Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 29, 2008

Thank you for your input

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 1:37 am

I’ve heard that the Regents have received more emails in the last 24 hours than in the last months combined.  Thank you for being heard.

On an unrelated note – fellow board member Bob Petit has a letter in the ProJo objecting to my actions around the NEA complaint.

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107 Comments »

  1. Mr Petit, you have been around along time, and look at the situatuion we have on our hands……a fiscal train wreck. We wouldn’t even know about most of the problems if not for the likes of W Felkner. Nobody is perfect and every system has its problems, but I think we have moved forward in transperancy. if you disagree, then so be it. Your article seems to leave out any responsibility of the NEA in this matter. Come on do you think they are sterling? The RI government and unions that control them are practically gangsters. No ethics, only an arrogance of entitlement.

    Comment by RS — March 29, 2008 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  2. You seem to miss some of the points that Bob Petit mentions in his letter to the editor.

    1) By Bill Felkner continuing to speak out he is costing everyone one of the taxpayers more money.

    2) It seems as if Bob Petit feels that Bill Felkner isn’t saying 100% of the truth. He is putting his own personal spin on things. If you cut and paste just the parts that make you want to make yourself look good, that’s not the right thing to do.

    3) Bob Petit feels that Bill Felkner misses a few too many meetings.

    Transparency is good, I’m all for it. But as I’ve said over and over there a right way and a wrong way to go about getting things accomplished. Bill Felkner’s antagonistic ways, in my humble opinion, are not the right way to get things done. The only thing I see that this has done is cause a lot of folks to get their backs up and get defensive with Bill Felkner. I believe that if Bill Felkner could work in a more positive manner it would work for the betterment of the school district.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 29, 2008 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  3. Bottom line for me………..are we more aware of issues at Chariho before W.Flekner, or now?

    I think we know the answer…..doesn’t mean we have to agree with the messenger 100%. Think the NEA and other dupes who wish to hide information from the taxpayers don’t spin the data….be real. This is why you need all theinformation and can judge for yourself. Problem being the information is only released when those who control it want to release or are made to….

    Comment by RS — March 29, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  4. Based on limited knowledge, from afar of Mr. Petit and though he seems to be reasoned ‘does he have the fire in the ‘belly’ to say NO for his town to the fool committee? Based on what has been noticed in some of his past blog ons , I thought so. I would think that maybe he was put up to this/ possibly guilted into’ or pushed into a ‘smear campaign’ of Felkner. That is only ones guess.’ No factual information, just a hunch. It sounds like Petit really supports Felkner on a lot of stuff but again as a Hopkinton Rep was put up to this. I’ve seen some of Felkner’s stuff throughout the state and he/Felkner has facts/bullets in the gun and the fire in the belly. He is more respected in the state than the school committee is disrepected among the tri towns. That doesn’t speak well for CHA-RI-HO since they feel it/they has some level of respect somewhere. The Vote will be NO regarding the budget (see I can spell budget, does that raise Chariho education IQ)?

    Comment by Really You — March 29, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  5. I appreciate all that Mr. Felkner has done for the town of Hopkinton and the students at Chariho.

    This website has been a blessing. Finally, a forum where parents, teachers, district officials, and students can converse about the issues. This blog in my eyes has brought out some serious issues regarding the schools and how they are run. The public finally has a say.

    Kudos to Mr. Felkner.

    I sympathize with Mr. Felkner regarding the NEA incident. To me, those in charge of keeping the meeting with the labor relations board secret from Bill violated his rights.

    An accused in a court of law has the right to face his accusers. When did Bill have this opportunity. They cannot continue to plead ignorant of such matters. The NEA and the lawyer and anyone in the administration who deliberately kept this secret from him are the ones responsible for this mess. Shame on them.

    Those who continue to prevent transparency in government are responsible, as well.

    Although I may not always agree with Bill on all the issues, I applaud his efforts. He of all the committee members demonstrates to me that he cares for the children and the taxpayers because he continually sticks his neck out for them. It is not always easy to stick your neck up above the crowd. It usually makes that person a target.

    Comment by Lois Buck — March 29, 2008 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  6. I also appreciate Mr. Felkner and his ‘decency, candidness, openess and honestly in looking for the truth.’ He’s not above the crowd and from my limited ‘run ins’/seeing him on the ‘street’ is not above it to anyone. He’s one of us. Wanting answers to questions which should be easily attainable but due to obstruction for who knows why, aren’t. Much has been written in the Pro Jo or Pro Woe also the Urinal and instead of the Journal. If your kids can’t read or write and are willing to to stand up and applaud he isn’t your ‘cup of tea’. If your upset that your Mark or Mary can read or write and do ‘rithmathmatic’ than he is your guy. Mrs. Buck I concur.

    Comment by Jacob — March 29, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  7. I think Chariho Parent knows along with the rest of us the money being wasted by the NEA (they have it) and some School Committee members at Tri Town Taxpayers Expense (don’t have it) is a dog and poney show to discredit Mr. Felkner and this site. Frivilous lawsuits are a dime a dozen and some would ‘alleged’ you know that. Are you ready to ‘come out’ Chariho Parent?. Still waiting for some factual information which I hope your ‘armed with.’ Your won’t be hired by the district and if you are it will be reported to the Attorney Generals office at the least/or for starters from what many have heard. I think former Secretary of State Rumfeld would call you a ‘dead ender.’ One towns embarassment is a tri town waste. Are you that waste?

    Comment by We Know — March 29, 2008 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  8. We know, what the heck are you talking about when you say I won’t be hired by the district? I never have been hired by the school district as far as employment goes and I have absolutely no plans to ever apply for a position there. There isn’t a huge call for what I do in your typical school district unless I decided to teach what I do to others.

    Your statement is rather ridiculous at the least, extremely stupid at the worse. From what I see around here, the feeling of many is that Hopkinton, except for a few level headed individuals, is the embarassment of the three towns.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 29, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  9. Please clarify for me. Today I saw an advertisement requesting bids for furnishings for the Financial Studies program classroom…… Didn’t we hear/were told that this new2 course would not cost anything? That the program would be placed in a current classroom? OR did I hear wrong or imagine this? This inquiring mind wants to know! Can you all help me out?

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — March 29, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  10. Is it being funded with a Champlain Grant?

    Comment by Nothing for Nothing — March 29, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  11. I appreciate the comments and if we all agreed on everything it would be boring. And Bob can express his thoughts about me freely. But he said there was a “case” and “litigation”. This is flatly not true. He is knowingly or not carrying the NEA’s banner of a lie. Anyone who has looked at the law would know that. Including our attorney – which is the crime of hiding it in executive session. Its all nbased on a false premise. Most of the laws on blog. I’m on blackberry and can’t search. Sorry

    Comment by bill felkner — March 29, 2008 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  12. Let me clarify something here. I think everyone is missing the point on what was written. I am not backing the NEA(PERIOD). I was not forced, in to writing this letter and no one on the committee or administration knew about it until the same time any of you did. The whole matter that I am referencing here is the executive session and release of minutes,not the charge against the SCHOOL COMMITTEE.

    The complaint, charge or grievance was filed against the committee as a whole. We voted to keep it sealed until ratified. Once it was finished Bill can take minutes and posted until his heart content, he can say what he wants about the committee, the NEA or anyone for that matter. The point of the letter is TRUST. How are we to know that whatever is said in executive session is not going to be put on a blog or made public? How are we to know something said of the cuff or just in passing about any subject is going to be headlines the next day. Transparency is one thing Trust is another. I am have said it before and will say again, I am all for transparency to a certain extent, and that extent does not cross in to executive session. Most of what goes on in executive session is public information at some point, and again, at that point Bill could take a stand and prove his point.

    It is hard to discuss anything with Bill. He has great points and I have backed him on a lot of issues. I don’t always agree but when it is done correctly I either just vote for or against, nothing said.

    I think if this matter was left alone the way it should have been, it would have long been “over”. This is where I reference the cost of the bill going up. NO-ONE can stop the NEA from filing a complaint so to keep this matter going to me is more self indulgence than anything else. If Bill were to prove he never said anything, what happens then? Do you really think it will stop the NEA from ever doing this again? Does proving right or wrong for the NEA or Mr. Felkner do anything to better the education of the students? This complaint is foolish and to keep it going is just as foolish. To me they are both just as much at fault now. The NEA knows it is getting to MR. Felkner by keeping this grievance going because he continues to talk about it and as long as he does they are going to play this game with him. Don’t keep feeding the fire and it will go out.

    BUT REMEMBER THE LETTER IS ABOUT REVEALING EXECUTIVE SESSION INFORMATION NOT THE COMPLAINT.

    Comment by bob petit — March 30, 2008 @ 6:43 am | Reply

  13. I am having a hard time trying to understand what could possibly be discussed in executive session that cannot be released to the taxpayers. Please educate me.
    It is not as if the school committee is in charge of corporate secrets or proprietary information that a competitor could use. I would understand secrecy if discussions about specific students are involved. I’m just not seeing the great need for not releasing information.
    As far as defending frivolous suits, you can recoup your money as part of a settlement, if ordered by the judge. If you know the amount of the legal fees being incurred because of W Felkner’s actions, please let us know. I would like to put a number to the subject rather than just say “it is costing us money”. Lets get the true cost out in the open and let the taxpayers decide if we have had enough. I know what the NEA cost me every month, as of yet I’m not sure W Felkner is costing me anything(except the stipend you mentioned).
    You also mentioned W Felkner’s attendance record, why not publish all the other members record as well, so we can compare. Like you said, half truths and leaving out some of the information helps no one.
    So help us all.

    Comment by RS — March 30, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  14. Well RS two things

    1). Other memebers are not posting to blogs, newspapers and whatever other means of media that can be used to talk about things that happen in meetings that they don’t attend.

    2.) I can not at this time give you the information on what is spent as this grievance is on going. Once done, you will be able to see all information on this and most things that are talked about in executive session. I dont disagree that the NEA is costing us money and I am not trying to defend them. They both are costing us money.

    I hear a lot about the Chariho School Committee taking things in to executive session that does not belong. I have yet to see anyone file a complaint on such. If it is a meetings violation than anyone has the right to file a grievance. If we are wrong than the Ethics Committee or the AG’s office will notify us. Some will say all we will get is a slap on the wrist. This maybe true but it would have to stop being done. If you have the evidence and you feel we are wrong stop accusing and start writing.

