Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 3, 2007

dec 4 meeting

Filed under: bond — Editor @ 10:41 pm

This post is for people to post comments after the meeting tomorrow.  Please let me know what I missed.

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108 Comments »

  1. Hi!
    The Hopkinton Town Council meeting of last night will be broadcast on Cox Cable, Channel#18, at 10 PM tonight, Tuesday,December 4TH,. It was broadcasted earlier today. The Tri Town Council Meeting of tonight will be on the same Channel#18, tomorrow evening,Wednesday,December 5TH at 8 PM,.
    Obviously these two meetings will be broadcast at other times.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 4, 2007 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  2. The meeting was interesting.

    There were probably less than 60 residents there, who do not have a council seat or school committee seat. Sad turnout.

    Same old stuff. Charlestown won’t even entertain the notion of tax equalization.

    In attendance:

    Charlestown: Craig, Mageau, Allen
    Richmond: Reddish, Davis, Gosper, Oppenheimer
    Hopkinton: All 5 councilors were in attendance.

    I apologize for any spelling errors for Councilor names.

    Mr. Mageau wants his friends from Hopkinton to reconsider a revote.

    Hopkinton councilors – all but Bev Kenney suggests examining the way the district is financed.

    Mr. Cordone: He understands the budget implications for including the capital improvements on the school budget. He makes a point that Hopkinton will feel the same pinch with the 5% cap. (He’s right. We will all feel it. So be it. You still have a right to vote no on the budget referendum. This is a majority vote, but it could be defeated. Then the school committee would have to cut the budget.)

    Ms. Allen: She was concerned about global warming and storms and the destruction of beach property. (I see holes in this thinking because, if we were a taxing district and if a storm was to be that devastating as the 38 hurricane was, their property values would decrease and the burden would pass to all the people in each of the 3 towns, since most of the property along the beach is owned by CT and NY people.)

    Mr. Mageau: He said that we tried the Jr/Sr. thing and that failed. (He seems out of touch as to what the research says regarding 5th and 6th grades in the elementary setting and the fact that the middle school philosophy was implemented based on speculation as to benefits to the children and as to costs.)

    Mr. Mageau wants an appraisal for the Switch Road campus. Mr. Cordone says that other things need to be dealt with before doing an appraisal as he does not want the expense of an item, which would likely be sat on for a couple of years. Mr. Reddish agrees with Mr. Cordone on not needing an appraisal at this time.

    One gentleman suggested, (no surprise), that the legislature be pursued to pass a law eliminating the veto.

    Ms. Deb Carney asked for an opinion regarding whether the building committee was still active now that the bond failed. They are waiting for a legal opinion on this.

    Jim, the finance director of Hopkinton, looked into equalization, submitted documents to the other 2 finance departments to review. Mrs. Thompson entered those documents into the record. He stated there were many ways to equalize.

    Charlestown voted on the need for the Chariho Act to be cleaned up by the state. They want no vote to be taken to accept it as it is already law. Kukos to them on this motion.

    Richmond voted to split the bond into 2 parts, the middle school as one part and the High school/RYSE as another part.

    Mrs. Thompson requested a point of order so that Hopkinton would adjourn at #8. Mrs. Capalbo seconded it. Mr. Cordone took the vote. 4 in favor to adjourn, 0 against, and Mrs. Kenney abstained. The HTC sat there and listened while they made their motions.

    Mrs. Thompson mentioned that any issue regarding these bonds would no longer be rushed through. The HTC would consider everything very cautiously.

    I look to others to elaborate on anything that I missed. I know I’ve missed things. I apologize.

    Some interesting comments from the audience. The meeting is suppose to be aired tomorrow night at 8 pm on Channel 18.

    The HTC did the Hopkinton voters proud tonight. I am just 1 vote of many and I was very proud of their stand.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 4, 2007 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

  3. Sorry, missed one.

    Mr. George Abbott mentioned that if two towns decided to regionalize by themselves and leave the other town out, that the laws were written that taxes would no longer be based on per student costs. The laws apparently promote what Hopkinton wants which is tax equalization based on property values. He suggested that this get looked into.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 4, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  4. Those councilors that did not show up were either sick, travelling, or had surgery.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 4, 2007 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  5. TITLE 16
    Education
    CHAPTER 16-3
    Establishment of Regional School Districts
    SECTION 16-3-19

    § 16-3-19 Costs of operation – Payment of debts – Apportionment among district members. – (a) The cost of the operation of a regional school district and the cost of payment of an indebtedness of the regional school district authorized by the regional school district financial meeting or regional representatives under the provisions of § 16-3-14 shall be borne by the member towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in that proportion that the equalized weighted assessed valuation of the property of the towns and cities that lie within the regional school district as determined from the latest figure certified by the department of revenue bears to the total equalized weighted assessed valuation of the total property of the regional school district, or, if the figures from the department of revenue are not available, the latest figures on equalized weighted assessed valuation used by the state department of elementary and secondary education in determining equalization aid under chapter 7 of this title shall be used.

    (2) However, the apportionment of the cost of operating a regional school district and the cost of paying indebtedness may be determined by the members towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in a manner approved by a majority vote within each member community.

    (b) On or before March 1 in each year the treasurer of the regional school district shall determine the proportionate share of the cost of the operation and the cost of the capital debt service payments of the regional school district for the next regional school district fiscal year to be borne by the towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in the manner prescribed in subsection (a) of this section, and he or she shall notify the town or city treasurer of the towns and/or cities comprising the regional school district of the total amount of money necessary to be raised from the regional school district taxpayers of each town or city for the operation of the regional school district for the fiscal year following.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 5, 2007 @ 7:10 am | Reply

  6. I put an answer on the Hopkinton blog and when I, yet again, can try to figure out cut and paste, I will try to get it here.

    Mostly I really wanted to thank all of you who helped Tom, Sylvia and myself with information adn encouragement – Lois, Barry, Diane, Jim (several), Scott, Dot, Georgia, Bill (several), CR, Thurm, Mary (several), Joe, Peter, Howard, new bloggers – I’m sorry I don’t know you well enough yet but your points of view were helpful as well — and others too. We went there very prepared with numbers, information, copies of quotes and options.

    Thanks.

    Comment by BarbaraC — December 5, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  7. AND our Town council deserves a round of applause! GREAT JOB!

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 5, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  8. Does anyone know how the other school districts in this state handle their tax assessments for school operation expenses and bond indebtedness?

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 5, 2007 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  9. Hi!
    Meeting of last night being broadcast on Cox Cable #18, at 8 PM. Set your VCR for two hours.Will be repeated no doubt.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 5, 2007 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  10. That is tonight,Wednesday,December 5TH, it will be rebroadcast at 8 PM on Cox Cable,Channel #18.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 5, 2007 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  11. TITLE 16
    Education
    CHAPTER 16-3
    Establishment of Regional School Districts
    SECTION 16-3-19

    § 16-3-19 Costs of operation – Payment of debts – Apportionment among district members. – (a) The cost of the operation of a regional school district and the cost of payment of an indebtedness of the regional school district authorized by the regional school district financial meeting or regional representatives under the provisions of § 16-3-14 shall be borne by the member towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in that proportion that the equalized weighted assessed valuation of the property of the towns and cities that lie within the regional school district as determined from the latest figure certified by the department of revenue bears to the total equalized weighted assessed valuation of the total property of the regional school district, or, if the figures from the department of revenue are not available, the latest figures on equalized weighted assessed valuation used by the state department of elementary and secondary education in determining equalization aid under chapter 7 of this title shall be used.

    (2) However, the apportionment of the cost of operating a regional school district and the cost of paying indebtedness may be determined by the members towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in a manner approved by a majority vote within each member community.

    (b) On or before March 1 in each year the treasurer of the regional school district shall determine the proportionate share of the cost of the operation and the cost of the capital debt service payments of the regional school district for the next regional school district fiscal year to be borne by the towns and/or cities that comprise the regional school district in the manner prescribed in subsection (a) of this section, and he or she shall notify the town or city treasurer of the towns and/or cities comprising the regional school district of the total amount of money necessary to be raised from the regional school district taxpayers of each town or city for the operation of the regional school district for the fiscal year following

    Comment by George Abbott — December 5, 2007 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  12. I received quite a lot of in service legal training when I was employed as a Child Welfare Social Worker.

    It is my understanding that the word shall takes precedence over the word may in most legal matters.

    Perhaps the town of Hopkinton should insist on immediate equalized taxes based on paragraph A of RI General Laws SECTION 16-3-19.

    Comment by George Abbott — December 5, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  13. According to Wikipedia, Bristol/Warren School District each pay for the operational budget on a per pupil basis. It did not mention bonds. A ProJo article from August notes that educations spending is $0.60 per $1.00 for both towns. The article says the Bristol has around twice as many student. The student enrollment is slightly over 3,500. State Aid is listed as going directly to the schools and not the individual towns. The total aid received by Bristol/Warren is $20,498,190. The total aid received by Chariho, with over 3,600 students, is less than $14,500,000. Bristol is listed as spending $17,841,021 for education and Warren $10,288,297. I am unable to find Bristol/Warren’s school budget, but I’m assuming it is the $20 million in aid plus what each town pays…a total around $48 million. I can’t figure out why Bristol/Warren qualifies for so much more total aid than Chariho? We are very similar in characteristics as shown below:

    Bristol/Warren 3,087,869,246 3,506 16.9% 30.0% 28.0% 58.0%
    Exeter/West Greenwich 1,661,294,021 2,091 25.0% 30.0% 26.0% 56.0%
    Chariho 3,232,350,627 3,678 17.1% 30.0% 26.0% 56.0%
    Foster/Glocester 943,248,911 1,635 45.6% 45.6% 14.0% 59.6%

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2007 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  14. I posted this in another place:

    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 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  15. I believe that our state aid is lower because of the assessed values of the 3 towns. State aid for a Hopkinton and Richmond district would be much higher. Perhaps, this is a flaw with the current state aid formula. This is an interesting dilemma.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 5, 2007 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  16. Mr. Oppenheimer from Richmond made the point several times that Richmond has no place to put its 5th/6th graders without messing up Richmond elementary or building a large facility. The same is probably true of Charlestown (but I didn’t hear that said); it’s on a small campus and is pretty full already. How you fit another hundred kids or more on each of those sites would be a big challenge, to say nothing of the cost.

    Comment by david — December 5, 2007 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

  17. Does anybody have access to Mr. Hosp’s (sp?) analysis of equalization where he claims it’s cheaper for Charlestown to go it alone than to pay equal rates? That seems hard to believe; I’d like to review how he got that answer.

    Comment by david — December 5, 2007 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  18. The excerpt from RI General Laws presented below is probably relevent to the recent posting by George Abbot of another Section of the RI General Laws. I’ve always thought that Section 16-3-25 related specifically to Chariho, which was formed in 1958

    CHAPTER 16-3
    Establishment of Regional School Districts

       § 16-3-25  Districts organized prior to 1959. – (a) A regional school district organized prior to January 1, 1959, shall be governed by the provisions of the act establishing it and the provisions of this chapter not inconsistent with it.

       (b) Amendments to the date of financial district meetings shall not be considered inconsistent with acts establishing pre-1959 regional school districts provided those amendments are limited to one year only.

    Comment by Thurman Silks — December 5, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  19. I inadvertently sent my last post before identifying some of the figures. The first column was the assessed value of all the property in each district. Chariho at $3,232,350,627 does not have significantly more, even with Charlestown, than Briston/Warren at $3,087,869,246. Plus, we have more students.

    I would not be surprised if Mr. Hosp is correct. I’ve made the same assumption myself. While Charlestown benefits from Richmond and Charlestown as it pertains to contruction aid, annual aid for budgets is different for each town. Charlestown likely doesn’t get any benefit from being in the district. They receive around $2 million in aid while Richmond and Hopkinton received around $6 million each.

    If taxes were equalized, Charlestown taxes paid for education would likely double. Since they pay $11 million now (with state aid factored out), then they would be paying $22 million. Can Charlestown run their own school system and pay for bonds with $22 million? I think so…probably less.

    The one caveat is Charlestown has consistenly shown no cares about budget restraint. If not for Hopkinton’s response, they’d probably spend even more. This unrestrained zest for educational spending might make their own system more expensive, but perhaps once their taxpayers are carrying a burden similar to what we’ve been carrying in Hopkinton, they will become more responsible about school spending?

    I do think Charlestown can afford to go on their own. They very well could be better off. The irony is that Richmond and Hopkinton would be better off without Charlestown. We’d have the space we need and Hopkinton would have more a voice in defeating annual budget craziness. Plus, Charlestown would take 1/3 of the teachers and administrators. Since many of these employees and their families live in Richmond, maybe they’ll be less generous to Chariho once they are working for another school.

