Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 29, 2007

Chariho Act update

Filed under: Chariho Act — Editor @ 5:31 am

Deb Carney, former chair of the Charlestown Town Council sent an email last night expressing concerns about the updated Chariho Act.  Here is her letter.

Good Evening Chariho School Committee Members,

I was watching the School Committee meeting on Channel 18 and I downloaded a copy of the proposed Chariho Act revision from the Chariho website.  After a quick review of the “New Act” versus the Chariho Act of 1986, there are a few HUGE problems.

During the meeting, Barry indicated that this document was, “Not an amendment to the Act.”  He further stated this document was, “A compilation of what was approved,” and that the lawyer was asked to, “Compile one single updated version with all the amendments.  That’s what this is.”  After an initial review, I can tell you, that is NOT what this is.  This is a REWRITE of the Chariho Act. 

This rewrite is evidenced in several areas.  If you note all the “strikeovers” within the document, those are CHANGES from what is in the 1986 Act.  These “strikeovers” have NOT been approved by the voters.

The bigger problem occurs (in the “New Act”) with the OMISSION of sections 16, 17, 18 and 19.  If you reference the 1986 version of the Chariho Act, you will note section 18(1) and 18(2) specifically deal with the process for withdrawal.  In the “New Act”, the process for withdrawal has been ELIMINATED.  This elimination is further evidenced in section 14(2) of the 1986 Act.  Notice in the “New Act” Section 14 (1) has been renumbered to read 13(1), yet the old 14(2) just ceases to exist.  The old Section 14(2) also references withdrawal.  Where did it go?  What happened to Sections 16, 17, 18 and 19?  Why were those sections eliminated?

The second to last paragraph of the “Explanation” on the last page of the new document states, “This Act would compile the legislation affecting the Chariho Regional School District into one uniform Act.”  My interpretation of this statement would be that this document, as it exists, would be the “New Chariho Act” and any language not contained within this document would no longer exist.  Therefore it would be critical that (old) Sections 14(2), 16, 17, 18 and 19 be returned to the Chariho Act.

It was my understanding that this document was to be a compilation of the amendments to the Act that had already been approved by the voters.  That is NOT what this document is.  This is a REWRITE of the Act that eliminates, among other things, the process for withdrawal.  Elimination of this provision was NEVER authorized by the voters.

Did the School Committee authorize a rewrite of the Act or a compilation of previously approved amendments?  After watching the meeting and reviewing the “New Act” I have serious concerns with this document.  I felt the need to share my concerns with the committee so you can all review both versions of the Act (and the amendments that were approved in November 2006) prior to the discussion to be held at your January meeting.

If in fact the School Committee’s motion was to, “Compile one single updated version with all the amendments,” then I respectfully submit that the “New Act” is NOT a compilation of what has been approved by the voters.  I ask that you please not forward this version of the Act to the General Assembly.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss this prior to your meeting, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for taking the time to review my concerns.
Deb Carney

[update] Superintendent Ricci has removed the Act update that was located on the Chariho School website pending review from the attorney.



  1. Great job by Ms. Carney for catching the latest nonsense from our snake oil superintendent. Assuming she is not an attorney, why was she able to identify so many blatant changes to the Act that eluded Mr. Ricci and the School Committee? Why do I think Mr. Ricci was fully aware and he was trying to scam the democratic process once again?

    I guess Mr. Ricci couldn’t get it off the website fast enough. I can only wonder what other little changes he and his cohorts on the School Committee tried to sneak by?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 29, 2007 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  2. Did anyone manage to download the revised Chariho Act before it was unceremoniously removed from Chariho’s website?

    I’m thrilled Ms. Carney promptly found numerous unauthorized revisions (at least not authorized in public…what Mr. Day and Mr. Ricci conjure up behind the curtain is anyone’s guess), but I’d like for us all to give it a look. Perhaps the snake oil salesman made blatant revisions knowing they would be be caught, but hid other “minor” changes which could have major impact?

    As we should all realize by now, this School Committee and administration are dishonest. If they can’t achieve something through the normal democratic process, they certainly have no reservations about unethical means to their ends. We need the latest version of the Chariho Act ASAP so we can begin public scrutiny.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 30, 2007 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  3. Hi!
    1.Deb Carney is a knowledgeable and thoughful participant.
    Chariho Act changes being posted questions:
    A. With the technology that exists today why has not the Chariho Act changes already in order?
    B.Where is the outrage of the elected officials and pro bond people on this absurd development? C.Also did the web site note this was not an updated version of the Chariho Act?
    D.Why did not legal counsel for the district do this earlier for the district, and why did the school committee did not stay on top of it?
    2.I do have concerns how Executive Session votes are handled.If I remember correctly from the 1999 Hirst v. Chariho School Committee, Unofficial Rhode Island Attorney General ruling votes have to be revealed in open after they are taken and possibly/probably redone in public.The vote of each member must be known not just the vote totals as I remember it.I do not have the ruling in front of me.Perhaps it should be posted on this web site? The school committee was not prosecuted as its decision was although the law was violated it was not wilfull and it was done again it would be considered so for prosecution purposes.Since years have gone by, a new R.I. AG’s Dept. may issue another warning instead of prosecution.This was in regards to Supt.John Pini contract matter.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — November 30, 2007 @ 9:40 am | Reply


    The ProJo article was cited over on Hopkinton Speaks. Mr. Ricci tries to pull a fast one and got busted. I worry that the attempt to unethically revise the Chariho Act in such a blatant fashion is a ploy to cover up other changes which may seem minor, but have major impact? We need to keep our eyes open.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 30, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  5. […] Journal today reported on the “obvious omissions”in the updated Chariho Act, as pointed out by Mrs. Carney. Comparing the proposed document with the 1986 version, Carney said she first noticed the deletion […]

    Pingback by Chariho Act oops « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — November 30, 2007 @ 11:41 am | Reply

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