Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 21, 2008

HTC votes “no” on bond

Filed under: bond — Editor @ 10:41 pm

The Hopkinton Town Council voted “no” to support the bond and voted to send a letter to each of our representatives at the state house saying the same.  The vote was 4 to 1. 

A friend from the neighborhood asked me a very blunt question the other day regarding the bond.  He said, “Bill, I agree with everything you are doing but I was at the school and there are holes in the bathroom walls (he also mentioned that the art on the lunch room said it was from the “F”art depertment).”  He went on to say, “It is demoralizing for the kids to be in that environment.  We need the bond for those bathrooms and we can fix the contracts and management later.”

My response:  “We spend $13,000 per student and we have holes in the bathroom walls.  I personally spend $4000 per student at St. Pius and have great bathrooms.  Any school other than a public school has great bathrooms and they manage to do it with far less of a per student cost and NO bonds.  If you had an employee that cost you three times as much as the same employee elsewhere and your empolyee did a poor job, would you find a way to keep paying them?”



  1. The holes in the bathroom walls don’t bother the administration, the teachers, and the school board, all of whom have other priorities for the money. My children have a clear understanding of why public schools function as they do. I encourage all parents to take responsibility for motivating their kids. I have about ten thousand dollars worth of repairs I am unable to do at our home. No harder explaining this to my kids as explaining holes in their school walls. We went without hot water for 2 months. We boiled on the stove top and took baths. Life isn’t always easy. Good lesson for kids to learn. My kids know that there are families in this country and around the world that would give their right arm to trade places with us. We thank God every day. Holes and cold water aren’t so bad if you look at the big picture.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 22, 2008 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  2. Why do private schools manage to do it for less? A major factor is their teachers don’t belong to unions and don’t pull this “work to rule” baloney on the school administration. From my experiences with private schools, teachers there care more and do more to educate. A lot of the problems go back to the unions, NOT the administration but it’s much easier to kick the administration in the pants then it is to kick the unions in the pants. Get the school committee and the administration out of the contract negotions, neither one of them is capable of negotiating with the unions. Heck, I’d much rather have no unions involved with the schools but that’s not going to happen in this state. Until the taxpayers truly begin to rail against the unions nothing is going to change in Chariho or in any other school district in this state. I forget the percentage but I’m sure Bill knows how much of the school budget goes towards salaries. It’s totally ridiculous how much we pay some of the staff and faculty.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 22, 2008 @ 6:52 am | Reply

  3. About 80% of school funding is spent on employee saleries and benefits.

    Comment by george abbott — April 22, 2008 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  4. Yes, 83-85%. We are skewed on the low side because of our large transportation costs. Of course, our total per student cost is also one of the highest. Not as bad as Westerly though. They are one of the highest in the nation with over $13,000 per student and 93% of the budget going to employees.

    And Mr. Abbott made a good point at one of the last meetings that parents don’t like hearing teachers complain about not being paid enough – especially at parent/school events.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 22, 2008 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  5. Is the biggest problem too much money being made paid or too many employees livng off the school or maybe a combination? I’d like contracts that are easier to understand for salary and benefits. The step increases are very confusing and do a good job of hiding the kind of raises employees get. The administration has a lot of fault for convering up info. I still don’t know how many employee and what jobs they have. The budget is a big jumble of confusing categories. I figure an administration trying to cover up things is hiding something or why wouldn’t they give us every detail?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 22, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  6. Who makes the repairs at the schools?

    I would hope that the school’s maintenance department is equipped with the know-how of how to repair a wall. I would be willing to bet that the holes aren’t so big as they can’t be repaired with some brick/cinder blocks and some mortar/concrete, probably inexpensively. They need a little swamp yankee ingenuity over there.

    If this is something that has to be contracted out, then shame on that policy.

    I remember when we were in high school, there were monster size spit balls on the walls and ceilings. Forks in the ceiling. We couldn’t take showers in the girls locker room for fear that we might catch something. Bumps on the gymnasium floor, which we had to dodge while playing on the girl’s basketball team. Buckets to catch rainwater throughout corridor D, (Going on memory, but I believe that was the one near the foreign language and business classes), were prevalent. Yet, we have money to spend on weight and exercise equipment. I am very disappointed that we are spending tax dollars in this manner. (Even if it came from a grant, I would feel that way. These rooms take up valuable classroom space that could be used for teaching coursework to prepare them to someday be scientific leaders, business entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, farmers, electricians, bank tellers, salesman, fisherman, etc…. All are valuable to the survival of this community and the nation.)

    Reminiscing again… The ceiling in the cafeteria, the last time I was there, looked fine. The mural is beautiful. The stage in the cafeteria is no longer there, which was a good choice.

    Have the locker rooms been redone. My guess, probably not. Yet, it is more important to invest our tax dollars into weight equipment and wasted educational space. It has become more important to be competitive in intramural sports, it seems. If I wanted to use weight equipment, I went to the neighborhood guild or the YMCA, or bought my own at Benny’s or Job Lot. If I wanted to exercise, I got out my jumprope, rode my bike, or went for a hike, or the dreaded calisthenics (sorry not sure on the spelling). I did not depend on the school as my fitness trainer. We had warmups and practice sessions before softball and we made due with the field we had (bumpy field, with no fancy cages or infield, wasn’t really that level either.), which was behind the Vo-Tech. (The Career and Technical Center) Guess what, we had fun. I was probably in the best shape of my life.

    Simply, it is high time that the district concentrate on a maintenance plan. The maintenance work should be done with employees if it is not already. If we contract out, that policy should end. Hire maintenance people that can do the work, if the ones we have cannot or won’t. If the contracts restrict that, change it. Seek out volunteers within the community. My guess, there are people within our own community who would volunteer to help. Include this into the community service the children need to graduate. The 20% of the community who do the 80% of the work will be there if they would organize an effort to do it. (50 people could do a lot.)

    This school needs a sense of community, not more tax dollars.

    Things are tight for a lot of people, barely able to keep food on their plates, and gas in their cars to get themselves to work, or to be able to make enough money to afford their mortgages and the taxes, and we continue to worry about the appearance of our schools.

    Everyone, in the next several years, is going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. It’s time the district took the lead.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 22, 2008 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  7. Excellent points Lois Buck. When our hot water heater went that wasn’t an easy repair job like holes in a wall. Holes in the wall is another example of the school being poorly managed. It is not a reason to pour millions more into a school system that doesn’t do its job! That’s what burns me. Not only does Chariho cost a hell of a lot of money, but they don’t even do a very good job for all the money they spend.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 22, 2008 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  8. Here’s the dilemma I see. I hear screaming about controlling costs but when the budget is 83% to 85% for salaries and benefits, how much is left to do anything else? Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re going to say take it from the surplus but you can only dip into the surplus so many times until you’re broke. I would think this a lesson well learned in Hopkinton already after two years of double digit tax increases. The priorities are so screwed up around here and from what I’m hearing, even though you say “It’s about the kids”, it really isn’t about the kids at all. The bottom line is, it’s about your wallet and not the kids. How can the school district manage to do the repairs when they are asked to cut costs? The kids are used as an excuse by the taxpayers the same way the teachers use the same line. I get pretty tired hearing that line being abused. If it’s truly about the kids then you’ll want them in 1st rate schools, not the poor excuses we have schools in this district.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 22, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  9. If CP were really about the kids he’d want their families to have hot water and homes as updated and modern as their schools. The whole notion that we rate “caring” based on dollars spent or assets acquired is foolish. Poor people and poor nations do not care less about their kids based on their economic status. Some would argue, myself included, that we do kids a disservice when we give, give, give without any accountability. CP may judge his parenting on his ability to spend money but most of us don’t think that way. At least not in Hopkinton.

