Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 2, 2007

Taxes, taxes, taxes

Filed under: Tax — Editor @ 9:09 pm

One of the decades long conversations in Chariho is about taxes.  People call it “tax equalization,” “equalized taxes,” “district-wide tax” and probably a few other names.  Two meetings ago, Andy Polouski commented on the issue and said the only way he would consider it was for all towns to throw their state reimbursements into the pool and taxpayers equally pay the balance.  The debates over how to do it are many and likely complicated, but the reason for the problem is simple.  Here is the current tax situation:

Municipal tax rates for each town are as follows:

Charlestown – 7.51 per $1000 of property value
Hopkinton – 14.19 per $1000
Richmond – 14.11 per $1000

If you own a home valued at $300,000, here is the property tax you will pay:

Charlestown – $2253
Hopkinton – $4257
Richmond – $4233

Those tax revenues must also pay for municipal services (police, etc..).  Each town contributes a different percentage of those taxes to Chariho.  A Hopkinton Town Council member just called me with this information.  If someone can find it online, please let me know and I will link it.  But the information will be in the next HTC meeting.

Charlestown contributes 64.5%
Hopkinton contributes 77%
Richmond contributes 88.8%

So, the property taxes sent to Chariho for a $300,000 home in each town are as follows:

Charlestown – $1453
Hopkinton – $3277
Richmond – $3725

I’m not an accountant – and there may be something I am overlooking – if so please let me know and I will update. 

All Chariho residents pay the same for gasoline, bread, milk and a Chevy.  We don’t pay the same for education.  Normally, when a consumer finds that he/she is paying more for a product than someone else, that consumer finds another vendor for that product or service.  Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it because Chariho has a monopoly. 

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53 Comments »

  1. I happened to do a similar exercise tonight. I looked at the Charlestown tax rolls.

    My numbers are slightly different with actual Charlestown homeowners having property assessed at $300,100. Their tax bill was $2,040.68 for the current fiscal year.

    Based on my calculations, after subtracting out state education aid, the amount of their taxes going to Chariho was just over $1,100. The difference may be related to the Charlestown budget numbers were from 2005.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 2, 2007 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  2. What were the other towns for the same year? were the differences equivilent to my analysis? I’m not sure what else would play into the equation – if someone does, please let us know.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 2, 2007 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  3. I found a Hopkinton taxpayer with property valued around $296,000 with a tax bill around $4,200 and the Chariho amount was around $3,200. Again, the Chariho number is based on Hopkinton’s 2005 budget. I’m sure it would be slightly different if I had the 2007 budget numbers.

    Importantly, you need to subtract the state aid from the amount each town is billed for education. In Hopkinton, I think our Chariho bill is around $17 million, but we get $6 million in state aid. That means our Chariho tax burden is $11 million. This is spread out among our tax base and the end result is with a significantly smaller pool of taxable property, each of us in Hopkinton pays around 3 times as much as a similar Charlestown taxpayer.

    Charlestown wants us all to think as towns. Unfortunately, a town is not flesh and bones…people are flesh and bones, and the people are the ones who pay, not the thing called a town. The people in Hopkinton are the ones who vote and when they vote they enter the booth with a Chariho tax burden which is 3 times more onerous than our flesh and bones friends in Charlestown.

    Charlestown citizens do not want tax equity. Consider this, tax equity means that the Charlestown homeowners paying $1,000 now for Chariho would be paying $2,333. Richmond and Hopkinton taxpayers paying $3,000 for Chariho would also be paying $2,333 with equity in place. So while Hopkinton taxpayers paying $3,000 for Chariho vote against paying more, we are called names. Yet we are told that Charlestown taxpayers will “never” accept equity…meaning they’re not even willing to pay less than we are paying now.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, I don’t blame Charlestown for not wanting to share the cost of educating children from all three towns. They only want to pay for their town’s children. That’s not unreasonable if you don’t see Chariho as a educational community but merely a school you share with other towns.

    If tax equity was implemented, Charlestown would be better off withdrawing and spending their higher taxes on their own school system. They could afford it and why not do it? The only reason they stay in Chariho now is because they get a sweet deal regionalizing with us. Ironically, if they did withdraw, Hopkinton and Richmond would also be better off as we would qualify for higher contruction aid reimbursement. Plus we wouldn’t have any space needs.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 2, 2007 @ 11:51 pm | Reply

  4. Good comments and feedback above (first three opinions)

    The district as formulated has been a challenge and stress to the community’s since its inception in 1958. From research on microfilm headlines such as Hopkinton Town Council Stand Made Clear on Chariho School (Reasons for Disagreement, March 9, 1958 page 6, (An ‘Insurance Policy’) Richmond-Charlestown Bill Will Be Ready if Hopkinton Rejects 3 Town School Plan, Wednesday March 12th 1958, March 5, 1958 (Create a 2-Town High School) Permissive Legistation authorizing Charlestown and Richmond to establish a regional school district, will be prestneted into current session of the RI General Assembly …

    And lastly for this comment section, February 25, 1958 (Richmond and Charlestown will be ready )Committee from Two Towns Eye Own Plan If Regioanl Project Fails to Develop. There are close to 50 years worth of information on file. Not spin, but articles of the comings and going. After only looking at the first year it seems 50 years later we are at many not all of the same questions and cross roads as we were then. The stakes are higher but time to be dealt with. Many will be forced to sell, but as a long time resident once said financial cleansing is occuring and will continue so. We all can be part of that process.

    I remember addressing or questioning a bond issue a couple of years ago at the Ashaway School during a Hopkinton Council Meeting and my understanding at that time was that with Richmond and Hopkinton (if Charlestown left) the district reimbursement would be 72% for construction cost, but with Charlestown ‘Assessable Base’ it drags it down to 56 %. Some one reading this may comment to this information. I don’t have it in front of me at this writing.

    Curious and Concerned.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 3, 2007 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  5. To further the debate above,click on the Rhode General Laws of Rhode Island. Then click on Title 16 (Education), Chapter 2 Section 9. General Powers and Duties of School Committees. This will beat you many times if not paying attention. Be mindful of your elected officials and who they truly represent.