    As for Richmond’s Elementary School limitations, they need to look at the modular concept. I believe there are 2-story modulars for schools. Richmond would likely need 10 additional classrooms to accomodate 5th and 6th grades. They could have five on five 2-story classrooms. Probably take up 3,000 – 4,000 sq. ft. which isn’t very much. Probably talking from a $1.2 to $1.5 million. Certainly beats the cost of the bond and would free up space at the main campus.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2007 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  20. I almost forgot the biggest benefit to Charlestown going on its own…Mr. Polouski would become another school’s problem. We would miss Mr. Cicchetti’s calm demeanor and perfect hair.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2007 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

  21. Mr. Hosp stated that Charlestown could build all of the buildings necessary to de-regionalize for $2,000,000.This figure is very low. Does anyone actually believe that they could move all of their Middle School and High School students into such a low cost structure? Perhaps he meant to say $20,000,000.00.The other option for Charlestown could possibility be privatization. That would certainly get the CHARIHO unions on the warpath!

    Comment by George Abbott — December 5, 2007 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  22. I bet he did mean $20,000,000. That sounds just about right. Assuming a 20 year bond at 5%, you’re talking about annual payments of $1,583,893.77. If they can run their school system for around $20,000,000 per year, then they’d be no worse off than having equity at Chariho.

    Of course, if they went with privatization for Middle and High School, they could save big bucks…probably could do the whole thing for not much more than they pay now. If Charlestown moves to privatization of schools, I’ll try my best to figure out a way to live there. The property values will probably go through the roof.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 6, 2007 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  23. http://www.projo.com/ri/hopkinton/content/SC_CHARIHO_TRITOWN05_12-05-07_0G84QH5_v35.21767d.html

    The link above is ProJo’s report of the meeting. Kudos to Richmond Town Councilor Mr. Gosper for publically stating that you “have to live with outcome” even if you don’t like the results of a vote. I wish Mr. Ricci and crew understood this most basic democratic principle.

    Mr. Craig is quoted accusing Hopkinton of throwing a “wrench” into the process. Charlestown’s refusal to restrain spending, demand accountability, and expect superior educational outcomes has been the wrench for years. Hopkinton is tired of the other two towns’ acceptance of poor performance at a high cost. If that is a “wrench” then we can live with it.

    In response to Charlestown’s and Richmond’s threat against municipal spending by jacking up Chariho’s budget, Mrs. Thompson accurately noted that Hopkinton has “managed in managed over the years”. Charlestown has never had to feel the pain of their poor decisions at Chariho. Now that mandated caps might give them a small ache, they are scared to death. Hopkinton’s municipal budget has been twisted and turned in the past to compensate for Chariho’s spending sprees, so it’s old news to us.

    Mr. Craig ended his meeting by bringing up withdrawal. Is Charlestown once again blowing smoke or will they actually spend some of their community wealth and take care of their children’s educations?

    If Charlestown does go away, there may be hope for Richmond and Hopkinton. Richmond likes to spend…no doubt about that…but without Charlestown helping them along, Hopkinton will have greater say over operational budgets and contract negotiations. Plus, maybe with a smaller RiHo, they’ll be less Richmond residents benefitting from educational spending and the Richmond voters who are tired of Chariho’s performance will become a bigger voice in the community?

    If all else fails, Hopkinton will go it alone and we’ll be fine. Hopefully we can shed ourselves of gold-plated employee contracts and benefits. We certainly don’t need as many administrators. If we’re really serious about giving children the best education at the lowest cost, we’ll take a serious look at the privatization of education and let parents decide what is best for their children. Lots of options to explore. Mr. Ricci’s meeting might have been a blessing after all.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 6, 2007 @ 1:06 am | Reply

  24. Based on a report in today’s Westerly Sun, it appears that Charlestown was already contemplating a K-5 partial withdrawal prior to the 12/4 meeting.

    Perhaps Mr. Hosp had that scenario in mind when he reported that it would only cost Charlestown $2 million to construct new buildings in order to meet their post de-regionalization needs.$2 million would probably construct enough space to accommodate the needs of their special education students and administrative staff.

    Mr.Ricci told Harriet Allen that the CHARIHO Act does not permit partial de-regionalization .Based on Ms. Allen’s comments ,it appears that Charlestown may ask that a change in language of the act allowing partial withdraw be imbedded in any new school bond proposal.

    Comment by George Abbott — December 6, 2007 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  25. De-regionalization of K-6 may be something we can all agree on? Both Richmond and Charlestown have publically supported K-5, but I think that is because they don’t want to spend the money needed to accomodate 6th grade. I find it unfortunate that they would leave 6th graders in the Middle School environment because of money, but perhaps if Hopkinton leads the way on the 5th and 6th grade issue the other two towns will follow?

    At the very least, if each town takes control of our own needs for K-6 we can at least hold our individual schools accountable for spending and outcomes as we find desirable. Richmond and Charlestown can continue to spend freely while expecting no reciprocal improvement in outcomes, and Hopkinton can strive to obtain fiscal accountability and superior performance at least through 6th grade. Perhaps with a solid K-6 foundation, Hopkinton students will be able to overcome the inferior education that Chariho now delivers?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 6, 2007 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  26. Also, as Mrs. Buck noted in Richmond’s Educational Advisory Committee, they were exploring exploring partnering with Charlestown well before the bond vote. I suspect that when Richmond realized the cost of being in an unequal relationship with Charlestown, they ended any serious contemplation, but as Mrs. Buck found, they were exploring this option prior to the bond vote.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 6, 2007 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  27. I believe that the average Richmond resident with an average income would agree with Hopkinton’s taxpayers or at least be open to the possibility of a better balance of personal income written to the school between all the residents of all three towns. They have now surpassed us and that was hard to do.

    Their finance board (which has a member of the school board)was determined to use a $9 million state aid hope instead of a level state aid fund of $5.6 million for last years budget up to the wire when they had no choice but to cut their budget with great difficulty – like we must do yearly to accomodate Charlestown and the Chariho district. Richmond residents use 82% of their property taxes for the school. That is such a disservice to their towns residents. How can you fix roads or any infrastructure? How can you pay for seniors or for recreation for children and others? How do you compensate for costs of utilities? Let alone any pay raises?

    We all have good people. We all have pro-education needs and wants. We all love our children and want them safe in their neighborhoods and in their schools. We all, across the country, are wrestling with property tax percentages going to the schools – we all can’t afford for this to continue. I was talking to a General Contractor for one of my clients in South Carolina and he said they had just added 1% to their sales tax – this will go exclusively to the schools and they have, across the board, reduced or eliminated school funding from their property tax. Residents got an immediate 30% (or more) reduction in their property tax!

    No one has all the answers, but we have to start talking and trying to solve these inequities to serve our citizens.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — December 7, 2007 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  28. The biggest obstacle remains tax consumption by the schools. This is the crux of the problem. As demonstrated on Hopkinton Speaks, Charlestown can well afford to spend extravagantly at Chariho. Because they are tied to Hopkinton, which on a per taxpayer basis already spends extravagantly at Chariho, they need to get a different perspective on the amount of money Chariho consumes. Charlestown may have low taxes, but until they at least consider what Hopkinton pays in taxes and hold Chariho accountable for what Hopkinton pays, then we will never be able to co-exist as part of the same district.

    Charlestown and Richmond simply don’t care about Hopkinton taxpayers’ burden. It’s not like Chariho isn’t already among the highest per pupil consumers of taxes in the state. While Hopkinton asks why Chariho consumes so much, Charlestown and Richmond scream at us to give them more.

    We don’t need a different tax scheme, we need restraint.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 7, 2007 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  29. The other massive problem which will shortly rear its lovely head will be the unfunded state pension mandates – police, municipal, fire, teachers, etc. By next year – GASB a new accounting system – will mandate all towns, cities, states, municipal organizations to show (think accountability and transparency here) on their balance sheets the unfunded liability that pensions will generate to their employees at their retirement.

    The monies do not have to be immediately placed in pension accounts but they (the schools, police, fire and municipal boards, etc.) do have to show how they are working toward making the problem become solvent. Should be fun.

    Comment by BarbaraC — December 7, 2007 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  30. Good…I want transparency. Perhaps when local officials begin to learn what they have done with these overly generous salary, benefits, and pension plans, they’ll pull in the reins in future negotiations.

    The support staff contract should be interesting. While Richmond and Charlestown expect Hopkinton taxpayers to give up even more of our shrinking incomes, will they hold Chariho employees to the same standard?

    I doubt it. For some reason I expect that Richmond and Charlestown School Committee members have once again given away the store to Chariho employees and they will blame Hopkinton the next time we reject a bond or budget based on our shrinking economic resources. That’s usually how hypocrites operate.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 7, 2007 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  31. Help is on the way. I expect our School Committee and Mr. Ricci to be among the first students.

    “We are pleased to inform you that our Distribution Committee has approved a grant in the
    amount of $99,600 for your school for the following purpose(s):
    for technology and furnishings needed to create the Financial Learning Center
    You should expect to receive a check in mid-December. In anticipation, we encourage you
    to take any necessary steps which will allow these funds to be spent in as timely a manner as
    practicable.
    On behalf of all those associated with The Champlin Foundations, congratulations.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 7, 2007 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  32. Let me say this, as I know that the debate is still going on about the bond. I’ve heard rumors and have talked to people about this.

    I do not see where that RYSE building is saving us money. For the 4 trailers, the cost to lease is around $200,000. If we built a new school for RYSE, it would cost, with a 20 year bond note, around $200,000 a year plus interest. (20 YEAR ON PRINCIPLE. PLUS INTEREST.)

    The leases on these buildings will run out, I believe, in 2009. Are the owners of these buildings going to come and take them back? I hope so. Perhaps, this will force their hand to deal with the 5th and 6th graders.

    If they are serious about educating RYSE students on campus, they will either lease new buildings or find room in other places. Perhaps, this will force their hand to deal with the 5th and 6th graders.

    Did you know that when RYSE first started, the first few students were located in the Career and Tech Center? If I recall correctly, the high school was also considered as a place to house these students. Back then, they were not concerned that the safety of the other students was at risk. But, now this concern shows up?

    To me, it makes no economic sense to fund a new RYSE school.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 9, 2007 @ 12:10 am | Reply

  33. Can Chariho use the operating budget to erect buildings? If modular classrooms can be purchased for $100,000 each, I would think you could lease 4 building for less than $200,000 per year.

    I still can’t put it together, but there is some driving force behind RYSE which has nothing to do with children.

    I came across an article on mentoring by Mr. Ricci from when he transitioned from a principal to assistant superintendent. He personally mentored children. He described his mentoring experiences and seems to take a maternal approach to education. RYSE goes beyond educating children and into trying to solve family problmes. It aligns with Mr. Ricci’s mentoring philosophy and since he doens’t have to pay for implementing his grand plans, all the better for him…and worse for us.

    I wonder if Mr. Ricci is Mr. McQuaide’s mentor. That would be a neat trick…a superintendent creating his own School Committee members…is he Ricci or Frankenstein?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 9, 2007 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  34. I’m glad the school cares for our children, but as long as it does not go beyond the scope of educating our children.

    There is a gray line there that needs to be defined.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 9, 2007 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  35. Hi!
    I noticed on the Rhode Island Board of Elections web site the report of CURE (Chariho Citizens United for Regional Education) filing dated December 3,2007. Access it in the top of the table at http://www.ricampaignfinance.com/RIPublic/Homepage.aspx ,. With effort, I plan to check out where the conributions came from.If $100.00 or less they have to be reported but not identified by name.Over $ 1500 was spent most of it going to The Westerly Sun. Out of fairness to The Sun they get most of the political type advertising in our area. The other Hopkinton PAC still active is HOPE (Hopkinton’s Organization to Promote the Economy),.That is close but may not be exact.While HOPE head John Gilman publicly supported the bond, I do not believe they as a PAC donated to the school bond, at least I did not see it.I will check.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 10, 2007 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  36. I’m fascinated when the money, the media, and the elites get behind an issue like the bond or amnesty for illegal aliens, yet the people rejected the same issue.

    The bond had no paid for public opposition. The opposition only came through the internet and word-of-mouth. Despite the elites overwhelmingly having every advantage, they still couldn’t convince enough people to get it passed.

    I personally spoke to people who parrotted the “It’s time to…” propaganda. No doubt about it the lies, distortions, and misrepresentations of the bond proponents took root in some Hopkinton voters, but despite all this, enough Hopkinton voters still were able to see through the fog created by bond proponents and reject a bond which would have wreaked financial calamity upon Hopkinton.