    Comment by Real Parent — April 22, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  10. Hopkinton voted down the bond. The legislators probably won’t submit it since everyone does not agree. If this is the case it is time to move on. There is a lot of work to do in this district, on the buildings and on the contracts. We as a school committee need to work hard to make it work both for the children and the tax payers. What doesn’t get down because the bond is out needs to get done through the budget now. According to the what we have all heard we will now only get 30% return on any capital improvements, this is if it is through a bond or through the budget, we also lose the 1/3 that Charlestown agreed to so now everything that is done will be charged out per enrollment. I don’t see how this helped us as tax payers, BUT I am not blaming or pointing fingers or crying about it. I think we except it and move on from here. Funding in this district is a problem that needs to be corrected; the big question is how do we get it fixed. We need to start bringing a plan together to fix this or we are going to continue down this same path over and over again. Let’s spend our time, energy and resources on trying to fix this problem and hopefully others will follow.

    Comment by bpetit — April 22, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  11. The point is things can be done at minimum cost to the taxpayers. Also, things can be lived without. We need to make due with what we have.

    If the unions are such a problem like CP makes them sound, and this is not the only thing, then if the state enables the abuse by making it law to include steps within the contract, if I understand Bill correctly, this just gives the union the upper hand. If Rhode Island wants to make change, then the legislature will have to change. It begins at the top. The whole of every state run organization and the individual schools and how they are run will have to be evaluated, audited, whatever it takes. As the private sector is making cost effective changes, so will the public sector. Any legislator who is unwilling should not be reelected.

    Also, I believe as a community that there are a good many people willing to volunteer their services to help. This is also an opportunity for the students to earn community service hours towards their diploma requirements. Why wouldn’t we promote that. The benefits we gain are:
    1. a better sense of community,
    2. a dent in the requirements towards the community service diploma requirement for our kids,
    3. a civics lesson,
    4. repairs on the schools.

    What we need is someone in the administration or from the school committee to be the leader in this endeavor. It cannot be done without organization. Then we need a community who is willing to make the sacrifice of time. Let’s get our hands dirty.

    Let’s make due with what we have.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 22, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  12. Just another thought, those who put work into something usually do their best to protect it. I would gather that if children had a hand in the care of their school, they would probably do their best to protect it, as well.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 22, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  13. When my daughter lived in CA, she and her husband would spend several week ends a year doing community projects, and that included many projects for the schools in the area. One week end they built a new playground, another week end, the repaired several buildings, on another, they painted. The list goes on and on, but if the community helps, and the employees do the job they are hired to do, we can make it! (And probably be the better for it!)

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 22, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  14. The Sun had an article on the vote. Tom Buck asked why Ricci thinks splitting the bond now is a good idea when the school committee didn’t want to do it when they had their chance? Great question!

    I like Bob Petit’s attitude. We should move on to fixing the problems without the bond. First thing the school committee should do is to authorize necessary repairs using whatever surplus remains. They should do this before the 60% reimbursement ends (if it does end, we’ve heard it before).

    I hope the school board remembers Hopkintons resolve when it comes time for the next Chariho contract. Raises are few and far between for most of us and our health costs rise and our employers make us pay. No reason government employees should expect more than the rest of us. If we don’t do our jobs successfully we get fired. They don’t. That’s worth a fortune right there.

    Hopkinton politicians have been great. If they would now work on a voucher system we can get out from under the crushing weight of the Chariho elephant. Hopkinton children will thank you some day!

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 22, 2008 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  15. It really boils down to a leader or group of leaders who are willing to take charge and organize the effort. Perhaps, our school committee are the ones. I still hold out hope that they will make a positive impact for all 3 towns. Perhaps, one member from each of the 3 towns could work together to organize an effort. If they unite for change, then the communities will follow. This could be a healing opportunity.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 22, 2008 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  16. I don’t see them agreeing to increase the amount of the budget surplus towards the infrastructure. They seem obsessed with the need to have a large surplus. We’ll see in a few months how much of a surplus we have from this year’s budget. If the pattern continues, we will have an additional 2 million in surplus that could have gone to the infrastructure and received the 60% reimbursement this year.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 22, 2008 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  17. Not only maybe, it should be jumped on to by folks not to support it. This has been a problem since 1958 and no one has wanted to deal with it by the towns or the sc’s not any one town. High time to blow it up. Contact your legislators and tell them no. We uneducated people no where the money is/will come from. Put your homes up for sale Virginia, the Chariho SC has failed us for 50 years not only on the laps of the current committee. We can’t blame it all on the last to Supt. Just those that lack candor in pushing the ball further down the hill while their salaries have gone up. Remember the $2 Mill cut in (2005), the money it cost for a due over vote, to find out it was a $2.8 Mill surplus while a concerned active/participant citizen was ‘smeared’ as anti education. It’s a shame it has come to distrust among those representing the children. Thank you Mr. Chicetti, Mr. Abbot and Mr. Felkner for having a conscious.No matter your views you have put your best foot forward from what we outside the arena of absurb can reason.


    Comment by Question #10 — April 22, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  18. Just saw yesterdays paper. Commend Hopkintons TC for having fortitude,guts.

    When charlestown builds its own school and choses to withdraw, you had better make sure your representatives of the Hopkinton and Richmond Towns support our withdrawal and ready to deal with the aftermath.

    I guess though my taxes will double (and I can still snicker be lower than yours), we will be in charge of not having to deal with Richmond and Hopkinton. Since this is true where can Ms. Carney direct me to the Exit Study proposal that what supposedly ‘blown off.’

    Comment by Sinking Feeling — April 22, 2008 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  19. Nothing is true yet, don’t let the middle school teacher and her unions behalf, Mrs Walsh sell the tri towns and her voters out for her benefit and make her a martyr. Let all the senators and reps know your not on board with this split.

    More later.

    Comment by Not yet — April 22, 2008 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  20. Ms. Buck,

    Thanks for keeping folks up. Good email!

    Comment by #16 — April 22, 2008 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

  21. RP, once again, you show the typical Hopkinton foolishness of judging people without knowing anything about them.

    To Mr. Petit, I think you’re right, it’s time to move on. Time for Richmond and Charlestown to seriously consider moving on without Hopkinton being the albatross around everyone else’s neck. It is my understanding from reading the newspaper that Richmond and Charlestown will be seriously considering this and if I can, I will help in the matter even if it does not benefit my child since she will be graduation from Chariho this coming June. I want a better future for the children still in the schools and for those still to come. I feel sorry for you that you have to deal with stubborn, ignorant and foolish constituents that cannot see beyond their purses and what the detriment that they are to the area and to the school district.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  22. Once again….nothing gets done. Stop blaming this problem on everyone else and start coming up with some real solutions. Your town is a disaster. Hopkinton parents its time to step up and let your voice be heard. Your town is run by a small group of negative people who think they know what is best for your children. They have let their “egos” get in the way of progress. The schools are in terrible condition and it only makes good sense to pass the bonds at this time. We just want a better school for our children. The teachers work hard to educate our children. They are not people that are getting rich of your tax dollars. They are just doing their job. To the parent that think its okay to have holes in the wall at our schools. SHAME ON YOU!

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  23. I think many people have been offering ideas, not all of course. Problem is that those who don’t are the ones given all the attention.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 23, 2008 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  24. Shame on Chariho for not fixing holes in walls immediately. Put down the dumbbells and fix the holes.

    If Charlestown should decide to take their large town treasury and break away from Chariho I doubt they’ll want to carry the substantial weight of Richmond. Richmond likes to think it is a rich town but they can’t play on the same spending field with Charlestown. It could be fun to watch.

    Nothing I would like better than to have Hopkinton forced into immediate action. The TC has shown great wisdom so far but may be overly hesitant to give parents choice. If Charlestown and Richmond bail then school choice may become a necessity. We should be so lucky!

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  25. “It could be fun to watch”… Is this your idea of entertainment. Richmond is not at all a rich town but the understand the value of supporting its schools, its children and its community. Showing great wisdom is getting people to work together for a common good. Hopkington TC has created such seperation between the three towns that is has been impossible to get anything done. Enough with the games and egos!