    Comment by bob petit — March 30, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  15. Mr. Petit, thanks for repeating what I’ve been saying all along about filing a complaint if someone thinks what is being done is wrong. The School Committee might be able to get away with one violation if they are found to have not intentionally violated the OMA rules but did so out of lack of knowledge about them. If they didn’t again after, more than likely fines would assessed to the School Committee. I’ve seen a lot of complaining in the blogs but not one single person filing a complaint with either the Ethics Committee or the AG. If people think something is amiss, then should file a complaint.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 30, 2008 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  16. Bob,

    I was asking for examples of what is discussed in executive session that is later released. I do not know what sort of topics cannot be disclosed to the public. I do not know, therfore the question to you. You wrote in your article most executive sessions end up being released to the public eventually. So I am curious as to what can and cannot be discussed in an open session. Is there a published policy or is a determination made on each topic at the time of discussion, and who makes the determination to go into closed session.
    I do not go to the school committee meetings, but I watch the recordings and talk to others who attend, are you saying I should not be commenting on the happenings of the meetings because I did not attend; or is it just W Felkner that should not be allowed to comment. I remind you, I AM THE TAXPAYER…….YOU ARE SPENDING MY MONEY……..I DO HAVE A SAY…….ACCEPT IT! Tough if you don’t like it, go live in a communist country if you think this is how government works.
    I have no evidence or compalint about what the committee takes into executive session, because I do not possess the knowledge of what belongs in executive session and what does not. As stated above, I am trying to learn. Thankfully some of the committee members try to educate and answer to the taxpayers, then some are well……..you know.
    No answers to my other questions in my post? Working on it, or only answering the parts you want? Sounds familiar huh?

    Comment by RS — March 30, 2008 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

  17. Chariho Parent,

    Do you know the policy on what is to be in executive session or not? I do not, so how do I know if the committee is wrong. Where would one find the executive session policy. You and Bob seem to know alot about executive session, but no answers to simple questions.

    Comment by RS — March 30, 2008 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  18. The issue isn’t really what can and cannot be discussed in executive session. The question is why does the committee regularly choose to go into executive session when they do not have to be there? Even if you’re not breaking the law why would Petit and the rest rush into executive session when it is not legally required? Why negotiate in executive session? Why discuss NEA complaints in executive session? Let taxpayers in on the secrets. This is my problem with the whole thing. We know a lot more about what is happening at Chariho since Bill’s been on the committee. I understand protecting kids in executive session but anythign to do with the adults should be discussed in public.

    Comment by Real Question — March 30, 2008 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  19. It’s an organized effort to shut up anyone who is critical of the Chariho administration.This is the same crowd went after Georgia Ure,Ms.Gardner and the lift operator when the administration was caught in a BIG LIE concerning the condition of the roof at the Ashaway Elementary School(circa 1968).The roof is about 50 years old and it’s actually shrinking away from the building.Roof construction to fix this problem will probably be delayed for at least one more year.

    Now the are targeting Bill Felkner because they don’t want transparency in chariho’s dealings with the union.They don’t want to be reminded of the dirty little secret that the union was at least partially responsible for defeating the last building proposal by using threat’s and strong arm techniques to intimidate board members into contract concessions which are unfavorable to taxpayer interest’s actually marched with anti bond proposal signs on school property before the referendum vote last November.

    This anti free speech crowd consists actual school administration employees,union leaders, insiders with relatives on the chariho payroll and ambititious board members who are eyeballing leadership positions after the next election.

    The super is a control freak who seeks to silence individuals and news outlets that don’t see things his way.He also actually tries to intervene and pull strings in order to have the committee retract votes when he disagrees with a particular vote or a budget proposal.

    Comment by Boo Baby — March 30, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  20. RS in response to your comments. I wasn’t trying to imply you had to go to meetings to be informed. Sorry you took it that way. But I do like this comment, does prove my point. (No answers to my other questions in my post? Working on it, or only answering the parts you want? Sounds familiar huh?) See can get a little frustrating and misleading when you only get bits and pieces of the story. Litigation, personal and student discipline, job performance or review, are a couple off the top of my head.

    REAL Question- Why do you not think it should have been in Executive session? What makes you think we talk about things in executive session that we shouldn’t? Do you not think the town council goes in executive session? I don’t think we go into executive session for anything that we don’t need to. Bill might, again just an area that we disagree on. I guess that makes him right because people want to know? You do know or can know. Once done the minutes are public information.

    “Just remember this; the information has always been out there. If people really wanted to find out what was going on they could. It is easier now because of the blog. Don’t buy into the fact that the information wasn’t there. IT IS PUBLIC information, the school committee and or administration has to release information upon request.” This is the part that baffles me when people say that we know so much more. It is because either you didn’t know you could request the information or just because you didn’t want to go find it.

    BOO BABY- learn how to read. I am for transparency if it is done correctly. I have said this more than once and will back it. As for Mrs. Gardiner and crew that went up on the lift. The reason I said anything about that was because she was “on the lift” if she had fell and was hurt who would have paid? When did she become an expert on roofing? Funny how there was a leak there before they all went prancing around on the roof and the ceiling was fallen in after they were done. Wonder if that had anything to do with it??????? Also if you were following that whole situation you would have known that that area of the roof was repaired the year before…..or so they thought. Sometimes you get bad work and they were trying to clear up that mess. IN other words they know of the problem, they were working on it, so what made Mrs. Gardiner think she had a right to go up on the lift?

    Comment by Bob Petit — March 31, 2008 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  21. Thanks for the reply Bob, I guess the problem I see with executive session is:

    1. If I desired to comment on the topic being covered and I didn’t find out about it until it was posted in the minutes, then it is too late for public debate. It appears matters of executive session are already resolved before any minutes or information about them is released. In effect, any matter the committee doesn’t want the public to know about(while they can still affect it outcome)could be put into executive session bypassing any public commenting period.
    2. I still do not have a clear picture of who can call for a topic to be discussed in executive session, and what subjects qualify for executive session( I would think this would be very limited). I could not find any information relating to this on the Chariho website. I can only assume there is no policy on what is elegible for executive session.

    In response to your reasoning about why people have not sought out the information about school committee affairs before when the information has always been available. I know for me it is the ever increasing tax burden placed upon the residents of Hopkinton. I do not think that 19% tax increase is a normal event in the past. This problem is not just a town problem, I’m sure everyone is aware of the fiscal crisis facing the state of RI. The NEA and its rogue members(not all of them) are probably in a state of who cares, while some members might be in a state of denial. Either way, when the tax burden is in a visciuos ascending spiral, it will wake up the sleeping dragon(over burdened taxpayer) every time. When we have to make choices that affect our families, we will start to look harder at where our money has gone. This is one of the reasons we elect different people to the committee. I guess time will tell if the people want the likes of WF on the school committee.
    Another reason some people don’t seek out the information about the school politics, is because it is not their forte. WF is obviously good at seeking information and putting it out for public consumption. We all have our strong points and one glove doesn’t fit all.
    I wonder if WF’s pursuit of information is not being used as a scapegoat for an inefficient committee who know has to actually do something besides business as usual. The committe should realize the days of business as usual are coming to an end.
    It baffles me how the NEA can actually be proud of the product they deliver to the taxpayers, of course I have never heard one member say how proud they are of their performance, only brag about how they fleece(my word) the taxpayers. It amazes me how many people in RI are against having to justify their position and the worth of their job. It must be the upbringing and work ethic(or lack therof).
    I have worked in several states and have come to realize RI might be the prize winner for public censure and corruption.

    Comment by RS — March 31, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  22. I haven’t read all of the above comments so it may have already been hit – but here’s the problem. For eons Chariho has hidden things in exec sessions (remember Hirst v Chariho). So they label this “litigation” and try to hide it. All this is about is giving the Committee a reason to keep me off of the negotiations sub-committee. Bookmark this page – revisit it when the teacher contracts come up.

    Was litigation ever threatened or discussed? Is there ANY validity to this? No. If Bob had bothered to read the law (or if our solicitor did) this would never have gotten this far. The actions of Chariho have empowered the NEA and Bob (knowingly or not) is acting as their agent. This is what has cost the town money.

    “Agent” – now thats an important word in this discussion. Are my actions here as an agent of the school? Thats what the complaint said. And now Bob claims that we are in “litigation” and that there is a “case.” Making the pitch for the NEA. This is not true. Will Bob be submitting a correction, or appology for lying to the poeple? Please show me where the lawsuit is. Oh, sorry. This is Chariho – we just say litigation is possible so we can hide the discussion.

    Was litigation possible when they hid the administration contracts in executive session?

    Was litigation possible when Ricci held an executive session feeling his integrity was attacked? Because we read the rules at the meeting and he, as an employee is not allowed to call for an executive session for an employee discussion. So Bob, why did you vote to go into executive session that time?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  23. PS. Unless the minutes are sealed (which should only be done for specific reasons such as student records) the minutes are available at the administration building. Just ask for them and let us know if you don’t get it.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  24. RS

    thank you for your response it was well written and thought out. If anyone has followed the happenings over the last year or so then they would know I am not against transparency and I am also trying to hold myself as a committee member responsible to the tax payers. I have tried to make some cuts, I voted down the contract and I do think that the budget this year is a resonable budget. I voted against it only because I didn’t think another $300 thousand would put us in the poor house but I do think it is a good budget. So, I do hear the tax payers and I am, like others trying to change how things are done. As much as I would love to see massive changes overnight it is just not going to happen. Lets not get frusrated; but lets us keep moving in the right direction. Mr. Felkner has taked about some great ideas. One problem; the NEA now knows of his ideas and is sitting back creating a plan to over come those ideas. Why? becasue he has been transparent with them, he has put them on his blog and in the papers. This is why I say transparency is good to a certain extent. Negotiating is like poker, if you show your hand you are sure to have a hard time of winning ( or getting what you want) becasue they have all ready thought of a counter offer to that. You are also right when you say that we elect different people to the committee. I think this committee is doing a good job and I feel that before this four years is up you will see some changes for the better of the tax payers. I say keep bringing the ideas, let us know what you would like; BUT just because you might not see it done at the very next meeting doesn’t mean we are not working on it. Don’t forget there are subcommittee meetings going on all the time also. These meetings are open and this is where a lot of the discussion, ideas and research comes in to play. We put a lot of time and effort in to some of these ideas and what you see at the school committee meetings is sometimes just the final thoughts or questions on a subject. All too often people make judgments on what is said on the cable box when really the reading and research should all ready be done. I am sure the town concil is the same way. They get their packets, they read and research and come time for the meeting they might just need some clearification. I will continue do my best for the students, tax payers and the school as a whole while I am on the board. I will not agree with everyone all of the time and I am willing to take the heat for that.

    Comment by Bob Petit — March 31, 2008 @ 9:53 am | Reply

  25. Yes Bill is right here. It is a complaint. And the complaint being filed against the WHOLE committee and since they voted to put it in executive session until it was finished that is where it should have stayed.

    I apologize to the tax payers for saying litigation.