    The Caroulo Act is coming to all committees and is ‘explained’ in 16.2.21.4 under the same heading.

    If you google the Caroulo Act you will find how it has effected or attempted to ravage the Cities/Towns of East Providence, Johnston, Portsmouth and Cranstown so far. There should also be a website regarding Rhode Island Cities and Towns which should have contacts on how and if schools have ravaged their Towns. Call these representatives for fair comparisons.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 3, 2007 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  6. Interesting stuff Mr. Hirst. Thanks for contributing.

    Mr. Felkner,
    I think Richmond’s is closer to 82%. I don’t believe it is around 88%. I read it somewhere. I will try to locate it again.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 3, 2007 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  7. This is the web link that Mr. Hirst was addressing for enquiring minds.

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-2/16-2-9.HTM

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 3, 2007 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  8. Information on the Caraulo Act:

    http://www.courts.state.ri.us/superior/pdf/06-6249.pdf

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 3, 2007 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  9. Please let me know if I got it wrong but I thought thats what your hubby said.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 3, 2007 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  10. He told me to tell you that the numbers came from the Hopkinton finance department.

    Could you check your calculations? I’ll try on this end. Richmond seems a little high. The others appear okay.

    Thanks,
    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 3, 2007 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  11. I Thank Ms. Buck for providing information to my comments. I clicked on and saw that it was the Portsmouth one. The Cranston (Caroulo Action) was one for Cranston School Committee V City of Cranston, http://www.courts.ri.gov/superior/pdf/03-5110

    We will get the Town of Johnston up soon. Thanks again Ms. Buck and Thank you Mr.Felkner for providing this forum for those who don’t get the local paper paper or see it daily. Very constructive thought and part of, if I remember correctly part of your plat form for open government.

    Also good to see that Mr. Petit responds as one of our elected school officials. Refreshing. Thanks Mr. Petit.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 5, 2007 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  12. Mr. Hirst,
    Your welcome. It is always nice to have another voice digging up more useful information.

    You and CR are very good at research.

    Question I have regarding taxation of regional school districts. Currently, how are the other districts in the state taxing their communities? I spent some time googling this topic this morning. Did not find anything. Then I ran out of time.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 5, 2007 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  13. The way I understand this, the following is a law that was enacted in July of 2006. If I am reading this right, the document mentions equalized taxes on construction, but talks of tuition for operational costs. This is for the Ponagansett School District. See what you think.

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/PublicLaws/law06/law06521.htm

    I recognize that this document has many changes, but it is labeled in the heading as having been enacted. As I am no lawyer, my understanding of enacted is that this is now law.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 5, 2007 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  14. I don’t know the legalese either, but it does seem like the state legislature understand that the best way to run a district is with equalized responsibility for children of that district. I’m guessing that back in the 1950’s when Chariho was formed, Hopkinton and Richmond did not forsee beachfront property becoming such a boon to Charlestown that their tax base would grow to almost three times that of the to other towns. The probably didn’t think about tax equity simply because the towns already had tax equity based on property values back then?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 6, 2007 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  15. Under Comments one it was noted by curious resident that they ‘ did a similar exercise’ that night could you explain to us’ how that exercise was done.

    Can someonone explain how the 56% reimbursement is arrived at. As I had mentioned previously it was floated a coulple of years ago when the 99 Million Bond was being mentioned that the reimbursement would be 72% without Charlestown. Also that around that time Charlestown had the 4th lowest taxes in the state while Hopkinton was around 8th highest and Richmond around 10th.
    (These are not set in stone but it would be good firm then up.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 8, 2007 @ 5:16 am | Reply

  16. The 56% is derived from a state funding formula. Every town in Rhode Island currently qualifies for a minimum of 30% for construction aid. Many towns, based on their economic demographics (assessed property value and median income) qualify for higher percentages.

    Because Rhode Island wants to encourage regional schools, they offer a construction aid bonus of 2% for every grade which is regionalized. Chariho is regionalized for grades K-12. This is 13 grades times 2% which is a regional bonus of 26%. Add that to the 30% minimum base and you get the 56% for new construction. Because Rhode Island knows it is cheaper to renovate than to build new, they offer an additional 4% bonus for renovation projects. This is why part of Mr. Ricci’s bond was said to be reimbursed at 60% (56% plus 4% bonus).

    Under the current formula, none of the three towns would receive as much construction aid as they do as part of the regional system. The 72% reimbursement for Hopkinton is not accurate…although it may have been correct under older forumlae…I’m only familiar with the current formula.

    I posted some analysis I did today at Hopkinton Speaks (I put a link below). Charlestown taxpayers clearly have a tax burden far below that of Hopkinton taxpayers. I compared each Charlestown and Hopkinton Town Councilors’ and School Committee members’ property tax. Only one of the Charlestown politicians had a tax bill anywhere near Hopkinton’s politicians. His Charlestown property had a value of over $500,000. None of our politicians were fortune enough to have property worth that much. Check it out…it’s pretty interesting stuff if you like numbers.

    http://hopkintonrispeaks.com/WordPress/?p=76#comments

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 6:07 am | Reply

  17. In an effort to further understand the implications of the tax differences between Charlestown and Hopkinton, I did a calculation for almost every community in Rhode Island to determine comparable data on education spending.

    The numbers below are elevated because the tax base used did not include Personal Property Taxes; Inventory Taxes; and assorted other fees and taxes collected by individual cities and towns. Still, the numbers are very valid for comparison purposes.

    I also cite my source material at the bottom for anyone wishing to check it out. The numbers are an approximation of what taxpayers in each town pay for education per $100,000 of property value. The actual calculation used was as follows:

    (2007 Education Spending – 2007 State Aid) / 2004 Property Values X 100,000 = Amount Taxed for Education Per $100,000 Property Value

    Here’s the results for several towns and cities:

    Hopkinton – $1,336
    Charlestown – $442
    Richmond – $1,186
    Westerly – $808
    South Kingstown – $1, 070
    North Kingstown – $1,112
    Narragansett – $665
    Barrington – $1,578
    Cranston – $1,474
    Jamestown – $640
    Little Compton – $338
    Newport – $713
    Providence – $1,186

    Hopkinton was #6 in the state for tax rate per $100,000 for education. Charlestown was 3rd from the bottom with only New Shorehan and Little Compton paying less per $100,000 property value.