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  26. You’re fun to read too Richmondparent! So much wasted emotion.

    Richmond and Charlestown have had the power all along. Hopkinton merely wants tax equity and Chariho to operate openly. I think it is very reasonable and wise of Hopkinton to require equality and honesty before committing millions more into a school that doesn’t do its job very well.

    Even if Richmond and Charlestown don’t see it, Hopkinton has been working very hard for the common good. You may never thank us but maybe. I once was blind but now I see.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 11:18 am | Reply

  27. Correct me if I am wrong but this bond was to be split by all three towns equally. Isn’t that a start to equality. Doesn’t it make sense to get the monies from the state and make the necessary repairs with monies that are going to be split equally by all three towns? These repairs have to be done. They are not going away. Instead, the get rolled into the budget, causing the budget to increase, and Hopkinton continues to pay for the majority of the cost. How does that make any sense for the Hopkington tax payers?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

  28. CP wouldn’t know a solution if it bit him in the nose. Hopkinton is the adult town among the three. We believe in consequences for past behavior. Charlestown is different. They spend very little compared to Hopkinton and they vote based on their low tax burden. If you live in a half million dollar home in Charlestown and pay the same taxes for school as a $250,000 Hopkinton homeowner then you are a very different voter.

    Richmond is populated by a majority of voters who are not very bright. I guess it is is because many of them benefit from Chariho and government but who knows for sure. Whatever the reason they could care less how well Chariho teaches the kids or how much it costs. Whatever Chariho wants they will vote yes. They are blind and never see.

    Comment by Real Question — April 23, 2008 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  29. A three way split by towns is virtually meaningless. Equity is an equal split by taxpayers not towns. Somebody in a $500,000 Charlestown home may have to pay $10 to $20 more than they would under the regular enrollment split. Big deal. Hopkinton taxpayers are still paying 40% more than Charlestown taxpayers. Hopkinton wants all district voters to be deciding how much to spend when we all have EQUAL repsonsibility for paying. It’s easy for Charlestown taxpayer to vote for or not vote at all when a school budget doesn’t hurt them as much as it hurts Hopkinton taxpayers. It’s like buying a Cadillac for $50,000 or $30,000. You’re more likely to buy if you’re paying less. Hopkinton and Charlestown taxpayers do not start at the same place when deciding.

    Comment by Real Question — April 23, 2008 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  30. Richmond Parent, i ask that you please pay close attention to upcoming town council meetings. I do believe that something might be in the works for Richmond to look at their options for getting away from the folks in Hopkinton. If the town council chooses to form some sort of committee either for the town or conjunction with Charlestown, I hope you’ll be able to join me on the committee. Richmond needs to do something, we can’t keep qoing on with the status quo.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  31. A faux equalized split proposed in the bond would have locked in the inequitable formula for 20 years. Hopkinton Town Council is right to hold the line. And the legislature looks like they get it.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 23, 2008 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  32. Thank you for that information. I will pay close attention. My children have been in the Chariho School system for 9 years and I am lucky that my chilren have thrived. Like most of Chariho parents, education in my family is always our first priority. It is very sad that many of the leaders in Hopkinton do not feel the same way. Over the past 9 years I have seen Hopkinton turn away all possible solutions. For one reason or another, they come up with reasons why they can not support the school district. Everytime Hopkinton turns the solution down, Charlestown and Richmond say they are going to form there own school district and look into pulling out of the district. This bond, to me, was a great solution. Let the voters decide what projects they want done and the towns will split the final cost three ways. If we cant afford all than let the voters decide what should be completed first. Hopkinton leaders should let the people of Hopkinton have this right to decide what is best for their children. The system is broken, I will agree with that, but we have to start someplace. Like I said before, adding the repair cost into the yearly budget, doesn’t benefit Hopkinton in anyway. Thanks again for your positive feedback. I will look for more information to come.

    To the person that wrote “we beleive in consequences for past behavior” what does that accomplish. You can’t control what has happened in the past and who are you out to punish? Why are you so nasty with your comments about Richmond and Charlestown taxpayers? Whats with the name calling?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  33. Hey I’m the consequences guy and I agree with RQ. I’m surprised any parent would not know the value of consequences. Without consequences it is human nature to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Chariho will continue to give little thought to the consequences of generous raises and benefits that are fantasies for the average person until they realize there are consequences. Without consequences Chariho will continue to offer poor education at a high cost.

    Hopkinton tries to make Chariho behave responsibly with the money taken from families. Charlestown, but especially Richmond (since their families pay so much more than Charlestown families) do not tell Chariho there is consequences to spending too much and educating poorly.

    I was taught without consequences you get very spoiled kids who keep making the same mistakes. Chariho is the child and Hopkinton is the adult. Not sure why Richmond and Charlestown don’t understand this basic concept. Chariho never learned because they never had any consequences for failure.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  34. Chariho is not a person, its a group of people. Its not even the same group of people from year to year – So I ask you again, who are you punishing? Generous raises??? I have yet to find a person living on a teachers salary or even a school janitor that is living above the average person.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  35. The people at Chariho, whoever they are, continue to spend too much and teach too little. Denying them access to more money isn’t a punishment, it is RESULT of their actions. If they change their actions they may get different results.

    Double digit raises are far above the average person. Retirement and health benefits are much better (and expensive) than the private sector. If Chariho employees are living below their means good for them, but they are compensated far better than those of us not working for the government.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  36. Hi!
    I have spoke repeatedly about the Hopkinton Town Council and the Chariho School District. No member of my party (Republican) is on the Hopkinton Town Council. However I would not have voted to resubmit the bond.
    First, the bond is likely to fail. Even the recent Chariho budget vote was nearly defeated 2-1 in Hopkinton. The REPEATED ignoring to come to grips about Chariho finances and how it impacts member towns by other government entities such as the Charlestown and Richmond Town Councils as well as the Chariho School Committee speaks for itself.
    Secondly, there is NOT a level playing field in member towns concerning student enrollment, state aid distribution, assessable bases, and tax rates. Hopkinton believe it or not is closer to Charlestown in household income.
    In the end in a STRICTLY FINANCIAL SENSE Richmond is more likely to vote for Chariho requests because of a higher median income higher than the other two towns, while Charlestown has an assessable base higher than the other two towns COMBINED as well as having one of the lowest tax rates in Rhode Island.Rhode Kids Count ,has some interesting facts.
    What was interesting in Chariho politics was the SOS anti-withdrawal group based in Charlestown several years back. While a number of educators and/or their family members were involved with it, that group NEVER addressed a way to solve the fiscal disparities in Chariho.
    Would a Charlestown-Richmond School District really fly? Charlestown at 2.5 Billion Dollar Assessable Base versus Richmond’s 900 Million dollar Assessable Base, nearly THREE TIMES the assessable base of Richmond. When that fact gets better known would they (Richmond) go along with a two town district?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  37. A Richmond/Charlestown school district would provide lots of entertainment. Charlestown would be hiring Richmond to teach their kids.

    I don’t think Charlestown wants to shed itself of Hopkinton only to be stuck with Richmond. Like it or not Charlestown’s tax base makes it a monster. Richmond may want to keep up with Charlestown but they could never sustain a level of spending even close to what Charlestown is capable of spending.

    Richmond better come up with an alternative to Charlestown. If Charlestown walks away I think a Hopkinton Richmond district could work. Hopkinton would be in a better position to demand Chariho teach our kids. Richmond would benefit from Hopkinton self control.

    However it turns out for those two towns I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will leave Hopkinton with no options other than giving parents choice over schools. That would be the best result for all Hopkinton families.