    MR. FELKNER……. like I said earlier, if you think we took this in executvie session and it should not be there; or we don’t have the right to have it there. THAN file a report. I am sure you must know how to do that, you seem to have everyones e-mail address. Do it. If they tell us we are wrong than we would have to bring it to open session. I will not continue to argue the past with you. You read the law and felt it said one thing and I read the law and felt it said another.

    AT least I am man enough to admitt when I am wrong.

    Comment by Bob Petit — March 31, 2008 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  26. Bob, thats a silly argument. There is no doubt I (and many others) want the public sector employees treated just like private sector employees. No more steps, seniority, longevity or rules that protect incompetence. To suggest that this is now giving the Union or “inner secrets” is just plain silly. Nice try.

    And, if I am the “agent” of the Committee as claimed by the NEA, then why wasn’t I at the hearing to defend myself? Any idea why they didn’t want me there?

    RE: a complaint – do you mean libel or OMA? Or when our chairman divulged private information at a public setting? Information that involves a student and employee. I would think Day would want to hide that in exec session – but not when he and Andy want to gossip at West Bakery.

    You probably know my experiences with Rhode Island College – I filed the lawsuit 1 ½ hours before the 3 year statute ran out. You are correct – I know when and how I want to do it. Things are going just swell, thanks for your concern. But just FYI – I have a suit with RIC, I have 78 FOIA’s going out to each school, city and town to get info for the public. And I have suits in prep for the state that you don’t need to know about. Chariho is pretty low on my priority list. I’m sure you will like to make hay of that – but the rest of the state is quite happy.

    PS. its “then,” not “than”

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  27. PSS> someone just emailed me a reminder. When I first came on the Commitee ALL executive sessions were sealed. I reminded them that this was not proper and it was changed.

    Still like the way Chariho does business, Bob. Why didn’t you make that motion if you are really all about sharing with the public and doing what’s right. Why am I the only one pointing out these problems?

    And I’m still waiting for your answer, Bob. When we read the OMA that said Ricci wasn’t allowed to call an executive session (march 27 2007) – why did you still vote for it. Reading the law not good enough?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  28. And Bob, you just got the same email I did – another arrest at Chariho. Have you been keeping count? When will we really do what is best for the kids and offer vouchers? Let the parents decide – this Committee isn’t qualified to dictate my child’s education, but I can afford to do something about it. What about all those people who can’t. Bob, will you support vouchers?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  29. Yea thanks for the spelling lesson. Bill readinga law is fine and I also read you another at one time but that wasn’t good enough for you either, oh yea doesn’t support your theory, must not be right.

    I don’t need to know what you have filed? GOOD TRANSPARENCY. I guess it only works when you want it to.

    Glad for the rest of the state, haven’t heard anything from the rest of the state on how happy they are with you but go ahead toot your horn. Don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know Chariho is low on your agenda.

    Before I make a judgement on how silly it is, I will wait for the next contract talks to come up and see what happens.

    Still haven’t answered my question either Bill. When did you hear about the LRB asking it you were going to be at the hearing? Before or After the hearing? And how was it asked? Do you know? Were they just inquiring or did they expect you to be there.

    As for vouchers, I never said I was against them. I would have to know more about them before I say anything one way of the other. From what I have heard and most has been from CR, I can’t say it is a bad thing.

    Comment by Bob Petit — March 31, 2008 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  30. I noticed that some folks are asking some questions about what are the rules about executive sessions and closed meetings. The Open Meeting Law, so-called,will answer many of the questions I’ve seen. To read it, just search for RI General Laws on Google. You’ll see an entry “The State of RI General Laws. Click on that and you’ll get a Table of Subjects. Run down that table until you come to Section 42-46. Click on that and you’ll see a list of sections 42-46-2,3,4 etc. Click sequentially on 42-46-3 through 42-46-8 and you’ll find answers to most of the questions I’ve seen asked.

    You may be interested in a letter I sent to several School Committee members a little while ago. I am hopeful smeone will follow a suggestion I made in that letter. It might help to focus discussion on a rational approach to some of the apparent differences of opinion amongst the members. Here’s the letter:

    There has been a lot of talk about Chariho transparency and the Open Meeting Law lately. But in the exchanges there has been an aspect that I haven’t seen remarked upon. It should be part of the dialog.

    There is no question that government transparency is crucial to the success of our form of government. That’s why Thomas Jefferson said “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

    Jefferson’s point was that public knowledge of what is going on in government is critically important, and used newspapers as an example of how important the dissemination of information is. But I was being a little sneaky above when quoting Jefferson, because I omitted the last sentence of the actual quotation.

    Jefferson finished with “But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. “ Literacy in Jefferson’s time was much less than today, so he was literally concerned that people couldn’t read what was presented to them.

    What he was saying might be better expressed today by saying that our form of government requires both that full information be made available to the people and that the people take the time necessary to read and understand what has been made available.

    That’s the point I’m trying to make. There has been a lot of talk about what the Open Meetings law really allows and prohibits, and whether any actions by School Committee members or school administrators or actions of the School Committee as a body have been improper.

    It has been surprising to how variously the words of the Open Meeting Law and related case law have been interpreted by both the public and by members of the School Committee and the school administration. I think that for many, the problem relates to the last sentence of the Jefferson quotation, i.e. taking the time to read and understand the information they receive.

    Because I thought that some of those involved in the dialog had perhaps never read the actual law that was being discussed, I posted on http://www.hopkintonrispeaks.com the sections of the General Laws of RI (RIGL 42-46-3…8) that are relevant to what was being discussed.

    To my surprise there was an anonymous response. “Sorry, but I’m not good at interpreting legal mumbo jumbo. Plus it bores me to death and puts me to sleep trying to read and understand that.”

    My point to repeating that posting is not to criticize the poster; the candor is refreshing. But I think that many who are involved in the transparency discussions may be at that same level of understanding of the Open Meeting Law.

    The dialog about alleged violations of the Open Meeting Law I have seen on televised Chariho District School Committee meetings I have watched has sounded to me as though some participants had not read the law.

    For that reason, I think it would be a great step forward if the School Committee would set a tutorial workshop with the District solicitor to explain in layman’s terms what the law requires and prohibits, and to answer any questions about the open meeting law.

    All lawyers don’t necessarily read the same law to mean the same thing. That could happen if this suggestion is followed. But if followed there will at least be an opinion of a person trained in the law on record as the starting point for any further discussion.

    I urge any School Committee member who is so inclined to give it a shot despite the informality of this presentation. It seems unlikely that there are any points of disagreement that could arise that have not already been resolved by case law, but if there are, the time to resolve them is now. It’s much better to move on with things cleared up than to try to unscramble a mess after it has been created.

    That’s all there is. If anybody thinks what I’ve suggested is a good idea, I hope they try to make it happen. In the worst case, I don’t think it would do any harm and it might do some good.

    Thurman Silks

    Comment by Thurman Silks — March 31, 2008 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  31. There are specfic reasons why a town council or a school commitee can go into executive session as spelled out in the Rhode Island Open Meetings Law.

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE42/42-46/INDEX.HTM

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2008 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  32. It would be nice if everyone understood the law. We should be more concerned about why they choose executive session when they could legally conduct the business in the open. Why? You can negotiate in secret but why? You can can discuss grievances in secret but why? We don’t want them breaking the law but we shouldn’t want them hiding info even when it is legal to be in executive session. Why cover up when you have the choice to be open?

    Comment by Real Question — March 31, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  33. Bob, I’ve answered your question several times. Clearly they did not ask me to attend the hearing BEFORE the hearing or I would have been there. That’s the whole point – they NEVER asked me.

    After all, why would the LRB ask for my attendance AFTER the hearing? That makes no sense.

    The Labor Relations Board asked the Chariho solicitor if I would be at the hearing and he NEVER answered them. And according to Ricci, the solicitor never passed on that query to him. So, knowing the lawyer was making these unilateral decisions, why would Ricci continue to recommend we hire him? Doesn’t that seem odd to you? Or are you ok with the solicitor doing this without Committee approval. Oh, yea. I forgot that you moved to give Ricci authority to use the solicitor without Committee approval so maybe you wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    And I brought up my statewide advocacy to make the point that I don’t have the free time that most do to attend meetings. I was not blowing a horn. People can visit my company’s site (www.oceanstatepolicy.org) and see our board members and decide for themselves what confidence leaders in the state have in our abilities (althought the Ambassador would best be described as a world leader). But I don’t know why you are getting so upset just because you disagree with me. No reason to get personal.

    Real Question – contract negotiations do not have to be done in secret. This is done by the choice of the school committee and the union. There is no law requiring it and was only started in the 1960’s. Prior to that, all negotiations were in public.

    Obviously, the union wants it in secret. I moved to open them to the public but it was denied by the board because they thought the union would see our “strategy” (and how’s that working out for us). That strategy used in the last negotiations resulted in the same steps, longevity and lack of accountability that we always have had. Even now, most still hold to this mentality (see above).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 31, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  34. Question about open vs. closed session.

    I appears to me from reading the statute if the majority of the school committee votes to hold collective bargaining in closed session, then it has the right to do so. Is this interpretation correct?
    If this is indeed correct, then is W Felkner asking why does the committee choose to have these meetings closed? So the school committee is the public board that chooses to keep the negotiations behind closed doors. We as voters need to ask why. If the taxpayers choose change, then we will have to cast our votes accordingly. Now we are making progress on what questions to ask the prospective committee members when it comes election time. However, if 2 of the towns choose to vote against the other, then the status quo remains. Maybe we should push for legistlation change at the state level. With the current budget crisis, we might have enough power to garner a sympathetic ear in the State House.
    If my assumptions are true, then I have found a very good reason why I do not like being joined at the hip with fiscally irresponsible towns. Hmmm. What to do about it? Now that is food for thought.
    I still firmly believe tuition vouchers would go a long way in solving this issue, or at least allow the taxpayers a choice in being bound to this arrangement.

    Comment by RS — March 31, 2008 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  35. “Maybe we should push for legislation change at the state level.” Comment by RS — March 31, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    I know by reading many of Bob’s comments that he has touched on this from time to time. I believe that RS, you are correct. It is time that the legislature push for laws requiring collective bargaining for public positions be made in public. Governor Carcieri has been pushing for this, with current resistance from state legislators.

    After all, they, public employees, do work for the taxpayers. We are the employers. In the private sector, employers negotiate contracts with their employees. To me that is the correlation.

    I also agree with Thurman. There has been so much debate about possible open meetings violations that perhaps some tutorial is in order. And it should be done at a school committee meeting, so that the general public can attend or see it on Channel 18 too. We could all be educated on such matters and after all the charge of Chariho as a school is to educate. Perhaps, as has happened before, ie.. the meeting regarding recusals, someone from the state could participate as well.

