the opportunity to vote for themselves – so they voted to pass the resolution forwarding the bond to the people but they also made the point to say they were NOT endorsing the bond. 

We feared that some people would ignore those words and the vote would be intentionally misrepresented when it came time to vote.  Our fears have been realized.  The Campus 2010 brochure promoting the bond says that all town councils “endorse” the bond.  Thank goodness for the Westerly Sun that they could clear this up – the Hopkinton Town Council did NOT endorse the bond.

Superintendent Ricci’s comment in the paper highlights exactly what we feared would happen – “The council in Hopkinton endorsed the project when they voted for it (the resolution) and they voted to sent it to the legislature as did the other two councils.”

So I suppose the words of the council mean nothing to Mr. Ricci.

Isn’t it funny that the HTC specifically said they were not endorsing the bond, but Chariho administration and building committee took that as an endorsement – but the flyer says “it’s time to” vote for this building project (sounding like an endorsement) using your tax dollars (upwards of $10,000) to promote the bond (my family has received 5 of them so far), yet because using tax-dollars to do so is illegal, the school says this flyer is NOT endorsing the bond.

With such a loose grasp of the English language and what words mean, is it any wonder that academic achievement in Charho is on the decline?

 If you trust these people with your money, vote yes – I’m voting no.

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26 Comments »

  1. The Hopkinton Town Council can say what their intentions were or were not but I will say this: Barbara Capalbo was the only Town Councilor in any of the towns, to abstain from voting for the bond; ALL others voted in favor. If any of the councilors had questions about the bond and didn’t feel comfortable about it, they shoud have at that time voted no or abstained from the vote. This is scary and totaly ridiculous. To think these are the same people making decisions on our taxes in the town budget but yet they waffle on how they voted. I too sat at the meeting thatwhen the councilors voted. Questions? Yes there were questions but in the end Barbara was the ONLY one that still didn’t feel comfortable to send this to the tax payers. If you don’t feel comfortable with the way something is, you don’t vote yes. It is a waste of tax payers money and time to go through all the building commitee meetings and working with the architects to come up with a plan just because you wanted to say you voted to send it to the tax payers. This is why you are voted in by the tax payers; you do the leg work; you ask the questions and if you don’t feel good about what is presented to you; you vote NO!. I am not trying to pin down any of the Councilors as I don’t really know who is waffeling, but it really scares me to think of how many other things are being passed without having full knowledge about what you are saying yes to. If you are not for the bond; that is fine; that is what makes this country so great, you have decisions; democracy. Don’t sit here and make up things as you go along to try and make it sound like people are trying to push this bond down your throat. First it was that RYSE was illegal, than we want our 5th and 6th graders back now councilors didn’t endorse the bond they just voted yes to send it to the tax payers. I say thanks for nothing, I pay taxes in Hopkinton and I would have rather you do your homework from the beginning and If you didn’t like what was being proposed you should have voted NO and told the building committe to come up with a better plan. I am not upset with the fact that people are against this bond, I have had some great conversations with people throughout our district that have expressed feelings both for and against this bond. I am upset with what I thin are deceiptions and basic lies to get people to vote no on this bond. I will be honest here and say this, If you are agianst the bond vote NO but be willing to stand by that vote when we start to put these same upgrades in the budget and you don’t get a return on the money like you would on this bond.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 18, 2007 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  2. Mr. Petit,
    I think you ought to go back and read the minutes and watch the meeting, as I have. The counselors did question it.

    I won’t go into any great detail here, but I will quote one of the last conversations during the meeting so everybody will put an end to the he said, she said thing.

    1. Counselor Kenney stated, “This resolution just speaks to the legislation, to put the legislation forward and support the legislation, as it goes up to the house and senate.”
    2. Mr. Ricci stated, “If the counsel wants to support the resolution and then perhaps draft a letter to the school committee suggesting exactly what you’re saying (splitting the bond is what they wanted), again I’m happy to put it on the next agenda and allow them to debate that and to make a recommendation.”
    3. Counselor Cordone then asked, “The resolution that we are technically voting on tonight is strictly for the 26 million dollars? It’s not specifically, does not specifically address the plan?”
    4. Mr. Kenney answered, “Right.”
    5. Mr. Ricci responded with, “Correct.”
    6. Counselor Cordone continued with, “…or how the question is going to appear on the ballot?”
    7. Both Counselor Kenney and Mr. Kenney said, “Right.”
    8. Mr. Ricci shook his head in the affirmative.