    The school itself is the one who wants to avoid any of the towns leaving Chariho. That means job losses. SOS was formed by school employees and their supporters to keep the Chariho money pit alive. I wonder if they have another ace up their sleeve this time?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  38. TorC, trust me, the sentiment in Richmond is no way do we want to associate ourselves in a school district with Hopkinton. The stonewalling and hissy fit approach that the people in Hopkinton have shown will surely sour most taxpayers in Richmond to be aligned with Hopkinton. It will be either one of two things, either Richmond alone or Richmond with Charlestown. It will be a no way with Hopkinton.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  39. I think Hopkinton wants a better school system than one which finds 2/3 of children testing below passing levels, and this is only on a RI comparison basis. Forget trying to compare us with “real” standards that have some valuable meaning. So I think Hopkinton would be leary of the lack of fiscal responsibility shown by Richmond. Talk of dissolving Chariho is mostly hot air. If it wasn’t, then the Charlestown committee to pull out of Chariho would have provided some real data that could be used to glean what the associated costs are. Blowing off steam on a blog is worthless as far as determining what the solutions to pulling out of Chariho are.Lots of talk and no solutions…..sounds familar doesnt it CP.

    Comment by RS — April 23, 2008 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  40. RS, sure does sound familiar becasue that’s all the people of Hopkinton do, lots of talk but no concrete, viable solutions that will work now. The only thing heard is the temper tantrums coming out from Hopkinton. Even if Hopkinton did get “tax equalization”, Georgia Ure and cohorts would find something else to complain about and still stonewall any real efforts for improvements. I find it rather ironice that another one of the biggest complainers of Chariho isn’t even a taxpayer in your town, right Scott? He also was a councilor when Hopkinton had double digit tax increases after having raided the town’s fund balance account and wants Chariho to do the same thing. He helped to put Hopkinton on the brink of financial disaster and now wants Chariho in the same position. How could Richmond ever go along with a town like Hopkinton with this kind of track record? Part of Hopkinton’s problem is that when you did have a chance to improve your tax base it was balked at by the citizens, now you suffer the consequences for two straight years of double digit tax increases AND not doing much of anything to broaden your tax bases when you had the chance.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  41. Hi!
    Certainly from a enrollment perspective which is close and an assessable base which is close also, from those two perspectives the two town district makes sense for Richmond and Hopkinton but of course Richmond still has by thousands of dollars are higher median household income than Hopkinton. Of course in student enrollment, assessable base, and tax rate, and percentage of local tax dollars for education Richmond is at the top and Charlestown is at the bottom in these categories.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  42. Doing nothing is actually a solution. If we don’t agree to spend millions on bonds for a school not teaching our children to a reasonable standard then this solves the problem of wasting millions. We do still have the problem of throwing money down the tubes with the annual budget but with the state imposed cap we even have hope in that annual money burning festival will be controlled.

    I can live with Chariho being limited by the cap. Now if we can only figure out how to get them to teach the kids.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  43. They can teach the kids better with better facilities to begin with. Also, once the state stop the monopoly the unions have, that will also help. Another item is getting the school committee and the administration out of the negotiations as long as there is a union involved. Your solution of providing sub-standard schools to the students only hurts, does nothing to improve. Your the unions fools if you keep going after the administration instead of going after the real problem, the unions themselves. Give the students what they deserve to have and stop punishing them with your foolishness.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 8:06 pm | Reply

  44. Foolishness is thinking taking money from the family homes where the children live to give to the school will improve education. Chariho does such a lousy job I think they should send all parents a few thousand dollars so they can get their kids tutored. Maybe Chariho should finance repairs to the homes of their students? Teachers should have a special tax to help out families.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  45. Chariho HS SAT Scores for 2006 – 533.02 531.88 516.36. Well above the state level and in line with national levels. RS please tell me what data you are looking at that tells you that 2/3 children are testing below passing levels. I would like to review this information. According to those SAT scores, Chariho is doing their jobs.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  46. SAT scores are self selected. Students considering going to college take them. Many students do not take SATs. NECAP scores were awful. All students take NECAP.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  47. The NECAP tests are administered to students in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. SAT testing is on a national level and in my opinion give you a better picture of how are children are doing on a national level.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 23, 2008 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  48. SATs are for college bound students. Not all students. You have a picture of how kids heading to college do on SATs.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  49. RP,
    If you were paying a contractor to remodel your house, and that contractor was 3 times more expensive than its competitor, and he did a lousy job, would you take out a loan to continue to pay them? Same with Chariho. Yes we have holes in the bathroom and lots of other maintance problems. We pay over $12000 per student for this but I now pay $4000 per student in a private school and the bathrooms are nice. WHy would we continue to pay for poor academic and management performance? Worse yet, why would we take out a loan to do so?

    And as for raises – the support employees on steps average 9.5%, the teachers on steps average 10.5%. Thats why I posted the contracts so people cant make things up like that. Its on the right column. Have you averaged a 10% raise per year? If you did you probably deserved it (or are in the NEA). We don’t take job performance into account when we give out raises. As a matter of fact, we had a teacher who missed almost half the days in the school year (for mutiple years) and still gave her the same raise as everyone else. Is this the socialist lesson you want to teach your kids?\

    Scott, no, Andy P voted to give them both 3 year deals and did last year too. As for the hearing – I don’t mind doing an evaluation in private if wished, but sealing the minutes is silly. Its your money – don’t you want to know how we spend it?

    CP, Not exactly. “King” Day did not use the rules correctly. The rules say you CANT stop debate if someone has something to add – but they did. And Holly Eaves said if the board votes to do it, then to heck with the rules. As an aside, I think she has taken a sharp turn south. I used to have faith in her but she just parrots the school now. Probably explains why she is going to school to be a teacher.

    And for Ricci versus the Union. The NEA complaint and the James Madden issue are both examples of how the admin and NEA still work together. Why did the NEA complaint stick for 7 months until a little old lady wrote a letter.
    Are we to assume our lawyer is so incompetent that he couldn’t do what Mrs. Botelle did?

    RS, RE: test scores. Comparing Chariho to the state is not relevant. We are the most highly concentrated “core city” population. Not exactly the comparisson you want to make. Try comparing us to our demographic peers. According to data from Kids Count we should score better than South Kingstown and North Kingstown. Do we? And I believe the comment was in regards to the NECAP scores where only 29% of our students can score a 62.5 on the math test. ToQ answered the fallicy of using SAT’s. If you want to know how NECAP scores equate to NAEP scores that data has been done (although the admin didn’t know anything about it). NECAP scores are inflated about 93% compared to NAEP. MCAS is the only state that comes close.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 24, 2008 @ 12:19 am | Reply

  50. BF… thank you for your response. I would like to further discuss this with you. Correct me please if I am wrong, but how can you compare a public school to a private school when private schools do not have the unions to deal with and they don’t have the same student diversity that a public school are required to deal with? If I could get someone that is not a US citizen to do a job on my house at the fraction of the cost, why wouldn’t I do that? Its against the rules and regulations that have been established. But… If I could get the state to pay for over half the cost of doing the repairs on my house, why wouldn’t I do that? The repairs have to get done, so explain to me why I would not take this opportunity. Instead, the leaders of Hopkinton have decided to let the tax payers, thru the fiscal budget, continue to pay for those same repairs at a much hight cost to them. From what I hear you are all upset about the idea that individual tax payers of Charlestown wont pay the same amount for the repairs, even though the remaining cost will be split three ways by the towns. What did you win?

    I am just trying to be disrespectful, I am just trying to understand you logic. In regards to comparing Chariho to the state, I agree, I am not! In my opioin, I prefer looking to the SATs score (a test that is the same throughout the country regardless of population and diversity) to see how individual college bond students are comparing to the rest of the children in the nation. I want to know how our school is doing overall in preparing kids on a bigger picture than just Rhode Isalnd. Please let me know what website I can go to that equate NECAP to NAEP scores.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 8:00 am | Reply

  51. Correction …. I am “not” trying to be disrespectfu, I am just trying to understand your logic. (Sorry typo)

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  52. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that private schools may have a HIGHER student density. (CHARIHO is around 10:1)

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 24, 2008 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  53. SATs meausre only the students who take the test. Not all students. If Chariho only is concerned about how well they are teaching college bound students than it might be a reasonable measure. While RP may not be concerned with all students I assume the community pays for education with a desire for all students to succeed?