    At some point, we either address the issue or we keep dwelling on the past, bringing up old wounds. The committee can take charge of the issue now to put it to bed or we can keep complaining, which all parties have been doing.

    I urge Bob and Bill to work together to bring the tutorial on open meetings to life. I believe this is something you both can agree on. Right?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2008 @ 6:28 am | Reply

  36. I keep coming back to the the real question. What is required to be hidden from the public? Everything else should be discussed in public.

    Instead of tricky negotiation strategies which don’t seem to work anyway how about telling unions that our most vulnerable citizens such as the elderly can only afford to give them raises and benefits that are the same as the private sector. Take it or leave it. If they leave it then go with school choice.

    We can have a tutorial about when it is okay for government to go into executive session but this misses the point. Even when they can legally leave public forum why is it okay? I want the school board and every other political group to stay out in front of us unless they are required to keep something secret (like a student’s name).

    Comment by Real Question — April 1, 2008 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  37. Lois, I know from my experience at the State House on various issues, when the legistlators get as few as 5 letters, they feel the pressure.Most people complain, but do not actually go to the extent of writing letters. Also send your letters to the home address, not the Sate House. Emails while effective can easily be deleted and never get read some times.

    Real Question, from my quick read of the statutes, it appears the committee has the discrection to place the listed items(in the statutes) into executive session by a unanimous board vote. I do not feel we will ever be able to get the necessary votes or place the fiscally responsible people we need on the board to bring about change. With 3 towns electing committee members, and the obvious number of Chariho employees living in the 3 towns also voting, we would have a very hard battle. I feel state level changes might be more feasible, of course this all depends on how deep the NEA has planted itself in the pockets of the legistlators. I doubt this would enrage the RI taxpayer enough to demand change, it is considered business as usual.
    A take it or leave negotiation would probably run counter to labor-relations laws. Until our Chariho neighbors feel the pain(tax bite) we in Hopkinton feel, then I do not believe they will curb there appetite for spending our money. I feel we could gain more by seeking changes in the funding formula(tri-town), parent choice(vouchers), and investigating placing all school funding at the state level instead of the town.

    Comment by RS — April 1, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  38. Bill, had you been at the meeting when this was discussed with the solicitor and school committee you would know why the solicitor did not let you know. I am not stupid Bill and I do realize that they would not ask after the fact. But, if they asked the solicitor the day of the hearing if you were going to attend it would make a difference. Here again it really didn’t matter because if you go back in the minutes you will find your answer.

    Yes I did make the request to give Barry Ricci the right to contact the lawyer. There are times in everyday activities that he may need to get legal advice on how to handle a certain subject. Funny, two town councilors sat in that very meeting the night this was discussed and totally agreed with it. I believe their very words were “that he should have the right to do this and they would never think of telling the town president that he needs to ask the council before getting legal advice. Sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and can’t wait until the next meeting.

    And to be “HONEST” I believe the reason we didn’t vote to approve to move the negotiations in public was because we were so far into them. We voted at the beginning to negotiate in private and felt since we started that way we should continue to go that way. Will we agree to do it in the next negotiations? We will see when the time comes. I agree the public should know and I agree they should see the contract before it is sent to be ratified by the union. This also was not approved in this contract because we voted against it at the beginning. You do bring things up, sometimes after the fact and then ask why we didn’t agree to it. You were on the negotiating team that would take this information back to the full committee and let us know what was happening. I think if you feel this contract was way out of wack, you better look in the mirror. WE voted you in to do the talking; you were the first line of defense for the school committee and tax payers. How did it go?

    As for the work you are doing. I have said to you before and will say it here; I truly think you are an intelligent person with a lot to offer. I think the work you are doing with the sate and your organization; (at least what I know of it) is good. I was just saying that I know, like you have stated, Chariho really isn’t your main priority. It is mine! Will I always do right by everyone or for everyone? NO. But I knew that when I ran.

    Thurman and Lois I will indeed look into this. I know we had the AG’s office and the Ethic’s commission in about a year ago maybe a little over to discuss some of the laws on how they should be handled. This might be what Lois is talking about with the “recusal” issue. We are in the middle of finding new legal council so it might be a little bit but I will look in to it and let you know.

    Comment by Bob Petit — April 1, 2008 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  39. I think Bill’s point was that the committee decided to keep the contractual stuff behind closed doors by agreeing with the union to do so. This is not required by state law.

    We should then take issue with the individual committee members. This I believe is why it is important to note who voted for what, so the public can decide if they, the committee members, are making the right choices for them.

    That being said, the state can step up and mandate by law that these things are negotiated in the public’s eyes. And if a letter writing campaign is needed perhaps that is the way to go.

    All student information should be kept in executive session. I believe employee disciplinary action should be, unless it is an issue of child abuse or embezzlement, those things that are harmful to the public. Even then, there would be the issue of “innocent until proven guilty.” One does not want to ruin the reputation of a good person on a mistake. That would open up a new can of worms (ie…libel issues).

    In my opinion and I hope you can understand the above reasons, there are times when executive session is needed. But, I would also say that Bill has made a couple good points as to when they should not have been called. (Note: If the solicitor had been present for those meetings, the issue probably would be moot.)

    One issue was last year, and it is too late to be addressed.

    But, as in the last case, with the NEA, this is a personal thing as well as a public thing. (It concerns me that the current solicitor would choose to keep Bill out of the loop. This action speaks loudly. This action to me caused this controversy.) If Bill thinks that there is no basis for a complaint and he has not filed one, as he is personally involved here, then I would wonder if there is one. But, he still has 180 days, right?

    I agree that Hopkinton’s tax burden is an issue. I do believe though that there are a good many people in Richmond, who do feel the pain, even a few in Charlestown. They just haven’t spoke out yet.

    There has to be some kind of agreement on a more fair way to tax the individuals within this district. Hopkinton has carried the burden for far too long, and it is obvious that the load is getting too heavy.

    Because of boundary lines from one town to another, we are going to decide the fate of thousands of families. I’ve lived in all 3 towns, a great deal in Charlestown and Hopkinton, though. I can understand all 3 perspectives. But, if we are going to educate the children, the burden should not be on one more than the other. Is the state a good choice to fund the whole thing? Not at this time. Much is corrupt and look at their deficit. This is not an easy solution.

    It simply boggles my mind that with the financing situation locally, state-wide and nationally that we would even entertain the idea of reintroducing this bond.

    If we have to vote again, I will vote NO. The repairs have to be dealt with within the budget. At this point, I will NEVER vote for a bond for repairs and upgrades, only new construction. Planning is a must. Scheduled maintenance is a must. All scheduled maintenance should be in writing somewhere. On-line for people to see, would be good. These buildings should have never been neglected. The moment we vote for a bond to make repairs, we agree to vote for future bonds for repairs and continued neglect of maintenance to our schools. It sets precedence.

    The modulars are fine, they just need to remember to maintain them to prevent problems. Cuts in other areas will have to be entertained to make money for the repairs. Hard choices will have to be made. Families are doing it, the school should too.

    On another matter, Bob and Bill, what does the school currently do to conserve energy costs?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2008 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  40. When contacting the lawyer, does Mr. Ricci also contact the Committee chairman and vice chairman, also? As they are elected by the people, whether you like them or not, they do represent the people, shouldn’t they be in the loop?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  41. Bob, are you saying that the solicitor did bring it up to Ricci? Because that is not what he told me. Ricci said the solicitor never told him that LRB asked about my attendance. But if you know something diffent from what I have been told, that too is interesting. And if it was done on the day, as you seem to have this special info that I was not given, then why wouldn’t the solicitor or Ricci feel it necessary to ask me about the issue? Wasn’t it my actions that were discussed? Wouldn’t you think it important to have me there to answer them? The question to ask is why wouldn’t they want me there? Why did they only want to hear one side of the story???

    And don’t try to blame me for the contract. You could read the minutes but we don’t keep them for the negotiations (and we hide them from the public). But if we did you would see that most votes were 2-1. Guess who was the 1. Andy Poluski and Deb Jennings were the other two – but in Deb’s defense, it was Andy who did all the talking and pushing her to back down on merit pay and other issues warning us that they would strike. When we said they wouldn’t or we could deal with it, then he threatened that the ‘milk wouldn’t be delivered, all goods wouldn’t be delivered, no union member would cross the line.’

    When I work on issues for all students of the state, that includes Chariho. When I testify at the General Assembly or Board of Regents, I don’t say, “this is for all students except Chariho.” Tell me who has done more research or speaking with policy makers than I? How many times have you testified to the GA or Regents? Presented white papers the the GA? Once, twice, ??? Did you do it before you were elected???? I did (even before it was my job).

    Granted, this work is now expected as it is my job (in a company I created because there was no other organization fighting for conservative/libertarian views) – so don’t try to spin it to say you prioritize Chariho and I do not. Its a feeble argument.

    This back and forth with you Bob has become tiresome and dropping to a personal level is not productive. My views and motives are here for all to see. no reason to continue this with you

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 1, 2008 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  42. Lois yes he does normally let the chairperson know when he has contacted the lawyer. We as a committee receive the bills every month also, if there was a big difference from one month to another it would be questioned. If the chairperson was not around the vice chair would be contacted.

    Bill I am not here to talk for Barry Ricci or the solicitor. I do not know anymore about this than you do. That is the truth. Actually, you have been in touch with the LRB or they; you.

    As far as negotiations go, I agree, it is not anymore your fault than it is mine. We all went through a learning experience with this one. What I was saying about it and it should be in the minutes; when the subcommittee came to us “YOU” never said this was a bad thing we can do better. I do remember you saying “you did the best you could”.

    Comment by Bob Petit — April 1, 2008 @ 10:29 am | Reply

  43. Bob:Why are you treating Bill so mean?I think that you have been hanging out with Bill Day too much as of late.Do you treat your wife and family members with similar contempt and abuse?You should sign up for anger management classes ASAP!

    Did you consult your ghost writer on your recent postings and letters?Perhaps you have been drinking that koolaid that Bill and Barry mix up using that bad CHARIHO water?

    Why do you have to recuse yourself from so many votes at the School Committee meetings?Perhaps you should share your conflicts with the public before you resume your attacks on Bill Felkner.