    What becomes clear as you analyze the data is that communities with beach property have huge advantages when it comes to taxes. These taxpayers have the lowest rates in Rhode Island.

    Many of the 6 towns spending more for education than Hopkinton are not beach communities, but we would think of many of them as much more affluent than Hopkinton.

    Because of Charlestown beachfronts and Richmond’s affluence, Hopkinton ends up paying for education like we live in an affluent and/or beachfront community. Instead of spending within our means, our minority population ends up spending within the means of Charlestown and Richmond. We simply cannot sustain this level of spending, and the other two towns don’t care if we can…they are determined to spend.

    Here’s my source data:

    2007 Budget Data:
    http://www.muni-info.state.ri.us/documents/finances/municipal%20budget%20info/Budget2007.pdf
    2007 State Aid (page 74):
    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/HouseFinance/2007educationaid.pdf

    2004 Property Values (December 31, 2004):
    http://www.muni-info.state.ri.us/documents/finances/property%20value%20info/2005_EWAV.pdf

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 6:10 am | Reply

  18. To further illustrate Charlestown’s tolerance for increased educational spending, regardless of accountability and educational outcomes, I am going to post information from Charlestown and Hopkinton tax rolls (I am unable to find on-line data for Richmond). Because Charlestown only has 2005 available, I will compare 2005 data.

    The data is all public record, and I do not post it for any other reason than to show how callous Charlestown is toward Hopkinton’s already heavy tax burden. I do not expect Charlestown to subsidize our children’s educations, but it would be nice if they’d recognize the load we already carry and hold Chariho to the same level of accountability and fiscal restraint as they would if their citizens had to pay as much as Hopkinton citizens.

    Charlestown forces Hopkinton to spend as if our tax bills were as low as theirs. They refuse to recognize that Hopkinton homeowners are already paying among the highest rates in the entire state for education. Just because Charlestown is paying near the bottom rate, they should still be empathetic to Hopkinton and our spending limitations. When we cut budgets…leave them cut. We’re not greedy, we’re taxed out. Are we cheap when we already pay more than almost everyone else in the state? The answer is resoundingly no.

    If Charlestown wants the district to remain intact, and they want Hopkinton to stop calling for tax equity, then they need to help us cut Chariho budgets and spending. They need to join us in rolling back gold-plated employee contracts.

    When this is done, and Hopkinton’s tax rate is under control, then we won’t say a word about Charlestown’s lower tax rate. But, as long as Charlestown and Richmond continue to force Hopkinton to spend as if we have a low tax rate, then problems will never go away.

    John & Lynn Craig – Property Value: $381,400 Tax: $2,594
    Vincenzo Cordone – Property Value: $272,500 Tax: $5,079

    Mageau – No property found for Mageau.
    Gregory & Beverly Kenney – Property Value: $215,800 Tax: $4022

    Harriet Allen – Property Value: $350,700 Tax: $2,385
    Capalbo – No property found for Barbara Capalbo.

    Waterman – No property found for Kate Waterman.
    Glenn & Sylvia Thompson – Property Value: $182,000 Tax: $3,392

    Barbara & Bruce Picard – Property Value: $300,100 Tax: $2,041
    Thomas & Lois Buck – Property Value: $175,300 Tax: $3,268

    Giancarlo Cicchetti – Property Value: $531,900 Tax: $3,617
    William Felkner – Property Value: $168,300 Tax: $3,137

    Polouski – No property found for Polouski.
    Petit – No property found for Robert Petit.

    Stephen & Holly Eaves – Property Value: $282,200 Tax: $1,919
    Ronald & Kathleen Preuhs – Property Value: $266,300 Tax: $4,964

    McQuaide (E. Quail Run) – Property Value: $448,000 Tax: $3,046
    George & Cheryl Abbott – Property Value: $234,500 Tax: $4,371

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 6:11 am | Reply

  19. Please note in the above comparison that only one politician, Mr. Cicchetti, pays as much as the nine Hopkinton politicians. Mr. Cicchetti owns property with a value over $500,000 just to reach a similar tax burden to an average Hopkinton taxpayer.

    What does this tell us? Consider the reality that this is a good cross section of the general taxpaying public in both Charlestown and Hopkinton. When an average Hopkinton taxpayer votes on Chariho spending, they do so with a tax burden far exceeding the average Charlestown taxpayer’s burden. What does anyone reasonably expect Hopkinton voters to do when faced with such onerous tax burdens?

    Keep in mind that Hopkinton is not being cheap. We pay near the top in the state for education. We’re up there with East Greenwich and Barrington and Scituate…elite company indeed. The problem is Chariho’s consumption, not Hopkinton’s spending. It’s easy for Charlestown to agree to spend more…they have lots of room for more taxes.

    Charlestown wants a solution and do not want tax equity. The solution is right in front of them. Instead of allowing Chariho to continue to be unaccountable for spending and outcomes, join Hopkinton in insisting on private sector caliber salaries and benefits. Join us in expecting detailed and full accounting of spending. Join us in expecting superior test scores.

    Charlestown does not have the tax burden of Hopkinton, but they need to start acting as if they do. Hopkinton cannot afford to keep spending like there’s no tomorrow. Tomorrow is already here. Please join us in our efforts to get Chariho under control.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 6:12 am | Reply

  20. Just for giggles I went looking for Mr. Ricci’s tax bill. I heard he lives in Foster and their tax rolls are not available on-line. They do list their tax rate at $11.79 per $1,000 in property value.

    Let’s assume a generously compensated incompetent superintendent could afford to live in a decent home. Foster is very rural similar to Hopkinton, so let’s put Mr. Ricci into a home comparable to Mr. Preuhs. Mr. Preuhs pays $4,964. In Foster, Mr. Ricci would pay $3,140.