    The bonds were not limited to repairs. There were many things being funded with the bonds beyond repairs. I’m not impressed if the state agrees to subsidize wasteful spending. I pay taxes ot the state too. I don’t want Chariho or the state to waste my money.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  54. The money from the State you folks so eagerly want to spend comes from where? THE TAXPAYERS of Rhode Island…..I’ll simplify it for you… comes from our pockets, not some entity of them or they. WE(citizens) are Chariho, the towns, the county and the State. It is not some other entity that we can pluck money from at will.
    Did you get your 2/3 not passing score question answered? Open your eyes people, the information is out there, use it or lose it.
    I see Charlestown is talking of vouchers because if they pull out of chariho, they will not have the infrastructure to educate their children for a few years. Imagine that…Charlestown going to a voucher system….hmmm.

    Comment by RS — April 24, 2008 @ 10:16 am | Reply

  55. Yes SATS measure only students who take the test… I beleive that % of kids that took this test was about 70% in CHARIHO. If I am wrong about that… please correct me. Anyway… I do wish there was a test that all students in this country take… but their is not. So I feel the SATs give me a better idea then the NECAP. I really dont care if my child is doing better than my neighbor community what I care about is how well is he doing on a national level. On a national level, CHARIHO did very well. Again, my opinion.

    DG can you expalin what you mean by “density”? Thank you.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  56. You didn’t hear about the newly discovered money tree?

    I’m excited to hear Charlestown is considering vouchers. If they do use them they may want to hold off on building a new high school. Once parents get a taste of making the decisions on the best school to send their kids and the kids start excelling they may have a riot if they try to force the kids back into a government chosen school.

    I noticed in the article on Charlestown’s school options they don’t mention combining with Richmond. They talk about building schools in the middle of Charlestown not near the border with Richmond. Maybe Charlestown isn’t as thrilled about being stuck with Richmond as Richmond seems to be about sticking to Charlestown?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  57. On a national level college bound Chariho students did about average. I set my sights higher. NECAP testing tells us how we perform against our peers (schools with demographics like ours). We perform dismally. If your opinion is we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the 30% of the students at Chariho who do not take SATs, then I disagree. I’d be curious to see how Chariho’s SATs score compare to schools with similar demographics. It would be nice to know Chariho educates to average with one group of kids at least. I’m doubtful. I wouldn’t stop at national comparison. Kids today compete globally. We need testing that lets us make global comparisons.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 10:50 am | Reply

  58. – this web page (2nd page) will give you that information. If breaks it down by schools within our state and gives you the national averages. We should concern ourselves with the 30% not taking the test. But in the real world not all kids are college bond. Not all kids are booksmart but may have other highly qualified skills. Chariho gives great opportunities thru the votech program. Teaching kids that not college bond a trade.

    In response to the your tax dollars… yes it is your money… the state is offering to give it back to you to help you improve your community. But apparently, you don’t feel we need it as bad as all the other schools in the state. So give it to them. Let them continue to improve other schools in the state because apparently are school is in great condition. I see your logic.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  59. As you can see from this report… only three schools in the state scored higher than Chariho. Barrington – East Greenwich and North Kingtown.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  60. In response to RS… it is important that when you are comparing stats you compare apples to apples. When you look at the scores that you are refrenced (2/3 kids not passing) I would encourage you to compare Chariho to other schools when the same demographics. What I mean by this… Chariho tested over 300 studens and yes 29% were considered prof in Math but you need to look at the results of other similar schools if you are going to make a comparison. Out of the ten schools testing over 300 students… four schools did better than Chariho. Room for improvement always but when you throw a statement out there like that make sure you give the whole story. Make sure you compare apples to apples. Not apples to oranges. Chariho is not a small private school.. you can not compare.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  61. FYI – NECAP In mathematics, (oct 2007) 72 percent of New Hampshire students did not demonstrate proficiency on the new standards.

    Vermont – In mathematics, (oct 2007) 70 percent of students did not demonstrate proficiency on our new standards

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  62. Richmondparent: I really wanted to look at that page, but it says that I am not authorized. Is there another way to view your information?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  63. I am concerned by our proficiency and lack of proficiency. Part of this issue is about the curriculum choices this country as a whole has made (Chariho included). I am hoping that the math curriculum choices being made now will help correct some of the problems.

    It is a myriad of issues that compound the problem of proficiency, besides curricula choices.

    The issue of school choice could also help.

    The difference between small and large schools have an impact on achievement scores.

    Quality teachers will affect them.

    Whether a child had the food that morning for breakfast or whether they received enough sleep the night before would certainly affect the child’s score on the achievement tests.

    The validity of the test questions.

    The more prevalent the issue of learning disabilities is today as it was earlier in public school history. (This is debateable by many.)

    All these tests have relevance depending on what you are using them for. In a global society, it is important that our achievement tests reflect questions based on international standards. If they don’t, then we are only competing with ourselves. I question the validity of all these tests, as I do not think they go far enough to deal with the global society.

    My question is how can a third world country outscore us in math?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  64. The report I am looking at for SAT scores 2006 can be found on the RIDE.RI.Gov website. In the search bar type in SAT 2006 results. The report I was reading…College Board Release Rhode Island SAT, AP, and PSAT Results. Just make sure you are looking at 2006 report. As far as the NH / VMT results I went to each individaul states education website and looked at their reports. Yes you are right test results are difficult to measure a school perfomance on. So many variables will affect the outcome of a test score. My point is – lets look at the other states and see how they did… if they also did poorly then maybe its the test?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  65. But, that is the problem with tests. How do we know that they are not poorly written? How do we know that they really test the intelligence of a child?

    Think about the math tests. If you have a lot of questions on the test that require reading and you have a child that is a poor reader, how are you really testing his intelligence in math? I have looked at some of these test questions. They do not go far enough, and, sometimes, I think they discriminate against children with disabilities.

    I truthfully don’t hold a lot of value in these tests. They really only take into consideration what the current philosophy is of the time. Personally, I would find greater value in comparing demographically over a period of decades. I would seriously like to know how these NECAPS compare to tests given 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. How do we compare the tests of today with the tests of yesteryear, when the tests have not remained stagnant?

    Short of looking at averages, all other aspects of these tests should be considered. What is the median score? What are the high and low scores? What does the bell curve look like with our demographic peers and those who are not like us demographically? An average does not provide enough evidence to support an argument.

    Suppose you have a district that has proportionately more learning challenged children than another, how do you compare the two? The district with the greater number of learning challenge students may have lower scores which truly doesn’t provide a good comparison.

    It’s a complicated menagerie of tests. I don’t envy those that have to review them, especially when they have a lot of shortcomings.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  66. There is no easy fix with the district. Sad, but true. I believe everyone is trying to do the best with their abilities and their experiences.

    We often vote by our circumstances. The council voted to what they thought was best for all of Hopkinton. They in “no way” voted to take away from the kids, any of them. You forget that some of us have kids or have had kids in the system. Some of us are a product of Chariho.

    Many people from the public and the council have offered suggestions on what to do. They’ve attended meetings and often have had their ideas initiated and some have been scoffed at.