    I understand that CURE was comprised of individuals from the other towns, as well as Hopkinton? The other towns certainly had good reason to sneak the bond past Hopkinton voters. I do not understand why a Hopkinton-only organization such as HOPE would lend public support to a bond that would keep Hopkinton on the path to economic ruin?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2007 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  37. Hi!
    I do not know if HOPE officially supported the bond.However in a letter to the editor John Gilman noted disagreement in the HOPE group about the bond but he discussed HOPE in his letter and mentioned his personal support.He did not keep it out. I need to check if HOPE monies were given to CURE.That I assume they did not but perhaps not?
    Remember in the previous building proposal a school buidling before the one just defeated Gilman property was to be used as a school.I recall this is the same land is being developed for a business/manufacturing site? Remember school property would have taken that land off the tax rolls in an area slated for econimc development. Concerning the current five member Hopkinton Town Council, Only Gilman/HOPE Town Council supported candidates in 2006 Cordone and Kenney on the Town Council in Hopkinton supported the bond,Gilman/HOPE supported 2006 Town Council candidates Buck and Thompson opposed it.Barbara Capalbo who was opposed by HOPE in 2006, opposed the bond.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 10, 2007 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

  38. Based on the bond fallout, I would describe Hopkinton leaders as extremely representative of their constituents. The bond failed in Hopkinton 55% opposed, 45% in favor. The Town Council was 60% opposed, 40% in favor. As you note, HOPE had disagreement within their organization and didn’t take an official position. Neither the Republican nor the Democrat party in Hopkinton took an official position.

    Contrast this with the other two towns. Although their voters overwhelming approved the bond, there were still significant numbers of voters in each town who opposed the bond, yet I can’t think of one public official who represented the opposition? How is it possible that no elected official represented the minority? Are they completely out of touch?

    It seems to me that Richmond and Charlestown politicians are predictably unable to understand the problems at Chariho because they have none in the their midst who give voice to those who see the problems. In a manner of speaking, they are blind.

    You see this come to life as it pertains to individual tax bills. As I’ve shown, Hopkinton politicians also bear the burden of Chariho’s unaccountable and irresponsible spending. Our tax burden is so onerous that even more affluent politicians feel the impact and can understand why less affluent taxpayers demand an end of irresponsible spending. Who among Charlestown politicians understands Hopkinton financial plight? They won’t even recognize the situation for some of their own citizens.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2007 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  39. http://triumphleasing.com/custom_classroom2.php

    Under the Ad Hoc Committee section of this website, Mrs. Buck posted the above link. What you discover is that the current leased RYSE facility is actually 18 modular units which “comprise a 12,000-square foot modular building”.

    Has anyone ever been in a modular building? I have been in several…I can’t tell the difference between a modular and a regularly contructed home unless I’m told it is modular. So what we discover, if the link is accurate, is that RYSE already exists in a potentially permanent structure.

    According to the marketing literature, Chariho was experiencing “rapid growth and the space requirement of the school needed to be addressed quickly”. I wonder who told this to the leasing company? Was Chariho forced to bring the “at-risk” population into Chariho “quickly” or did Chariho choose to do it “quickly”?

    Not only was the building erected quickly, but the literature notes that “each module features reinforced materials and construction methods for extra durability and security features. Classroom walls have a Chemlite coating for resistance to denting and punctures.” This sure sounds like well-built building?

    Construction included the installation of a septic system, HVAC, plumbing, electrical services and “custom ADA-compliant access ramps”. I wonder how much money we would be throwing away if we redundantly built another permanent structure and had to install all of the same services and ramps?

    Ms. Perry (who was then Ms. Blaise) was quoted saying, “Modular buildings were found to be appropriate and cost effective with a minimum of hassles….The building could be modified to give us exactly what the program needed, including classrooms, restrooms and numerous offices for the clinical staff.”

    Funny how her tune changes, huh? Now she wants us to spend millions more to put in a similar building.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2007 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  40. I live in a modular home built in 1972. My house is fine. No mold or other problems. I did have mold in another home but that house wasn’t a modular. Information that a modular classroom can be put up for $100,000 has been found. Maybe Chariho can buy the leased buildings now for a cheap price?

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 11, 2007 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  41. I would think there is some mechanism for purchasing the RYSE building. What would the leasing company do with it…tear it down? I’m still waiting to hear details on the cost of RYSE/Special Education, but assuming RYSE will exist at some level, then why not see how much it would cost to purchase the modular buildings?

    From an article in ProJo, Charlestown’s Town Council did not appoint a council representative to the Chariho Act Revision Committee. Mr. Magoo renewed “discussion of a two-town district with Richmond”.

    The Charlestown Town Council will ask the state to conduct an audit of Chariho facilities. I would assume an audit is to determine the value of the facilities?

    They also approved a motion to set-up a committee to update Charlestown’s withdrawal plans. Mr. Magoo called Hopkinton “the Achilles’ heel”. If Mr. Magoo’s mission is too spend as much as possible and deliver inferior education outcomes, then Hopkinton is the Achilles’ heel. Mr. Magoo is “not convinced that Hopkinto is going to be a willing part of this anymore”…I hope he is right. We’ve been accomplices to theft for far too long already.

    Ms. Carney is reported to have said that Charlestown can withdraw without approval from Richmond and Hopkinton if it doesn’t seek any assets from the district. With Charlestown’s vast property wealth, I recommend they withdraw and leave behind the assets. They can afford it and they won’t have to worry about Hopkinton voters again. Then they can spend to their heart’s content.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2007 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  42. no. 5856, pp. 1534 – 1535
    DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5856.1534
    Prev | Table of Contents | Next

    News of the Week
    MATHEMATICS EDUCATION:
    U.S. Expert Panel Sees Algebra As Key to Improvements in Math
    Jeffrey Mervis

    What counts. The math panel pauses from editing its report to hear from U.S. Education Secretary Spellings.
    CREDIT: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND–No single report will end the decade-long debate about why U.S. students aren’t doing better in math. But last week, a panel of experts assembled by the Department of Education signaled it had reached consensus on one of the most important topics in that debate: how students can become proficient in algebra.
    Usually offered in the 8th or 9th grade, algebra is a gateway course for high school mathematics; without mastering algebra, a college degree in science or engineering is impossible. Its importance has made it the primary focus of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, convened in April 2006. Last week, the group of 19 mathematicians, psychologists, and educators vetted a 68-page draft report due out this winter that members hope will play a major role in shaping math instruction across an education system that comes in 50 state flavors, with variations by 14,000 local school districts.

    The report, debated line by line during an open 6-hour meeting at an airport hotel here, contains dozens of recommendations on how to boost student achievement in math. Taking aim at watered-down courses, the report defines the content of a rigorous algebra course as well as what students need to know before taking it. It urges school districts “to avoid an approach that continually revisits topics, year after year, without closure,” part of what critics deride as a “mile-wide, inch-deep” math curriculum. It recommends giving teachers more authority to choose those educational materials and practices best suited to their students. It also calls for more useful assessments of what students know and for shifting educational policy debates “away from polarizing controversies.”

    At the same time, says panel chair Larry Faulkner, a chemist and former University of Texas president, the report will note that little or no good data exist on several hot-button issues. On choosing between a prescribed math curriculum presented by the teacher and one that incorporates what piques the interest of students, Faulkner notes, “it’s a matter of religion, and it’s important for the world to know that.” That uncertainty is also true, he says, for whether elementary school students should be taught by math specialists rather than their regular classroom teacher. On the use of calculators in class, the group was deliberately equivocal: Math educator Douglas Clements of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, told his fellow panelists that “we found limited to no impact on computational skills, problem-solving abilities, and conceptual development.”

    Despite the panel’s desire for a consensus document, many issues seem likely to remain contentious long after the report is released. Take the discussion about how to teach arithmetic and whole numbers. Harvard University mathematician Wilfried Schmid argued strongly for including the phrase “the standard” in a paragraph that calls for “fluency with the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.” The two words, especially the article, are a rallying cry for the back-to-basics movement, which cites changes in the mathematics curriculum introduced in the 1990s as a major reason for low test scores. “Without that word,” Schmid exhorted his colleagues, “we are sending a message that anything goes.”

    Math educator Deborah Ball of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, demurred, arguing that retaining the phrase would hamstring teachers who may want to use student-derived approaches in their lessons. “We’re not talking about how to teach math in this paragraph,” she explained, “and the use of alternative algorithms can be a useful tool for teachers. I’d like to drop the ‘the.’ ” After more discussion, her view was adopted unanimously.

    The vote was a cue for Francis “Skip” Fennel, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and chair of the subgroup that had worked on this section and who supported Ball’s position, to take a coffee break. But the discussion wasn’t over. As a way to reopen the issue, Schmid said another panel member, Fairfax, Virginia, middle school math teacher Vern Williams, had asked for his reaction to the vote and that “I am not distraught, but I’d be happier if the word were kept.” The panel immediately took a second vote and decided, by a margin of 8-3, with three abstentions, to retain the article. Fennel then walked back in the room and, upon hearing about the new tally, declared: “You mean I lost?”

    In addition to embodying the tensions within the math community, the panel is also carrying some heavy political baggage. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings dropped by the meeting to give the panel a brief pep talk and urge it to finish quickly. Notwithstanding the panel’s remaining work–it got through barely half of the 45 paragraphs in its draft executive summary–Spellings was comfortable describing its take-home message later to a small group of reporters.

    The report will tell the country “what works” in math education, Spellings explained. “Once we know what works, it’s our responsibility to align the resources” from the federal, state, and local governments. Spellings said the report’s most important points are the need for students to master fractions, the importance of early childhood education, and the value of developing teacher skills, both during their training and after they are hired. Those messages dovetail with several initiatives proposed by the Bush Administration, including a $250 million Math Now program for middle school students that Congress has so far refused to fund

    Comment by George Abbott — December 12, 2007 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  43. Thank you for posting this Mr. Abbott.

    The Federal Government has no business being in the business of education. Education decisions should be made at the local level by parents and educators. This report is a perfect example of why we need as little government interference as possible. These people have turned what is easily understood into a political football.

    For hundreds of years we have learned math one way…difficult, boring, rote learning. After learning the basic math algorithms we have the knowledge necessary to move forward to advance mathematics progressing from algebra to trigonometry to calculus and beyond.

    Along comes the government and presto, beauracrats with six figure salaries want to have some fun experimenting with our children. No longer is the math curriculum which served us, our parents, our grandparents and Sir Isaac Newton valid. No, the governmental nitwits decide to change everything.

    Before too long we need to start importing scientists and engineers from other countries…notably, other countries who continue to teach math like the United States used to teach math.

    What do we do next? We form committees who argue about two words and ultimately keep playing the same game with our children they’ve been playing right along. These people disgust me. They should disgust us all.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 12, 2007 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  44. Hi All
    Bill was gracious enough to invite me to a dinner sponsored by the Ocean State Policy Institute yesterday evening. The guest speaker was Grover Norquist. I was not very familiar with him but Bill introduced us and we had a brief conversation about transparency in government.

    His speech focused quite a bit on conservativism and “Reagan Republicans”. I consider myself somewhat libertarian with a few liberals positions. I am registered to vote as unaffiliated. I was very much in agreement on Grover Norguits views on taxation. He told us about several states where government transparency is really taking off. Florida, Texas and Missouri were three I recall but there were more.

    Transparency is becoming easier because of the internet. You don’t have to travel to look at paper records. One great thing is that everyone seems to want it. He said Ralph Nader is a big supporter of transparency and also the Republican governor of Texas. He thinks everyone likes transparency for different reasons.

    Schools in Texas and Florida are putting their checkbook registers on the internet for people to review. These schools are showing exactly what they spend and for what. I was very impressed with this approach to open government! I hope our town and our school does the same thing. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see where the money the government takes from us goes?

    Those of us on the ad hoc committee are trying to keep everything out in the open. We don’t spend money but we do talk about subjects where eventually people’s money could get spent. Our meetings allow for input from everyone. We do not think we have all the answers to the goal of getting fifth and sixth graders back to elementary schools and we invite everyone to join us in finding different options.

    The ad hoc committees next meeting with be Thursday, December 20th. Please come and give us your ideas.
    Thank you!

