Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 1, 2007

Update: RYSE saves us “hundreds of thousands of dollars”

Filed under: bond,RYSE — Editor @ 5:08 pm

Update to the previous post

 I emailed Superintendent Ricci, who forwarded to Kathy Perry – a request for the number of out-of-district placements just prior to RYSE (2002) and for the 2002 budget.

Via Supt. Ricci, Ms. Perry writes,

For the 02-03 school year we had 64 students attending out-of-district day schools that the district had placed and 7 students placed residentially by DCYF.

It would make sense that if we went from 64 students to 40-50, we would be saving money.  I don’t know who does the evaluations and I doubt that’s what they meant by RYSE saving us “hundreds of thousands.”

I am still waiting for the 2002 budget.  It just doesn’t make sense to me – if we used to send a child out for day-program services (services for the child) but now we do it in-house and provide both day-program services (for the child) and additional services for the parents, I just don’t understand how it could be cheaper – unless our day-program services are that much cheaper than the previous options.  Then it makes you wonder if they are better?  How can an upstart company provide better services than companies such as South Shore or Bradley that have been doing it for decades?



  1. It would be misleading for RYSE to credit themselves because the number of students declined. Less Special Education students has nothing to do with RYSE unless they tried to claim they cured these students and miraculously turned them into mainstream students. Of course, since RYSE didn’t even exist, this would be a lie too. Either students need these services or they don’t? The existence of RYSE would not matter one way or the other.

    With the limited information provided by Ms. Perry, the base line for establishing whether RYSE saves money should be based on a comparison of the costs for 50 students with and without RYSE. If the “hundreds of thousands” is based on a reduction of students, then the statement is a lie. Shoot, without RYSE, a reduction of 14 students at $50,000 per pupil would save us $700,000.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 1, 2007 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  2. I was emailed a copy of an article that was in the Westerly Rag (not sure if it was today). The article was pretty balanced considering The Rag’s tendency to favor the bond in its reporting.

    The pro-bond institutions parrotted their usual propaganda, but the article did a decent job presenting the opposing viewpoints. There were some areas where The Rag did misrepresent the opposition. Here’s my analysis of the article:

    The article reports that the Hopkinton Town Council questioned why the flyer says it endorsed the bond. The Rag does tries to minimize this by saying “endorse” is contained in the document, but The Rag does not give the context for “endorse”.

    Mr. Ricci admits in the article that the school is large enough for the current enrollment, but says it is at capacity. Mr. Ricci predicts stable or declining enrollment through 2010/2011.

    Mr. Ricci also repeats the mantra that the school was originally built for 600 to 700 students (I read somewhere else where he said 500 students). Again Mr. Ricci is unable to give exact numbers. He’s a fuzzy, wuzzy guy.

    The Rag tells us the facility has received additions, so why is the original capacity relevant at all…unless it is to confuse voters by throwing out numbers that really have no significance?

    The Rag reports some opposition to the bond stems from the 5th and 6th grade issue and tells us the Building Committee will put the Middle School Expansion at the end, but the reporter does not ask why the expansion was included in the first place since the School Committee has known for years that the taxpayer and parent preference was reconfiguration of the Middle School.

    The Rag opines that the RYSE issue has received the “most conflict”. They parrot the claim that eliminating the RYSE “trailers” (the choice to call them trailers is biased in my view…they are not trailers by any stretch of imagination) will reduce the operating budget by $219,860, but The Rag fails to tell readers that the permanent building will cost upward of $310,000 per year and will have the additional costs associated with permanent structures.

    The Rag also emphasizes that RYSE is legal, and blends this in with opposition to services provided by RYSE. The article does not report that many services provided by RYSE could, and should, be provided by insurance, charities, and/or other government agencies. The article does not tell Chariho property owners that through RYSE they are providing social services that no other property owners in the state, and perhaps the USA, pay for with their property taxes.

    A good job considering it was The Rag, but it should have been better.

    If approved, bond construction will bring the high school in compliance with fire code and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements — such as substituting wooden interior doors with metal ones and adjusting the height of water fountains and sinks, school officials say.

    Also, Ricci said the locker rooms need to be “totally refurbished,” and the bathrooms there are “woefully inadequate,” with one stall in the boy’s locker room and two in the girl’s. Gymnasium bleachers also need to be replaced, he added.

    In addition to the renovations, about 15,000 square feet would be added to the high school. School officials say the space is for a new library, agricultural science, band, chorus and general classrooms, as well as an expanded kitchen.

    Building Committee Vice Chairwoman Holly Eaves said offices currently in classroom space will move to the old library — proposed to be renovated — thus, freeing up more rooms for classes. Band and chorus courses presently in trailers will have a permanent home, if the bond is approved.

    As for the middle school, the referendum seeks to install a new fire alarm system, as well as upgrade the auditorium, which Ricci says community groups from the tri-town area use.

    “It’s stifling in there from spring onward to the fall,” he added about installing air conditioning in the auditorium. Audio equipment is currently rented for school plays because the sound system in the facility “does not work for the level that it needs to be for a drama production,” Ricci said.

    What has been scrutinized for the middle school project is the replacement of three classroom trailers with permanent space. Opponents say this part of the bond may be unnecessary because an ad hoc committee in Hopkinton is evaluating the likelihood of bringing back fifth and sixth graders to the town’s elementary schools.

    In response, building committee members the middle school portion of the project will be last in case grade reconfiguration takes place.

    But perhaps the building that receives the most conflict is the RYSE School, which Ricci says hosts about 50 students in either the Clinical Day School or the Alternative Learning Program.

    With the passing of the bond, 12,000 square feet of permanent classrooms will replace the identical amount of space currently in trailers. School officials say $219,860 in annual lease fees for RYSE trailers will be eliminated from the district’s operating budget.

    Despite opinions from three solicitors — Hopkinton Town Solicitor Patricia Buckley, former District Solicitor John G. Earle and interim District Solicitor Andrew Henneous — that determined the program is in compliance with the Chariho Act, some say such services should not be provided through taxpayer dollars.

    Opponents also say that the program has not been proven to be cost-effective, a claim that has been repeatedly made by school administrators.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 2, 2007 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

  3. Concerning RYSE:
    NO ONJE, not me, not you, not the elderly, not anyone should be forced to pay for services that they themselves can not afford! Certainly, if a parent has a drug or other substance abuse problem, they can and should resolve the need for intervention them selves. Providing private, “we will pay for it” services is a dis service to the taxpayer and the child, for who can assume that this “we will make it all right” attitude is either correct or even helpful? If the behavior of the parent is so destructive as to make a child unable to integrate with his fellow students, should the child remain in this at-risk environment? Spoon feeding addicts and abusers does little to cure or change ingrained behavior. The PARENT is the one that must seek treatment, and all the band-aid attempts at treating, making things better, etc. will do little to effect a behavior change unless the PARENT takes responsibility and seeks treatment on their OWN. There are many state supported programs for addicts and those substance abusers who may need treatment, and these are more sucessful when the adult seeks the care and treatment they need, and accepts responsiblity for their placing their child in a destructive environment. Meanwhile, the CHILD should be the one treated, and removed as needed from the destructive home environment, if the parent is unwilling to accept responsibility for creating a toxic environment and seek, on their own, the treamtment they need. STATE social workers can provide can provide placement for the child as needed, indeed, in a situation where the child is at this much risk, isn’t it required by law that state intervention is needed and that child welfare must be contacted?

    Comment by Georgies Mom — November 4, 2007 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

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