    Many, in Hopkinton and maybe some in the other 2 communities are just of the opinion that the problems will not be corrected by voting in this bond. Do you think the other problems would ever be addressed or a solution agreed upon if this bond was put through? I do not think so. History is proof of that.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  67. Hi!
    It is a fact in the past and I recall it when Mr. Pini was Supt. Mr. Polouski voted against the automatic one year extension to a three year contract. That is a change in his voting behavior on that issue.
    I tried to call you last night at home and your cell Bill. Hopefully we can chit chat soon.
    In response to your question earlier today on this blog I do care how money is spended. It in fact before my infamous budget cut of 2 MIllion Dollars in 2005; then Supt. Pini only gave me small amount of information BEFORE the Chariho School District Meeting and when I inquired more, “If I wanted to be his boss to run for school committee” and “Why didn’t I attend all the budget meetings”,. These are likely not exact quotes but close!
    Remember Stephanie Brown, then Chariho School Committee Chair refusing at a meeting/workshop after the cut that she would not give the amount in the budget that is mandated as that is all they would be given to run the school district. She was a Hopkinton representative at that time NO LESS!
    BTW in 2004 I had just been defeated for re-election to the Hopkinton Town Council after serving eight years. However I took the bull by the horns and made the motion to cut 2 Million Dollars from the budget when those Hopkinton Town Council Members did nothing.
    What is always missed among other things the school district avoided fact finding, a process where they MUST demonstrate to the state they could not operate the district with the amount budgeted.The pro budget side just arranged a second budget vote.This is where you cannot just say you don’t have enough money to run the district BUT YOU MUST PROVE IT!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 24, 2008 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  68. History is proof that continuing on the same path is bad for the kids and bad for families. We also know that the U.S. has fallen behind in the global classroom. We can assess our performance by the number of engineers and scientists we bring in from other countries because our schools no longer produce enough homegrown talent.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  69. LB… thank you for your feedback. Where you able to review the websites I suggested? Do I think this bond would of solved all our problems. No…. not at all. But… in the best interest of our children, realestate and community it was a great start. It really would of given the voters the opportunity to decide what projects they wanted done. Financial, to me, it would have been a much better deal for Hopkinton then paying more for repairs at a much higher cost in the fiscal budget. Not perfect, but better than the alternative. Like I said the repairs are not going away… the will eventually have to be taken care off. The CHARIHO problems have to be addressed one issue at a time. Hopkinton leaders cant keep saying no to everything, calling people names, and claiming they are somehow more educated then the other two towns. They have to start some place. Hopkinton claim this is a poor perfoming school so why should we throw monies into the school? Simple not true..take a look at the information – “its out there”. Great Leadership is taking people to a new level and getting people to work together. Lets stop looking into the past and look into our future. We can make this school a great school if leadership takes the steps to work together.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  70. Richmondparent says: Hopkinton leaders cant keep saying no to everything, calling people names, and claiming they are somehow more educated then the other two towns.

    I don’t know of any Hopkinton leaders who have done any of this. They have also been willing to work with the district, attending budget workshops, school committee meetings, etc. I am proud of our current town council and their efforts. You may not agree with everything they have said, but they have researched their topic, and I do not believe they would argue their points without good reason. Name calling – ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    Richmondparent says: Hopkinton claim this is a poor perfoming school so why should we throw monies into the school?

    I have not heard any of the officials say that this is why they are not in support of this bond. Some unknowns on this blog have suggested that this is their reasons, but I do NOT recall any Hopkinton officials have ever stated that.

    Richmondparent says: The CHARIHO problems have to be addressed one issue at a time.

    If the bond goes through, the problems will not be addressed.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  71. The major issue is that Richmond and Hopkinton households (not towns) pay over twice for every budget, bond, personnel contract, etc created at Chariho – anything Chariho pays for we reimburse them double what Charlestown does. Both of us – that’s real citizens with real money and real checkbooks – not state funds. Richmond is actually higher than Hopkinton – Richmond pays even more than we do. It’s nuts. And they love it.

    I have also asked for the school to supply SAT scores for the top 10% and top 20% of our students who take the test. The average may be because many take the test who will not be going to college. The SAT’s are national. Have been given for decades and decades so that we can do reasonable comparisons. I allow that our scores may be lower because of the number of students who take the test. But the top kids should (if we are teaching them well) be consistently above 1100 at the low end and any where above that (up to 1600) at the high end.

    Leadership is the ability to see the hard truth and encourage people to examine the path. It means we are determined that this District is going to act like a District and not separate and completely unequal towns to the detriment of all.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  72. Lois,
    The bond NOT going through is one of the problems! When will people start to realize that? Many of us want better schools for our children, school in better condition than what we have. We don’t want the repairs costing us big dollars year after year in the operational budget. We don’t want to have to pay for 70& of the repairs instead of 44% which we could get if the bond vote went before the legislature.
    Also, we heard over and over again during the casino debate to let the voters decide. Why not let the voters decide if they want to repair certain buildings and not others? Is the anti-Chariho bond segment afraid of a higher voter turnout this time around and parts of the bond maybe passing this time? Why should the town council take away the right of the voters to decide?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 24, 2008 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  73. LB… I never said officials but sorry “leadership” was a bad choice of word…should of said residents..

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  74. We voted. Case closed. How about we revote on the budget? I didn’t like that result and I want to change the budget so we can vote again.

    The bonds contained much more then repairs. Repairs should be part of the budget not a bond. The Hopkinton TC protected the rights of Hopkinton voters by not allowing Richmond and Charlestown to keep coming back until they managed to fool enough voters.

    Hopkinton was railroaded when the $2.0 million budget cut was overturned a few years ago. The extra $2.0 million was there and Richmond and Charlestown were duped into believing the sky was falling. Here they go again. Hopkinton is the thinking town. We don’t run around like chickens with our heads cut off.

    Comment by Real Question — April 24, 2008 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  75. We disagree with how the financing works. A bond to deal with making repairs would do a few things.

    The positive you are thinking about is the repairs will be done and out of the way, and we could receive the reimbursement.

    One negative is that the bond would not be affected by the property tax cap. So, theoretically between the towns and the district taxes added together, one or more towns could exceed the cap. The state would likely grant this exception because the bonds and notes have to be paid. Plus, the voters would have approved the bond as an addition to their current tax rate. Yet, another burden.

    Secondly, as Barbara has stated, the finance issue would not be dealt with. Many truly believe that to be treated like a district, we need to be taxed like one. So a person who owns a $300,000 home in Charlestown is charged the same in Hopkinton and Richmond. Chariho is not a college campus. Chariho is a public institution which is required by law to service all children within the district. Colleges charge tuition. Private schools who are selective about who they allow to attend, charge tuition. The burden shouldn’t be on one individual more than another in a school district.

    How is it fair that Grandma Moses in Hopkinton pays 2.5 times more than Grandma Moses in Charlestown? All other things being the same other than a town line.

    If we were like Westerly, and they have what one or two more schools, we would be charged as a district. Different villages within Westerly are not charged differently based on a village line.

    We all benefit from all the schools. Kids cross lines all the time to be serviced in the other town schools. There are kids in Richmond and Charlestown that are serviced in Hope Valley. I’m sure there are kids in Hopkinton who go over to Charlestown. And I know kids from Hopkinton and Charlestown go to Richmond. Why? Because their disability is better serviced in one location, which is a smart, cost saving measure by the district.

    The other problem is that the state aid does not do nearly enough to equalize it so that the burden isn’t so heavy on Richmond and Hopkinton.

    The other thing and I just thought of this in reference to the police contract because it is somewhat similar. Precedence is set. Should we expect that 10 years down the road when more issues come to the surface that don’t get addressed through the annual budgets that they will get financed by a bond. Well we’ve set precedence for the future. Maintenance isn’t an issue because it will take care of itself through a bond.

    I would like to see maintenance become a priority in the schools. The budget surplus is not as important as a scheduled maintenance plan. At this point, the only time things get done is if someone from the state fire marshal’s office threatens them. The district holds them off by chipping away at their demands. This is another financing problem.

    I don’t fault the teachers in this. I think they do a wonderful job. I’ve met many and I can count a few of them as friends, good friends. Unfortunately, the contracts are a financial burden, and Hopkinton and Richmond taxpayers, individually pick up the biggest burden.

    We all pay the same for gas, oil, and go to the same stores and pay the same prices for the same food. Town lines don’t affect that. But, our town lines affect the way we finance our children’s education.

    As far as the voters deciding, they already did last November. They spoke because they agreed that they could not take much more, and they agreed that the tax inequality was becoming unbearable.