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 13, 2007 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  45. Hi!
    Four things:
    1. Grover Norquist usually attends the Conservative Political Action Conference http://www.cpac.org in the Washington, D.C., area/ I have been to two of them.
    2.Tomorrow is the South County Republican Coalition breakfast at the Wood River Inn in Wyoming.Richmond is host this month.RSVP to these is preferred but not really necessary.
    3.I am collecting signatures for various candidates for President for the upcoming Republican Presidential Primary. I plan to only get signatures in Hopkinton and westerly. Any registered voter can sign and it does not make you a Republican. It only gives the candidates ballot access. Call me at 377-4643 or e-mail me at scottbillhirst@yahoo.com if interested.
    4. FYI: This Monday night’s Hopkinton Town Council meeting will be the last meeting as I believe suggestions can be made to them for inclusion in the upcoming cHariho Omnibus Meeting agenda.
    Have a nice weekend!
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 14, 2007 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  46. Hi again,
    Note concerning post #45:
    1.Grover Norquist in #1 is a confirmed speaker for the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference http://www.cpac.org ,.
    2.The breakfast in #2 starts at 8:00 AM,. Jack Gordon of Richmond is one of two who can be contacted by reservations but like I pointed out reservations are not really necessary.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 14, 2007 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  47. I am reposting this in order to obtain clarification or corrections of my undertstanding of expenditures using “surplus” money in the CHARIHO budget.

    Perhaps CR, you could provide the exact amount of money lost by Richmond and Hopkinton, and the amount gained by Charlestown when CHARIHO spends surplus money on projects. I know that the amounts paid for CHARIHO by Hopkinton, Richmond and Charlestown are different that what I have noted, but I thought for clarity it would be easier to work with whole percentages to demonstrate my point of view.
    Let us say Richmond pays 40% of the bill, Hopkinton pays 40% of the bill, and Charleston pays 20% of the bill. If there is $10,000 in surplus, then $4,000 would have been contributed by the Hopkinton taxpayers, $4,000 would have been contributed by the Richmond taxpayers, and $2,000 by the Charlestown taxpayers.
    NOW, let us imagine that the budget calls for $20,000 for next year. That would mean that Richmond would pay $8,000, Hopkinton, $8,000, and Charlestown, $4,000.
    IF CHARIHO chose to use the $10,000 in surplus, that would mean the budgeted expense left to pay by all three towns would be $10,000, and the amount for taxpayers to pay would be $10,000. In this case, EACH TOWN would have been “credited” by the use of the surplus, with $3333.33, But Richmond would have put $4,000 into the pot, Hopkinton would have put $4,000 into the pot, and Charlestown would have put $2,000 into the pot, but they would get “credit” for $3,333.33. That means for EVERY $10,000 in surplus used for salary, maintenance, etc . Charlestown gets a gift of extra money of $1,333.33 OFF THEIR TAX BILL!. We should ALL be gifted like that!
    Now, realize that we are talking about an amount of money in the neighborhood of 5 MILLION DOLLARS? Makes my head tingle to think that I have just lost all that in taxes, and GIFTED IT to another town far wealthier then Hopkinton

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 14, 2007 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  48. The exact amount of money would be difficult to determine because percentages are based on student population which fluctuates from year to year. Your example works just fine to demonstrate one more huge financial benefit Charlestown receives from being in a district.

    There’s no doubt that educating their children will become much more expensive when they withdraw. They can afford to do it though, and when they are done, they will probably pay much less per taxpayer than what we’ve been paying because of Charlestown’s unwillingess to hold Chariho accountable and to spend our money responsibly.

    Notice in Charlestown’s meeting they are no longer publically talking about teaming with Richmond? Why do you think this is? I’m guessing that Richmond figured out that Charlestown will bankrupt them without Hopkinton involved for financial protection.

    Think about this…Charlestown has more voters. Charlestown voters pay much less per person than Richmond voters. Charlestown decides they want their kids to have a swim team…they want to put in an olympic size swimming pool. Not unusual for affluent communities. The pool costs $5,000,000. Mr. Reddish’s taxes go up $300. Mr. Craig increase $100. Mr. Reddish can’t stop this frivolous expense…Charlestown gets whatever they want and Richmond has no way to stop them.

    A Charlestown/Richmond school would be a financial disaster for Richmond. You could pretend Charlestown would control themselves and think of Richmond less advantageous tax base, but why? Charlestown hasn’t controlled its spending in deference to Hopkinton’s high tax burden, so I doubt they would control themselves for Richmond’s sake.

    Mr. Magoo wants to move forward in exploring withdrawal as a way of showing Charlestown means business. I say he is doing Hopkinton a huge favor. Hopkinton can likely suvive in a partnership with Richmond. With less Chariho employees influencing Richmond’s tolerance of ridiculous spending at Chariho, we might see more financial restraint and greater demands for superior educational results. We have little hope of achieving this goal as long as we have to depend on both Richmond and Charlestown voters.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  49. Hi!
    In today’s Westerly Sun, I have a letter to the editor about Chariho. I think there was some minor editing. FYI!
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 15, 2007 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  50. With all the discussions and positions being stated I cannot help it.

    During the seventies we accepted the notion of a State Lottery and Gambling specifically to pay for education. Two years later lottery revenues were moved into the mirky waters of the General fund.

    This year the lottery collected 320.9 million in revenues. For 2009, the State is looking at an approximate 400 million dollar shortfall with a 1.16 billion dollar budget.That shortfall is one years worth of lottery revenues.

    All around the Country the single biggest cause for the rise in property taxes is education. Had we stuck to the original notion of Lottery funds for education, period, then our schools would not be flashbacks to the 1960s and our local school taxes would have remained somewhat flat.

    But how many billions of these annual revenues have evaporated from the general fund over the years?

    After 40 years we should be way out ahead, but we robbed Peter to pay Paul. Education is to our need as food is to our weekly budget. What happens when you spend your food budget on a vacation or pet project?

    At Chariho I walked into the Adventures in Food Classroom. You mean to tell me that through the late 70’s, 80,s and 90,s there was never enough money for a few gallons of paint because we here in the State needed the money for something more important?

    I know that my angst might be somewhat simplistic but taxation gets alot of spotlight as a boogyman while responsibility, committment and discipline simply gets obscurred. And it is in our lacking that we face a tax increase when so many of us cannot afford it.

    Comment by GKJ — December 17, 2007 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  51. I understand your angst. Certainly we can’t trust government to take our money and spend it the way promised. Once they get their hands on our money, all bets are off. This happens over and over again, yet we still fall for the trick and vote to approve even more money going to the government and we elect representative guaranteed to take more of our money.

    The scenario you cite above could be about Social Security. FDR had no intention of SS being turned into a retirement plan. He also did not promise to spend our money on something other than SS…but we all see what happened once our money was in the hands of government. They spend it and they buy votes by promising retirement.

    In the case of the lottery, it doesn’t really matter anyway. Whether Chariho receives $6 million or $60 million from the state, they still should be accountable for what they spend and how they spend it. Chariho is government and I don’t trust them with my money any more than the politicians in Providence. All beauracrats seek to expand their government empires at our expense. All government employees seek salaries and benefits far exceeding their value as employees.

    Chariho has no excuse for not painting. They chose to spend our money foolishly and not paint classrooms and maintain facilities. We know with certainty that employee contracts have far exceeded what the rest of us received in the private sector…we probably could have painted the entire district for what we’ve overspent in contracts.

    If tomorrow the state decided to put all lottery money into education, I would still be vocally condemning Chariho for their lack of accountability and poor education performance. I would not be like Charlestown and Richmond taxpayers ignoring Chariho’s irresponsible spending which harm our children simply because I don’t feel the financial pain.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  52. Here is my soapbox:

    When you put your trust in government to solve life’s social problems, this is what you get, a lottery that was suppose to go to education and goes into the general fund. What a joke.

    Remember when Bruce Sundlun was governor. Remember the temporary hike in the sales tax. What a joke.

    Did you notice that on your restaurant bill and maybe on your grocery bill that there is a meal tax. So they get the 7% tax plus an extra 1% as well. This is what happens when government gets too big.

    I respect organizations like the WARM shelter and the Jonnycake center and any non-profit out their that manages to take care of life’s social problems through donations. They do a better job at it than the government does. That’s why Chariho should stick to education. That’s their mandate. Educate our kids in the most cost effective and advantageous way for the benefit of the taxpayers and the students. Let the non-profits and the private organizations deal with life’s social problems.

    It is now December. It is very cold out. People are trying to manage a somewhat pleasant Christmas or Hannukah or whatever holiday they choose to celebrate for their families, as well as pay the heating bill, pay for gas to get back to work, buy groceries, pay their rents or mortgages, as well as buy clothes for their growing children.

    I understand we want the best education for our children, but not at the cost of putting a family out on the street because they can’t pay their rent or meet their mortgage payment or pay their taxes.

    Let’s not forget the local companies that are laying off soon.

    The superintendent and the school committee need to seriously consider these things while they are drafting and fine tuning this current budget.

    One of the cheapest oil prices today – $3.05. Last week it was $2.85 at the same place.

    Gas just over the line in CT – $3.19.

    When was the last time I remember paying under $100 per week in groceries – 10 years ago.

    Rents – If you are lucky, you might get one under $800, maybe under $1000.

    Never mind the taxes we pay, ours is just under $4000. I believe it was around $1800 around 7 years ago. Yikes! And now, it will likely go over $4000 this year.

    Keep things basic.

    Slim the budget down to the necessities and the state mandates. That’s it. It may be time for all to make sacrifices. Look at the budget. What don’t we need?

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 17, 2007 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  53. http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2007/12/19/academic_slums

    “…PISA is a set of tests that measure 15-year-olds’ performance in mathematics, science and reading.

    The National Center for Education Statistics summarized the findings in “Highlights From PISA 2006.” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008016.pdf) American students ranked 33rd among industrialized countries in math literacy, and in science literacy, they ranked 27th. Reading literacy was not reported for the U.S. because of an error in the test instruction booklets.

    …The inability to think critically makes educationists fall easy prey to harebrained schemes, and what’s worse, they don’t have the intelligence to recognize that the harebrained scheme isn’t working. Just one of many examples is the use of fuzzy math teaching techniques found in “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers.” Among its topics: “Sweatshop Accounting,” “Chicanos Have Math in Their Blood,” “Multicultural Math” and “Home Buying While Brown or Black.” The latter contains discussions on racial profiling, the war in Iraq, corporate control of the media and environmental racism.

    If you have a fifth-grader, his textbook might be “Everyday Math.” Among its study questions are: If math were a color, it would be (blank) because (blank). If it were a food, it would be (blank) because (blank). If it were weather, it would be (blank) because (blank). All of this is sheer nonsense, and what’s worse is that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics sponsors and supports much of this nonsense.

    Mathematics, more than any other subject, is culturally neutral. The square root of 16 is 4 whether you’re Asian, European or African, or even Plutonian or Martian. While math and science literacy among white 15-year-olds is nothing to write home about, that among black 15-year-olds is nothing less than a disaster.

    Few people appreciate the implications of poor math preparation. Mathematics, more than anything else, teaches one how to think logically. As such, it is an important intellectual tool. If one graduates from high school with little or no preparation in algebra, geometry and a bit of trigonometry, he is likely to find whole areas of academic study, as well as the highest paying jobs, hermetically sealed off from him for his entire life.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 19, 2007 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  54. I recently posted information about an unbelievable and unexplained explosion in the number of children diagnosed as special needs in Washington County. A few years ago the number went from hundreds to thousands overnight. We’ve also seen Chariho’s special needs costs soar during the same period.

    Recently I became aware of a new diagnosis called Asperger Syndrome. A child I know who had been diagnosed and medicated for ADHD for many years had his diagnosis changed to Asperger Syndrome. Unlike ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome is considered a form of autism and unlike ADHD, children are considered special needs.

    I wonder how many Chariho families have been told their child has autism over the last few years? I wonder if there is a connection between children being diagnosed with autism instead of ADHD and the fact that autism qualifies as special needs and ADHD does not?

    Interestingly, in reading the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome I recognized myself as a child…one website even called it the “geek syndrome”. Has anyone heard of Asperger and can tell us if there has been a lot of so-called ADHD children rediagnosed as Asperger children?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 20, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  55. The way I understand it is that the two are often confused. There is even one author that feels that ADHD should be on the Autism Spectrum. I will see if I can find her name and the name of her book in case you are interested.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  56. This is the book I mentioned above. If you go to Barnes and Noble you can read an excerpt of the 1st Chapter.

    ADHD-Autism Connection: A Step toward More Accurate Diagnoses and Effective Treatments

    by Diane M. Kennedy, Rebecca Banks, Rebecca Banks, Temple Grandin (Foreword by), Rebecca Banks

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 1:10 am | Reply

  57. Thank you Mrs. Buck. You don’t know if Chariho has been switching childen from ADHD to Asperger do you? Is this the reason why Washington County’s special needs population has exploded? Or if after years of medication for ADHD do they then get switched to different drugs?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 21, 2007 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  58. I do know the school is not in any position to give a diagnosis. They may recognize a problem during the early years, but they are not pediatricians or developmental pediatricians.