    These are all quotes to the April 2, 2007 meeting. I listened to it intently. The counselors voted the way they did because of these comments and answers. I got the impression that Counselor Capalbo voted to abstain because she still had questions.

    They did not endorse the bond. Period.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 18, 2007 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  3. Than what did they vote on. what did they say? if you vote yes to send it up to legislation what is it that you are saying? TO me MRS Buck you are saying that you support the bond. If they didn’t they should have said NO. PERIOD!

    I don’t understand why anyone voted yes on the bond if they felt that it was going to be worded wrong or it wasn’t what I want but I will say yes and later when I will complain about it. Sorry dont buy it. As elected officals if you don’t know what you are voting for you vote no or table it until you get more information. PERIOD!

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 18, 2007 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  4. What seems so hard for Mr. Petit to grasp is that the council voted to allow the bond to go before the citzens for a vote. This is not an endorsement.

    Let me try this…let’s say I was on the School Committee and we were considering allowing the community to determine whether RYSE was an appropriate program. I would vote yes for letting RYSE go to a vote of the citizens, but this would hardly be an endorsement of RYSE.

    This is what the Hopkinton Town Council voted on. To let the fate of the bond be decided by the community.

    Since Mr. Petit does not trust the community to vote on RYSE, I can understand why he would be so confused by the councils vote. He probably can’t fathom why the Town Council would allow us a say in how our money is spent. So sad.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 18, 2007 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  5. They did not vote on the bond. They voted to move it forward. You were there.

    What do you make of the above quotes. I take it as meaning they wanted the legislation to move forward so the voters could vote on the bond. It has been up to the building committee to convince the voters that it is a good plan. They made a mistake by calling the vote by the HTC an endorsement of the plan. It is not. If it was suppose to be, then why didn’t you or anyone else speak up at the April 2nd meeting. All Mr. Kenney, Mr. Ricci, and Councilor Kenney did was agree with Councilor Cordone.

    At the same meeting, Tom was concerned about the maintenance building, the cost of RYSE, and the need to split the bond.

    Councilor Thompson saw value in splitting the bond, was concerned about the tank, and that she would endorse the legislation to move it forward.

    Councilor Kenney endorses it as it is.

    Councilor Capalbo mentioned the interest rate, the mixed opinions from her own constituency, and that she wanted to do more research. She agreed the bond should be split. She also agreed the High School needed work, but she stated that she questioned the expense of the RYSE School and the Middle School.

    Councilor Cordone didn’t think it was that expensive.

    They in no way endorsed it.

    I’m amazed that you ask me what they voted on.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 18, 2007 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  6. Bob,

    Two things, Tom has been trying to call. Please call him. Also, did the third entry come from you?

    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 18, 2007 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  7. Over on Hopkinton Speaks residents calling themselves Parents & Kids created a bond flyer of their own as a counter argument to the Building Committee’s taxpayer funded propaganda. I have to say that this flyer is a more accurate use of facts. Parents & Kids tells us they learned about much of the information from reading this website.

    http://hopkintonrispeaks.com/WordPress/?p=54

    It’s time to…

    Maintain Chariho High School

    Chariho High School was built in 1960 for students in grades seven through twelve. Today the facility only serves grades nine through twelve with projected declines in enrollment. Voting no on the bond will:

    • force Chariho’s management to properly budget on a yearly basis for maintaining the schools infrastructure
    • reinforce the rights of citizens to be fully informed about how their tax money is being spent
    • acknowledge that enrollment is decreasing, NOT increasing.

    It’s time to…

    Reconfigure Chariho Middle School

    Chariho Middle School was opened in 1989 when fifth and sixth graders were removed from elementary schools. Chariho’s 5th and 6th graders are exposed to the normal, but age inappropriate behaviors of teenagers. Voting no on the bond will:

    • send a message, for the third time, that parents and the community want 5th and 6th graders educated in the elementary school environment
    • create additional space for the community and school needs at the middle school

    It’s time to…

    Get community approval for the R.Y.S.E. program

    The R.Y.S.E. program was housed in temporary buildings skirting the Chariho Act which requires voter approval for permanent buildings. R.Y.S.E. claims to save money, yet Chariho administration remains elusive in providing any real numbers. Even the number of students housed at R.Y.S.E is unclear, except to the extent that it is much less than the capacity of the building (100 students).

