Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 9, 2007

The Aftermath

Filed under: bond — Editor @ 11:30 am

Tempers are hot after the bond defeat – and it seems leaders in Charlestown and Richmond want to kick Hopkinton out of the district – and they are using the old method of misinformation and scare tactics to do it.  From today’s ProJo.

 From Charlestown –

“Charlestown did make quite a concession, a huge concession, in allowing the language to change for this proposal,” Waterman said referring to Charlestown’s agreeing to split in equal thirds the cost of the bond.

This “equal thirds” terms is a little misleading.  Due to this “huge concession” Charlestown went from about 9 cents per $1000 to 12 cents per $1000.  Richmond and Hopkinton still spend 3 times that per household (39 cents and 36 cents respectively).

Relations over the years have not gotten any better, conceded Hopkinton council President Vincent Cordone, who supported the building plan.

“Some people keep saying that the elementaries [schools] need to be attended to, the main campus needs to be attended to, but no matter how the district tries to address it, the towns, I mean Hopkinton, keep [voting] it down,” Cordone said.

First of all, this is not exactly accurate.  Since 1985 there have been six bond issues.  The results are as follows:
1985 – Richmond and Hopkinton approve, Charlestown rejects
1986 – all towns approve
2000 – Richmond and Hopkinton approve, Charlestown rejects
2001 – Richmond approves, Charlestown and Hopkinton rejects
2005 – Richmond approves, Charlestown and Hopkinton rejects
2007 – Richmond and Charlestown approve, Hopktinton rejects

So as you can see, Hopkinton rejected 3 bonds – Charlestown has rejected 4.

Richmond votes yes for everything (why would the town who pays the most always vote yes?  some say it is because all the infrastructure is in Richmond, some say of the 775 employees on Chariho’s payroll last year a majority live in Richmond – others say that people in Richmond, “place such a high value on our children’s future that we’re willing to make this investment even if it means higher taxes” – but this is hard to accept as they let the kids drink rusty water for years).

Hopkinton Town Council chair Cordone goes on to say:

“As far as I’m concerned the onus is on them to solve” the problem, Cordone said, challenging those in Hopkinton, including the majority of his own council, who opposed the project.

I don’t know Mr. Cordone – only spoke with him once or twice but he seemed like a reasonable person.  I’m hoping that was a misquote and he still considers himself one of us.

Then I suppose anger and revenge has started to settle in, as exhibited by this quote from Superintendent Ricci:

The bond’s defeat, Ricci said, also means that money that had been earmarked for the elementary schools will now have to go to pay for more urgent repairs at the main campus, primarily the high school.

“The repairs aren’t going away,” Ricci said. “Now the funding will be by enrollment, so Hopkinton and Richmond will be paying more.”

First of all, last year we had over $2,000,000 in surplus funds.  Secondly, if we stopped giving double digit pay raises and gold-plated pensions and very low copay healthcare, (in other words, if we treated public sector workers like private sector workers), we wouldn’t be in this mess.  Maybe its time we looked at our-self for solutions rather than blaming a town.

Of course, Mr. Ricci knows this – he quoted in Wednesday’s paper as saying:

“The work will get done anyway, and we’ll be here tomorrow morning doing whatever we have to do for the kids,” Ricci said.

Let’s hope they are serious and do not put our kids (or the AP programs) on the chopping block because other board members don’t have the political will to make the difficult decisions.

Clearly, many are calling to kick Hopkinton out of the district but this should not be our concern.  All we want is 1) our 5th and  6th graders brought back home, 2) stop spending school money on social programs, 3) a fair tax structure and 4) fiscal responsibility with the contracts and maintenance.

Lastly, I can’t let this go without a response.  Former Chariho School Committee chair Stephanie Brown resurfaced to push the bond and said several things in the paper – namely:

“Sometimes there are people that just have to be negative,” said Brown about School Committee member Bill Felkner. “He’s just part of that crowd.”

“That crowd” is the majority of  voters in my town.  And when you consider Chariho paid 775 employees last year.  Including family that group could reach 1500 voters, most in the district – considering there were less than 3000 total voters, this is a significant voting block.  Apparently, some of “that crowd” included Chariho employees because we could not have killed the bond if they all voted for it. 