    They normally refer a parent to an outside doctor, which is their choice. When they do this, the school picks up the bill. When a parent chooses to pick their own doctors for evaluation, the parent either picks up the bill or the insurance or both. The school will not pay for any of it. Quite honestly and you may disagree with this, my opinion is that if they pick up the tab with their choice of physicians, they should at least pick up the tab, not to exceed what they would have provided initially, with the parents choice, because as we know not every parent has insurance. Fair is fair.

    This to me is not something that is beyond the scope of providing an education for a child because the diagnosis will help determine the course of action and provide insight to the teachers when formulating an I.E.P. with the parents or guardians. It is an important part of the process.

    The author of this book I believe has kids of her own who fall into both categories. You would have to read the book to come to your conclusions, but she is a parent who sees similarities with both scenarios. I’ll give her credit, she is thinking outside of the box, and she may be right.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  59. Also, I believe a child who is diagnosed with ADHD receives a 504 plan. A child who is diagnosed with Aspergers is given an I.E.P. I do not believe that Aspergers is treated with medication.

    I also remember someone once telling me, keep in mind that I am no scientist or doctor so I don’t know this to be true, that if the medication works in treating a child diagnosed with ADHD that this confirms the diagnosis. A child with Aspergers does not respond with drug therapy. This would scare me to think that this is their confirmation, so I’d be cautious with agreeing with this. These days, nothing would surprise me.

    I understand that not all ADHD drugs work for every child either. That makes me wonder, why?

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  60. The parents I spoke with were told by Chariho that their child has Asperger, not ADHD. Chariho was also the one that suggested their child had ADHD several years ago. The child has been on medicine ever since. Now they are told that he has Asperger’s and not ADHD…so if medicine is not used for Asperger’s then he has spent years on medicine for no reason.

    I don’t have the faith in psychology that others have. The soft science changes all the time and every diagnosis are subjective. Since I have no doubt that adults looking to enrich themselves have no problems using children, even convincing themselves they are about the children, I resist spending other people’s money on the psychology of the moment.

    If others want to spend their money on this type of stuff they should feel free…find a charity and give psychologists your money. I don’t trust their diagnoses, their motivations, and their effectiveness. They are only one step up from lawyers in my book.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 21, 2007 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

  61. I can only speak of the process that I know. Things change. People change. Philosophies change.

    As far as I know, the district psychologists, resource teachers, speech and language people, etc… can come to a concensus about a diagnosis. But, they are not clinicians, pediatricians, etc… Those people are the ones that make the diagnosis. The information, with the parents permission, is given to the school to devise a plan.

    The school professionals cannot prescribe medicine. The parents’ physician must have come to that diagnosis and prescribed the medicine. I cannot imagine that that person would have done it out of pressure from the school district. But, who knows.

    My concern would be with a paid psychological service by the school. Would they have a conflict of interest if the school is paying the bill? I would hope not. They are professionals and they are opening themselves up to a lawsuit, certainly if they prescribed medicine in error.

    The book mentions the similarity between the two diagnoses. I believe the author mentions that there are many. We are certainly further along than we were. Many children are being helped. There was a time that these children were institutionalized if the disability was severe enough. There are a lot of grey areas.

    As far as the medicine goes, there are many children that just can’t function without it. I am positive though that there are many that don’t need it, as well. The prescribing of medicine should be the last resort.

    I knew a lady who had 2 children who were diagnosed with ADHD. They needed the medicine because they were so hyperactive that they would literally put their heads into the wall. The medicine was a lifesaver. There are times when it is warranted.

    Whenever anyone recommends medication, it should be thoroughly looked into before committing to it. Parents should educate themselves.

    Did you know that a person who might like to join the marines will have a tough time getting in if they have a history regarding Ritalin? I would think that the same policy would apply to any of the ADHD drugs. But, that is an assumption.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

  62. I am not one to jump on the medicine bandwagon. But, if this stuff is helping these kids function, then the parents have to decide if it is the best thing for their child. I’m sure they would have noticed a change in function before and after meds and can make an informed decision.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 21, 2007 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  63. I wonder what they did before there was a psychologist in every classroom and a prescription for every child? We went from hundreds to thousands of special needs students in one year…how does that work? And why so many? Maybe it’s Richmond’s drinking water?

    Most likely, we adults rush every child into “special” programs or administer drugs the minute they don’t conform to our view of how a child should act. As I’ve said, I read about Asperger and recognize myself as a child, yet who would I be if I had been put into the clutches of the psychiatric community? I suspect that a dozen or so of my childhood friends would have been “special” too…the ones I’ve kept up with are doing very well in life and have turned their geeky, antisocial attitudes into happy lives.

    Sorry, but our society evolved extremely well without the need for psychoanalysis of every child. I don’t like what I’ve seen happening since we’ve decided that nonconformity equals “special needs”. I simply don’t trust the psychologists practicing and experimenting with the syndrome du jour. They better keep their hands and their medicines off my child. What parents are voluntarily letting the government do to their children is sickening.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 22, 2007 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  64. But, that is the point. It is really up to the parent(s) to question everything.

    If we are going to get into the debate about medicine, should we add every medicine out there? (Medicines for bipolar, schizophrenia, depression) I’ve seen these types of issues first hand in a former employment. Thank God for these medicines because they have saved a lot of people’s lives. Trust me, and maybe you’ve experienced it, I don’t know, but, these medicines have made it possible for many to participate in society as productive members as well.

    How can we compare our own issues in life with our own bodies to someone else’s? Each parent has to educate themselves, attend seminars, seek many opinions (like the Rhode Island Parents Information Network, RIPIN for short, the Masons have dedicated themselves to Autism), and do what they think is best for their own children. In many cases, these medicines help an extremely volatile situation. And, sometimes they are overprescribed, but that is where the parent has to question, question, and question. They, in the end, have the final say until the child is 18.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 22, 2007 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  65. I’m not so sure parents have the final say. I don’t know about Chariho, but I’ve heard of other school systems where parents weren’t given a choice.

    I also think it is easy for parents to be intimidated by impressive titles and so-called expertise. As I said, we have all of human history where children and adults managed to get through life, contribute, and be productive without requiring medication. I don’t trust anyone who believes they are an “expert” on human behavior.

    I happen to be strong willed and question pretty much everything. Many, if not most, people don’t trust their own parenting instincts when faced with a battalion of “experts” telling them what they should do. These parents concede their own responsibilities out of fear.

    Keep in mind that the experts are the ones who came up with Middle School. The experts are the ones who give us TERC/Investigations curriculum. Who is advantaged the most from classifying children as “special needs”? Who reaps financial and career benefits when another child is added to the list?

    As a believer in free market systems, I recognize dynamics at play in the special needs industry that make me very suspicious. How many thousands of people enter the psychological field every year? What will they do if they don’t have customers? What would they be willing to do to create customers?

    I don’t even think it is necessarly evil driving this industry. I know that people are quite capable of convincing themselves that their motives are pure, but pure motives or not, the one psychological reality we can depend upon is that people will protect their self interests and when the self interests of the psychological community is tied to the diagnoses of millions of children, then we need to be extremely vigilant and cynical.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 22, 2007 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  66. Lois and CR,

    I think it is difficult for parents who are exhausted dealing with a difficult child to know where to turn and often the school is the preference because it seems they know what they are talking about. But I believe that CR is right. The school can only suggest and the parent needs to be very sceptical in the protection of their child especially from medical diagnosis that involve drugs or from a permanent tag of ‘special needs’. It will follow them their whole lives and affect much of what they may wish to accomplish.

    Speech and hearing therapy or physical therapy is different because it is obvious. Psychology is not.

    One of my sons was constantly told (in 2nd grade) that he may have Petit Mal – an epilepsy syndrome because he was very active but he could also concentrate so deeply that he wouldn’t hear his teacher. He was 7 years old. My pediatrician said he was simply on the high side of the active scale and for them to get over it and deal with this perfectly nice and respectful child.
    They didn’t want to hear this so complained again that I should have him be seen by a child neurologist. So, because I was also exhausted by their constant complaints (my child was never disrespectful or a behavior problem) I had him seen by a child neurologist. He said after normal testing and overnight testing that my son was simply high on the active scale and they should deal with it. So I went back and demanded that they work with my son exactly as he is.

    So they did. CR is right. For centuries we have, as parents and within the extended family, dealt with these issues coherently, consistently and with nothing but the child’s best interests at heart. They can do the same.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — December 22, 2007 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  67. I do not dispute either of you. I think you need to go back to what I wrote.

    The only thing I disagree with is that you cannot generalize everybody to fit into the mold of the people you talk about or your child Barbara, and CR. There are some cases where the medication is necessary and warranted.

    Again, my comments:

    1. As far as I know, the district psychologists, resource teachers, speech and language people, etc… can come to a concensus about a diagnosis…. But, they are not clinicians, pediatricians, etc… Those people (the clinicians, pediatricians, etc…) are the ones that make the diagnosis. The information, with the parents permission, is given to the school to devise a plan (ie… an IEP plan or 504).

    2. The school professionals cannot prescribe medicine. The parents’ physician must have come to that diagnosis and prescribed the medicine.

    3. My concern would be with a paid psychological service by the school. (Here, a possible conflict of interest.)

    4. It is really up to the parent(s) to question everything. (The parent’s responsibility)

    5. Each parent has to educate themselves, attend seminars, seek many opinions (like the Rhode Island Parents Information Network, RIPIN for short, the Masons have dedicated themselves to Autism), and do what they think is best for their own children.

    6. Sometimes they are overprescribed, but that is where the parent has to question, question, and question. They, in the end, have the final say until the child is 18.

    There are resources for parents. First, the most important resource is your child’s pediatrician. As in your case Barbara, your pediatrician had it right. I would trust my child’s pediatrician before anyone else.

    I feel that every person’s situation is unique, and that that person or parent has to educate themselves and question everything. When it comes to medicating your child, the school has nothing to say about it. And yes, they can get over it and deal with it. I also agree that they may put pressure on the parents to medicate, but again the parent has the same responsibilities here, do as Barbara did, educate yourself and ask questions.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 22, 2007 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  68. Sad but true, that the SCHOOL should NEVER pay to send a child to a chosen doctor. As soon as those who provide treatment choose the doctor who makes the diagnosis, you can be SURE that the particular doctor follows a certain diagnostic path.

    Well, guess what? If you send a kid to a particular doctor who believes the main cause of disruptive behavior or whatever is autism, then that is the diagnosis you will get. And then, one more kid goes into the pot to justify the existence of the educational costs of special education programs. I am NOT saying children should not be treated, what I am saying is that there is most likely a conflict of interest when the diagnostician is recruited and paid for by a treatment team. This would be especially true if all hold the same degree of belief in a “new” diagnosis.

    There is a good saying in medicine…”When you hear hoof beats, think Horses, not Zebras”. So if a kid is overactive, think overactive, in need of a bit of self discipline perhaps, but not necessarily ADHD, or Autism.

    WHEN will this all end???

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 22, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  69. Unfortunately good hearted people like Mrs. Buck get sucked up into the vortex. Are there children who are outside a normal behavioral range? I’m sure there are, but every parents who agrees to drug their child sincerely believe that they have the child with “real” problems. Nobody seems to have a hard to handle child who simply requires a lot of parenting.

    Now we have so many kids drugged into submission, the normal scale has moved and even more children now seem to need drugs. Who benefits? Everyone. Parents don’t have to work as hard; the educational establishment expands career opportunities; the psychiatric industry has never ending supply of new customers; pharmaceutical companies sell more drugs; government departments form to manage the whole thing…yep, everyone benefits except the millions of children who have the normal development altered irrevocably.

    I’ve heard of wildly successful people who did not do well in school and exhibited antisocial behavior as children. Einstein is one who comes to mind. I wonder who Einstein would have become had he been drugged into normality as a child?

    I’m with Mrs. Gardiner and wonder where and how it will all end?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 22, 2007 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  70. So, CR, in your opinion, drugs are not warranted, ever? Or is there a line where a child with ADHD should be able to be treated with medication?

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 22, 2007 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  71. So what the blazes is THIS from the Westerly Sun on Saturday? Are these the kids from the “lockdown” area? Do they ride on the same bus? With the little kids?

    • Two juveniles – 14 and 17 years old – were each charged Dec. 18 with disor­derly conduct at the Reaching Youth Through Support Education (RYSE) School.

    Is RYSE a JUVY JAIL, Treatment Center, or School?

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 23, 2007 @ 6:34 am | Reply

  72. Did children with ADHD exist prior to drugs for ADHD? What happened to these children? Is there a test for ADHD which can say with certainty that a child has a sickness? Is ADHD a sickness?

    I could ask hundreds of questions…none with answers.

    I grew up with one friend in particular who would have been diagnosed as ADHD and drugged into normality. He set the neighbor’s shed on fire when he was 6. He routinely was in fights. He was a terror. His parents were constantly disciplining him.