    Voting no on the bond will:

    • Keep R.Y.S.E. as questionable until the community is given the chance to vote on the program
    • reject the one size fits all approach to special needs education
    • stop spending local tax dollars for medical and psychological services

    It’s time to…

    Understand that state assistance is unreliable. Voting no on the bond will:

    • Recognize that funding from the state is still money out of our pockets
    • Reject unnecessary spending regardless of whether the spending is subsidized or not

    It’s time to…

    work together!

    Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton have been very generous with tax dollars to the Chariho District over the years. Yet, Chariho’s per student costs are among the highest in the country, while educational results are among the lowest. The three towns must work together to end business as usual and demand superior education at a reasonable cost. Voting no on the bond will:

    • send the message that we demand accountability and results oriented education
    • break the cycle of careless spending

    It’s time to…

    Put an end to unrestrained spending

    The proposed bond does nothing to address the problems at elementary schools. We can expect to spend substantially more money on elementary school infrastructure going forward.

    The proposed bond may make R.Y.S.E a ‘voter approved program’ simply by specifying a permanent building for R.Y.S.E.

    The proposed bond virtually assures that our 5th and 6th graders will remain in the age inappropriate middle school environment.

    The proposed bond increases space while student enrollment is projected to decline over the foreseeable future.

    The proposed bond raises the cost per student higher still, yet fails to recognize that new and improved buildings will not better educate our children.

    NO to Campus 2010

    It’s time to…

    Consider financially responsible alternatives

    VOTE NO
    November 6, 2007

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 18, 2007 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  8. Mr. Felkner the link to The Rag didn’t work for me. Am I to understand that they got it right and wrote an article accurately telling readers that the Hopkinton Town Council did NOT vote to endorse the bond, but simply voted to let the bond advance to the voters? Did Mr. Ricci contradict this fact in the article? I think that is what you are telling us?

    In Mr. Petit’s case, I think he wants to spend our money so badly on this bond it addles his brain and he can’t understand what the vote actually meant, but in Mr. Ricci’s case, I don’t believe he is confused. If he is asserting that the vote was an endorsement, I think he knows he’s lying. Pitiful.

    By the way Mr. Petit, you state that you “pay taxes in Hopkinton”, but looking through the tax rolls the only real estate I see for Petit is for Joseph A. and Charlene. This property is on Arcadia Road. There are a number of Petit’s listed on the motor vehicle tax rolls. One of these is Sherri Petit. Her address is listed as 173 Skunk Hill Road. In looking at the tax roll for the Skunk Hill Road address, I notice that the estate is owned by the Irrevocable Trust of Jacques Delaporte.

    Now I have no problem with trusts and the children lucky enough to benefit from trusts, but I would find it disingenous for a trust fund baby to support excessive government spending when they don’t have to personally concern themselves with huge tax bills. If I lived in a house which was bought and paid for by someone else’s hard work, maybe I too would be insensitive about the average home owner who has labored for everything they own. Maybe if my home was free, I wouldn’t care about taxes at all. Who knows…I think I would have more character…but who knows?

    Now where do you live in Hopkinton Mr. Petit? You may want to check with the town hall because as a “taxpayer” they seemed to have left you off the rolls.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 18, 2007 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

  9. See the problem with you CR is you run your mouth but dont come out to back it.
    So, because my fathers name is still on the property that means I don’t pay the taxes? You are such a fool and loud mouth. You think you have all the answers, if you have so much time to spend on here and looking up all this information I would think you would come out of your hole and fix the town, police and school. You make these comments about all the people that do come out of hiding and try to do something, but claim you can’t because you don’t have the time or you are afriad that your children might get singled out hog wash. Maybe if you spent less time blogging and more time at the meetings and helping this town and school would be the best in the work because we would have CR running things.

    Now the reason that I am for this bond is because I feel it is the best thing for this district. NO ONE has proven it different, I have heard one complaint after another but havent’ heard any facts from anyone that is against the bond. I have yet to hear anyone come out and say I was wrong about the RYSE program, after three different lawyers have looked into this and commented that it is “LEGAL” not a one could stand and admit being wrong. No not even you CR the one with all the answers. This last lawyer that said it was legal was your own Town Solicitor. So we had to move from that to oil in the ground. Well that was looked into and where the buildings are going it will not affect the clean up process what so ever…. oh but than there is bringing back the 5th and 6th graders…..the building committee has moved that to the end of the construction time line to give Hopkinton time to evaluate the possibility of bringing them back…..oh yes taxes $300 thousand a year per town……you were told we would save $296 a year just by not haivng the portable classroooms anymore…..so I go back to this. NO-ONE has proven that this bond is not the best thing for this district, all just a bunch of complaints from the same people that complain year after year, they complain when you try to do something and cmplain when we don’t.