[UPDATE] – looking over the ProJo article again with some friends, it occurred to us that Mr. Cordone might not have been referring to Hopkinton when the paper said, “”the onus is on them to solve the problem,” Cordone said, challenging those in Hopkinton.” 

The words, “challenging those in Hopkinton” are from the reporter, not Cordone.

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30 Comments »

  1. Fascinating article on the Brown family’s criminal activities.

    Mrs. Brown is quoted as attributing “poor judgment” to her husband. Defrauding school systems of hundreds of thousands of dollars seems to me to be worthy of much more condemnation than “poor judgment”.

    Voting yes on the Chariho bond would be “poor judgment”. Defrauding a school system of taxpayers earnings seems much worse than “poor judgment”. I think it was poor judgment on the part of the journalist to give public voice to such a disgraced public figure.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2007 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  2. In reading about Mr. Brown’s criminal history, I became curious if the government seizes assets acquired through fraudulent activities similarly to what they do with assets acquired with drug money.

    I do not find Mr. Brown listed as property owner on Hopkinton’s 2005 or 2007 tax rolls. In 2007, Mrs. Brown is listed as having a 1999 automobile but has no tax obligation and no street address is listed.

    I’m not sure if Mr. Brown had owned real estate in Hopkinton, but I’m glad to see he is not currently listed on the tax rolls. Hopefully if he did acquire assets with his illegal gains, the assets were confiscated and the money was divided among the school systems (and taxpayers) he defrauded.

    I also find it interesting that out of the two bond supporters from Hopkinton I have researched, neither is listed as a taxpayer in Hopkinton. I wonder if it is coincidence?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2007 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  3. As far as Mr. Cordone being one of us, I haven’t seen much from him that would indicate this. His reaction to the property tax inequalities(some waterfront properties being tax as such and others, also waterfront, not) was similar to what a deer looks like when spotted with your headlights.If an elected official refuses to fulfill their duty, they should resign.

    Comment by R S — November 9, 2007 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  4. I don’t know one way or the other on the chairman, but I just posted an update that is worth noting.
    [UPDATE] – looking over the ProJo article again with some friends, it occurred to us that Mr. Cordone might not have been referring to Hopkinton when he said “the onus is on them to solve” the problem, Cordone said, challenging those in Hopkinton.”

    The words, “challenging those in Hopkinton” are from the reporter, not the chairman.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 9, 2007 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  5. From the harsh words directed your way Mr. Felkner, I’m surprised you have any friends left.

    Please keep us posted if Mr. Cordone clarifies his remarks? I don’t have it in front of me, but it seemed to me in reading the article that his general attitude was negative towards Hopkinton and the results of the vote. I’d be happy to reconsider my opinion if Mr. Cordone finds the time to engage the public.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2007 @ 12:15 am | Reply

  6. Having seen Mr Cardone in action previously, it is safe to say (I Think) he will “side” or support what ever he thinks is in HIS best interest. Not the towns, not yours, just HIS. He will lead the council like sheep to believe in the possibility of a lawsuit, so we should agree to whatever is proposed, terrified that we MIGHT be sued. Who the blazes cares? ANYONE can threaten to sue you! If they do file suit, well if your case is weak, that is the time to back off, AFTER considering all options.

    I am sure if Charlestown or Richmond seek someone to sell us down the river, they will choose Mr. Cardone as a “Town Representative”. Good grief, the man has no backbone, scruples or moral fiber, only self interest. Add to that he has been quiet about what he would vote for. To bond or NOT to bond? He only came out in support of the bond AFTER the vote. Hmmm

    Comment by Georgies Mom — November 10, 2007 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  7. Bill Felkner writes: “Richmond votes yes for everything (why would the town who pays the most always vote yes? some say it is because all the infrastructure is in Richmond, some say of the 775 employees on Chariho’s payroll last year a majority live in Richmond – others say that people in Richmond, “place such a high value on our children’s future that we’re willing to make this investment even if it means higher taxes” – but this is hard to accept as they let the kids drink rusty water for years).”

    Mr. Felkner, I would like to the time to remind you that it is you, as a school committee member, that has the onus to correct the water problem at the Richmond Elementary School. As I’m sure you are well aware of, it is up to the district to maintain the facilities. Also, I will remind you that Chariho received a report in January 2004 outlining how the problem could be resolved. I will concede that you were not on the School Committee at that time but now that you have received the report from the Manager of the Richmond Water Supply, I don’t see any action on your part to take corrective measures. Also, it is my opinion that both the Richmond Town Council and the Richmond Water Supply Board have done a lot to come up with a solution that was requested by the chair of the School Committee, Mr. Day.