    I knew him all through school. C’s were considered an accomplishment of great significance. He went to vocational school in 10th grade. Did very well…went into the military. He is now happily married. Professionally employed…raised two amazing children. I can only wonder who he would have become had his spirit been broken by drugs from the youngest age?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  73. http://www.projo.com/news/content/PENSION_12-23-07_AP8AAA3_v16.2628453.html

    As Chariho issues yet one more gold-plated contract we find that Rhode Island is the second worst state for funding of government/school retirements and healthcare benefits. The report also notes the vast differences between the retirements and benefits of government workers and the private sector (those of us paying for the government workers). This from ProJo:

    “Rhode Island’s public pension system is among the most underfinanced in the nation…Only West Virginia’s retirement system is in worse shape…Rhode Island taxpayers must raise another $4.3 billion to cover required retirement…Their health care will cost taxpayers another $700 million…The state has banked just 56 percent of its promised pension payments. The national average is 82 percent.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  74. See, I am not convinced that ADHD existed in the same form as it does today. You may be right, it may just have recently been given a name, and you may be right, it was once not treated with meds.

    But, was your friends problem ADHD? Do we know that for fact?

    We have a couple kids in the neighborhood, who don’t appear to be ADHD, but act up. Their situation is that they have little parent supervision. They get their attention from mischief.

    When we were kids, there was some kids in the neighborhood who started a fire in the woods, creating a small brush fire. I know this because I hung around them and was mistakenly accused of being involved with this, just because I hung around them. We did not have ADHD.

    We were kids, we went out to play. We climbed trees, jumped out of them, road our bikes, went ice skating, chased the boys, etc. Hopefully, most of what we did actively exerted the normal energy we all had as children. Today, kids spend more time on video games or watching TV. We were lucky if we had channels 6, 10, and 12. Look at what they have now. Is this the root of the problem?

    I have seen many children who exhibit a different kind of energy than we had as children, even to the point where they physically inflict harm on themselves because of lack of control. Is this the same?

    I often wonder if we have put so much crap into our environment, that we have created this problem, and that it is much worse than when we were kids.

    They say that the prevalence of autism is increasing. Why? What are we doing? Was it there all along? Did we create this problem with our neglect of the environment? Is it the food additives that many people are claiming is the problem?

    Google food additives and colors. My son since he was old enough to eat solids occasionally has an allergic reaction to something he eats. I am 95% sure through years of this that it is Yellow Dye #5 or 6. This is the crap we have in our everyday food. Is this what is causing the greater prevalence of autism, ADHD, learning disabilities?

    Greater drug use occurred in the sixties. It occurred while we were in school. The children are still exposed to it now, much more powerful and potent ones. Has the past drug use altered our genes to cause this problem? Questions, and more questions.

    Simply, I am not sure that what you’ve explained in your youth is the same as what is occurring now. If you had some good sound medical research, then I might be swayed. But, for now, I have to put my faith on the pediatricians that we yearly send our children to every year. They have 6 more years of college education than our teachers have. They do well to care for my children when they are sick now.

    As far as RYSE goes, their approach is to restrain the children when they misbehave. How would you feel if someone tried to restrain you? Is this school treating our children as if they are in a psychiatric ward.

    Sometimes, as adults, when you get angry enough, what do you do? You give yourself a timeout. You go off by yourself for a while to cool off, to put things into perspective. My understanding is that this is not easy to do for the RYSE kids.

    The disorderly conduct, do we know if it was violent or was it simply a disagreement between adults and children? As I have heard, that if you just argue with them and don’t comply that they will call the police and report disorderly conduct. Please let me know more of the details.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 23, 2007 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  75. Here’s the ultimate irony…we don’t know if he had ADHD…we don’t know if anyone has ADHD. In fact, no one can tell us exactly what ADHD is and there is no test. The existence of ADHD is a guess, and my guess is good as any as far as I’m concerned. One way or the other, my friend would have been diagnosed with something and being drugged would have changed is nature and maybe his future…who’s to say?

    As for autism, I’ve heard that the increase is due to diagnosis more than actual cases. As we can see with ADHD (non-autism) becoming Asperger (autism), increases could simply be the result of more children being called autistic. Ten years ago, the child I know, who is said to be Asperger instead of ADHD, would not have been classified as autism. Do we have a rise in autistic children or do we have a rise in the number of adults who benefit when children are diagnosed as austic?

    All of these new diseases, syndromes and inflictions can be influenced by adults. None have any clinical testing which can definitely rule them in or out…it is all a matter of opinion…I don’t trust opinion when adults have something to gain by one opinion over the other?

    You may want to reconsider your food dye hypothesis…I’m pretty sure that there are less food dyes available for use then there was in the 1960’s. I know some food dyes have been eliminated from human consumption and I don’t think any have been added. If food dyes are a concern, then those over 30 have a lot more to be worried about than our children.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  76. Most of the time, I look at labels. When I forget, and buy something new, the reaction comes and with a little research, low and behold, there is the food dye. I don’t believe they are used less. I believe we are just given more dye-free choices, just like we are given more organic choices.

    Again, you may be right about ADHD, but this is your opinion just as the existence of ADHD is their opinion. Can Asperger’s be determined by a blood test, or severe and profound disabilities that may fall on the autism spectrum? They determine the existence of these based on observation and parent and teacher questionaires. I do not know of any blood test, so where is the real science here? Should we then argue that children with more severe issues are imaginary because there is no scientific test for them?

    The Autism Spectrum is just that a spectrum, a full range of disorders, and I hate using that term. Some on the spectrum are more severe than others.

    The book above by Diane Kennedy, I believe, mentioned that it was her opinion that ADHD fell within the spectrum. If she is right, and I have my facts correct, ADHD would be a high level ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I think her main concern was to come to a consensus on how to treat ADHD, not lessen the symptons. (ie… the drugs) I would have to find my copy, which is packed away to verify my facts on this.

    I don’t like the use of these drugs either. I believe there are many people who have been given them who were just very active. But, there may be some that truly need them.

    I am mixed on these drugs as I do not know what effect they have on these children. Think about it, it alters their behavior. The scary thing is that it must affect their brain chemistry. That’s why every parent should cautiously decide, with a lot of research, whether this is the best thing for their child. It is the child’s well-being and needs that are important, not the teacher’s ease in the classroom.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 23, 2007 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  77. Yes…the brain chemistry thing bothers me the most. Look at a simple chemical system like the stomach. After years of antacid use to regulate stomach acidity, we now have seen a surge in throat cancer. The cause? Antacid use. Who knows what the lasting effects of messing with a child’s brain chemistry will mean?

    As for food dyes, in 1900 there were around 80 colors being used. None of them proven safe or unsafe. Today we have 7 man-made dyes suitable for food. Up until 1990 we had 8, but a red dye was discontinued in 1990. If dyes are causing problems for today’s children, then it is nothing new. Certainly not an excuse for autism.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don’t like having to pay for other people’s opinions. I believe most of the problems faced by children today have more to do family dynamics than food products or drinking water.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  78. Another irony…worrying about food dyes and additives which have been consumed for decades with no concrete and scientifically proven damage being caused, yet parents routinely pump drugs into their children which have no history and clearly alter a child’s chemical system.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  79. Just some information for you to consider. It’s just one thing in many, don’t you think?

    http://www.fastq.com/%7Ejbpratt/recipes/allergiesintol/blproblems.html

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 23, 2007 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

  80. No science, all fear. I regularly eat corn which is also used as fuel in cars. I could care less. Plastic wrap is made from petroleum. Most of the food I eat is wrapped in plastic. I could care less.

    The food conversation is like the children conversation. Lots of fear mongering, little or no science. At the end of the day there is some group making money out of our fear. I choose not to play along.

    We live longer and because we live longer many of us eventually get some illness or other. I wonder how we live so long when we are surrounded by people looking to kill us for a few dollars? Shoot, we ate nothing but organic foods in 1900, and the life expectancy was 47. What’s up with that?

    As a society we are easily led. The media sells fear. Special interest groups earn their incomes off fear. Politicians scare us into voting for them. Government agencies expand and prosper through fear. I’m surprised we don’t all live cowering in closets. It’s a weird world we live in these days.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  81. http://www.ukfoodguide.net/e102.htm

    By all means keep eating it.

    And, this is the same media which you get your research from. The internet is a powerful thing.

    You got into the debate about meds and ADHD. This is just another possible cause of ADHD. Wouldn’t it be nice if something, just one thing, was easy in life.

    When were these types of dyes invented? Many dyes are created from natural ingredients. Perhaps, the ones you talk about were natural. But, it’s probably cheaper to use the petroleum based ones. They have to do something with the petroleum by-products.

    In the early 1900’s, did they have the antibiotics we have now. So, we live longer. Research has brought to life many good things to benefit us. At one time, people died of strep throat. Thanks to antibiotics, that is currently not an issue. Maybe we’d be living longer if we didn’t eat all those dyes. Then again, maybe not.

    I don’t live my life in fear. Don’t watch the news much. I am not going to worry about the things I can’t control. I can control what my family eats.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 23, 2007 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  82. It’s been fun debating this. I always like a good debate. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, CR and Chariho.

    P.S. Has anyone found out what the disorderly conduct was?

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 23, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  83. I agree…people should eat whatever they want…they shouldn’t pass any laws telling me and everyone else what we can and can’t eat. Don’t make me pay extra for educating drugged children because discipline and parenthood have been deemed unnecessary by school systems and large segments of the population. I’m all for everyone deciding what they want to do as long as they don’t reach into my pocket to support their opinions. If other people want to pay extra because they are afraid, they have my blessing, but too often I’m left paying for their fearful decisions. I don’t like it.

    Merry Christmas Mrs. Buck! Yes, a good debate is fun. Nothing personal, just back and forth until one of us falls asleep or Christmas takes over.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2007 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  84. I can remember when a sales term used was “trolling”. It meant that one would go out and look for likely candidates to sell a product to.

    NOW imagine all those kids who might act out now and again at CHARIHO. They are the captive victims of the many town supported “professionals” who will go out and troll amoungst them, seeking any possible sign of what MIGHT be an indicator of a “treatable condition”. Then, they will call mom and dad, express their concern, refer the child to their doctor (paid for by us, the taxpayer), and slam bam thank you taxpayer, we now have a “treatable” condition! WOW, can you say dollars?

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 24, 2007 @ 12:04 am | Reply

  85. I’m with Mrs. Gardiner. This is all about money for adults at the expense of our children’s futures. Government is in the business of turning as many people into victims as possible and then rescuing the victims with this government program or that. And we get to pay for it. In the case of schools, children become the unfortunate victims. Problem upon problem…it never ends as long as they scare the bejeezus out of us.

    I’m still waiting to find out why Washington County’s special needs population went from 1,400 to 4,600 in one year (from 03-04 to 04-05)? There’s something funny going on and nobody is talking. According to my informal calculations, Chariho special needs spending went up around 25% in a mere three years…about the same time as the unexplained explosion in special needs population.

    Did we have a bunch of kids suddenly eating food with dye in it? I suspect there is an adult reason why the population increased, and I bet there is a monetary reason too. None of it makes sense, but few seem to want to know the reason? I think we’ve been sold a bad bill of goods.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2007 @ 12:39 am | Reply

  86. I think you ask some important questions. You have my attention about the increased costs.

    I would like to know why there is the difference in the special needs populations, as well. That seems very excessive. And I believe the RYSE figures have actually dropped a little over the last few years. The 4600 seems awfully excessive in its own right. I wonder if that is a mistake. That is more than what is in the entire Chariho district.

    CR, could you provide your links again to these figures. Perhaps, those in charge can explain them.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 24, 2007 @ 6:54 am | Reply

  87. I think you’ll like this one:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011029

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 24, 2007 @ 7:16 am | Reply

  88. The data comes from a report titled “Report on Public School Funding: Factors in Washington County Rhode Island commissioned by Washington County Regional Planning Council.

    http://www.wcrpc.org/SchoolFunding_Final_5.30.pdf

    Read the excerpted paragraph below and consider this…by artificially inflating the number of children called “special needs” they were able to raise spending by 11% in on year while publicizing that spending per special needs student went down an extraordinary amount.

    I know people like Mr. David don’t want us to question the integrity and honesty of those in the academic establishment, but why do they play these games with our children if they are such fine and upstanding individuals?