    So all in all CR you can sit back and think you have all the answers, and that by looking at the tax rolls I don’t pay any taxes. Well I am a trust fund baby as you put it, and being jealous of me is just oh to bad for you. You have NO idea what I am paying or what agreements that I have made with my family to keep the house I grew up in, in my family and you know what, It is no of your business.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 19, 2007 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  10. Lois yes the 3rd entry did come from me. And I will call Tom. And I do want to go on to say this. Tom did bring up questions at the meeting and good questions at that but he then voted “yes”. Do you think the house or Governor looked at the paper work sent to them for this bond and said ” well 14 out of 15 councilors voted yes on this bond”, but it isn’t and endorsement from them because they have questions? They look at it as an endorsement nothing more nothing less. Now this really isn’t worth going back and forth on. I feel this way, if that is the worst thing people can come up with to complian on than there isn’t any reason to vote anything but “YES on Novemeber 6th and lets get started on “Campus 2010”.

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 19, 2007 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  11. Don’t blame me Mr. Petit. You were the one claiming you pay taxes in Hopkinton. I simply was amazed to find you aren’t listed as a taxpayer. If you hadn’t made the claim, I wouldn’t have given it a thought. I assumed you owned real estate in Hopkinton, I was wrong and thought it quite interesting that you don’t own real estate in Hopkinton.

    Just so you know, the property is owned by a trust. I find it very admirable that you pay the taxes for the trust, but you are not the taxpayer of record. I would agree that it is important for you to be cautious with sharing your family financial arrangements. Trusts are legal instruments and if you are not following the rules of the trust, you need to be careful what you say.

    I do understand how you might think I am envious that you are a trust fund baby. I’m really not. I believe that everyone should be allowed to keep as much of the money they earn as possible. If the loopholes of trust laws work to your benefit and allow your family to keep more of your money rather then giving it to the government, I’m happy…we should all be so lucky.

    Hard work and just reward was a foundation of our society. Keeping your earnings and bettering life for yourself and your family is a motivating factor that made this country great. If you haven’t already, I recommend you read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. The philosophy espoused in this great literature is similar to my own.

    So now we’ve established you are not an “official” taxpayer in Hopkinton and you are the recipient of your family’s generosity, it makes more sense why the burden of tax increases far exceeding inflation doesn’t bother you as much as it does official taxpayers.

    When I was a child I too lived in my family’s home and didn’t have the same financial responsibilities as adults. When I was a child I supported unrestrained government spending because somebody else was paying, not me. In my child-like brain, I was okay with this reality. When I was a child I was insensitive to the financial burden borne by my parents. Fortunately, I grew up.

    I was not aware that Hopkinton’s Town Solicitor had issued an opinion on the legality of RYSE until reading it here this morning. Apparently we now must rely on the integrity of a future School Committee in order for the community to be able to decide if RYSE is best for our children and our towns. This School Committee has shown a total disregard for the wishes of the citizens they are supposed to serve, but maybe this will change some day (maybe not). Since lawyers decide what is legal, and you now have two, maybe three (who is the third lawyer?) whom support RYSE, then I would acknowledge we likely could not get a judge to rule it illegal. RYSE remains unethical.

    I do find it funny that it only required three lawyers to “prove” to you RYSE is legal, yet you still pretend that no one has “proven” the bond is not the best thing for the district. I guess the copious information presented here has less value to you then the opinion of two or three lawyers?

    Does the fact that a large majority of Hopkinton voted against the last budget carry as much weight with you as the opinion of a few lawyers? Apparently not. Maybe you should represent the Bar Association rather than the community? You seem to have more faith in the viewpoint of lawyers than the viewpoints of your neighbors…or maybe your neighbors are lawyers?

    I could be wrong Mr. Petit, but if I were to take a shot at figuring you out I’d say you’ve led a life which has required little accountability or responsibility. You grew up with no motivation to make good choices. Things were handed to you from the youngest age and you’re still learning what it means to make it on your own. Maybe you’ll never learn.