    See, Mr. Ricci is like the ignoramuses from Charlestown who have no idea what it is like to have a tax burden through the roof. Mr. Ricci could certainly afford to pay for more school in Foster. I wonder if he is a vocal advocate in his community for increasing school spending as he is in our community?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  21. Hi!
    My brother Jim,Chariho’77, and only sibling has done laudable research for your review and contemplation. He is a smart guy and just this year recieved his Associate’s with high honors from Community College of Rhode Island in Paralegal Studies so he comes to the table with some brains and aptitude. Not that we are all perfect. In addition he has worked with youth professionally and has been involved in coaching.He holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education from Rhode Island College and graduated cum laude from the same institution with his Bachelor’s.Prior to graduating with his undergraduate degree he graduated with honors from Rhode Island Junior College, now Community College of Rhode Island.
    It would be interesting to see a debate between some of our elected officials and those who appear who have really studied the issues and have a feel for the facts and do have more vision. Currently the behavior of the Chariho School Committee majority not allowing the public to see the support staff contract before it is ratified does not show their need for transparency and building confidence with the public.
    In closing,I hope my brother forgives me for touting his acumen and smarts.
    Regards,
    Scott Bill Hirst
    Chariho’71

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 8, 2007 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  22. Well tell him to give us his philosophy and if he is for accountability and responsible use of our tax money, I want to see him on the next School Committee. I even know who needs to be replaced.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  23. Going into the Westerly Sun archives on microfilm it takes more than a little time to not only read and make note of information but decide what to copy. So far to much and to much money to copy. Therefore in the future a more ‘restricted search is necessary’. Going back to the beginning of the formation of Chariho in the early stages (1958) Hopkinton Town Council fore fathers were against Chariho for reasons such as . . The terms of the agreement are unfair to the town of Hopkinton, The financial basis of the program is based on fiction and not fact (maybe at least back then they were provided with numbers even though they sorted them out to be fictional), it would be seem that the Town of Hopkinton would be assuming a very large liablit without obtaining an asset in return to the benefit of our community.

    And also on page 6 of article,’It is basically unsound for Hopkinton: To pay more than one-half of the costs to build and operate a school at Wood River Junction (SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF EQUITY IF HOPKINTON GETS VOTED OFF THE ISLAND OR JUNCTION), To transport half the school children of the Regional District from the Town of Hopkinton to Wood River Junction. To be the Town to pay the most, but have onl one-third the say in management, etc. Finally to enter into an agreement (bonds recent years and coming forward) that could cost us more money than we could raise in taxes.’
    NOTE:INFORMATION COURTESY OF THE WESTERLY SUN ARCHIVES. Sunday March 9, 1958.

    Sounds like a lot of whats going on. Chime in if you wish.

    On the 2004 front under Editorial Column by Raymond Lamont, November 20,2005,
    Chariho and towns should dust off report from Exit Committee as reform starting point. Without trying to take anything out of context the points of the editorial that after the rejection of $99.8 school building proposal that now Richmond ‘has approved forming a seven member commission to study the town’s “educational options.”

    Also noted is that . . . ‘Charlestown, after all, pursued pulling out of the district with Richmond and Hopkinton for four years, twice voting in favor of withdrawal before voters rejected a pull out when they had to approve money to build a school to support an independent district in 2004’.

    Also noted that the Exit Committee, ‘chaired by then Charlestown Council president, Deborah Carney was formed after Charlestown residents back wtihout from the district in a 2001 binding referendum. It included representatives from all three towns, since all three towns would be affected by a Charlestown Pull Out’.

    Its also noted that ‘It’s all in a 2002 report by the Chariho Exit Commitee. That sits in the school district offices and in each of the district’s three town halls.

    The Editorial in question can be found in the microfilm at Westerly Library on November 20, 2005.

    To no ones suprize ‘the Chariho School committee and school administration barely looked at the report, and placed it on the shelf without even voting to accept it. The reason? In general, school officials thought it was “biased” toward withdrawal-failing to accept at the time that Charlestown had voted for precisely that. Carney (Deb, former Council President) and the committee had undertaken the study to explore how Charlestown should withdraw, not whether it should.And much of the data merely looked at the impact of a pullout if such a move became reality.’

    (Information above is credited to Raymond Lamont, Editor, Westerly Sun.

    So we had/have an obstructionist school committee controlled by ???. Isn’t it suppose to be the other way around. I thought the tail wagged the dog.

    Personal feelings, Thanks to Deb Carney of Charlestown and Georgia Ure of Hopkinton and other members for doing such work for the people of the three towns. Fair play to you all.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 10, 2007 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  24. Correction, the dog wags the tail not what is written above. Sorry for that.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 10, 2007 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  25. So much for Hopkinton being nothing but a “bunch of illiterate woodchoppers”. From the formation of Chariho, there were predictions of Hopkinton bearing the largest taxpayer burden. So it is written, so it will be?

    Mr. Polouski, in one of his many incessant rants, recalled being around when Chariho was formed. He said something to the effect that Hopkinton practically begged to be allowed into the Chariho district. Is he an old man rambling or can he do research similar to Mr. James Hirst and provide us with evidence that Hopkinton begged its way into Chariho?

    Richmond and Charlestown taxpayers know that without Hopkinton they can’t afford to run a school with the reckless spending they have allowed over the years. While Hopkinton derives construction aid benefits from a regional district, this is only of value when there is a real need for construction. Of what benefit is state construction aid if we foolishly pay for building that are not needed?

    Hopkinton taxpayers have a degree of confidence in ourselves as it pertains to demanding accountablity and fiscally sound budgets from our school. We have a shown moments of restraint (although not enough) in our history at Chariho. Unfortunately, Hopkinton’s restraint has usually met with fierce resistance from the other two towns and because budgets only require a majority vote and not a town majority vote, budgets have consistently been above inflation and growth.

    If Charlestown withdraws and leaves Hopkinton paired with Richmond, Hopkinton’s demand for financial and educational accountability will have a better chance for survival. Along with responsible Richmond voters, we stand a chance of fighting against the tide of spend, spend, spend.

    If Charlestown and Richmond figure out a way to oust Hopkinton from Chariho, we will survive if we remember to spend frugally and hold our school system to rigorous accountability. If we stand firm against gold-plated employee contracts and expect excellent results for our money, our children will be rewarded.