    Comment by Boo Baby — April 1, 2008 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  44. Reading some of the comments makes me laugh. They are so petit, or, I mean petty, (oops). As a taxpayer, and especially of a regional school district, nothing…nothing should be discussed in ‘secret sessions’. It is impressive how Petit makes ‘nice’ when responding to a question. In the upcoming elecition, I think we should all vote everyone, except for Felkner, off the school board, throw out the slug Ricci (Coventy had the brains to get rid of him before he did damage) and wipe the slate clean, start from the mess Ricci has us in and build the trust we all need between each other. Without him and Petit and the, um, solicitor(?), maybe our towns can come together into the 21st century. By the way, don’t toss numbers around until you read the results of Sylvia Thompson’s audit. When voting in our next election for school board members and an experienced, ethical superintendent, remember, including the school years 2005 through 2007 the school committee (currently in place), has a suplus of $2,699,726 and a Fund Balance of $5,027,401, taxpayers! Actual Fixed Charges were over-estimated by 14% the first year and in the second school year, 2007, “the school committee increases this difference to 21.54%”! “Due to under-estimated revenues and over-estimated expenses the year ended with a surplus of $2,699,726 and the fund balance grew to $5,027,401,” a footnote on the financial statement (audit) published by Sylvia Thompson, as stated in the Westerly Sun 2/13/2008.
    Why do the terms ‘creative accounting’ (legal?) come to mind? In addition, what happens when Ricci lays off and fires employees? Where does their salary go? Ms. Thompson includes in the footnote, “I did not include the Capital Reserve budget, since I was unable to extract the actual expenses from the audits.” Let’s see, “…unable to extract (in other words, they were hidden) the actual expenses from the audits.” What does that mean to you Mr. Felkner? I know what it should mean to us taxpayers. One last note about Mr. Felkner’s presence at the school board meetings; would you like to be belittled pubicly, and on television? I think Mr. Felkner has his own reasons for not appearing. We have to appreciate that. Well, here’s to a brand new school committee and an experienced, ethical, intellectual superintendent. There is only one way to resolve our situation, elect new people that know what they are doing! Don’t just vote because a name sounds familiar. That is what got us in this mess to begin with. Watch them on TV. That, ladies and gentlemen, fellow taxpayers, is how our school system is run! Do you really want your children’s education decided by a some of these individuals? Hey, what happened to Bill Thorton and his salary?

    Comment by LAUGHING — April 1, 2008 @ 3:37 pm | Reply

  45. By the way, typing is not my forte! Forgive me for the spelling and typing mistakes in my previous comment. Thank you.

    Comment by LAUGHING — April 1, 2008 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  46. Hi!
    FYI: Not all school committee members are up this year:
    Hopkinton: Only Ronald Preuhs,Jr.Two years to go Bob Petit,George Abbott, and Bill Felkner
    Charlestown:Only Giancarlo Cichetti, Two years to go Andrew McQuaide,Jr.,Andy Polouski, and Holly Eaves.
    Richmond: Both Bill Day and Deb Jennings,Two years to go: Terri Serra.
    I understand that there is a possibility/probability that BOTH Cicheeti and Preuhs can’t run because their employment bars political activity.Cichetti got in originally through write-in and Preuhs by appointment.
    Next two years 2008-2010 Charlestown will have the Chairmanship and Hopkinton, the Vice Chairmanship.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 1, 2008 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  47. Laughing I am with you on the typing thing and I work on computers. I just want to say if I seem to come off as angry on here that is not my intention. I am not angry. I guess I just need to watch how I type my words as I can see where they seem to come off as me being angry. I apologize to all of you and yes that means Mr. Felkner too for sounding that way.

    I have to recuse myself from the bill because it is the law. I have a family member that works at the school.

    Comment by bob petit — April 2, 2008 @ 5:19 am | Reply

  48. Each of you needs to sit down and talk about the issues. You are two reasonable men. You represent your community and the children. Bring your olive branches, and discuss why you disagree or agree with the way things are going. You both have very good points. Bickering at each other isn’t solving the problem.

    Each of you could work a little harder on how you communicate your point, certainly with a little more respect for each other.

    United we stand, divided we fall.

    Bill can be a little contentious, but people have to learn to look past that and look at what he is trying to accomplish. Look at it from his perspective. He isn’t doing it for himself. He is doing it for his community and for his state. I admire what he is trying to do on a grand scale. Could he be a little less contentious? Maybe. But, one should sit back and look at where we were and are now. Change is occurring. It is because the public has a voice, even if it is in a blog.

    Bob could be a little less contentious, too. Yes, you make some valid points. Perhaps, your choices on where you make those points and how you do it, could be different. But, I see your frustration too. It is hard being on the Hopkinton side of things, having to weigh child’s needs with taxpayer burden. Reminds me of a seesaw teeter-tottering up and down. Your efforts to make cuts have been admirable. You can be an agent of change and perhaps be the first to reach out to Bill and work together to accomplish it.

    Perhaps, with a peaceful debate between the two of you, you could make your committee tenure the best Chariho and the 3 towns have ever seen.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 2, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  49. I admire your optimism Lois. I’m happy to see Bob P. explain he’s not angry but it does come across that way in many of his comments. I’ve been catching up here and the one thing I noticed going back in time is how angry he appears to be sometimes. I’m glad he is not angry because overall I think he does try his best. Other times he make very poor decisions and I thought he was making the bad decision because he was personally angry with Bill F.

    I don’t sense anger in most of Bill F.’s comments. Sometimes frustration and since I share the frustration it seems reasonable. Much of the controversy shouldn’t be controversy at all and that is frustrating. We should all want Chariho to do its job and teach the kids. Can’t we see they aren’t doing this very well? Shouldn’t we all be frustrated and maybe even a little angry?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 2, 2008 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  50. Comment to #46 and other Bloggers,

    Don’t forget that Barry Ricci’s ‘term’ is up in a couple. He has three years. Hopefully the School Committee knows the tail doesn’t (Supt.) wag the dog/SC. You have neighbors and their kids to be worried about. White smoke will alert all of us when the new Superintendent is chosen. Melvin Mendelson wasn’t rehired, but its time to take back the school for your respective towns.

    Comment by The Dog — April 2, 2008 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

  51. A response to number 50 if I’m getting the persons point is under
    http:// http://www.rilin.state.ri.us item number 12 in section 16-2-9 regarding the Supt. 3 year ‘sweet heart’ deal.

    Item 13 can be laid at the fault of both Supt and school committee regarding the Chairmans spouse and child now of the employee of the ‘district’ when it says, To give advice and the consent on the appointment by the superintendent of all school department personnel.

    Does the school committee use their say or is it Carte Blanche free say of the Supt to avoid nepotism in the school department, quid pro quo?

    Comment by Comment 50 — April 2, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  52. Q:Why does Bill Day spend so much time at the CHARIHO Administration building?

    A:Bill Day works there as a subcontractor supervising paper shredding operations.

    Comment by Boo Baby — April 2, 2008 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  53. Is it true we are paying the load for three Superintendents? (Andreotti of yesteryear, Some Pini character and the new lispy critter? Any school committee members want to comment on what that is costing the district in computers, band uniforms, field trips, science lab equipment, theatre, etc for this load and not on our young people for the above items?

    All kids all the time? Or did I read it wrong. Maybe if i see it again it was ‘All administrators all the time’. Boy did I buy into a mess. Any lawyers out there. Please note, not the Chariho one(s) if there are any.
    Blood in the water and sharks in the pool, watch out taxpayers. I’ve seen the math and other scores. Of course that isn’t on a disclosure home owner buyers agreement. Maybe it needs to be. I should have stayed where it was just pitiful instead of pathetic and incompetent. You (I mean we) have some serious problems starting at the top. I hope to re list when I get re located and will ask for one. This is embarassing.

    Comment by New Tax Payer — April 2, 2008 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  54. Good to see Pah-louse-ski finally got elected into something though its a shame it was school committee. Let him champion that/his voter support record, phew over the years.Glad to see he ran for something he could get elected to. Preuh or maybe he should have it spelt phew has done nothing, showed nothing and his town people should be embarrassed to put him up for appointment in the first place/Hopkinton Town Council?. Not a clue of what to do. Look left, look right, see a majority of hands. Slam dunk. No not the final four in college hoops, a chariho school committee meeting.

    Go Richmond! (Day exception of course). Good Night. Is he considered a double dribble?

    Comment by Alumni — April 2, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  55. Hi!
    1. Andy Polouski has been elected to both the Charlestown Town Council and Chariho School Committee. He actually was Charlestown Town Council President. I think Andy should have been Chariho School Committee Chairman last time, when it was Charlestown’s turn to have it and it was given to Matthew Ulricksen. I may not always agree with Andy but he has given his life for Chariho.
    2. Remember Tuesday, April 8TH,. Voting on school budget. You must vote in your own town.Polls open from 8:00 A.M., to 8:00 P.M.,.Note this is not the 9:00 P.M., closing they have for regular and primary elections.
    Poling Places:
    Charlestown: Charlestown Town Hall
    Richmond: Herbert L. Arnold Fire Complex
    Hopkinton: Hopkinton Town Hall
    Fot budget information check out http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/ ,.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 3, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  56. Hopkinton Voters!!!

    Remember that THIS Tuesday (April 8, 2008) is the day to vote on the CHARIHO budget!
    The Town Hall will be open from 8:00am to 8:00pm for you to VOTE.
    PLEASE! Show that you care, and VOTE!
    I hope you will vote “NO” on the CHARIHO budget

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 3, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  57. I will be out of town on the 8th, can this be voted absantee?

    Comment by RS — April 3, 2008 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  58. I checked with the town clerk’s office. They said this could not be voted by absentee ballot.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 4, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  59. Could we work on getting Chariho votes eligible for absentee ballots? I travel sometimes for my job and why should working people be at a voting disadvantage to voters who stay home? I know several local people who travel throughout the week and pretty much never can vote if not for absentee ballots. I don’t know who controls whether absentee voting is allowed or not, but whoever is in charge of Chariho votes should change it so absentee voting can be done.

    Comment by Real Question — April 4, 2008 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  60. I am thinking about an earlier comment by Mr. Petit regarding the roof at Ashaway School. Are you all aware that pictures were taken PRIOR to the roof inspection of multiple classrooms showing buckets that had been placed in the classrooms one or two WEEKS earlier to catch the rainwater flowing in? Also did you know that the tiles in the ceilings had been removed as they were soaked with rainwater and presented a hazard to the children? AND that a teacher had ALREADY asked for reimbursement for multiple books damaged by rainwater? This was BEFORE the final, forced evacuation of the classrooms, and my off roof (on a lift only) inspection of the roof covering waving in the breeze. ALL of the pictures were presented to the entire school committee with a report on conditions, and notice that the ceiling tiles had been damaged weeks prior to the classroom evacuation due to a steady, non stop stream of water with every rainstorm. Hmmm…how quickly you forget, Mr Petit! (Or is that another of your lies and changing the truth to blemish the integrity of another, which is another of your tricks)

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 4, 2008 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  61. I am one of those who travel quite a bit for my job. I don’t want to speak for all business travelers, but my usual schedule has me leaving Mondays and returning Thursdays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the worst days possible for weekly travelers to vote. Elections are usually held on Tuesdays for some reason. Maybe back in the day when voters had to travel by horse it made sense to have Tuesday votes, but I can’t be alone in having a job limiting my availability to vote mid week? Absentee works fine and I’ve done that before. I join those asking for absentee voting. Thank you.