    The split wasn’t good enough for the committee when it was brought up to them over a year ago. The idea was there then. Apparently, it was a flawed idea because the committee voted against it. Yet, now it isn’t.

    Therefore, there are a great many things that will not change.

    Finally, the town of Hopkinton just rejected the budget. They recently rejected the bond. I don’t see things changing until a lot of other issues are addressed. The burden is too heavy.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  76. Richmondparent: I know a lot of people in all 3 towns. The people in the 3 towns are great people and we have great kids. I choose not to join in the name calling as some in all 3 towns have done. And it isn’t just some Hopkinton residents who have been guilty of it. One of our councilors was called evil by a Charlestown resident. There is just no place for name calling.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  77. Most scholarships at better colleges demand an SAT score at 1200 or higher.

    Are any of you aware that ‘Proficiency’ is 62% in the NECAP scoring? I would consider this a D-. Any of you who consider the concept of ‘proficiency’ to be a mark of decent learning need to ask more questions. The educational establishment has skewed and padded and mauled the use of words to their advantage and for the parents comfort. Maybe it’s just politically correct – we wouldn’t want anyone to think they were incompetent after all that teaching.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  78. To Mr. Felkner: do you think the Catholic school is actually running itself for only $4000 per child? I seriously doubt it.

    The real question is what the total cost per student is; at the Catholic school I’m familiar with they don’t publish the budget, so there’s no way to know.

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  79. How much of the difference between Richmond and Hopkinton is that Richmond has grown, with lots of new houses and younger families, and Hopkinton hasn’t? Couldn’t the town encourage growth?

    Well, maybe not now, with the economy down, but it’s clear that Richmond has grown much more in the past ten or twenty years.

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  80. 62% is not a grade… it is a percentage of students that are proficient (meeting the standard) in this subject.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 24, 2008 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  81. Seems to me that the union contract, in its rigidity and its enormous scope, makes it much easier to be a member of management. Since they can always blame the union and the contract for problems, management (including administration and elected officials) do’nt really have to take ownership for problems.

    That’s multiple reasons to change the contract. Place the principals in charge and incentivize the teachers to support. Take some modest but real steps in the next contract — that’s more important than squeezing another $15 in concessions.

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  82. What Would A School Voucher Buy?
    The Real Cost Of Private Schools
    by David Boaz and R. Morris Barrett

    David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and the editor of Liberating Schools: Education in the Inner City. R. Morris Barrett is a writer in New York.


    Executive Summary

    American schools are failing because they are organized according to a bureaucratic, monopolistic model. A school voucher of $3,000 per student per year would give more families the option of sending their children to non-government schools. However, many people believe that such a small amount could not possibly cover tuition at a private school; they may be thinking of such costly schools as Dalton, Andover, and Exeter and concluding that all private schools cost in excess of $10,000 a year.

    In fact, Education Department figures show that the average private elementary school tuition in America is less than $2,500. The average tuition for all private schools, elementary and secondary, is $3,116, or less than half of the cost per pupil in the average public school, $6,857. A survey of private schools in Indianapolis, Jersey City, San Francisco, and Atlanta shows that there are many options available to families with $3,000 to spend on a child’s education. Even more options would no doubt appear if all parents were armed with $3,000 vouchers.

    Comment by Real Question — April 24, 2008 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  83. Hello RichmondParent,

    I asked the question at the school board meeting (April 8th discussing State Assesment Results) – What does ‘proficiency’ mean for these students scores? I was told by the Assistant Superintendant that to be considered ‘proficient’ the score to be reached by these students individually was 62. The only results given are how many are ‘proficient’ – not their actual score individually.

    So if 29% of the students were proficient – it meant 29% got scores above 62. And trust me, all the percentages were awful. The NECAP’s are brand new and obviously flawed. Everyone did horribly and I do not think we can consider this test in any way useful. It was embarrassing to everyone – teachers, administrators, students, parents. It was a process that needs a great deal more work.

    The SAT’s on the other hand have been used for decades, are national and actually quite difficult. If we compare our best students to the best students in another state, I am sure that they would shine. If we always use averages we dumb down everyone. We have very bright students and they should be honored. Life is not fair and we constantly lump our brightest learners with our most difficult learners and then complain about the average.

    I absolutely agree that our math curriculum is quite ‘underperforming’ and needs to be radically changed back to basics. I also believe we need to ‘track’ students so that the quickest learners in a particular subject are together and challenged substantially and consistently. The students who need additional time and assistance are together and those that need a great deal of help are together. Most politically incorrect.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  84. The first effect of a voucher program would be an immediate and commensurate increase in private school tuitions. Guaranteed.

    As noted above, more families would be interested in private schools. It’s simple economics: If demand increases, you can raise prices.

    The principal beneficiaries of this would not be familie in private schools, but private school employees. Not that they don’t deserve it…

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  85. What’s the date on that David Boaz article? Schools like Dalton, Andover and Exeter cost over $25K!

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  86. Just looked up the Boaz article. It’s from 1996; a tad bit out of date…

    Comment by david — April 24, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  87. Dated or not the data is based on school choice. Private schools can run the gamut of price. If the the money is the there the product will follow. School choice is about the moderate and poor students and their families. The rich amongst us always have more choices. I don’t begrudge them. We should all strive to be successful however we measure it. Vouchers will allow the average families educational choices they don’t have now. Parents know their children best. Know their needs best. Parents are the best ones to choose. I trust parents over Bill Day and Barry Ricci every time.

    Comment by Real Question — April 24, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  88. I was thrilled to read Charlestown put vouchers on the table as an option for their town. Maybe if Hopkinton doesn’t take the lead Charlestown will. If a leader emerges and shows the rest they have nothing to fear from choice this will be a great thing for our kids! Expect to hear a loud howl from the unions should any town dare to let families choose schools.

    Comment by Real Question — April 24, 2008 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  89. I’ll be sure and tell my children when they compete for a job someday to make sure they pick and choose which demographic base they compete with for the job…..that should have them prepared for the world and on their way to success. GEEEZZ….give me a break. Not passing is not passing. Doesn’t matter what the guy in the next town, county, or state is doing. A failure to obtain passing scores is just that.

    Comment by RS — April 24, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  90. For those of you who have read (here or elsewhere) about the Edmonton school choice model. I just met with someone from that group down here in Atlanta. That choice model has been so successful that it has put many of the PRIVATE schools out of business. Yes, you heard that right. The quality of the public schools improved so much that they began to exceed that of the privates. Funny what a little competition can do.

    I’ve also arranged to have Angus McBeath come to RI (former superintendent of Edmonton). Keep your eyes on this or the OSPRI blog for updates.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 25, 2008 @ 12:01 am | Reply

  91. RS, clarification – “Proficient” means they score a 40 our of 64 – thats 62.5% and only 29% of our students could score better than that in math.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 25, 2008 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  92. In California and Arizona, two states with very supporting charter school laws, private schools are likewise struggling. Many are converted or morph into charter schools, other struggle along, but almost no new private schools are created anymore. So I’m told.

    I’ll need to read up more on Edmonton.