    I’m guessing your weren’t a great student, but not because you lacked intellect, but because there were more fun things to do than pay attention to a teacher. Since no one held you accountable or responsible, you did what most kids would do, you made bad choices.

    I’m summating that like many children from wealth you got into trouble as a child because children who are not accountable and not required to be responsible often drift into trouble…our culture is full of the stories. Children who are not taught to be accountable and responsible often grow up to be unaccountable and irresponsible.

    You have no/few problems with this bond. You supported the $99,000,000 bond. You want to treat Chariho School like you were probably treated…you want to give to Chariho but require no accountablity and no responsibilty. You are to Chariho as likely your parents were to you. But if I am correct, and you have been shielded from the economic realities most of us face, unlike your parents, you expect the rest of to foot the bill for your indulgent ways. Not me…I think your way in unhealthy. I think children and school districts must be accountable and responsible. If we don’t hold them to these standards, we will regret it for a very long time.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2007 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  12. Mr. Petit either has poor math skills or is purposely misleading. Here’s the quote:

    ” taxes $300 thousand a year per town……you were told we would save $296 a year just by not haivng the portable classroooms anymore”

    Notice how he the $300,000 seemingly is offset by the $296,000? What Mr. Petit doesn’t understand or unethically tries to sneak by us, is that the $300,000 is each town’s burden while the $296,00o is the district’s cost.

    The accurate and honest way to present these numbers would be as follows – “taxes $300,000 a year per town with savings of $100,000 a year per town” or he could write it as “taxes $900,000 a year for the district with savings of $300,000 a year for the district”.

    I’ll give Mr. Petit the benefit of the doubt and assume his math skills are limited…there are many examples, but since this misrepresentation of these numbers exists in the Building Committee’s propaganda flyer, I do not believe that every one of those members are mathematically challenged. Therefore, my assumption is that at least some of the Building Committee members willfully choce to try and deceive voters.

    Why are people like this? Do we truly have this many unethical citizens working on the Building Committee or is there something about spending money at Chariho that makes people act out of character? I hope they are acting out of character and the deceit is not innate.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2007 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  13. Well CR whether I am registered or not I do pay taxes on the land at 173 Skiunk Hill Road. And by the way Cr, no my math stills are not that bad I do understand that the $300 thousand is each towns burden and that $296 is what would be taken from the district.

    I was not trying to be misleading on this and I do apologize to anyone that reads this if that was the way they took it. Cr is correct on this.

    Now that you have brought this great point to the forefront CR, go on and tell them that the building committee also went on the high side of the Interest that would have to be paid and on the low side of the reimbursement. Tehy figured most of the reimbursment would be paid at the 56% so the total cost to the towns is actually worse case, most of the project will come in on the 60% side of the reibursement. I beleive if you split the rates to 585 you can get a bettere figure on it. You knew this CR, but did you forget to mention this?

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 19, 2007 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  14. What? I have no idea how much I will pay through my state taxes versus what I will pay through my property taxes. I figure either way I’m paying so who cares how much is from the money I give to the state government or the money I give to the local government?

    I do care if any of my money is wasted on an accountabe and irresponsible school system. The bond ensures that most of my money will be mismanaged regardless of how they get their hands on my money. Everyone who pays state and local taxes should look at it the same way. I don’t like tricks Mr. Petit, and the funding equation is a trick if you are trying to tell people they are ostensibly getting free money from the state.

    I wish you would all stop playing games with the numbers. Maybe you can fool a large percentage of the population and win the vote, but it is unethical.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2007 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  15. No one is playing games CR this is known 60% return or 56% return depending on how it is used. New Construction or remodeling. The return was actually figured at the low end with the intereste at the high end so as to be the worse case that the tax payers would have to pay. In other words the total cost should come out less than the $300 thousand regardless of the money made back on the portable classrooms, but again you knew this right? why didn’t you mention this? Is it becasue the building committe was trying to do soemthing good for the tax payers and give them the worst case? Is it soemthing you over looked? Can’t be not CR……come on who is palying with whom?