    Comment by Jim L. — April 4, 2008 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  62. Hi!
    Remember the Chariho Act REQUIRES building maintenance of Hopkinton property used by the school district as well as the other towns property.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 4, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  63. Scott, “requires” must not mean what I think it means. How else could leaks and such happen if we are “required” to maintain. Unless the town council enforces, “requirements” don’t mean much. A requirement without enforcement is meaningless.

    The legislature is “required” to provide a “adequate education.” which highlights another problem – who defines “adequate” and who defines “maintenance” – not dissimilar to what defines “work” when it comes to the work requirements in welfare. I don’t consider taking a course on how to dress for an interview “work” but the state does (or did up until this budget).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 4, 2008 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

  64. Dorothy Gardiner brings out a good point about the vote on April 8th. Don’t complain if you don’t vote.

    Comment by James — April 4, 2008 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  65. I inquired as to the laws on absantee voting, and this is the response I received. I guess we will have to tackle this on a town level if we want it changed. I for one would like it changed, I want my vote to count, but can’t always be in town during elections.
    Question: Where do we start to reform this issue. I will start a letter to the Town Manager on Monday, see where he guides me.

    hi,

    the chariho all day referendum to be held on April 8th is a form of a
    financial town meeting and financial town meetings do not have mail
    ballots. statewide primaries and general elections fall under the
    rhode island general laws where mail ballots are required. financial
    town meetings are not governed by rhode island general law and therefore
    mail ballots are not a requirement.

    this is a question you may want to discuss with the town clerk or the
    board of canvassers in hopkinton and they can tell you if mail ballots
    will be used in the future and if not.. why.

    feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
    bob

    Robert B. Rapoza
    Director of Elections
    State Board of Elections
    50 Branch Avenue
    Providence, RI 02904
    (401)222-1917

    Comment by RS — April 4, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  66. RS: Thanks for your efforts. I will mention to Tom regarding your inquiry. I know that besides Tom and Barbara C., Sylvia Thompson also reads the blogs. This may indeed be something they can work to change.

    Dot: I thought that you guys were not on the roof. I was just waiting for you to respond. I challenge them to prove where that roof was repaired a year earlier. If it was, then they should go back to the roofer and get their money back. Additionally, the roofer should be the one to replace the books and stuff the teacher lost.

    That roof was in at least 2 reports that I know of, both from Kaestle Boos, the architectural firm Chariho uses. The dates of the reports were 2003 and I’m pretty sure that 1999 was the other. So, if I do my math correct, the issue came to a head in March/April 2006, which is at least 7 years.

    The rubberized roof is the problem when water pools on it, freezes, and thaws. This constant expansion and contraction eventually pulls the material away, and then you get that material flapping in the wind. In 2003, Kaestle Boos recommended replacement at around $200,000. We know that that is likely to be an underestimate by now.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 4, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  67. Mr. Rapoza,

    Thank you for chiming in. As a ‘former’ (?) Tri Town resident and I know a as a ‘chariho alumni’ you have heard through the grape vine the troubles not only in the Chariho District but through out the state. Absentee votes are extremely important for those who may be out of town at the time of a vote but are attentive to the policies of their towns and the regional district.

    Thank you again in providing yourself as an important resource.

    Comment by James — April 4, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  68. Going back to posting #20 (I’m getting caught up). Does anyone really believe that Dorothy Gardiner, Georgia Ure and the lift operator were stomping holes in that roof. Wait-let’s all get the visual, Dorothy Gardner, Georgia Ure and the lift operator “prancing” on the roof, making holes.

    I suppose “Mrs. Gardner and crew” woke up that morning and said, “Hey, let’s go make holes in the Ashaway Roof. Call a lift operator, call the newspaper, let’s really mess with the Chariho administration today.”

    Comment by NewBlogger — April 4, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  69. To all Bloggers: Robert Rapoza DID NOT blog on here. “RS” posted a communication from Mr. Rapoza here to provide information to you.

    Comment by Gig B — April 5, 2008 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  70. Correct

    Comment by RS — April 5, 2008 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  71. AND one other thing! If, as Mr Hirst notes that CHARIHO is “required” or “obliged” to maintain ALL CHARIHO schools, then WHY did the Town council accept the old Ashaway School back in the deplorable condition that it is in? (Add to that the problems of an intertwined system of water, sewer, etc., etc, as well as VERY poor if no maintenance of the building such that the roof has been leaking, the electrical system has shorts, and the GAS was leaking…all of that within five to six MONTHS of student occupancy!)

    Perhaps, Mr Hirst, CHARIHO is “required” but not obligated unless OUR local officals demand such care, which they did NOT.

    As for dancing and prancing on the roof, at 67 years old, with both knees damaged from Karate and skiing, I rather doubt my amputated ACLs would allow such balance. The Westerly Sun documented the pre-existing conditions at the ccurrent Ashaway School PRIOR to any roof inspection. I also photograped the existing conditions and documented with interviews and reviews the sad state of “maintenace” done at that building. All this with several MILLION dollars EXTRA in the budget. I say SHAME ON YOU MR PETIT! Your name says it all, small man, small mind, a lackey to your own ambitions.

    I am steamed, Mr Petit! Call me a fool, call me names if you want, but NEVER question my veracity !

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 5, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  72. Georgia Ure asked me to post the following:

    No Passing

    The Chariho School Budget is in a No Passing Zone.

    Stop, look and listen. These are dangerous economic times. Unemployment is high, foreclosures are increasing, and a credit crisis exists.

    With 80% of our local taxes going to Chariho, we cannot afford to support our schools at proposed budget levels. We’re struggling to pay to keep roofs over our heads, food in the refrigerators, prescriptions in our medicine cabinets, and gas in our cars.

    As we tighten our belts, our schools must also do the same. We’re going through tough times with rocky roads ahead. Chariho cannot keep cruising on the highway and passing on the cost to overburdened taxpayers. On Tuesday, April 8th, at the Hopkinton Town Hall from 8a.m. to 8 p.m., vote NO.

    Georgia Ure

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 5, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  73. I, for one, never believed you were on that roof. But, I am a firm believer that you should be the one to argue in your defense. It is ludicrous to believe that you were ever on that roof. There is enough evidence that this roof and school and others in the district have received poor maintenance for many years.

    I wonder about your argument, regarding the council; and as a resident of Ashaway, I truly understand your frustration. Part of the problem, I believe, is a poorly written lease. They negotiated at that time what they thought was best based on recommendations from legal counsel. I’m sure there are other reasons and by all means you should generate your questions and concerns and send them to the council.

    I even wonder at times, and was speaking to a friend about this just yesterday, if we should sue the district for the maintenance neglect of the 1904 building and our other schools. If we could recoup even 50% of the cost, to me that is better than losing it all. Any lawyers out there have a comment on that?

    Since the decision, I have seen many documents that are open to the residents to view that detail the frustration from some officials from the town, namely Chief Williams and Mr. Mauti. Mr. Mauti was our building official for some time. They complained about the same conditions repeatedly. Mr. Mauti was very tough. Mr. Williams tried and tried and eventually turned the issue over to the State Fire Marshal’s office. I imagine Mr. Williams was simply ignored as was Mr. Mauti. To me, this speaks of the arrogance at the time, and years prior, which continues today with school officials.

    Perhaps, the only recourse for the citizens of Hopkinton is to take a stand and say “No” to everything they ask for until our demands are finally met. Dig out your teabags and send them a message on April 8th. Vote “No.”

    Interesting letter in the Westerly Sun by Annie Lewis in Richmond about the revote of a bond. This from a Richmond resident. Maybe, finally, Richmond residents will begin to join our plight.

    Take a stand voters. It’s time to stop the out of control budgets and demand that our schools get taken care of. This budget doesn’t do enough. And a bond is out of the question.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 5, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  74. To Comment 69, Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding of Mr. Rapoza blogging in/on. In re reading I see the error of my ways.

    Comment by James — April 5, 2008 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  75. Chariho operates like all monopolies. They are arrogant and can do pretty much whatever they want because parents have no other choice. I’m among those understanding the answer is parental choice. Public schools will not function in the best interest of children until it is their best interest. Until then they will continue to operate in the best interest of school employees.

    I agree with a strategy of starving the beast. Short of letting parents decide we must stop rewarding bad behavior. Chariho behaves awful failing to educate the kids and spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave.

    I didn’t see the letter in the paper but if a Richmond resident is speaking openly about being fed up with Chariho then maybe things are changing for the better? I’m voting no for anything to do wiht Chariho until test scores go up dramatically and costs come down to a reasonable level. They need to start treating the elementary schools and kids like they matter too. I’ve had enough!

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 5, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  76. Here’s the one problem if we vote no on the budget. Ever hear of the Carullo Act? Some argue that 3050 is the law and others say that the Carullo still applies. I’m all for trying to keep the budget as lean as possible but I haven’t heard any reasonable ideas as to where to trim the budget besides depleting the surplus funds, that’s something I can’t agree with in totality. Apprently the people haven’t learned yet what happens when you use up too much of your surplus funds.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 5, 2008 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  77. Chariho has “surplus funds” because they take in more tax money then they spend. They’ve been doing this for years including the year they scammed voters about the $2 million cut. They lied and there was more than $2 million to be cut without changing any budget items. Richmond and Charlestown residents were duped and ran to the polls overwhelming Hopkinton voters. Much of the cut was restored and the surplus grew.

    Chariho can also leave surplus funds alone by cutting spending.

    Spending surplus funds is only a problem when they use it to hide spending increases. Surplus funds can be spent on one time capital improvements without causing problems with future budgets. Suggesting that our hands are tied is a red herring.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 5, 2008 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  78. Here’s the text of a letter I sent to the Sun that was probably too late to get printed before the Tuesday vote on the Chariho budget. Please don’t fail to vote.

    The Editor
    The Westerly Sun

    Sir:

    I think it is fair to say that with respect to specific budget line items, the proposed Chariho Regional School District budget was well received this year. There is always an eyebrow-raising item here and there, but all things are relative, and when casually compared with some other year’s budgets, it looks pretty good.

    Why, then, are so many of us urging that it be rejected.? Because looks can be deceiveng, as shown by the remarkable diligence of Hopkinton Town Councilor Sylvia Thompson in studying Chariho District’s audit reports of recent years.

    She has the intellect and knowledge and took the time to ask some questions and find the answers about how much surplus money Chariho has accumulated in recent years, and how it has happened.

    As I understand Councilor Thompson, the accumulated surplus in June of 2007, the last month of the previous fiscal year, was $6.8 million. That is something like 10 times the amount that Chariho’s own “fund balance model” describes as adequate for a budget the size of Chariho’s.