    Alternatively, if Hopkinton embraces a system of parental choice, not only will we financially benefit from lower taxes, our community’s children will quickly rise to the top of Rhode Island, New England and probably the nation. I have utmost confidence that parents will make the very best educational choices for their children.

    Should Hopkinton ever go the way of parental choice, our biggest problem will be protecting ourselves against a wave of parents who may want to live in Hopkinton and take advantage of the opportunity to make educational choices for their children. On a positive note, demand will make the value of our property soar quickly. Maybe we can have Charlestown’s tax base after all? Oh, to dream.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2007 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  26. Hi!
    My brother works for the United States Postal Service so he is restricted on partisan political activity as far as partisan politics. That does not preclude him for serving on a board or commission but as I understand it cannot be partisan. Our father the late Robert S.Hirst was Postmaster in Ashaway and was not able to run for partisan office.
    Frankly, a lot more of local officials in fact 16 of them from the three Chariho towns should bring more understanding of the issues regarding Chariho to the table.I suspect most probably, many certainly, of them do not have an understanding or a full understanding of the school issues.Remember there are eleven School Committee members and fifteen Town Council members. Not all officials are the same for sure for what they bring to the table.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 11, 2007 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

  27. Can a federal employee run for office as non-affiliated? Or can they simply not run for office?

    With all the School Committee members we have with connections to Chariho, it’s kind of ridiculous that a guy who works at the Post Office can’t be on the School Committee. Mr. Day can be chairperson when his son and wife work at the school, but Mr. James Hirst can’t be on the School Committee because he works at the Post Office…no wonder we can’t get enough decent representatives.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2007 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  28. As we can see by the numbers Hopkinton being on its hands and knees begging to get in under comment #25 is more than a little rich in exaggeration.

    Sunday, February 2, 1958 Westerly Sun, Richmond Voted 105 to 22 for the Regional School District.

    Noted in that article ‘Charlestown gave the plan a big shot in the arm on January 18, when it approved the pact by a near unanimous 181 to 1 vote.

    Noted in January 19, 1958 was ‘ . . .the proposal scored a smashing triumph in charlestown where it passed 181 to 1 but hit a snag in Richmond where the taxpers in that town voted 66 to 60 to delay action on the agreement until another special financial town meeting on February 1. . .

    In the March 20, 1958 headline Chariho high School Agreement Backed by Hopkinton Tax Payers and sub head line, Endorsement given by 127 Vote Margin, Town will join with Richmond and Charlestown on Regional Plan. By a vote of 538 to 411 with 54 % of the eligible voters acccepting, I would hardly say that Hopkinton Begged In.

    Charlestown then had 182 voters and voted yes 181 to no 1.
    Richmond had 127 voters with a vote of yes 105 to no 22.
    Hopkinton had 949 voters and voted yes 538 to no 411.

    Excuse me? Begging in?

    Especially as noted in March 9, 1958 Reasons for Disagreement, Hopkinton Town Council Stand Made Clear on Chariho Vote under a column boldly highlighted ALL convinced, After carefully studying this proposed Chariho agreement, and studying our Town’s financial and educational problem, we are thoroughly convinced that that the best interests of our Town will be served by rejecting the proposition to be submitted to the people on March 19th.

    Again noted again and something to watch and I respect the good people of Charlestown and I wish them well in withdrawal under area 5)It is basically unsound for Hopkinton: a. To pay more than one-half the costs to building and operator a school at Wood River Junction. (Westerly Sun March 9, 1958)

    Not sure what goes on with the middle school but what was the buidling split town wise with that? It seems that Hopkinton, one guess and yours is operational under the current set up Hopkintons been rode like a rented mule building wise from the get go so the equity should shine well (just one opinion, from what I read). As always willing to be educated, when does class begin? And please don’t pontificate, show me the money! (Better yet the numbers, back it up with the research). With the way things are and have been its an emotional situation for all communities, but spin against one at the benefit of the other doesn’t cut it.

    To all three Town members that reply to the site, good for you. Don’t need testimonials, just facts to inform all parties.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 14, 2007 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  29. With respect to federal employees and the Hatch Act, I believe the rule is that feds cannot run for office in partisan elections (i.e., when candidates state their party affiliation). I guess there are places where nonpartisan elections occur at the local level. A fed can be named to fill an vacant office, he/she can run unopposed, or in a contested election if no candidate declares a party affiliation.

    Somebody, I think it’s Giancarlo, the school committee member from Charlestown, is a fed (at the EPA in Narragansett?), and as one myself, I spent some time looking up the rules then.

    Comment by david — December 17, 2007 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  30. Good Morning David,

    Can they be appointed to a position? For instance the School Board had an open position (which is elected) but the council is able to appoint someone to fill in the time slot until the next election. I don’t believe anyone needs to state party affiliation for the School Board so they should be able to run? Thank you for your information.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — December 19, 2007 @ 6:55 am | Reply

  31. If anyone has a ball park date, it is probably on a cement block as park of the middle school, we can find out who paid the lions share of the building. I’m in the book or listed so you may call if don’t want to leave a message online.

    Comment by James Hirst — December 19, 2007 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  32. Barbara, I do believe they can be appointed to fill a vacancy. The issue appears to be running as a candidate affiliated with a political party. In your example, I don’t know whether that person can run for re-election should a partisan candidate wish to run against him/her.

    Here is a website that discusses Hatch act issues in some detail.

    http://www.osc.gov/ha_fed.htm

    David

    Comment by david — December 19, 2007 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  33. David,

    Thanks. I believe the School Board is available to any person and no one needs to be affiliated with any party at all. Which means those of you out there that may wish to run for a school position, there will be one open this time around. Mr. Preuhs filled Lois’s position for the year, but if he wishes to continue, he would have to run for this elected position.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — December 20, 2007 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  34. Thanks, Barbara, but I think you’d not want me as a school committee member. While I agree with many sentiments expressed here (reform of labor contracts key among them) the really nasty town vs. town discussion and the constant questioning of people’s integrity and honesty bothers me quite a lot.

    My thinking is that as long as we talk about how Chariho affects our particular towns (“our town’s” elementary schools, “our town’s” taxes), we can’t more forward. By this, you can probably conclude I think some equalized tax scheme makes sense, but only if the regional school district were to become really regional, and not just a marriange of convenience among three towns.