    Now on to tax equalization, I will never support tax equalization. It is, in my opinion, a sneaky, underhanded move on Hopkinton’s part to bring this up whenever a bond issue comes up and then goes silent once the bond is defeated. This was on the list of items to be looked at by the Chariho Charter Review Commission but was not looked at because it was too controversial. Also, if Hopkinton wants an equalized tax, as a voter in Richmond, I want equal representation on the School Committee. Also, I believe that a simple majority vote needs to be approved. We already do this for the annual budget.

    One more thing, Mr. Felkner, why are people allowed to post anonymously on this web blog of yours? I think it’s shameful that people are allowed to hide behind a name such as Curious Resident and Amazed, why do they feel they have to hid who they really are? You want transparent government, let’s have a transparent web blog while we’re at it. I’m not afraid to say who I am.

    Paul A. LaCroix
    Sec’y Richmond Water Supply Board

    Comment by Paul A. LaCroix — November 11, 2007 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  8. The concept of ‘plans’ vesus ‘ideas’ is invalid. We cannot have ‘plans’ without the school board, school administration and the town councils approving and moving them forward.

    Our ‘ideas’ are new ways of looking at the same problems. Like splitting the bond. It was a new idea and the school could not accept this as a possibility to get most of what they wanted. It had to be all or nothing.

    Bob, you were at the meetings where I discussed a new idea concerning building and renovating the elementary schools in all three towns. You were also there when I was told it had never been done that way before. But it is not unsellable to all the towns as we all discuss the Chariho Act. It keeps the district together, it renovates and/or builds all the elementary schools allowing the return of the 5th and 6th grades and it allows each town to pay for the work they want individually and still get the reimbursement rates from the state. This is done under the district – not separate from the district.

    If a town chooses to leave the district, they can take their portion of the bill with them. Each town is the landowner of it’s elementary buildings and therefore we should (as landowners or effectively rental agents) be liable for its upgrades (not maintenance). If they choose to stay in the district after much discussion between towns and a discussion of the Chariho Act revision we can all discuss together fixing the central campus.

    Hopkinton is the ONLY town NOT threatening de-regionalization. We are asking for a revision of the Chariho Act to allow equalized taxation WITHIN the Chariho District — we are not discussing this concept outside of the district. We can only have ‘ideas’. To implement them takes the boards, councils and the citizens. We are not playing games here – Richmond and Charlestown are.

    Comment by BarbaraC — November 11, 2007 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  9. Mr. LaCroix,

    As you accurately point out, I have only been on the board since November. Perhaps you should direct your complaints about the Richmond water to your own representatives (hasn’t Bill Day been on a board for years and hasn’t the problem water been around for years).

    I have enough to do just to make sure my own schools aren’t falling apart (remember the roof leaks we both had). However, when the issue was brought up to my board, we did act on it and I voted for that action. Did your representatives get this done before my attendance?

    Your reason to object to tax equalization doesn’t make sense to me, but you can vote as you see fit. When a policy issue is presented speaks to the political strategy not the policy merit. People here tell me they have been discussing this for years (before my time) but Chariho ignores them unless a bond is proposed.

    Finally, I only restrict comments when they are obscene or otherwise inappropriate (like Andy McQuaide’s comments months ago). Anonymity has enabled some Chariho employees to post some revealing information that would not have been presented without this protection.

    But thanks for posting.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 15, 2007 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  10. Hey Paul,
    Want to know my name just ask, its not a secret….nothing here to hide, except maybe what little money I have left, before the spendthrifts find more wasteful ways to spend(er redistribute) it.

    Comment by R S — November 15, 2007 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  11. I’m sure Mr. LaCroix is comfortably situated and need not worry about wasting spending money on a school system that delivers inferior results. His family probably does fine and his income likely keeps them fed every night.