    “As previously discussed, Rhode Island has twice the national rate of students identified
    for special education. In Washington County, special education enrollment increased by
    342 percent from 1347 to 4610 students from 2003-04 to 2004-05 (Exhibit 7). The 2003-
    04 year average cost of a Washington County Special Education student was $42,086.
    The cost for the 2004-05 year fell to an average of $13,689. The total cost of services for
    Washington County in 2004-05 was $63 million dollars, an 11.35 percent increase over
    the previous year. As a result, average cost per student decreased by about two-thirds
    while total costs for special education rose by over 11 percent between 2003-04 and
    2004-05 (Exhibit 6). While this is a more efficient use of resources, it represents a
    growing trend. Further research into why so many are receiving services is
    recommended.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2007 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  89. http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011029

    Imagine that…a public school leader not playing political games and not afraid of school choice! If the politicians let he stay around long enough, alot of Washington D.C. children will reap the educational benefits. The article is a must read for anyone who opposes school choice for social justice reasons (as opposed to personal benefit…like teachers and their union).

    Great article…thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2007 @ 10:18 am | Reply

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    Education

    ——————————————————————————–
    Science 30 November 2007:
    Vol. 318. no. 5855, pp. 1387 – 1388
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1151148
    Prev | Table of Contents | Next

    Education Forum
    THE EARLY YEARS:
    Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control
    Adele Diamond,1* W. Steven Barnett,2 Jessica Thomas,2 Sarah Munro1
    Executive functions (EFs), also called cognitive control, are critical for success in school and life. Although EF skills are rarely taught, they can be. The Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum improves EFs in preschoolers in regular classrooms with regular teachers at minimal expense. Core EF skills are (i) inhibitory control (resisting habits, temptations, or distractions), (ii) working memory (mentally holding and using information), and (iii) cognitive flexibility (adjusting to change) (1, 2).

    Significance
    EFs are more strongly associated with school readiness than are intelligence quotient (IQ) or entry-level reading or math skills (3, 4). Kindergarten teachers rank skills like self-discipline and attentional control as more critical for school readiness than content knowledge (5). EFs are important for academic achievement throughout the school years. Working memory and inhibition independently predict math and reading scores in preschool through high school [e.g., (3, 6, 7)].

    Many children begin school lacking in EF skills (5). Teachers receive little instruction in how to improve EF and have preschoolers removed from class for poor self-control at alarming rates (8, 9). Previous attempts to improve children’s EF have often been costly and of limited success (10-12). Poor EFs are associated with such problems as ADHD, teacher burnout, student dropout, drug use, and crime (2).Young lower-income children have disproportionately poor EFs (13, 14). They fall progressively farther behind in school each year (15).

    The Study
    The opportunity to evaluate Tools of the Mind (Tools) and another curriculum arose when a low-income, urban school district agreed to randomly assign teachers and children to these two curricula. Our study included 18 classrooms initially and added 3 more per condition the next year. Quality standards were set by the state. All classrooms received exactly the same resources and the same amounts of teacher training and support (2). Stratified random assignment of teachers and assistants minimized confounds due to teacher characteristics.

    “Buddy reading.” Two preschoolers engaged in Tools activity. The ear line-drawing held by one guides her attention (2).
    CREDIT: PENNY FARSTER-NARLESKY

    EF-training curriculum: Tools. The Tools curriculum (16) is based on Vygotsky’s insights into EF and its development. Its core is 40 EF-promoting activities, including telling oneself out loud what one should do (“self-regulatory private speech”) (17), dramatic play (18), and aids to facilitate memory and attention (19). Tools teachers spent ~80% of each day promoting EF skills. Tools has been refined through 12 years of research in preschools and kindergartens. Only when EFs were challenged and supported by activities throughout the day did gains generalize to new contexts (2).
    District’s version of Balanced Literacy curriculum (dBL).The curriculum developed by the school district was based on balanced literacy and included thematic units. Tools and dBL covered the same academic content, but dBL did not address EF development. [For teacher training and fidelity, see (2).]

    Participants. Data are reported on 147 preschoolers (62 in dBL and 85 in Tools) in their second year of preschool (average age: 5.1 years in both) who received dBL or Tools for 1 or 2 years. Those who entered in year 2 had attended other preschools for a year. All came from the same neighborhood and were randomly assigned to Tools or dBL with no self-selection into either curriculum. All came from low-income families; 78% with yearly income 75% correct on training trials (see the figure, right of above).
    Our Flanker task, like Dots-Incongruent, taxed inhibition (with minimal memory or flexibility demands). Tools children significantly outperformed dBL children (figure above). On Reverse Flanker, dBL children performed near chance (65% correct), but Tools children averaged 84% correct (see figure, above). Thus, the most demanding Dots and Flanker conditions showed the largest effects; those effects are socially significant because they are sizeable.

    Tasks that were more demanding of EFs correlated more strongly with standardized academic measures. For example, “Get Ready to Read” scores correlated 0.05, 0.32, and 0.42 with Dots-Congruent, -Incongruent, and -Mixed, respectively (2).

    Conclusions
    Some think preschool is too early to try to improve EFs. Yet it can be done. EFs can be improved in 4- to 5-year-olds in regular public school classes with regular teachers. Being in Tools accounted for more variance in EFs than did age or gender and remained significant when we controlled for those. These findings of superior scores by Tools children compared with closely matched peers on objective, neurocognitive EF measures are consistent with teachers’ observations (24).

    Although play is often thought frivolous, it may be essential. Tools uses mature, dramatic play to help improve EFs. Yet preschools are under pressure to limit play.

    If, throughout the school day, EFs are supported and progressively challenged, benefits generalize and transfer to new activities. Daily EF “exercise” appears to enhance EF development much as physical exercise builds bodies (2).

    The more EF-demanding the task, the more highly it correlated with academic measures. Superior academic performance has been found for Tools children in other schools and states, with other teachers and comparison curricula (24, 25). EFs [especially self-discipline (inhibition)] predict and account for unique variance in academic outcomes independent of and more robustly than does IQ (2, 3, 26).

    Tools successfully moves children with poor EFs to a more optimal state. It is not known how much it would help children who begin with better EFs.

    No study is perfect, and ours is no exception. Before and after measures of EFs, as well as academic measures in dBL children, would have strengthened it. Strengths include random assignment and use of objective measures. No authors or testers had a stake in either curriculum. Many competing explanations have been ruled out (2).

    Most interventions for at-risk children target consequences of poor EFs rather than seeking prevention, as does Tools. We hypothesize that improving EFs early may have increasing benefits over time and may reduce needs for costly special education, societal costs from unregulated antisocial behavior, and the number of diagnoses of EF disorders [e.g., ADHD and conduct disorder (2)].

    References and Notes

    A. Diamond, in Lifespan Cognition: Mechanisms of Change, E. Bialystok, F. Craik, Eds. (Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 2006), pp. 70-95.
    See supporting online material for more information.
    C. Blair, R. P. Razza, Child Dev. 78, 647 (2007).
    M. M. McClelland, F. J. Morrison, D. L. Homes, Early Child. Res. Q. 15, 307 (2000).
    S. E. Rimm-Kaufman, R. C. Pianta, M. J. Cox, Early Child. Res. Q. 15, 147 (2000).
    R. Bull, G. Scerif, Dev. Neuropsychol. 19, 273 (2001).
    S. E. Gathercole, C. Tiffany, J. Briscoe, A. Thorn, ALSPAC team, J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry 46, 598 (2005).
    T. Lewin, “Research finds a high rate of expulsions in preschool,” New York Times, 17 May 2005, p. A12.
    W. S. Gilliam, Prekindergarteners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Prekindergarten Systems (Yale Child Studies Center, New Haven, CT, 2005).
    K. A. Kerns, K. Eso, J. Thompson, Dev. Neuropsychol. 16, 273 (1999).
    S. M. Dowsett, D. J. Livesey, Dev. Psychobiol. 36, 161 (2000).
    M. R. Rueda, M. K. Rothbart, B. D. McCandliss, L. Saccomanno, M. I. Posner, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102, 14931 (2005).
    K. G. Noble et al., Dev. Sci. 10, 464 (2007).
    K. G. Noble et al., Dev. Sci. 8, 74 (2005).
    T. O’Shaughnessy et al., Remedial Spec. Educ. 24, 27 (2003).
    E. Bodrova, D. J. Leong, Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (Merrill/Prentice-Hall, New York, ed. 2, 2007).
    A. R. Luria, in Reading in the Psychology of Cognition, R. C. Anderson, D. P. Ausubel, Eds. (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1965), pp. 350-363.
    L. S. Vygotsky, Soviet Psychol. 7, 6 (1967).
    L. S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Harvard Press, Cambridge, MA, 1978).
    M. C. Davidson et al., Neuropsychologia 44, 2037 (2006).
    M. R. Rueda et al., Neuropsychologia 42, 1029 (2004).
    S. Durston et al., Neuroimage 20, 2135 (2003).
    A. Diamond, N. Kirkham, Psychol. Sci. 16, 291 (2005).
    W. S. Barnett, et al., “Educational effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial” (National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2006).
    S. Saifer, paper presented at the 17th Annual Conference of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association, Prague, Czech Republic, 29 August 2007.
    A. L. Duckworth, M. E. P. Seligman, Psychol. Sci. 16, 939 (2005).
    This research was made possible by funding to A.D. from HELP (the Human Early Learning Partnership) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA19685

    Comment by George Abbott — December 24, 2007 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  91. CR, above, does not show where the special educaiton total was “artificially inflated”, nor is there evidence that the reduced cost per student was “advertised”. I don’t remember hearing about that, and I do read the newspapers pretty devoutly.

    Also, I might point out that this report is not from those in the “academic establishment”, but from a group of town planners — is not unreasonable that they might not get all the data binned up just right?

    Looks to me like the two set of data were taken very differently. Perhaps something about “no child left behind” led to a change in the reporting? If it’s not just Chariho, it’s clearly not something you can hang on Ricci, Day, Polouski et.al. as their sin alone.

    David (no “mister” required)

    Comment by david — December 24, 2007 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  92. Unfortunately, the only detailed accounting I could find was this report. Chariho, as represented by Mr. Ricci, Day, Polouski, and others chooses to speak in generalities and provide limited and superficial accounting of Chariho’s special needs population and attendent expenses. I have no reason to doubt the credibility of this report. Unless those with a vested interest in correcting the record have data that tells a different story, this report is the best we have. Chariho’s unwillingess to provide detailed accounting of RYSE and special education is telling.

    The report also notes that Rhode Island leads the country in the creation of special needs children. If No Child Left Behind was the culprit for the explosion in special needs children, then it would seem probable that all jurisdictions nationally would be impacted about the same.

    The fact that this report is NOT the product of the education establishment is a big check mark in its favor. Rhode Island’s educational establishment isn’t trustworthy if Chariho is any indication.

    I guess if one wanted to believe that Rhode Island children are inherently disadvantaged and thus at risk for “special needs”, then you could conclude that Washington County’s special needs counts aren’t artificially inflated. I’ve lived a few different places in my life, and I simply do not believe that Rhode Island children are more likely to require special education than any other children. If I’m right, then we inflate the number of children who are special needs in comparison to the rest of the country. If I’m wrong, then woe is Rhode Island for producing a generation of handicapped children. Either way, Rhode Island has a major problem…I’d prefer to think our problem is the adults and not the children.

    The from the report:
    “For 2001-02 Rhode Island’s disabled students were 20.1 percent of public
    school enrollment, compared to the national average of 13.4 percent.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2007 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  93. So kids need training in “EF”? Hmmm, if you read the descriptors of the expected behavior, it sounds like old fashioned expectations of acceptable behavior, RESPONSIBILITY FOR BEHAVIOR,adherance to rules, and gosh darn it, respect for elders! Sounds like stuff my Mama taught me, and I taught my children at a very young age.

    I don’t think lack of “EFs” in children is a symptom of ADHD, or any of the many labels we love to pin on children, but a reflection of the changing attitude of parents and parenting. Parenting is less, expectations are nil, and good behavior is not expected. Many parents want to be “friends” with their five year olds, not parents, and expect the schools to magically remediate their spoiled, undisciplined children. Can’t really blame the kids all the time. They need to be parented by a strong parent figure, not spoiled by a “friend”. Even kids need discipline, goals, and expectations for civil and productive behavior.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — December 24, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  94. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all. I missed last weeks ad hoc meeting. I don’t know if they had a quorum? Barbara Capalbo had info from Chariho to share. If they didn’t have a quorum I will tell you about it after the next meeting.

