Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 9, 2007

Transparency in Tiverton

Filed under: bond,Budget,contract negotiations — Editor @ 5:01 pm

The Tiverton School is still in contract negotiations and has released its contract estimate.  From the Tiverton School website –

In light of the recent teacher’s contract negotiations the Tiverton School Committee feels obligated to provide the residents of Tiverton with the data it is using to project departmental expenditures for FY09 and FY10.   We have compiled a summary of financial information that we have been using to make decisions during contract negotiations.  It is our hope that by sharing this information with the residents of Tiverton, you will better understand our position and the challenges that we will be facing.   Please click here for the information.

Here are some interesting numbers from that information:

Additional Expenses for the Fiscal Year:

Certified Retirement  3-year actual increase: 13.3%/year
Non Certified Retirement 12% increase projected (no 3-year history)
Health Insurance  9% projected, 15.6% average last 4 years (FY07: 4.6%)
Transportation 3.25% increase/year
Special Education Transportation 3-year actual increase: 7%/year
Special Education Tuition  3-year actual increase: 13.3%/year
Special Education Assessment  3-year actual increase: 7%/year
Heating Fuel 3-year actual increase: 16%/year
Light & Power 3-year actual increase: 7%/year

I would assume those increases are not unique to Tiverton.

Now throw in the fact that half of Chariho teachers make over a 10% raise every year (the support personnel isn’t out yet so I can’t comment on them).  Those average increases far exceed the growth of your income – that means every year your take home pay will go down in order to support the school budget, unless your increases exceed the average. 

Our labor budget is $38M (out of a $50M budget).  If those total labor costs go up by an average of 5.3%, that will equate to about $2M.  That $2M is 4% of the total budget.  When S3050 (tax cap law) reaches the 4% cap, we won’t have anything left for books, AP courses, maintenance, etc… (obviously, the numbers will change over the next few years as we approach the 4%, but you get the idea).

I suspect those in charge understand this and were really counting on that bond to ease the pressure.  We will see if we have the political will to deal with these contracts (or file Caruolo suits).
Just in case the file is moved, here is the pdf – tiverton-contract-offer.pdf

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7 Comments »

  1. The Caroulo suits link was fascinating. Portsmouth’s experiences with runaway government and unaccountable politicians mirrors are own. Rhode Island is corrupt, this is no secret, but the levels to which it extends is truly amazing and scary.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2007 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  2. Do you know if the Portsmouth Concerned Citizens group interacts with other Rhode Island communities. Their problems with the school and local spending is eerily like our own here in Hopkinton. I wonder if these issues are being addressed on a town-by-town basis or if there is any efforts to deal with the problems on a statewide basis?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2007 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t know how I missed this, but Tiverton can be very proud of their School Committee. Chariho’s School Committee hides behind closed doors every chance they get to sneak away. Tiverton should be commended and Chariho should take heed. Mr. Felkner, you should put this on the agenda. Somehow or other the Chariho School Committee needs to learn how to share with the public.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2007 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  4. Hi all,
    I attended the beginning of the school committee meeting tonight and wanted to make a few comments. The public part of the meeting was delayed an hour or more because the committee was in executive session. Aggravating as I had stopped home briefly after work and thought I’d only be gone from home a short time. I did get to meet Sylvia Thompson and talk to Tom and Lois Buck and Barbara Capalbo.

    The meeting started with public comments. Sylvia asked everyone to work together for compromise. Then a person named Doreen got up and accused a small minority in Hopkinton of causing problems. I took this kind of personally because I didn’t support the bond. I thought it was odd that Doreen would say the majority in Hopkinton were a minority. She was mad. She may have forgot the actual vote tally. Voting against the bond was a majority in Hopkinton.

    Then Barbara spoke. I specifically attended the meeting to lend my moral support to Barbara. She has been very good to the ad hoc group. I’ve never been on a government committee and appreciate Barbara’s guidance. Barbara proposed her plan to have each town pay for their own elementary school upgrades and expansion. It sounds like it is an excellent plan.

    Next Andy Polouski spoke. This was only the second meeting I’ve attended. Andy still has the same tone he had way back when I had him as a teacher for Fortran computer language. He bellowed on about Charlestown paying more than Hopkinton and Richmond for each student. He didn’t mention that each Charlestown taxpayer pays less than Richmond or Hopkinton taxpayers. He said Hopkinton needed to get out of Chariho. Andy also forgot how the US Senate and Congress are set up. He didn’t like Hopkinton being able to stop the bond. He must not know the US is a Republic and that checks and balances exist to protect against majorities imposing unfairly against minorities. Andy wasn’t a social studies teacher. Good thing.