    Comment by Bob Petit — October 19, 2007 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  16. Hi all,
    Right now I will not comment on the many things with this bond like R.Y.S.E. and who does or does not pay taxes. I do want to say though that my opinion is that voting yes on the bond is the same as voting no for 5th and 6th graders at the elementary schools. I don’t question Bobs intentions but I think part of the bond is to expand the middle school and if you vote to expand the middle school then that is what you want done and not bringing 5th and 6th graders back.

    If the bond is approved I will resign from the ad hoc committee. I don’t mind spending time for the town and the kids but I don’t have time to waste on something that is not approved by the voters. Right now the voters said that they want 5th and 6th graders in elementary schools. The bond says to make the middle school bigger. I have 3 kids and one is out of middle school, one is almost out and one will be in middle school if we don’t change things. I’ve seen the problems and will try to leave Hopkinton before hurting my youngest child by letting her go to middle school when she is too young.

    I’ve said before I will vote no for the bond. I have not changed my mind. For me the biggest thing is the middle school problem and not R.Y.S.E. or taxes but what is best for the young kids. For this reason I do not trust Chariho to change its mind and still give us a chance to put the 5th and 6th graders where they belong. I have to vote no and ask everyone to vote no.

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — October 19, 2007 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  17. Bob,
    Thanks for letting me know that the 3rd entry was yours.

    I will tell you that I sent an editorial to the newspapers regarding the quote by Mr. Ricci. Personally, I think the quotes by the councilors and the guest speakers were enough to solve the problem. I spent a good 4 hours watching the meeting and checking the minutes. Replaying it over and over, I wanted to make sure that I had every gesture and word correct. Tom asked for these things because he was sure that he did not endorse this project. At the time, I wasn’t so sure. He would tell you that he endorsed the spending of up to 26 million, but as his statements suggest, he was not happy with some of the choices they made regarding the project.

    Perhaps I am a little naive, but I would have thought that the building committee could have taken the concerns of the council and perhaps made some adjustments to the project. They certainly should have seriously considered backing the split and approached the school committee with their endorsement of that. They made adjustments to the time frame and the location of the library, couldn’t they have considered the HTC’s concerns?

    I believe that there are many on the school committee who are not in touch with people who are struggling day to day, week by week, paycheck to paycheck. (I am not suggesting you are one of them.) I would like to know that these people are concerned about the many in Hopkinton who are struggling. It is about the kids, but it is also about their moms and dads, grandparents, cousins… It is the whole community. I believe, and again I maybe naive, that we can all find a common ground in this and still help those who are financially burdened.

    As far as the council goes, we live in America. This is a democratic society. I’m glad the councilors felt it was up to the voters. I applaud them for letting us decide, and not just because Tom is my husband. Trust me, I am not afraid to tell him when I think he is wrong.

    I have legitimate concerns as to where my tax dollars go. It hurts to know that we pay almost $4000 in property taxes for our home. My parents pay one-tenth that (approximately $400) for their property taxes in North Carolina. Do you know they moved to North Carolina because they couldn’t afford the property taxes here anymore. It makes me sick to know that my mother and father who are in their seventies, on a fixed income, are that far away from me, and Heaven forbid they should get sick or worse.

    I love my town. I’m still here. I chose to get involved in the 5th and 6th grade issue because I truly believe that the research is there. If I didn’t believe in it, I would be on the bond bandwagon, I would support expansion of the middle school, but I am not. I urge all to research the subject.

    I think when they do, they will find that the research supports a change to our grade configurations.

    I’m sorry I don’t agree with you. I’m not saying you are wrong. I am saying that past practice has shown us what they will do with this money. Other than the roof refund to the towns, the Chariho district has never returned any overages on projects. I don’t believe, based on past practice, that if Hopkinton decides to return their 5th and 6th grades back to the elementary setting, they will not put the money in the middle school or in the high school expansions.

    Also, consider this, Hopkinton taxpayers are so strapped that any more of a tax burden will certainly doom the 5th and 6th grades to the middle school. Because even if the issue is raised through the 3 towns in the future, Hopkinton would reject it because of poverty. Anyone who would deny this is simply naive.

    I’m sure you became a school committee member because you wanted to make a difference. That is my goal. I hope that in everything I get reputable, factual information. Again, I ask all to get involved. Research it. Offer your opinions. If I wasn’t open to criticism, I would not have stuck my neck out.