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

    David

    Comment by david — December 21, 2007 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  35. When the three communities do speak as one, as in the issue of having 5th and 6th graders in the Elementary Schools…and probably the math curriculum issue…the administration and School Committee ignore us. What choice are we left other than to question their motivation?

    If they are dishonest and corrupt as it pertains to these agreed upon issues, then I don’t imagine their nature changes when it comes to issues which are more controversial. Besides, when a person makes a factual statement, such as Mr. Polouski claiming Charlestown only receives $1,000,000 in aid or Hopkinton begged to be included in Chariho, and these “facts” are easily shown to be false, then what are we to conclude other than he lacks integrity and honesty?

    Mr. Polouski is not the only one who routinely distorts, lies, and misrepresents. I find it most discouraging that so many defend these behaviors or ignore them. Thank goodness for this new communication medium because I’m sure that the propaganda has existed unchallenged since Chariho was founded. It is only now that the general public can be kept informed of the truth as it exists rather than “truth” as they want us to know it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 22, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  36. I have a hard time putting any stock in personal attacks done behind an pseudonym on a blog. Attacking your opponents does not advance your cause. You can’t make Andy P. go away by blogging about him. You certainly don’t gain any points among the school insiders who have worked with him for decades with and Charlestown residents who elect him every two years, and you are not going to change much in Chariho without engaging the other side constructively.

    Do you just want to vent, or actually change things?

    As to your earlier points:

    1. The grade 5/6 data is, to my mind, incomplete because half the respondents said cost is most important and the other half said the quality of the facilities is most important. That tells me that any attempt to design this move would fail because of the same reasons bonds always fail in Chariho — the aggrieved parties conduct a get-out-the-vote campaign and use their town veto power.

    2. The math curriculum is changing in the coming year, according to Barry Ricci at the December budget workshop.

    Maybe “curious resident” can become “constructive resident” in 2008.

    Best wishes, David

    Comment by david — December 23, 2007 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  37. It is not an attack to identify specific incidences where a person tells lies. Mr. Polouski, Mr. Day, Mr. Petit, and many others have made statements which are demonstrably false (a.k.a. lies). If you think it is “attacking” to publicize the lies, then you are part of the problem. We are very specific here…pretending we are doing nothing more than “attacking” is simply a diversion. Rarely are the facts presented here legitimately challenged.

    Yes, the liars get elected…but it is not difficult to be elected when you are able to lie with abandon and not be challenged. Plus, running unopposed guarantees the outcome.

    The local media usually parrots whatever favored politicians tell them and the voters read the lies as if it is truth. Even with the new internet medium, most people still only access news through the mainstream media. The majority still doesn’t hear the truth…I think we are heading in the right direction though.

    I do think there is a chance that if Mr. Pololuski and other politicians who have a history of misleading voters begin to realize that the lies won’t go unchallenged they will hesitate before lying in the future. The old timers may have harder time changing since they’ve probably doing it for a very long time, but they are foolish if they keep it up. The internet is growing as a communication tool and by the next generation of voters the majority will have easy access to the truth without the mainstream media filter.

    It is clear that the majority of voters and parents prefer 5th and 6th graders in Elementary Schools. Expense could be obstacle…but the School Committee and administration have never made any reasonable efforts to address the issue. Yet they have tried to spend millions on the RYSE program which has never been put before the voters. They have tried to spend millions expanding the Middle School even with the knowledge that we prefer 5th and 6th in Elementary Schools. Apparently they have no problem trying to spend our money on issues where there is disagreement, but they refuse to address issues where we all agree. This isn’t complicated…it’s plain to see.

    As for the math curriculum, it is my understanding that Chariho is not reverting back to tried and true curriculum, but they want to change their experimentation to a modified form of TERC/Investigation. You can visit the “Anlysis – Math” section of this website to learn what this means…and what they have been doing to children over the last several years. Mr. Ricci was the driving force behind the initial introduction of TERC/Investigation, this despite the fact that it was tried by California for years before they finally got rid of it in 1999 because of plummetting test scores. Mr. Ricci is not to be trusted on this issue…or many other issues for that matter.

    I’m pity you Mr. David if you find the truth to be unconstructive. I guess I could pretend everything is hunky-dory and Chariho functions just fine. I’m sure the adults benefitting from the status quo at Chariho would find this constructive. I don’t have it in me to ignore the lies, distortions, and misrepresentations. I expect I will still seek out the truth in 2008 regardless of how unconstructive you and others may find it to be.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  38. David,

    Most persons on this blog and other blogs are for responsible effective education. They are being constructive. They are being ignored. They are also voting down school bonds – effectively and constructively.

    A four million dollar surplus, although high, is also better to be a surplus than a deficit. Therefore capital expenses can be addressed quickly and efficiently in the high school and in the elementary schools. A surplus added to the bottom line is a travesty to Hopkinton and Richmond citizens — added to the capital expenses it works very well. It also means the budget needs to tighten to allow a reasonable surplus, but not an amazing surplus.

    Everyone (all three towns) can still vote this school budget down so that the school bottom line is much less than 5%. And if you or anyone else thinks that their own citizens won’t wake up to this expansive request, they are fooling themselves. And this time if the district wants to revote without changing the budget substantially, they may find a very alert citizenry resisting. It’s called civil disobediance (to write, to blog, to canvas their neighbors, etc) and it is legal. It is also a private vote, not a ‘stand and be counted’ vote intimidating the less wealthy citizens that may have worked for the district last time and were afraid to vote against the school, but not now.

    The math program – ‘What color is a two?” I think it may be a lovely teal — is ridiculous, totally useless and that A your child got in math may become less than a D in college and certainly less than that in a global economy that will annihilate your child’s lack of knowledge. Worry about the math program – even the federal government is worried and we in Rhode Island are near the bottom of the barrel. I can’t even get the school to tell us what the SAT scores are for the top 10% of our graduating class. If you can get those numbers I would appreciate it.