    Sadly, in Mr. LaCroix own town, not everyone is similarly blessed. I’ve spoken to Richmond voters who could not support the bond simply because they cannot afford to live in Richmond if taxes keep outpacing inflation. Apparently these unfortunate residents do not matter as much to the majority in Richmond as they do to me and the majority in Hopkinton. I am proud that I am part of the group which enabled Chariho residents to continue to live and raise their families here. I am ashamed of the many who could care less about their less fortunate neighbors.

    As for the issue of water at Richmond school, I don’t understand how a community that claims to be willing to pay any price for their children would allow them to drink rusty waters for years? Even if their School Committee members refused to act, I would have thought that the town would have paid the price for fixing the water situation?

    Mr. LaCroix is not worried about inequities in taxing, so he and others like him could have written off the expense as an inequitable tax. Seems reasonable to me for a town that routinely throws money away without nary a care?

    Maybe if the there were hundreds of plumbers who lived in Richmond, and these plumbers would all benefit from fixing the water at Richmond school, then maybe they’d have done something about children drinking the rusty water? Maybe it’s not “for the children” at all? Hmmm….I wonder?

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why anonymity is such an annoyance to those that don’t like what I say? Frankly, a jackass is a jackass whether I know its name or not. Mr. LaCroix’s name is trivial information to me. I put much greater worth in what he has to say. His words reflect who he is much better than his name.

    Mr. LaCroix has no reason to fear my name…my words, perhaps, but my name is meaningless…I am a nobody. Why do you want to know the name of a nobody? If it helps, you can call me Superman…or Clark Kent…whichever you prefer.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2007 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  12. Mr. Felkner I read Mr. LaCroix’s post again and I think he may actually be unaware that Richmond is the town that stands to gain the most financially from tax equity.

    The reason I think he is confused is because he frames tax equity as something Hopkinton desires, and he theoretically calls for Richmond to have equal representation in retaliation. Why would Mr. LaCroix think that Richmond would need to be compensated in some way for tax equity unless he was ignorant of the significant economic benefits for Richmond?

    If my interpretation is correct, and I never expect Mr. laCroix to admit it, I am amazed how many people are clueless to the issues you bring to our attention, and I can’t figure out why they seem so determined to remain uneducated? I guess jackasses and mules are both stubborn.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2007 @ 1:49 am | Reply

  13. “The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond
    income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications
    soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.”

    — Thomas Jefferson (letter to Spencer Roane, 9 March 1821

    Is Thomas Jefferson talking about Rhode Island, Hopkinton, or Chariho??
    Could be any or all, and he wrote this almost 200 years ago….what foresight.
    If we could only have a small amount of this today.

    Comment by R S — November 16, 2007 @ 9:45 am | Reply

  14. Thomas Jefferson would be distraught to see so many American’s using fertilizer when they should be using the “pruning knife”.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2007 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  15. Great Quote!

    Thanks RS.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 17, 2007 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  16. Mr. Felkner, how dare you allow a post such as the one by your “Curious Resident” with his name calling in it. You didn’t like what Mr. Andrew McQuaide’s because YOU found the inappropriate, I find “Curious Resident”‘s comment very inappropriate as well and demand that you remove it immediately.

    Also, I resent the implication that has been made that I’m “comfortably situated”, this could not be further from the truth.

    Now with that being said, I was the chairperson for the Richmond Education Advisory Committee. I’m very well aware of the costs that Richmond must deal with when it comes to the schools. I’m also well aware that Richmond taxpayers would benefit from tax equalization. My resistance to it is that I would never expect a community that has 28% of the school population to absorb 75% of the burden. I believe we are obligated to pay for what we use, if a community has 1500 students, I would expect them to pay for 1500 students, if they have only 800 students, that’s all that they should have to pay for. I find no equality in so called “tax equalization”.

    To “Curious Resident”, it’s not about retaliation, the point I was trying to make is every community wants something, there needs to be give and take by each of the member communities, I find that Hopkinton is the town that is least willing to bend feeling that the other towns are some how out to make their lives miserable. I commend Charlestown for at least agreeing to the 1/3 split for the bond, that was a major concession on their part. It’s time now for Hopkinton to step up to the plate and make some concessions as well, the Chariho School District is for the three towns, not just Hopkinton.

    Comment by Paul A. LaCroix — November 21, 2007 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  17. Just an observation, perhaps we should exempt the elderly who do not have any kids in the schools anymore. They have paid their share. How is it fair that they pay school taxes when they don’t even use the schools.