    The part of the meeting I thought was most informative happened right before I left. Barry Ricci proposed a new policy for fund raising at Chariho. Andy McQuaide made a motion to postpone voting on the new policy. He wanted the groups who run fund raisers at Chariho to be able to look at the policy and express their opinion before a vote to accept the policy. This was very reasonable. Andy M. should be praised for postponing the vote. This is the weird part. Andy P. and Bill Day voted against delaying a vote. I do not understand why they would want to pass a revised policy without letting people look at it and talk about it? I think I heard Barry Ricci say that by delaying the vote groups opposing the revised policy would be able to object. I’ll have to try to tape the meeting because I couldn’t believe what I think I heard!

    Why would anyone oppose letting public read school policy before approving it? My opposition to the bond was based on the 5th and 6th grade issue but I came to understand that there was lots of information not available to the public to make an informed vote. I attend a meeting and there right in front of everyone some of the school committee voted to pass a policy without knowledge by the public. I was proud of the majority of the school committee who voted to delay. I am concerned by Barry Ricci and the members who wanted to pass the policy so quickly.

    Please come to the ad hoc meeting on Thursday. Barbara put up the agenda at the town hall and police station and I think one other place. Thanks.

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — November 13, 2007 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  5. Now contrast the behavior of the three blind mice, Day, Polouski, and Ricci, with Tiverton’s School Committee which shares details of a contract proposal? Tiverton is eager to elicit public support realizing it makes their job easier, while the blind mice stick to the same old game plan of hiding and ducking from the public.

    Let’s hope Mr. McQuaide and the others supported delaying the amended fundraising policy in an effort to allow the public to scrutinize and possibly object to the new rules. This might be a turning point as the newer School Committee members attempt to change the way the School Committee operates. Maybe I’m overly optimistic…it’s one small policy matter…but maybe.

    As for the attacks on Hopkinton, oh, well, bitterness does tend to linger. I assume “Doreen” refers to Ms. Dolan who was a Building Committee member. If so, sour grapes should be expected. If she wants to pretend Hopkinton’s majority is a minority I see no big deal in letting her have her delusion. Facts don’t change simply because she is angry.

    Mr. Polouski is an old, windbag. He hasn’t had a new idea in years. He resides in yesterday. Since he spends like there’s no tomorrow, yesterday is a better place to be.

    Mrs. Capalbo’s idea about each town taking financial responsibility for upgrading and expanding their own Elementary Schools is tremendous. I don’t have much hope the School Committee will have the intelligence to embrace the idea, but it could be the one plan that keeps the district together…at least for a little while longer. The plan allows the district to move forward while also not locking any town into the district for another 20 years.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 14, 2007 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  6. Yes, Doreen is Ms. Dolan. I made some comments on the Hopkinton blog about the meeting, as well.

    I applaud Mr. McQuade as well. I just wish that the fundraising people who were in attendance could have at least had a chance to offer their opinion last night. But, this is probably better as they can have more time to prepare a more well thought out opinion before they reapproach the school committee with their concerns.

    In support of them, the Ashaway P.T.O. raised more than $22,000 dollars for their school last year. I get home the same fundraiser flyers as everyone else. I pick and choose what I want. Not everything appeals to me, so I don’t buy from every flyer. These people do not hold a gun to my head to buy. I applaud them and all the other P.T.O.’s for their efforts for our kids. Thanks.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 14, 2007 @ 9:08 am | Reply

  7. I’m sure the PTO is great. I’m sure most of the fundraising organizations are great too. This revised policy stems from a conversation Mr. Polouski had with his pizza guy. In a previous meeting Mr. Polouski complained about the pressure of too many donation requests. Mr. Polouski conferred with his pizza guy and they decided that they didn’t want to say no, they want Chariho to cut back on the groups that can conduct fundraisers.

    With the full support of Mr. Polouski and the pizza guy, Mr. Ricci went to work revising a Chariho policy. From what I can tell, he introduced the policy at last night’s meeting asking for a vote to approve it. I am confident that Mr. Polouski and his pizza guy were given the chance to review the revised policy…maybe even input as it was being developed, but I don’t think the public (other than the pizza guy) have had any chance to see the new policy.

    If Mr. Labrosse and Mrs. Buck’s reporting is correct, Mr. Ricci’s sneaky ways continue, even on the most trivial of matters. Mr. Polouski, Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski have no intention of allowing the taxpaying public the opportunity to interfere with the workings of their Chariho kingdom. They want a revised fundraising policy, and they alone are qualified to decide on what the policy should be.

    How dare we mere taxpayers have open our mouths to state our opinions. Who do we think we are…small vocal minority?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 14, 2007 @ 11:16 am | Reply


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