    This is being constructive. No one denies the needs of the high school. Not the middle school, Not the track (we have a surplus), Not a 4 million dollar building for 28 clinical students – the ALP program can easily be in the main school – as can the clinical program if we reconstruct the now empty 5th grade wing. 4 million would thoroughly fix at least two of the elementary schools for 600 students.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — December 30, 2007 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  39. You’re right on all issues Mrs. Capalbo. There are people out there who simply want our money and don’t want to account for their spending or the results of that spending. When we demand accountability and responsible spending we are labeled unconstructive.

    What they really mean is that we are a headache. After years of taking other people’s money and doing whatever they wanted with the money, they resent any challenge to their behaviors and attitudes.

    It continues to amaze me that they take the time to come here and call us unconstructive, yet they never provide us with any of the answers to the questions we ask. Because they do not provide answers, we often conjecture that the answers are unfavorable to the administration. Personally, I think we are usually right on target with our questions and our assumptions, and that is why they can’t tell us the truth.

    You’ll notice that with all the issues we’ve raised, only one time I can recall did we get a definitive answer…that was the issue of RYSE’s legality. In this one instance they had information that they thought favored their position, and we read about it here and in the newspapers. They couldn’t stop telling the public. Here we sit, still waiting to hear what math curriculum is being used and what are the results; how much RYSE and special education costs (detailed accounting); how effective is RYSE and special education; how many administrators do we employ; etc. For some reason, they are reluctant to provide us with any answers to these questions.

    Sorry to David and others who find our desire for open and honest government to be unconstructive. I expect that I’ll still want to know how my money is spent in 2008.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 30, 2007 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  40. “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” Benjamin Franklin

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — January 1, 2008 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  41. Barbara, when you say, “$4 million would thoroughly fix at least two of the elementary schools for 600 students,” could you please tell me what your basis is for saying this? What does “fixing” the elementary schools consist of in your view?

    Thanks, David

    Comment by david — January 2, 2008 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  42. David,

    Look at the Chariho School Budget Capital Expense plans from the district itself for 2008-2009. They have five year plans for each school with all the things they need to renovate or rebuild. If we took 4 million we could thoroughly renovate Charlestown Elementary School and any other of the three. Of course, this doesn’t account for re-building these schools or re-arranging them, but it does give them useful life as we continue to address all the issues – especially returning 5th and 6th back to the elementary schools so that we can open a wing for the ALP students and the clinical students without building new.

    Of course if nothing is actually done to maintain the schools or if maintenance is dragged out you will eventually have the issues we address with the 1904 building in Ashaway.

    Comment by BarbaraC — January 3, 2008 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  43. Thanks, Barbara. I thought you might be saying that for $4 million you could move the students from grades five and six to the elementary schools. Glad to hear I was mistaken about that.

    The 5 year capital plans, though, might need to be done over those five years; since those changes have to be done over summer vacation or at some other time when no students are around (unless we can get ourselves a spare school building to move students to during renovations, which is what they do where I grew up in the DC suburbs).

    At the risk of sounding like a shill for Mr. Ricci, he seemed to have a good grasp on the issues of sequencing and grouping the various capital tasks when he discussed them at the budget workshop in December.

    David

    Comment by david — January 3, 2008 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  44. I am sure the sequencing was adequate for using a smaller amount of money for many different projects over the course of a single budget. But if we take their suggestions and create a town bond – through the district – to fix all the items at one time, I am sure they would find a way to make it convenient. We as landlords could fix Hope Valley and Ashaway, Richmond as a landlord could fix Richmond, and Charlestown as a landlord could fix Charlestown.

    If we took the 4 million Chariho needs to spend on Hope Valley and Ashaway Elementary schools (in their five year plans)and sent a bond through the district – just for Hopkinton – 4 million – 60% of state aid = 1.6 million that we would finance. What would be our costs for a five year bond? Or less?

    The legislature is considering (and will adopt) a 2% mandatory maintenance/renovation line for all school budgets throughout the state. Because the school committee’s spent all their monies for salaries and benefits (and assistants to the assistants) and refused to fix schools that they were responsible for – causing the state (and RIDE) to pick up new and renovation construction costs constantly throughout the state. Not good. The state was building and no one was maintaining and then the school districts wanted a new building. Wrong. Not anymore.

    May I remind y’all that Hopkinton is the only town not advocating leaving the district. We just want innovative and inventive and new thoughts on how to accomplish our (that’s us and the district’s) goals. The 21st Century is soooo hard to do.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — January 3, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  45. Barbara,

    I hope that an appropriate withdrawal mechanism is in place and speaks to ALL the questions of the Exit Committee chaired by Deb Carney of Charlestown and also worked on by Georgia Ure as part of the current Chariho Act. These answers should be updated yearly (numbers, students,dollars) and should be provided to all the councils to avoid a long and protracted obstuctionist confrontation like the last attempt which should have been successful by the good people of Charlestown that voted out of the district.

    Thank you,

    Comment by James Hirst — January 5, 2008 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  46. As I re read my comment on January 5th, as part of the omnibus meeting, lets hope or encourage all Town Council members to enact withdrawal provisions within their Towns Charters to provide as many answers out of the box as possible for all Towns withdrawals.

    Comment by James Hirst — January 12, 2008 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  47. If a Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton resident all purchase a gallon of home heating oil from the same dealer on the same date we all pay the same price per gallon. I beleive the pay per student is the most fair way to determine the costs per town.
    “Equalized taxes” is like a Charlestown resident paying more per gallon because their income is higher. Hopkinton pays less because their income is lower.
    I know what you are thinking, but I am a resident of Richmond and tired of Hopkinton holding our children behind.
    I support a Charlestown & Richmond withdrawal.
    Appears to me that Hopkinton doesn’t want educated children?

    Comment by Richmond resident — February 1, 2008 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

  48. RR, actually, just the opposite. A Charlestown resident is paying half to a third for that gallon compared to a Hopkinton resident. If Charlestown really wanted what was best for the kids – they would realize that they should pay as much as Hopkinton residents do – stop holding the kids hostage just because you don’t want to pay as much as everyone else.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — February 1, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  49. BF, residents pay per pupil attending the schools? Charlestown has less pupils so they pay less? are these not truths? Maybe I am mistaken.
    Isn’t Hopkinton holding the children hostage because they want “equalized taxes”, and voting down all inprovements. Charlestown appears to be doing the same by voting down “equalized taxes”.
    Who wins? Not the towns and certinly not the children. I beleive withdrawal is the answer, who wins in a withdrawal? I beleive everybody.
    It appears to me that the Hopkinton voters think a 6th grade education is good enough?
    Help me understand.