    Point, we are a district. The elderly in the Chariho district willingly pay their taxes. Let’s tax them equally. The single mothers willingly pay their taxes. Let’s tax them equally. The newlyweds who have no children who just bought a house in Hopkinton and Charlestown, let’s tax them equally. If we are to be a district, then let’s tax as a district. Why is it fair that the taxpayers in Richmond and Hopkinton continue to carry the burden. The education provided is not a choice. It is required by law. As a community, we are required to provide all children an education. Chariho is not a college or a university. Tuition is paid to them. Their is choice as to whether to go or not. Public education is different. They have no choices.

    I understand your point Mr. LaCroix, but I don’t agree with it. I can’t speak for some people, but it is interesting when public figures in Charlestown speak up for tax equalization. I just ask you to consider my perspective. I look forward to hearing more.

    Keep in mind, I lived in Charlestown for 11 years prior to getting married. I understand their perspective, I just don’t agree with it.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 21, 2007 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  18. Mr. LaCroix,

    I deleted Andrew McQuaide’s comment because he was using someone else’s name but more importantly because he made a crude, childish insult of a sexual nature.

    As for the funding spin – if we had a district wide tax base, there would not be town distinctions so Charlestown could not possible be paying for 70% of the budget as Mr. Hosp contends. District wide base simply means that a home owner in Charlestown pays the same as the owner of a similar home in Hopkinton. All other taxable properties are held collectively. Like Hope Valley and Ashaway – one tax base.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 21, 2007 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  19. Lois,
    America is such that we have a social compact to provide education. If we don’t tax everyone (including seniors) then where do we draw the line.

    That is the worst part of funding based on enrollment. If one of the towns were all home schoolers, or sent to private schools, that town would not pay any taxes – but it would still be part of our society and benefiting from the school. Butwhere do we draw the line?

    Few towns like funding Providence, but we are forced to do so. This is also the impetus to the statewide funding formula – AKA statewide property tax

    Everyone knows where I think the solution is – just let the students use vouchers for a set average – anything over that, parents can pay for. Although, most private schools are about half of the state public average – so we could save a bundle too.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 21, 2007 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  20. For the life of me I can’t figure out what name I called Mr. LaCroix? Oh, well, it was amusing to read his rant.

    Obviously Mr. LaCroix, whatever your financial situation, you can afford to take on additional tax burdens. Many in your town and in my town do not have the same luxury.

    The problem Mr. LaCroix has is that he wants Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton to be an educational community with all of us agreeing to the same level of educational spending, but when it comes time for taxes, well then we become individual towns each with our own individual tax burdens.

    This simply doesn’t make sense and it cannot work. Charlestown can afford to live high on the hog as it pertains to educational spending. They have the tax base to support wasteful and unaccountable spending. They drag Hopkinton down the same path.

    Richmond is more like Hopkinton demographically, but they have a large population of educators (including URI employees) and seemingly have no limits on how much money they are willing to pump into a school that fails our children.

    Frankly, I agree with Mr. LaCroix that Charlestown should not support 75% of Chariho spending. I think individual throughout Chariho either have to think of the Chariho district as their educational community and step up to the plate financially, or they can think of their town; take their large town tax base; and open up their own school. They can certainly afford it, and they will solve a lot of Hopkinton’s problems at the same time.

    It’s really easy. If you live in Charlestown and think of Chariho as an educational community, then you’ll support tax equity. If you live in Charlestown and think of Chariho as the school you send your children to, then you should go out on your own (or sucker Richmond into going with you) because Hopkinton cannot afford to spend like we are Charlestown. This isn’t complicated.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 21, 2007 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

  21. For the record, like Mr. Felkner, I prefer letting the money go with the children and leaving educational choices in the hands of parents. You can bet Chariho would improve educational outcomes if they had to compete for dollars rather than extort them from us.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 21, 2007 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  22. Bill,
    My point exactly, we have a social compact. We have a social compact as a district. Let’s tax it as such.

    I do not know enough about vouchers or the success they have. It certainly would give parents some choices. I don’t know whether it would put any demands on Chariho though, just on the member towns. I don’t see layoffs occurring when children use the vouchers to go to other schools. Sounds like double jeopardy. But, like I said, I don’t know enough about there effectiveness.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 21, 2007 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  23. You only have to know how the free market works to know about vouchers. Open competition breeds excellence. When parents are able to choose where to send their children to school, you can be sure the best schools will prevail. That’s how free markets work and that is why vouchers will work too.