    I believe with all my heart that the 5th and 6th grades are the key. I believe Charlestown’s Ad Hoc Committee addressed this in their phase 2, but I truly believe they moved it to phase 2 because it was harder. Harder because it would take longer. It is an issue that would take some serious negotiations with the member towns. This bond is a quick fix. I’m not saying it is entirely wrong. I do agree with parts of it, but I also think that much of it is fluff and a waste of money. The sad part is that, I would have voted part of it in if the school committee had split the bond.

    I am definitely voting “No.”

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 19, 2007 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  18. Mrs. Buck your concern for all corners of Hopkinton is not felt by many in more advantageous financial situations. For some people, a few hundred dollars a month in taxes is nothing to sweat. For others, ten or twenty dollars a month can be all the difference in the world.

    I happen to be a big fan of a society which rewards and encourages good choices. I’m afraid we are turning into a socialist nation where the majority votes to take from the minority. Ironically, quite often it is those with a socialist mindset who have no problem driving the poor out of communities by wasting taxes on failing government institutions. They pretend to care, but they are blind to the damage they cause.

    In the case of Chariho, we spend a small fortune educating “special needs” children. We feel good about ourselves because they are victims. What we miss is the other victims we create when we take from some to give to others. Your parents were victims. They are not alone.

    The bond is another example of the callousness of the elite. Proponents seemingly have not a clue what it can mean to families struggling week to week to make ends meet.

    So what if they don’t know the effectiveness of RYSE? At least they care.

    So what if enrollment is declining while our facilities our expanding? At least they care.

    So what if taxpayers live with leaky roofs while Chariho spends thousands on landscaping and architectual plans? At least they care.

    There is a segment of our population, represented by Mr. Petit and others, that simply doesn’t get it. We can provide them with fact upon fact, but they will ignore us because we are not telling them what they want to hear. They care and if their caring creates victims, oh, well, they care so nothing else matters.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2007 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

  19. I missed Mr. Petit’s response to my post about playing with numbers. He totally fails to address my point about the entire bond being paid for by taxes whether it is local or state taxes. He continues to tell us what a great deal we’re getting because part of the bond is being paid for with the money taken from us by Rhode Island and the other part is paid for with the money taken from us by Hopkinton. I don’t see why I should be happy about this?

    Does Mr. Petit think that the state earns money and then gives it to us for our schools? Maybe he’s right? Maybe Rhode Island is producing and selling widgets and getting rich?

    I always thought that Rhode Island taxed me and my working neighbors? I thought that the money given to Hopkinton by the state was actually money taken from taxpayers? Silly me. I guess I was wrong. Mr. Petit must be right. Maybe he sells widgets for Rhode Island? Maybe Rhode Island has a trust fund where they get the money to give away to Hopkinton?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2007 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  20. We have a simple rule in our house (which helps us maintain our budget) – we don’t buy stuff just because it’s on sale.

    Similarly, we don’t need to pass this bond just because we are getting a portion covered by the rest of RI taxpayers. Besides, has anyone actually proven that this reimbursement will not be there in the future?

    And why should Barrington or East Greenwich have to support our bond anyway. We were the ones who gave away the store in previous contracts to the point that we can no longer afford to do anything but pay our employees while the infrastructure falls apart.

    We created this problem, we should fix it. If the school board doesn’t have the courage to stop extravagant pensions, gold plated benefits and double-digit salary increases, its not up to the rest of RI to bail us out.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 20, 2007 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  21. State reimbursements for school bonds are from state taxes. Period. Renovation and reconstruction monies are unequally determined per school district – allowing the poorest districts (Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls) a larger proportion of the whole states taxation. We (all districts) are paying for their inability to pay for themselves.

    56% for new construction, 60% for renovations — these are our particular reimbursements from RI Department of Education for our building bonds. Westerly has less. Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket get 83% or more reimbursement for their building bonds (I believe up to 93%). So, not only do we effectively pay the reimbursements to ourselves through state taxes, we pay for the poorest communities as well… It is ALL our money. There is no money tree.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 20, 2007 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  22. District reimbursement is 56% but I believe that it was much higher for Hopkinton before we regionalized. Charlestown has a very low individual rate.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 20, 2007 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  23. This is the letter to the editor I sent regarding this topic. I had to chop it up for the Westerly Sun. Whether the Times or the Sun printed it is beyond me at this point.

    The Hopkinton Town Council did not endorse the Campus 2010 project when they passed the resolution on April 2, 2007, as the Campus 2010 flyer states. Mr. Ricci is mistaken when he quoted to the Westerly Sun on October 17 that, “the council in Hopkinton endorsed the project when they voted for it.”