    Comment by Richmond resident — February 2, 2008 @ 6:54 am | Reply

  50. Let’s defeat the budget proposal/level fund to ‘ a point’ as there is a statute regarding ‘level of maintenance funding.’ Let’s have the Caroulo Act take effect fully and have them/ the fool committee explain their needs which wasn’t done in 2005. Which would finally explain the ‘money trail’ and why Richmond gets to pay more.

    Thank you Mr. Scott Bill Hirst, you’were ostracized for your $2,000,000 cut was acutally deemed a surplus in recent papers off rougly 800,000 in editorial. You knew of what you spoke. I guess a life time of caring of the tri town shone through. Apparently Chariho Parent is like an ‘illegal’ sneaking into the District expecting wanting the ‘best’ for their children (middle class or lower welfare) to subsidize their children’s needs. Let’s get the pay for your own or get what you pay for petitions in the Town’s Halls.

    When are the petitions for children $13,350 times kids going ’round?

    You want the ‘best’ pay for the ‘best’. Please subsidize your own wellfare.

    Comment by Totally Amazed — February 9, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  51. Richmond residents,

    As far as us Richmond residents can ascertain the leader of the Chariho Fool/School Committee has a G.E.D. If that escapes us/our Richmond Rep.School Committee is the current Leader. Don’t we have anyone better? You can look that up or call him personally and he can tell you. If you personally can’t figure it out that is a General Equivalency Degree which means he didn’t get his High School Diploma. His spouse and son have ‘landed’ in the Chariho Fool/School District during his tenure. Many of your/our constituents are aware of this and say this is his greatest achievement in twelve years. Should be easy obtained information for us ignorant folk.

    Let’s build our own school, If we build with Charlestown,They/charlestown will beat us like a rented mule. Check our tax rate and at a 50% to 50% agreement Charlestown will always be half of what we pay. Don’t we have a councilman in economics from U.R.HI and a ‘a business/Finance’ president.

    I see why Jim Mageau feels he’s right. Build a district together. Our economic dudes of ‘Orville’ Oppenheimer and the Red Man will sell us out. As Martin Luther King said ‘We will over come’. Maybe he meant ‘some of us will over come, the rest of us get buried. Let’s buy Hopkinton out for the 50% or higher when the ‘real numbers’ come in. Just have have our towns people make that say. Not the Straw Man, Tin Man and Cowardly lion. No brains, no heart, no courage.

    Richmond and formerly proud. Hopefully (Richmond) will over come.

    Richmond and Embarassed.

    Comment by Richmond Rebellion — February 9, 2008 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  52. Bill,

    I really appreciate what you are doing here with your BLOG Chariho is a disaster and I agree our kids deserve much better, the situation is disgraceful IMHO. One thing I disagree with is your paradigm on the tax issue. On the face of it, it the current theory should seem “fair” to almost anyone. The disparity is due to the property valuations in Charlestown.

    Are inflated property vales a “Good thing” for Charlestown residents? It certainly depends on how you look at it.

    The “average” Charlestown resident pays less than the “average” Richmond resident for education but certainly there are Charletown residents who pay much more than the “average” Richmond Resident would pay. Using your analogy why should that resident pay more for his “milk” than me or some one from Richmond.

    Well the obvious answer would because his property is worth more. Your example uses owners of $300,000 house as the “constant” Except if you are talking apples and apples, if that is your argument, you have to take into account that a person in Charlestown may not have the same house as the person in Richmond or Hopkington. Right off the bat you are NOT talking apples and apples.

    I live in Charlestown and my taxes are low, not because people in Richmond or Hopkington are paying my edcation costs for me, but rather because my neighbor in Charlestown is paying my share.
    Is that fair? Personally I don’t think it is. But that is the method by which we are taxed.

    If we could make “education” a separate tax, a flat Chariho education tax where by all residents pay the same rate that might be fair. But then, in that situation, why should someone with low income who does not even send a child to school pay the same as a an affluent family with 10 children?
    Also not fair.

    Your idea where some how we could calculate a way to normalize the education portion of the tax would result in one thing. The high tax payers in Charlestown who are already in effect subsidizing us would in your system pay EVEN MORE and also be subsiding Richmond and Hopkington residents. Definitely not fair.

    I am not one of those currently carrying the load in case anyone would believe I might be.

    I would be willing to pay more myself but I don’t see how it can be done without completely revising the tax structure in general.

    The problem of course is that the district costs are too high. Not that some Charletown residents pay too little while others pay too much.

    As Bill himself showed above, If all things were equal EXCEPT Charlestown was not a waterfront community, we would ALL be paying $14/1000, Not that Rich and Hopkington would be paying less.

    Comment by B. Dawson — February 24, 2008 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  53. Ah, yes, B.D. True – although I think the equalized rate would be less for R & H and much more for C. To make your point look at another hypothetical example = lets say one of the three towns was very aggressive with attracting business. Which would naturally lower the property tax burden to residents. And I agree it is not fair for that town – which also must deal with the added costs and inconvenience of more business in town. So yes, it is unfair in that scenario – after all, what would be the motivation to bring in business if the tax relief was not there. But we are dealing with a monopoly with the school. ANd, as you probably know, nothing gets done because of the individual veto. So for the town to have any say in what is going on – it wants equal footing. Equal on a voter basis, not by town. that being said – I still agree with you IF we had a choice in the matter. (and here I go into my “school choice” pitch again). If parents has a choice where to send their kids – and the town contribution was fluid depending on those choices – then we wouldn’t even need a school committee. Consumer choices would dictate how the school was managed. And since contributions to Chariho are based on enrolment, if a town didn’t like what the school was doing for them- they could attract an alternative (and here we go getting me into my “end the Charter school moratorium” pitch – which I will save for another day).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — February 25, 2008 @ 4:31 pm | Reply


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