    If Chariho had to compete for students, you’d be astounded at how fast TERC Investigations would be gone and how quickly they would reconfigure the grades. Never mind the options that would be availabe to parents with special needs students…no more cramming one program down parents’ throats and then making us pay for it.

    Happy Thanksgiving Mrs. Buck.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 21, 2007 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

  24. It appears to me a common thread among the pro bond people is the lack of regard for the value of their money. They are really pushing hard to get the money from other peoples pockets, but do not like it when these same people ask about the value. Is the money we spend on Chariho worth it? Everybody must answer the question for themselves, and it appears there were many who said NO.

    Comment by R S — November 22, 2007 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  25. Pro bond voters probably come in many sizes and stripes. I agree that few of them voted based on the value we receive. Who could be that stupid?

    In Richmond, the majority of the pro bond side is connected to the Chariho and/or the educational system (URI) and thus they vote based on self interest. Other supporters have a psychological need to FEEL like they are doing someting positive. It doesn’t really matter if something positive happens, as long as they FEEL good about themselves. These are the people most likely to say “for the children”. They fail to understand that spending money foolishly is not for the children but for them.

    I think Charlestown supports just about any bond that has something Chariho legitimately needs. In this case, Chariho really does need to improve the condition of the High School. The bond included a fix for the High School (it’s debatable whether it is the right fix) so Charlestown supported the entire bond. Chariho’s administration even counted on some of these types of people to vote for the bond simply because they promised to repair the track. Charlestown can afford the luxury of ignoring waste in a bond or a budget.

    Another group, and many Hopkinton bond supporters fit in here, are the people who are like sheep. They are told something by the people in charge and they buy it. I met several of these people prior to the bond vote. It didn’t matter what I told them…they never even tried to debate me…they were going to vote for the bond because Mr. Ricci and the School Committee said so. RYSE saves money…”they told me so”. The Middle School expansion will be delayed…”they told me so”. The High School needs expansion…”they told me so”. These are the sheep. Mr. Petit comes to mind.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 22, 2007 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  26. Hi!
    I think Richmond’s and Charlestown’s AFFORDABILITY FACTOR has a great deal to do with their voting behavior.
    Richmond by thousands of dollars has a higher median family income than the other two towns.Charlestown which ironically has the lowest median family income of the three towns has an assessable base of over 2.5 billion dollars minus exemptions it is 2,400,000 plus, which is more than Richmond’s 900 million dollar assessable base and Hopkinton’s billion dollar plus assessable base.
    We need serious discussion of the issues.A Richmond-Charlestown School District would be interesting.Would it logically work good? The towns financial differences are pronounced:Richmond’s two advantages seem to be most buildings are physically located in Richmond, and by thousands of dollars there household incomes are higher assuming they can absorb taxes easier.Charlestown’s advantages are pronounced: voting power by hundreds of more voters then Richmond;obviously an assessable base approaching three times that of Richmond;the ability to fund general government (police,public works,etc.,), than Richmond.Richmond spends 82% of its current tax dollars on education and only 18% on general government.Charlestown spends 60% on education and more than twice what Richmond spends on general government which is 40%! Add to that the budget caps required by the state impacting flexibility of local officials and citizens.Also it would appear Charlestown clearly because it is a coastal community mainly has more property taxpayers than Richmond that cannot vote.I assume it is possibly/probably more than the other two Chariho towns combined? Remember voting is limited to registered voters not whether you pay property taxes.
    Check out statistics at http://www.rikidscount.org ,.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — November 24, 2007 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  27. Of course affordability is a big factor in how a person votes. Another factor that seems to be missing by most posters is ARE WE RECEIVING VALUE FOR OUR MONEY! I am now feeling compelled to yell it out because it seems lost on so many. I am not against spending money for the education of our children, but without accountability for how the money is spent, I will not keep voting to throw money into a system which will not even try to prove its worth. Chariho fights harder to get more money than it does to prove it is worth it. I don’t see people writing letters to the newspaper about how proud they are of the accomplishments of Chariho or standing up in meetings praising the accomplishments of Chariho.If I had a choice of where to spend my money, then I’m sure this would change, just another example of a government mandated monopoly that is inneficient and lacking of any pride in their product. Any company doing this in the private sector (real world) would be out of business. Chariho…..Why don’t you earn your pay?