    Comment by david — April 25, 2008 @ 5:41 am | Reply

  93. If in the end we are left with the best schools educating our kids then we should all be happy. When public schools are forced to compete most of them improve and thrive. Good for them and great for us. Bad teachers and incompetent administrators are the only ones who have anything to fear from school choice.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  94. David… in opinion, you are right… “the first effect of a voucher program would be an immediate and commensurate increase in private school tuitions”… and who is that going to hurt. Not the rich and you have to ask yourself who will be attending those schools that don’t cost as much to attend? You may get a voucher for $3000 but what happens when private school tuitions double because of demand. Private schools can pick the students they want to attend. I would love to know how many students at St. Pius are special needs students and how many student they education with IEPs. Bill F. can you answer that questions?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 8:00 am | Reply

  95. LB… thank you for your response… but my question to you is what is next? What would you like to see the town of Hopkinton do? Do you think they are better off with their own school and do you think they can afford this? I understand all the issues that you talked about but were do you start? The schools need work, they are in terrible condition. I think we call all agree on that. Some of the samller jobs the employess at the school can do but many any of the major problems the janitors can not take care of. So my question to you is how do you think we shoud handle this problem? It will take several years to change the programs that are in place.. so what do we do in the mean time?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  96. I spoke to someone recently involved with St. Pius. They work with the Westerly School District for children with special needs. So, there is a program. How many are involved? I could not say.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 8:22 am | Reply

  97. 69.9 of students at St. Pius are reading at the Standard (2006 scores). Bill what test was this and do the children at St. Pius take the NECAP? Again… I would like to know the % of children with IEPs and Special Needs?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 8:45 am | Reply

  98. Why do people come here asking other for answers on a topic that is all over the internet.? School choice has a positive effect on special needs. Take Bill F.’s direction and see what the results have been in Edmonton. Look at Milwaukee or Cleveland. Look what happens in the European countries where choice is the norm.

    If you’re looking to scare people then constant negativity is a good strategy. If you really want to know if parents choosing is the way to go, then let’s have honest discussion. Bring your own facts to the table.

    Unlike a program like Chariho where the kids are all crammed into a program with eductation options limited to what the spec ed program offers, school choice lets every family pick the program that they feel best suits their kids. Every child gets an individual plan with choice.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 8:47 am | Reply

  99. Please note that is the eight grade scores. 65% of Students meet the standard in Math. Data on the St. Pius website.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 8:48 am | Reply

  100. Probably no answer to this but it would be interesting to find out how many kids who are identified as “special needs” by public schools end up as mainstream in private schools? I know a family who took their “challenged” child out of public school years ago and he had no problems in mainstream classes at a private school. There must be financial incentive or something to increase the special need enrollment in public schools? I’m guessing there would be a lot of unemployed social workers and psychologists if school choice was nationwide policy.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  101. RQ… please note.. I am just trying to get the facts… If you can point me to a website that will give me those answers…that would be extremely helpful. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  102. It takes great leadership to get beyond these problems.

    For Hopkinton, we are faced with additional problems. As you may or may not know, the town voted last year to look into the notion of returning the 5th and 6th grades to the elementary level. That has unfortunately been complicated with the fact that the district refuses to utilize the 1904 building.

    After the 99 million bond was rejected, the district announced that they were returning the Hopkinton 5th graders back to the middle school. This obviously went against the wishes of many because most parents from all 3 towns, based on repeated Chariho surveys, agree that they would like at least their 5th, and 6th graders in the elementary schools. Our leadership has chosen a different path, forcing Hopkinton to probably make some hard choices down the road.

    The Ad Hoc committee is working on developing options, but this takes time and of course money. And the money is not currently there in our current operating budget. There is a line item in the next fiscal year’s budget, though. The options are to date: Restore the 04 building, tear it down and add on to the other 2 elementary schools, or accept that our children will remain in the middle school. The choices will definitely put hardship on the town of Hopkinton, but if all 3 towns worked to solve our elementary issues, spending whatever we think is necessary, separately but perhaps through the same bond, we could work to bring all our youngsters into a more socially appropriate learning environment.

    This would free up room at the middle school for the ALP and RYSE programs. And the 9th graders could be retained at the middle school.

    Additionally, great leadership could organize multiple work parties at the high school. I’d be willing to bet that the repairs could be completed by a great many people throughout the community. But, it has to be organized with the cooperation of all 3 towns, probably with donations from local businesses.

    Building new structures is one thing. You need to contract out for that. But, repairs? We have a lot of talented people in these 3 towns. If we could pull our resources together with the help of the children, we could complete many of the repairs ourselves. This to me is a healing opportunity for the towns, as well.

    But, the other issue is financing. It is a big sticking point. And something has to be decided in regards to it. This is the most divisive issue, and I do believe it threatens the existence of the district. I’ve stated my reasons for my philosophy in how it should be financed. And I understand that others have their reasons. There has to be some way to work it out without destroying the district.

    Chariho is a great thing. A lot of great people are a product of it. And we have some great kids currently within its walls. If we can’t communicate and work through our problems, then like a marriage, divorce may occur. That will be one of the saddest days of my life. Yet, I still will remain optimistic that in the end, we can work it out.

    I, personally, don’t recommend building a new school especially when we have trouble maintaining existing structures. I don’t blame the employees for this. This comes with great leadership as well.

    As a community, a tritown community of like families and struggles, we can pull together and fix these things. What a great thing to teach our kids.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  103. The above response was in response to Richmondparent’s questions. I hope it helps.

    Curious about St. Pius and the scores. It is relevent as the children are some of our own children. And it is important to know the number of IEP’s within the school, as well as, curriculum, classroom size, teacher to student ratio, actual standardized tests given, limits to the amount of parental involvement, expectations placed on the children to perform, and I think the list could go on.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  104. Thank you for your feedback… I enjoy our conversations. . I have one more questions…Please, if I am wrong about this please correct me, I thought because of the unions, having volunteers do jobs that employees can do was against the union rules. I ask this because well working on a fundraising event, in order to keep the cost to a miniumal, the parents wanted to do the clean up and not pay for a janitor. We were told no we couldn’t do this. So I ask if this is true… parents couldn’t do a lot of the work. Your thoughts?

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 25, 2008 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  105. While we are trying to find facts on how St. Pius does with special needs, I’m wondering how Chariho does? Should be easier to find out Chariho results since they are public. How much do we pay Chariho for special needs and RYSE? Where can this information be analyzed? I’ll see what I can find out about St. Pius and other private schools the minute the same info is provided on Chariho, a public school.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  106. How is that any different than hiring out to a contractor. Other than the contractor is unionized. The employees have to accept outside contractors coming in to do work, why wouldn’t they accept volunteers. And I didn’t say that they couldn’t work. It is really up to them. They are paid if they work, unless they chose to volunteer their time as well. They would be on sight with the volunteers doing the work.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  107. By the way, the same thing happened in Hopkinton, the union grieved it and won.

    The point is they should, if the contract is written as so, be allowed to work and be paid.

    Also, we are not taking their jobs away.

    Personally, this would be a wonderful way to develop community spirit.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  108. Lois,
    Aren’t contractors usually hired to do maintenance work that the janitors and maintenance staff cannot handle? That could be difference.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 27, 2008 @ 7:52 am | Reply

  109. I know parents would work on the schools but I beleive the union contracts do not allow for this. When trying to raise monies for the school at a fundraiser event, the parents could not do the cleaning up on Saturday…we had to pay a janitor OT to do the job the parents wanted to do. LB you have suggested that “We have a lot of talented people in these 3 towns. If we could pull our resources together with the help of the children, we could complete many of the repairs ourselves”. I am not so sure that is a possibility because of the contracts.

    Comment by Richmondparent — April 27, 2008 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  110. It is possible to get rid of the people who negotiated contracts where the community can’t improve the schools with our own sweat and hard work. School choice would quickly solve these contract problems as even the union members would have an interest in making the schools look decent while remaining competitively priced.

    Comment by Real Question — April 27, 2008 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  111. RQ, do yo really think the unions care? The unions only care about one thing, it’s called money in their pockets and not in ours. That is one reason why I continually say that the problems begin with the unions.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 27, 2008 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

  112. Unions hurt the community but unions are paid to worry about their members. Management is different. Management is paid to worry about stockholders (that would be us). Chariho union does its job whether we like it or not. Chariho’s management doesn’t do its job.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 27, 2008 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

  113. FYI:The bond proposal(H8227) will be reviewed before the House Finance Committee tomorrow at 1 PM.This piece of legislation only appears to address construction projects at the High School, athletic facilities and Maintenance shed.

    Repairs to the Middle School and RYSE are not included in this piece of legislation.

    Comment by george abbott — May 5, 2008 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

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