    Councilor Buck stated the maintenance building was “a little large.” He asked for a cost analysis for the RYSE program, as he wasn’t sure on the cost effectiveness of the program. He told them that, “There is a difference between what you want and what you need.” He recommended splitting the bond and would “hate to see the whole thing fail because of 1 sticking point.” He wanted to let the voters decide if they wanted part or all of it.

    Councilor Thompson supported the idea of splitting the bond, as it “has value.” She supports “our endorsement of this so that the legislation can go forth.” She did not “want to be holding this hostage;” she wants “the voters to have the opportunity in November to vote on it.”

    Councilor Kenney endorses it as it is.

    Councilor Capalbo emphasized the interest rate is a “floating rate,” which means the rate can change. She noted her constituents had mixed opinions. Some wanted the bond, like Chariho employees and their families; and some did not, like blue collar people and the elderly. She wanted more time to do research. Her questions revealed that classroom space is being used for things like weight rooms, Plato labs, computer technology and repairs. Mr. Ricci responded that the maintenance building would help “reclaim” classrooms, as this is where the computer equipment would go. She wanted the bond split. She agreed the high school needed work, but she questioned the expense of the RYSE School and the Middle school. She wanted to discuss the bonds with the bond counsel.

    Councilor Cordone didn’t think it “was an exorbitant amount of money”…”weighing the good with the bad.” He mentioned that there were some things he didn’t like as well.

    The committee heard from the public, then motioned to approve the resolution. The discussion continued:

    1. Councilor Kenney stated, “This resolution just speaks to the legislation, to put the legislation forward and support the legislation, as it goes up to the house and senate.”

    2. Mr. Ricci stated, “If the council wants to support the resolution and then perhaps draft a letter to the school committee suggesting exactly what you’re saying (regarding splitting the bond), again I’m happy to put it on the next agenda and allow them to debate that and to make a recommendation.”

    3. Councilor Cordone then asked, “The resolution that we are technically voting on tonight is strictly for the 26 million dollars? It’s not specifically, does not specifically address the plan?”

    4. Mr. Kenney answered, “Right.”

    5. Mr. Ricci responded with, “Correct.”

    6. Councilor Cordone continued with, “…or how the question is going to appear on the ballot?”

    7. Both Councilor Kenney and Mr. Kenney said, “Right.”

    8. Mr. Ricci shook his head in the affirmative.

    As evidenced above, the building committee and the administration are confused, not the Hopkinton Town Councilors. They did not endorse the 2010 plan. They only approved the resolution to move it forward.

    This is a lot of money for many in the community. Also, as Mr. Hirst stated, this is only “part of the puzzle.” Down the road we will have to “convince voters to approve an additional bond” for the elementary schools. And as Mrs. Ure stated that the “priority is the elementary schools.”

    So, is this the right bond for us? Is it time?

    Sincerely,
    Lois Buck

    I spent a few hours reviewing the tape and the minutes, as it is important for people to understand the facts.

    Also, I wanted to make sure I got it right.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 21, 2007 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  24. I don’t see how anyone could continue to say the Town Council vote was an endorsement of the bond based on Mrs. Buck’s excellent recitation of the conversation preceding the vote to allow the bond to go to voters.

    Of course, I don’t know how anyone could support this wasteful and unnecessary bond in the first place, so maybe I give people too much credit for intellectual honesty. It is possible that Mr. Ricci and his pals are simply to obtuse to admit what is obvious. In trying to fool us, maybe they fool themselves too?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 21, 2007 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  25. Very interesting point about the reimbursement rate for Hopkinton versus the Chariho District. If nothing else, it should tell us that the state recognizes that Hopkinton is at a lower economic status than Charlestown. Now if we could only get the School Committee to stop acting as if they represent nobody but millionaires we might make some progress towards improving Chariho at a reasonable cost.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 21, 2007 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  26. Does anyone realize that the only things “guarnteed” are death and taxes? An increased payback from the state of RI is an EXPECTATION, NOT a promise. With the way the state budget is going (down the drain, just like ours) is the additional reimbursement for SURE? With all the budget cutting, and the decrease in the overall economy, I would not be surprised if we find that the state just does NOT have the money!

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 28, 2007 @ 12:20 pm | Reply


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