    How it has been happening is simple: For at least the last four years, the actual income to the District has been greater than the amount in the proposed annual budget and the total money spent by the district has been less than was authorized to be spent by the annual District Financial Referendum. With more in and less out than was expected, money accumulates.

    But why does it matter? There are a number of reasons, but one stands out like a sore thumb. Without even considering the merit of the various items in the budget, we are consistently being taxed more heavily than is necessary to raise the money necessary to meet the cost of the items in the approved budgets.

    The overtax is not a trivial amount. Some years the increase in the budget surplus has exceeded $2 million. On a $50 million budget, a $2 million dollar surplus is 4% of the budget. Had earlier budgets truly reflected District income and expenditures, the budget base would be smaller and the State-imposed cap would be doing the job it was intended to do for all the Towns.

    I think it is necessary to emphasize that these figures do not have anything to do with the merit or lack thereof of any of the items in the proposed budget but deal solely with how well the District is handling the task of getting the amount of money necessary to pay for what we allegedly are going to spend.

    This is a very serious matter.. School budgets are always complex. It took a lot of time to develop the information that Councilor Thompson has provided, and unfortunately it has not yet been as widely distributed as it deserves for the voters to make a wise decision on the budget. The important thing right now is to defer a decision on the budget until the surplus situation is properly addressed.

    If the proposed budget is rejected on Tuesday, April 8th, there will be adequate time to straighten out the surplus situation and to vote on an appropriate revised Chariho budget before Town budgets are voted on. And even if that does not happen, it is clear that simply using this year’s budget next year would be feasible.

    Fixing the proposed budget is the right thing to do, and we have time to do it. Everybody wins, nobody loses. It would be hard to find a better example of important, practical and intelligent civic involvement and cooperation to show the kids.

    Comment by Thurman Silks — April 5, 2008 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  79. It’s good to see that a tri town ‘historian’ is willing to impart his wisdom
    as a former town councilor who has a sense of democracy, history, reality and among those that know him distantly is classy, facts oriented. He is a Man that has been held to and has more than exceeded the highest standard.gards.

    Thurman Silks is a gift to all the Tri Towns. He needs no apologies and a conscious that Richmond once had as well as Charlestown.

    Comment by Denmore — April 5, 2008 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  80. T or C… cut spending WHERE? That’s all I ever hear, cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. Where do you want them to cut spending? It’s a tired cry I hear. Give me solid answers with solid proof that it can be done without affecting our kids and I’ll support you 100% but to just come out with the same line over and over and over again does nothing for me. I do plan on voting “No” on the budget for my own reasons but not because I hear the same line every year to cut spending or because the management study isn’t included in the budget.

    Denmore, to be honest with you, I feel Thurman Silks, along with Georgia Ure, are a detriment, not a gift, to all the Tri Towns. They are part of the problem because there are others that are also causing the division amongst the towns. Rather than trying to coming up with workable solutions they just rant on and on about the other two towns and the Chariho School District. Until all three towns can sit down together and come up with workable solutions to the problems, instead of pointing fingers at each other, nothing will change. Is our current method of taxation right, probably not, but is taxing based on property values the right answer? I don’t know, maybe there are better solutions that even things out but doesn’t suddenly dump the majority of the burden on Charlestown. Some residents don’t like the idea of paying per student but if we had school vouchers for school choice coming from each town, aren’t we then paying per student? There’s so many things that need to be looked at and I feel there’s no easy answer. If we could stop the arguing and really sit down to work something out, we would all be better off.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 6, 2008 @ 5:31 am | Reply

  81. Regarding the Old Ashaway School:
    Lois, I am sure that most of the Town council board members are upstanding, honest people. I would trust Tom Buck fully to vote for what he believes is right. BUT, I also believe that many on our Town Council were hoodwinked into yet another “deal” of little or negative value when it comes to accepting the Old Ashaway School back.
    During negotiations with CHARIHO were the following addressed?
    • The infrastructure. (parking, land, water rights, sewer and security)
    • The cost of needed repairs from the time CHARIHO assumed the care of the building to the present time?
    • The furniture.
    • A final, impartial evaluation of the building structure and grounds to determine both the cost to rehab the building, and the legal ramifications and costs to define specific costs and legal responsibilities of each owner for water, sewer, security, electrical, parking, care of the land and surroundings, underground utilities and insurance, and of course the upkeep of all buildings.
    • A final evaluation of the cost of legal representation to require updating the facility by CHARIHO vs. the cost to the town to rehabilitate the building?
    If I am wrong, and no one has been fooled following these closed (“probability of legal action” as a reason) negotiations, then you have my “Mea Culpa”, and an apology.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 6, 2008 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  82. Your concerns are valid. They are certainly well thought out. I will pass them along.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 6, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  83. Chariho Parent,

    It is spelt Caroulo after the gentleman putting the legislation forward.
    It is in the Rhode Island General Laws, 16.2.21.4. Johnston, RI lost and the city of Cranston won their case in most recent years.. It’s a matter of providing the information to the court. Cranston saved $5,000,000 (105 Mill versus 110). I think this is the point that Mr. Scott Hirst is trying to articulate when he mentioned ‘maintenance of effort.’ If the tri towns are foolish enough to give the school $100,000,000 million this year, it seems to if they ended up with a $50,000,000 surplus they don’t give it back, the bar starts at the number approved the year before (even if its way above).

    The important point is accuracy in reporting. Its not a slam dunk if someone files a ‘Caroulo Act’ (as shown above). At least then we would know what we were paying for (as the schools need to show why they can’t do the towns business of educating their children). Its a rough way to get a management study done if that is the course the voters/taxpayers/parents need to go. Google Caroulo Act.

    Will try and get back to the bloggers where to find them in the Superior Court decisions or you may GOOGLE into Rhode Island Judiciary and when you click on you can go along the top of the site and click on Superior for cour decisions.

    Comment by Mychael — April 6, 2008 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  84. Chariho Parent and Bloggers,

    http://www.courts.state.ri.us

    Along the top of the site in black ink/lettering shows the different courts.
    After clicking onto the court of choice, in the above case Superior to the right after in superior court will be decisions to the right. Click on that
    and scroll through decisions. There are many education related ones/decisions.

    Comment by Mychael — April 6, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  85. Addressing Chariho Parent – Bob P. attempted to make adminstration cuts of a couple of hundred thousands dollars and his attempts were rebuffed by Charlestown and Richmond board members. Deb Jennings attempted to make a $600,000 cut (did not specifiy where but I assume she had some ideas) and she was rebuffed by Charlestown and Richmond members. The SRO position pays the salary of a police officer. The position could be easily eliminated but even if Chariho doesn’t feel the other adults in the school can handle troublemaker kids then they could easily hire a retired cop or military for half the price. I’ve seen teacher aids in the hundreds of thousands questioned with no justification for the huge salary number and benefits. Finally we know that Chariho has been running a multi million dollar surplus for several years. The surplus isn’t even close to reasonable and could be easily cut by over a million (not the surplus funds which should be spent on capital improvement but the surplus collection of taxes). I have no inside knowledge and I can still come up with over a million dollars in waste and unnecessary spending. I’m sure there is much more and the a Caroulo Act finding might be the perfect thing for Chariho. I’m tired of people playing games with tax money. They always find money to take care of the employees. They do a lousy job teaching the kids. Not much to support at Chariho. Letting parents choose schools would work but until we come to our senses in this country and reject government instituions as caring a damn about us we will have to starve them until they do what we pay them to do.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 6, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  86. School Choice please, please, please. Charter schools come to South County, please, please, please.

    Comment by Mychael — April 6, 2008 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  87. Mr. Felkner sir,

    Some 1 said u have a site called call OSPRI and its a tax deductable ‘think tank?’. Can you explain what that is and what the tax deductable thing means.

    Thank u

    Comment by Juan — April 6, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  88. Caroulo Act is in the Rhode Island General Laws under 16 (Title) Education, Chapter 2 Section 16-2-21.4.

    Thanks Bill Felkner for this forum which isn’t allowed on the school site as some have told me its ‘monitored’ for happy talk, ‘all kids all the time’. As a parent, for my tax dollars, I would like ‘all results all the time’. Though it hurts the budget and happy meals for the kids on occasion it could be justified with results. When the admin leaves at the end of the day, I don’t get a good feeling when my child hasn’t learned anything at the end of the day and you drive away with a vehicle upgrade. (I can’t get my hands around the kids are better for it.)I was told by a neighboring Charlestown Parent that they contacted or posted something on the ‘school site’ and it wasn’t posted. Makes you wonder whose manipulating the ‘media’.

    Comment by Rorey — April 6, 2008 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  89. Comment #85,

    Let them strike, let them walk and let them starve.

    Comment by Raven — April 6, 2008 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  90. Let us remember who Mr. Pouloski really represents in Charlestown. Kids(?), ya that might happen. With the towns or cities numbers, Charlestown having roughly the third or fourth lowest taxes in the state and property taxes on the ‘north side of route one being subsidized by the southern side/beach side whose zooming who?. I wouldn’t accuse him of representing tax payers either.
    He’s a UNION GUY (though retired teacher, didn’t have it in himself to fire himself as the Dept Head in Math) representing his people/teachers from the inside.
    It’s one thing to say your about chariho.It’s another to prove it.

    Comment by Justice — April 6, 2008 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  91. I say make the NEA contracts equivalent to the percentage of our children passing the national testing scores. If we only have 33% of our students scoring at a passing level, then the contracts are paid at 33%. Boy I can hear the whining now. Accountability is a scary thought for those who are paid by tenure and never have to prove their worth.

    Comment by RS — April 6, 2008 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  92. Of course he is not about kids. Hey Stupid, after his stipend to show up twice a month and masage his stomach, and until people get tired of the SC BS he has a gig better than you and I, brother.

    Comment by Tax Scratch Fever — April 6, 2008 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  93. Took the liberty of cutting and pasting the school committee meeting agenda for those here who would like to read it. Meeting is scheduled for election night, April 8th, at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library.

    You can also go to the Chariho website to view the agenda.

    Noticed a couple things of interest:

    1. The building plan vote (see Section IV, Line D.)
    2. The fund balance policy. (see Section VIII, Line A.)

    Isn’t a building plan suppose to go to the councils first before they send it up north to be submitted as legislation?

    What policy are they talking about? Question is…. What amount of money are they asking for now?

    I think it would be real important if people could attend this school committee meeting.

    AGENDA FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING of April 8, 2008
    7:00 PM at Chariho Middle School Library

    Note: Individuals requesting special accommodations must call (401) 364-7575 forty-eight hours prior to meeting date.