    Comment by R S — November 24, 2007 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  28. I do think value for our money gets expressed frequently. Maybe not in those exact words, but I think it is the major reason why Hopkinton rejected the latest attempt to reach into our homes for more money.

    Mr. Hirst is right in his observation about town affluence, but affluent people aren’t stupid. They may have a higher tolerance, but eventually they get fed up with wasting money too. Besides, if Charlestown pays significantly less per individual taxpayers, and they do, then they are getting more value for their dollar than we get in Hopkinton. In Richmond, many voters get value out of Chariho as an institution of employment for them or their family, so again, they may put in money, but they get out a lot of money too…value for their dollar.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 24, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  29. Mrs. Dolan has an editorial in the Westerly Sun today.

    She basically says that we are the minority? Just because we disagree with the means doesn’t mean we disagree with the end. And as I see it we are not in the minority. She is.

    This is what I would like:

    1. The elimination of the portable classrooms. The means is where we disagree. I believe that if we take care of the 5th and 6th grades and move them to the elementary schools, then expansion in the middle school and high school are not necessary.

    2. Obviously, we are all responsible for the education of our children, all children, even special needs, RYSE children. The means we disagree with. I do not believe that a new school is in order. If we put the 5th and 6th grades back where they belong, then again there would be room in the campus facilities to house them. Thus, we would be able to remove 4 more portable classrooms, which we will not be paying for in 2009, anyways.

    3. We both want creation of additional space within the district. We disagree with the means. I believe it should be in the elementary schools, not on the main campus.

    4. I never said that I wasn’t against improvements to the high school.

    5. I prefer the lower amount of securing a bond between $15 million to $25 million. $15 million would have covered the high school improvements.

    She goes on to talk about compromise. I saw no compromise when it came to Tom’s suggestion to split the bond. Who didn’t compromise here? This whole debate probably would not have caused such a split between towns if they (the school committee) had heeded the advice of some of the school committee members who agreed with Tom to split the bond. I believe the high school portion would have passed. They only have themselves to blame.

    The way I see it Mrs. Dolan is in the minority, just take a look at the results of the election.

    RS, we agree that our scores have fallen off. Curious is right. The discussions have revolved around our falling scores, but may have not used your words exactly.

    Our arguments have been many.

    For example, leaving the 5th and 6th grades in the elementary school is a must for the benefit of their academic achievement and growth. There is evidence to this, they are just choosing to ignore it, probably because it is easier. Whoever said that meeting the needs of our children was ever going to be easier.

    The math curriculum is another issue. I hear of problems even in the 1st grade. I have absolutely no confidence in this math curriculum and I believe it is at a detriment to our children.

    Comparing demographically equivalent districts that happen to be near Chariho geographically, we are 6th among the 6 districts. Westerly isn’t that far ahead of us. So what if we are higher than other communities in RI. We are in poor shape compared to other states in America. The nation continues to fall short among other nations in the world. We are all falling behind the rest of the world. Perhaps, this is the result of America’s poorly researched switch to the use of middle schools.

    I will never take anything away from our teachers. I believe they are doing the best with what they’ve got. I’ve met many of them and I see the love they have for our kids. They often use some of their own money to buy books for their classrooms.

    I see the efforts of the P.T.O.’s. Sometimes they have a lot of fundraisers, but we don’t have to buy from them if we don’t want to. And there is an effort to cut back on their fundraisers. Their money goes back to the schools to buy books for the kids to bring home and for the teachers in their classrooms, and to buy playground equipment, etc… This I believe this is being brought up in the next School committee meeting.

    There is so much going on, we don’t even know about. Be we know a lot more because of Mr. Felkner’s diligent eye.

    We have to seriously address the issues. The open communication provided to us here was the start to this process.

    And finally, I’m for tax equalization. We are a district. Let’s start treating everybody fairly. We need a taxing district.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 24, 2007 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  30. […]  First the bond was vetoed by Hopkinton […]

    Pingback by So many issues - too little time « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — December 2, 2007 @ 1:29 am | Reply


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