    I’m catching up on my reading. I want to add to the conversation about food. I’ve been in the food industry for 20 years. I worked in the lab at Pfizer in the food science division for 10 years. I now sell food ingredients. I’ve worked with natural, artificial, organic, food additives, food colors (natural and synthetic) protein, carbohydrates, fats, and too many other ingredients to mention. I agree that fear sells. The more fear, the more money you can make. Years ago I was involved in a focus group with a major US food manufacture (Oreo anyone?). We gave the focus group a package and asked them what they thought of the ingredients from the packaging. The ingredient statement included a never before used ingredient. One aggressive member of the group hooked onto an ingredient called alpha tocopherol. She went on and on asking what it could be and convincing the others how terrible it sounded. Alpha tocopherol is Vitamin E. The group then moved on to scare themselves silly about “edible shellac”. Edible shellac is a natural ingredient commonly found in food products. It is used to coat food and protect fats from migrating and degrading the food. No one in the focus group ever mentioned the ingredient that was totally new. I had a good laugh and that is when I began to realize that fear is a prime motivation to many sales. Scare people enough and they’ll buy anything. I don’t like it but there is no denying that it works. I sell lots of organic ingredients to people who are very afraid. I stopped trying to reason with them a long time ago. I agree with those that think everybody can decide for themselves but they shouldn’t expect me to pay because they are afraid. I wanted to add my two cents. I like this debate because it is right up my alley.

    I agree with Dorothy Gardiner about children. I have three 7, 13 and 17. I often tell them that I am not a friend but a parent. I tell them I might consider being their friend when they are adults and no longer my responsibility. My children don’t always reach the expectations we demand. They pay a price when they don’t to what is expected. Plenty of love in my family but don’t mess with the parents. We do need to work on chores. Sometimes its easier to do it yourself. I don’t want to preach and far be it for me to tell other parents what to do but I am not impressed with my generation of parents.

    Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 24, 2007 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  95. EF is an excuse to get their hands on our children even earlier than they already do. They’ve managed to sink their government teeth into many of the Pre-K group, and EF gives them an excuse to get even more of the younger children.

    The task of teaching and modeling EF behaviors have historically been the role of parents, and the lessons begin very early on…so what we have here is the government-lovers developing additional plans to reach deep into families.

    Sadly, the destruction of the family unit began with the war on poverty and parental replacement programs implemented by government. Now they’ve destroyed a large percentage of families, it’s time for the government to now step in an take over even more parental responsibility. They simply can’t help themselves.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2007 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  96. From Hopkinton RI Speaks –

    Doug Tuthill Says:

    December 30th, 2007 at 2:30 pm e

    To Mr. Felkner,
    I would like to meet you and discuss your views on Chariho so that I can get a well rounded picture.

    Regards,
    Doug Tuthill
    Richmond

    Comment by Hopkinton RI Speaks — December 30, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  97. Hi!
    Mr. Tuthill is free to contact me if he is so inclined about Chariho. My e-mail is scottbillhirst@yahoo.com and phone is 401-377-4643,.
    I may not know all the answers but I am 54 and grew up in Chariho and have a knowledge of local history and politics. What concerns me is the casual comments about a Richmond-Charlestown School District not taking into consideration the almost three times assessable base of Charlestown over Richmond and its many hundreds of voting power over richmond also.Have people really looked at these facts? Certainly Richmond has by thousands of dollars of medium household income and physically has most of schools within in it, Charlestown appears clearly to be in the drivers seat in a two town school district. A Richmond-Hopkinton School District assessable base situation is close, and I think voting power is closer but need to check that again, although still by thousands of dollars the medium household of Richmond is higher.The medium household income of Charlestown and Hopkinton is closer.
    Some but not all of these figures are attainable at http://www.rikidscount.org ,.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — January 2, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  98. You may want to contact Mr. Tuthill directly or post something similar at Hopkinton Speaks. He’s not written anything here to my knowledge and may not know about this website.

    If you do speak with him, tell him about this website and encourage him to participate both here and at Hopkinton Speaks. All elected leaders should seek out their constituents wherever they can be found. I know that most local politicians offer the opportunity for private discussions, but I think there is a great amount of value to the citizenry when politicians engage in public discussions…back and forth dialog.

    Comment by Curious Resident — January 2, 2008 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  99. Hi all,
    The ad hoc meeting for tonight did not happen. Barbara Capalbo told me about a Chariho budget workshop. I attended since I didn’t have the other meeting. My recommendation to anyone in the public DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME. Chariho advertises the meeting as if it is a good place for public input but this was not true at all. The “workshop” was really a school committee meeting where from time to time someone in the public was allowed to say a few words. Barbara, myself and Tom Buck were the only ones there from the public. I raised my hand several times but was never acknowledged. Barbara and Tom got in a couple of comments but Tom left in disgust around 8:30. Barbara and I left around 9:15. I did get to meet Brian Stanley briefly and I told him that the meeting was very uufriendly to the public. I realize it wasn’t his fault but I was frustrated. Barbara and Tom said that town budget workshops are much more interactive for the public. Here’s my report of what I heard and can remember.

    Bob Petit was very aggressive in attempting to cut the budget. He supported all efforts to cut spending and even proposed several administrative cuts by not renewing the contracts for a couple of assistant principals, a special education assistant, an assistant groundskeeper, a director, and maybe others. Bob asked about cutting back on stipends and mentioned money being paid to school personnel to help load busses. Bob made a passionate speech about how many jobs were being cut by private companies and said that everyone was working harder. Bill Felkner also supported all efforts to cut spending. Ron Preuhs didn’t support any spending cuts while I was there. George Abbott was not there. No spending cuts passed while I was there.

    Debra Jennings from Richmond proposed cutting the budget to $49,760,000 from the original $50,429,155. I’m not sure why she had this number but she talked about the impact on towns and the 5% cap. She didn’t name anything she wanted reduced. She didn’t support all effort by Bob to cut spending.

    Giancarlo Chiccetti thinks the budget is good with a just a little fine tuning. All of the Charlestown members were favorable to the budget. Bill Day, Holly Eaves and Terri Serra were positive about the spending. Ron Preuhs wants to pay for part of the budget with the surplus. Near the end of the meeting I think I heard Bill F. mention $1.5 million of the surplus used for this budget. The budget is available on the internet according to Brian S. On the budget there is $1,743,400 being used from “capital reserve fund” (I think this is the surplus). There must be more money in surplus because Ron wanted to spend more of it.

    Bill F. asked about the student to employee ration of 1 to 7. Bill said that when our generation was in school the ratio was much higher. Terri Serra said that this was okay because we now take care of special needs better than when we were in school. Bill thinks it is too much because Chariho spends above RI mandates.

    Barbara asked about an increase of $140,000 in teacher assistants at the middle school. This is one time when the group got angry and said it was discussed at another meeting. Barbara said that she can’t make every meeting and didn’t know. The answer was that the budget moved salaries from special education assistants to middle school assistants. Chariho thinks that many of these assistants aren’t really working with special needs. They belong in a different place on the budget. There is a reduction in spending around $175,000 for assistants in the self contained section of the budget.

    If you were thinking of attending the budget meetings to participate then you will be disappointed. I was.

    Comment by Jim — January 3, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  100. I’m glad to hear that Bob Petit was trying to make cuts. He seems to have given the budget a lot of thought.

    A leaner budget is of utmost importance as this is a very trying time, for the state, as well as the 3 member towns and for Chariho.

    The budget surplus should never be used on the bottom line. If things got bad, or an emergency should arise, the surplus could be used. Or maybe even for capital improvements to the elementary schools. Relying on the surplus to reduce the budget is dangerous. Should deficit spending ever become the norm, the well could run dry, and we would all be slapped with a large tax increase.

    It sounds like Bob and Bill are making a huge effort. Let’s hope the other members of the school committee will follow suit. (I’m very doubtful of that.) All it takes is 6, right?

    Comment by Lois Buck — January 3, 2008 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

  101. Correction: I should have said the 2 member towns.

    Comment by Lois Buck — January 3, 2008 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  102. Deb Jennings spoke eloquently and correctly for her town of Richmond (and by default, Hopkinton) addressing the increase in the school budget as it will impact the municipal budget. Charlestown’s Mr. Chiccetti spoke to not cutting the budget, but his concern was trying to fix and maintain the schools with which I agree. Except it seems possible to cut the budget by cutting and condensing the jobs of personnel (primarily administration and assistants – not teachers) which Bob Petit also tried to do with no success.

    The School committee is trying to cut the budget by using the percentages theory – please cut ‘x’ percentage to get to a forordained number or by using the surplus to offset the capital or the operating budget. Both approaches although useful are ethically wrong. If you are elected to run the schools you must be the responsible party to cut the budget line by line. Certainly with the input of the Superindentant, the CFO and any other person that can give you specific advice concerning any portion of the budget.

    Hopkinton separates the budget into three sections, invites all the heads of department to these meetings with the public and goes through line by line to adjust, cut, condense our spending. We are being responsible – no one has to agree with us but it is thoroughly on our shoulders. The public is encouraged to attend, is listened to and responded to by the council. They are not ignored or chastised for attending and actually asking a question answered earlier (they could not be in attendance at that time).

    Mr. Poulowski is getting more and more insular and constantly defensive. The schools can do no wrong or be in any way questioned. It’s actually quite sad. And Mr. McQuaide, who has never paid taxes, fed a family, seen the world, fought a war, protects all clinical programs, all personnel, because his family is involved and needs these – there is no objectivity. Without the ability to be objective and address the outside world in conjunction with education – that is afterall the purpose of education, to function in the outside grown-up messy world – insulating children and workers from the reality of budget cuts and state deficits is not the answer. It is the problem.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — January 4, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  103. Thank you Barbara! Thank you for letting us know of Deb Jennings involvement.

    Comment by Lois Buck — January 4, 2008 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  104. I have a question. If we only have 10 students per teacher (on average), WHY do we need “teacher assistants” who are qualified, and as part of their job description, instruct students? I had previously thought (foolish me), that teaching assistants were just that. Assistants who would copy stuff, line kids up to go places, fetch AV materials, obtain supplies, etc. I NEVER considered that part of their job description would include “instruction”, or would require a degree. Would some one clarify this for me?

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — January 8, 2008 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  105. Dot,

    There is a category called “Certified Teaching Positions”. I do not know if that is only (what you and I think of as) teachers or if that is also persons who are simply ‘certified’ to help teachers – but not instruct? I will try to find out, but if anyone knows what this category entails please let us know. There are approximately 348 or more persons (up to about 387) in this category. We have over 700 employees in the school system.

    Comment by BarbaraC — January 8, 2008 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  106. My number one question is why teachers aide salaries increase almost $311,000?!? Aren’t aides monitors? How much do they earn for monitoring students? This is just the salary increase for aides. Total salaries proposed for aides is $885,360! Add to this nearly $800,000 for teacher assistants. None of this counts sick days, healthcare, retirment, etc. Vo-tec is only spending $8,667 for aides this year. They spent nothing $0 for aides before this year. Why does the rest of the school need so many aides but Vo-tech doesn’t need aides?

    Trying to make heads or tails sense of the budget can be difficult. Special Ed students must be in decline because Spec. Ed teacher salaries declined $191,700 (19%) and teacher assistant salaries for Spec. Ed declined $175,313 (18%).

    The superintendent said that Spec. Ed teacher assistants were shifted to teachers aides, but this doesn’t seem right.

    First, Spec. Ed teacher salaries went down and less teachers means less assistants. Why shift teachers assistants to aides if there is declining needs?

    Second, Spec. Ed teachers assistants are specialized and certified. They should earn more than teachers aides who monitor classrooms, study halls, recess, bus loading, etc. These are low skill, low paying functions – at least they should be low paying.

    Third, teachers aides (not assistants) salaries increase $310,733. Assistants only decrease $175,313 and the decrease is due to student decrease, not job shifting. The assistants were all at the main campus, but that aides also increase at all the elementary schools. Something is fishy here.

    I went through the budget and ask that someone in power consider the info. There lots of money to be saved!

    Unnecessary Positions?
    Middle School House Leader – $32,482
    Deans of Students – $325,798
    Middle School Guidance Counselors – $284,368
    Social Workers – $296,226

    Unreasonable Increases?
    High School Teachers Aides – $35,872 – 78% increase
    Middle School Teachers Aides – $140,639 – 116% increase
    Elementary School Teachers Aides – $134,222 – 49% increase
    Charter School Tuition – $112,114 – 24% increase
    Middle School Clerk – $25,955 – 25% increase
    Richmond Secretary – $6,120 – 19% increase
    Teachers Retirement – $511,288 – 17% increase
    Maintenance Salaries – $35,779 – 17% increase
    Custodial Salaries High School – $28,869 – 9% increase
    Custodial Salaries Middle School – $30,749 – 11% increase
    Middle School Librarian Salaries – $43,860 – 33% increase
    Professional Development Textbooks – $73,385 – 77% increase

    Comment by Budget Cruncher — January 8, 2008 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  107. […] To find more information from the source here […]

    Pingback by Copyright Revewals » dec 4 meeting Chariho School Parents’ Forum — March 27, 2008 @ 5:46 am | Reply

  108. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m
    not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

    Comment by Personal Injury Attorney Macon GA — June 5, 2013 @ 9:21 pm | Reply


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