    Any changes in this agenda will be posted on the school district’s website (www.chariho.k12.ri.us), in the Chariho Administration Building, and in the Chariho Middle School at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. Individuals requesting special notice of the revised agenda must call (401) 364-7575 to make arrangements for same.

    I. Meeting Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Silent Meditation

    II. Recognition

    III. Public Forum

    IV. Business (N=New Item; P=Previously Discussed; @=May Require Action)

    A. Approval of Middle School Garden Project (N)@

    B. Discussion of State Assessment Results (N)

    C. Approval of Agreement with Legal Counsel (N)@

    D. Approval to Submit Legislation Authorizing Referendum on Building Plan (N)@

    E. Discussion of Governor’s Initiative to Increase Transparency During Contract

    Negotiations (N)@

    F. Discussion of Request of Town of Hopkinton for Change in Payment Schedule (N)@

    G. Request of Portsmouth Town Council to Support House Bill 7108 (N)@

    V. Reports

    A. Subcommittee Reports

    B. Superintendent’s Report

    VI. District Concerns, Communications, Committee Requests

    VII. Consent Agenda Items

    A. Approval of Minutes

    B. Approval of Transfers

    C. Approval of Bills

    D. Budget Summary

    E. Treasurer’s Report

    F. Personnel Actions

    G. Approval to Issue Bids/Request Quotes

    H. Approval to Award Contracts

    I. Approval of Home Instruction

    J. Approval of Grants

    K. Acceptance of Donations

    VIII. Policy (R=First Reading; A=Adoption; REV=Revision; D=Deletion

    A. Undesignated Fund Balance Policy (R)

    IX. Executive Session (42-46-5(a)(2) – for the purpose of discussions pertaining to collective bargaining and for the purpose of discussions pertaining to litigation.

    X. Closing/Sealing of Executive Session Minutes

    XI. Disclosure of Executive Session Votes

    XII. Adjournment – Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 7:00 PM in the Chariho Middle School Library

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 6, 2008 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  94. Why ask us? Tom Buck should know if the town council has a say in bond legislation?

    Chariho has a history of getting new votes every time they don’t like a result. Once they wear voters out and get a yes vote then there are no more votes. Why can’t taxpayers get a chance to vote again when Chariho wastes the money we give them?

    I’m sure the surplus fund money will be rebated back to the taxpayers or at least spent on the elementary school which have been severely neglected.

    Comment by Real Question — April 6, 2008 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  95. The Hopkinton Town Council was asked at least twice to come up with something for the bond and has stonewalled the process. Given that the process needs to be started before the close of the fiscal year to at least be able to get 56% state housing aid as opposed to 30% I think it’s wise to at least get the ball rolling. If the legislature feels that they need all three towns to approve the bond question they can then reject the question. Guess what folks, the school district isn’t only about Hopkinton and what they want, it’s about 3 towns. When will the towns sit down and actually come up with something that can satisfy a lot of people instead of the crap, and that’s exactly what it is, that goes on now? All the bickering is getting us no where. Instead of Thurman Silks, Georgia Ure, et al, doing nothing but complaining, let the towns come together and come up with workable solutions. If no one wants to do that then we might as well disolve the school district and let the three towns do what they want to educate the kids. Hopkinton can then send their kids to Charter Schools or to other school districts and pay for them exactly as they are now, pay per student and then have absolutely no voice in how their kids are educated because they won’t have a vote in that school district and charter schools give the voting public no budgetary information.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 7, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Reply

  96. VOTE NO for any bond! It is easy to say “What a deal”, but wasting money is wasting money! Remember ENRON? Boy, THEY had a great deal, didn’t they? Just like CHARIHO! NO NO NO!

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 7, 2008 @ 6:45 am | Reply

  97. I am all for the dissolution of Chariho as CharihoParent sees fit. Give us tuition vouchers, and let the various schools really earn our money as opposed to “being due it because they earned it” as the NEA believes. The private sector would be more than happy to step up to the plate and fill the empty buildings offering a desired service. CharihoParent only mentions Charter Schools and other districts as viable options……..neglecting the many private schools in the area which produce better educated children. I have never seen one who doesn’t want the best their money can buy, but will be satisfied with mediocrity.

    Comment by RS — April 7, 2008 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  98. But what will you say when your taxes are just about as high and you have no input? The feeling I get from talking to people is that Hopkinton will find something to complain then, too. The only good thing is that Hopkinton can stop complaining about Chariho, Charlestown and Richmond and complain to only their town council, no one else will want to listen to them.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 7, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  99. If I can walk with my money(not Chariho’s) and spend it at a school of my choice, then how will I have no input? If my taxes increase, but I get the best educational system for those taxes, then I can at least say I have a good value for my money spent. If I get what I pay for then it is worth it. Presently I get about 1/3 of what I pay for.I only want to get the best value for my money. I’m sure when you act as a consumer, you don’t just pay whatever someone wants you to pay without judging the value of what your hard earned money is being spent on.
    If your idea of complaining is asking for fiscal restraint and responsibility, then yes I will always have something to complain about. I view it as wanting more than 1/3 of our students to be prepared to enter college or the workforce with the basic skills required of them.

    Comment by RS — April 7, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  100. RS, that’s pie in the sky dreaming, you’re expecting perfection when there isn’t any such thing. Besides, the feeling is you’re from Hopkinton, you’ll find something to complain about. My idea of complaining is having a lot to say but not sitting down with the other two towns to come up with workable solutions that can truly make a difference. Your town council is a prime example of that, they don’t want the bond referendum to go forward but has been asked at least twice to come up with something and they’ve stonewalled and have done nothing. Scott BS.. oops, Scott BH is another example, he wanted the school district to cut $2 million dollars but when asked to come up with where, did not provide the school committee with anything. It’s good to keep a watchful and weary eye on things but you can’t complain without having any answers. I’ve worked in places that are open to complaints but for every complaint you had better have a possible solution. Hopkinton, where are your possible solutions to make Chariho better, charter schools and school choice are only running away from the problem, given the limited availability of choices and limited room in them, we have to work to make the district better. Stop complaining without real, practical and viable solutions that can start to work in the next school year.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 8, 2008 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  101. The school board budgets surpluses over $2 million and Scott Hirst is supposed to be the one to tell them where to cut? Since the surplus that year was well over $2 million they didn’t need to cut anything. They only needed to take $2 million less and they could still pay for everything in the budget.

    The solutions have been proposed but it is the other towns ignoring them. Parental choice si the best answer but tax equity would be a good start. Richmond and Charlestown’s refusal to think out of the box shouldn’t be blamed on Hopkinton. We’ve offered plenty of solutions but none of our answers include letting Chariho continue to function as an empire onto itself.

    Comment by Real Question — April 8, 2008 @ 8:59 am | Reply

  102. December 4th:
    Hopkinton came well prepared at that meeting, with many options and ideas. The other towns, their only options: Redo the bond in 3 parts and keep the status quo.

    Workshops:
    Mainly attended by Hopkinton residents until the last meeting. Some of the Hopkinton residents were allowed to speak, some were not. By the third meeting, no real cuts had been made, and my husband, who could only attend the first 3 meetings, was frustrated. You can only offer so much information, but if it goes on deaf ears, what’s the point.

    There solution:
    Deplete the budget surplus. What should have happened? Personally, and I’m sure you would object, but they should have applied 80% of the surplus, or there abouts, to the buildings. The rest is probably a good fund balance.

    None of that surplus should go to offset budget expenditures. NONE!

    Also, considering we’ve had some large budget surpluses in previous years, the budget should have been more realistic, taking into consideration the past performance of underestimating revenues and overestimating expenditures.

    Hopkinton has made a tremendous effort to work with the other two towns and the school. They know that the voters have spoken about the bond. It had its chance. You can’t keep reintroducing things because you don’t get your way. It’s time they found another solution than a bond revote.

    You may not agree with me, but Chariho needs to recognize that they need to start scheduling regular maintenance and repairs within the budget. This is an item that should have never been cut from any past budget. I know that this current school committee is not responsible for the majority of the neglect on these schools, but they are now in the position to make changes to deal with past mistakes. They have the ultimate challenge, having to follow former committees and administrations and current administrations with a very large pooper scooper.

    Every aspect of the running of these schools has to be revisited. People, not only in Hopkinton, but in Richmond and Charlestown, as well, are making hard choices daily. Chariho needs to do the same.

    People cringe at the discussion of finances, but I always come back to the thought about Westerly and how they run and finance their schools. They have more schools than we have and yet they finance many villages within the town of Westerly the same way, based on property values. Those in Avondale and Watch Hill pay more in property taxes than someone in Bradford or White Rock. Am I right or wrong? How is that any different than the way our schools should be financed? Compare apples to apples here. If there were no town borders between Charlestown, Richmond, and Hopkinton, how would we all be taxed then?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 8, 2008 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  103. Solutions are all over the place. How many times will they ignore solutions pretending they never saw them? There is an sad effort to cling to the failed status quo. It doesn’t really matter what Hopkinton proposes if it is different than what they have been doing for years. They don’t want solutions.

    Tax equity – parental choice – transparent spending – reduce surpluses – maintaining buildings within the budget – 5th and 6th graders in elementary schools – 1904 given back in usable condition – get rid of layers of administration – account for special ed spending – teacher aides – modular buildings – deregionalize K to 6 – negotiate private sector-type contracts.

    What did you say? Where are your solutions? Reminds me of Sgt. Carter from Gomer Pyle, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” They are either deaf or dumb.

    Comment by Real Question — April 8, 2008 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  104. Based on CharihoParent’s reporting Hopkinton rejected the budget and Richmond and Charlestown approved. The budget passed by less then 100 votes. Sounds like Hopkinton rejected the budget by more votes than they rejected the bond. Maybe this is a sign even more Hopkinton voters are waking up to Chariho’s abuse of our funding generosity! I wish the budget had failed but at least Hopkinton has strongly delivered the message and we probably won’t be approving a bond any time soon. Charlestown may want to speed up their efforts for deregionalizing.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 8, 2008 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  105. I guess Charihoparent is happy with the substandard education their child(ren) receives. I for one am not happy and will not suject my children to the ill effects of a school system that finds the majority of the students testing below the standards. The only explanation I can offer for this reasoning is you benefit directly from the waste at Chariho, and your own self indulgence means more to you than the education of our children.

    Comment by RS — April 9, 2008 @ 3:36 am | Reply

  106. http://www.projo.com/ri/hopkinton/content/SC_CHARIHO_BUDGET09_04-09-08_569N5DR_v14.39dec87.html

    Actual voter count in article for those interested. Also, discussion about proposed fund balance formula and the submission of the current bond proposal for legislation.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 9, 2008 @ 6:10 am | Reply

  107. Is it Chariho Parent or Chariho Parrot?

    Comment by George — April 17, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Reply


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