Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 23, 2008

April 22 meeting

Filed under: contract negotiations,merit pay — Editor @ 1:04 am

Not as active as last time, but an interesting meeting.  Catch it on ch 18 tomorrow at 8 pm and Friday at 12 noon.


Bill Day took the podium at the public forum to complain that I yelled at him on the phone after he discussed my family in public.  I did – both on his answering machine and when he called me back.  He said I threatened him too.  After he offered to share the “taped” message I left him, I asked him if he could tell me what they threat was.  He did not answer.


There was also an agenda item to discuss the use of “move to question.”  Hopkinton Town Council member, Barbara Capalbo wrote the AG’s office and the Superintendent about the issue too.  Her point was that the Committee uses it too much (4 times in as many months).  My point was that in January, when Bill Day told me to make a motion so we could discuss, and then Andy McQuade made the “move to question” motion – it was clearly used to stifle debate. 


Capalbo copied the page from Roberts Rules that says, “The chairman never has the authority to close debate as long as one person wants to discuss the motion.”  It also said, “it is not proper to make this motion before everyone has had the right to debate.”


I asked that we get a legal opinion.  THis was turned down.  They moved to have the sub committee (made up of school committee members) decide.  At the meeting, Holly Eaves said that it was Roberts Rules and not law.  And since 2/3 voted for it (not all times actually) that it was ok to do it.  Bill Day said that he, as chairman didn’t end the debate, the voting body of the Committee did.  Thats the jist of what I recall, watch the show and let me know if I’m off.  But they will interpret the rules and let us know.


I also made a motion to get all of our administration contracts down to 1 year so we could cut positions when budget time came around.  Right now, we couldn’t cut positions because we were told the contracts wouldn’t allow us.  The motion was denied. So, lets say Charlestown left the District and we only needed 2/3 the staff.  If the employee is on contract we can’t cut them.


Speaking of contracts, they approved the super and assistant super contracts too.  We do that every year – but its a roll over of another three year contract.  So they are never without a minimum of a 2 year pay package.  And they sealed the minutes so you can’t know what the discussion was like – we discussed his job performance and the contract details.  Again, we could have done anything we wanted to the contract but we didn’t change anything – other than the income.  So if your rep on the Committee says they will fix the contract next time, ask them why they missed the opportunity to do so with the administration.


During the last contract negotiation everyone said we were going to do better next time.  No more treating these employees like a protected special class who get bigger raises and better benefits than everybody else.  No more paying them on seniority – pay them on merit just like the real world.   But we had an opportunity to do it tonight and nothing changed.  We couldn’t even get them down to a 1 year contract.   Nothing changed.


I think George Abbott voted for all or most of the motions.  He was also supportive during the superintendent evaluation.  I think Bob Petit voted for a few too.


Lastly, Mr. Ricci said that he does not answer my emails because he feels that I share confidential information.  Indeed, his admission was in Executive Session and they sealed the minutes – so he may consider the act of me telling you that I can’t ask questions, a confidentiality violation.  So if you have any questions that involve the behavior of an employee or student, I will not be able to ask for you.  I’ll assume that I can still ask other questions.


However, one of the questions still not answered is this – sent to Ricci in an email.  A Kindergarten teacher told me that the school places a “2” on the student evaluation even though they don’t teach the subject yet.  This has been confirmed by other parents.  I asked the principal and she denied it.  I asked the Superintendent and he won’t answer me.  Is that confidential?




  1. I want to chime in on the contract situation also. I can’t comment on what hapened in the executive session as it was voted to seal the minutes but I will say that I agre with Bill on the fact we had a chance to make some changes and missed the opportunity. I also voted down all contracts. It is time to make changes.

    As far as the “move the question” and Roberts rules of order debate, I voted against asking the attorney ONLY becasue we have requested to have the attorney at the next meeting. We have hired new legal council,and we asked to have them come in and meet again with all of us and the public and open it up for any questions. I don’t think we need to ask council a question today and wait until the next meeting for an answer when the legal council will be at the next meeting and it can be asked then….same effect.

    Bill I think we asked them to correct the “2” or the way they report on the report cards. I will look back on this. I beleive Holly made a motion that night you first mentioned this and they were going to make sure this was fixed. I maybe wrong, let me look into this.

    Comment by bpetit — April 23, 2008 @ 8:37 am | Reply

  2. There is no reason a discussion on the length of contract should be kept from the public. I don’t care if it is legal or illegal to keep it secret. Why not let us know where each board members stands on an issue like this? Then to add insult to injury they vote to seal the minutes so we will likely never know their opinions.

    Why Richmond and Charlestown would ever let these sneaky people control more of their money is beyond me. They can’t even be open with us when talking about the length of the super’s contract never mind negotiating contracts with the unions.

    A motion to move they need 2/3 to pass the motion. With 11 members they need 8 to approve. If they moved a motion without at least 2/3 they didn’t comply with Roberts rules of order.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  3. the vote was made in public. The contracts are public information once approved. The executive session minutes were sealed. So you can ask to see the contracts and if you watch the meeting you can see who voted how.

    the 2/3 vote wasn’t an issue it was the way we handled one of the votes that was. Bill was correct on one of the issues as he should have been able to discuss his point before the questioned being moved. The other times the ‘move the question’ was used correctly or so most of us feel. We will ask the attorney at the next meeting and get his opinion since he will be there for open questions anyway.

    Comment by bpetit — April 23, 2008 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  4. What about the discussion about the contracts? Will we have be able to hear the discussion once the contacts is approved? Is it taped? I’d like to know how well my representatives did their job. Is there a reason why the public can’t listen to the discussions? This is the stuff that upsets me. The board can say they are hiding anything but why do they hide then? I’m glad they at least announce the votes these days.

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

  5. The biggest issue is why they spend so much time out of the public? While RI’s governor proposes more transparency with contracts and government Chariho goes in the opposite direction. They will tell you they aren’t breaking the law. Many times this is true. So what? People like CP will complain about jumping to conclusions. This is a frivolous charge because Chariho chooses not to share information with us. If we reach conclusions based on their secrecy this is reasonable. If they are not up to no good then they should get out in front of the public for contract discussions. We have a right to know.

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

  6. Hi!
    Question: Was the motion(s) to extend the Supt. and Ass’t Supt.’s contact done in public or perhaps just announced in public?
    Hirst v. Chariho School Committee
    (un)official ruling by the Rhode Island AG’s Dept. in 1999,says that votes need to be made in public, if I recall correctly. The public has the right to know how individual school committee members voted. Was the votes announced and how members voted announced publicly? I realize discussions of personnel can be held in closed session but actual votes should or must be made in public. I need to review that ruling but I have a concern whether the spirit of that ruling was follwed. Was it?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  7. Nothing is ever easy with the school committee. They act as if they are independent from the towns they are supposed to serve.

    Why not have discussions in open meetings? If Barry is rewarded with raises and three year contracts then the committee must think he is doing a great job. Why not discuss the great job he is doing so we can all hear? Aren’t we entitled to know who thinks Barry’s worth a raise and another 3 years and who thinks he is not?

    The situation at Chariho stinks to high heaven. The committee members are all elected pretty much without challenge. Most of them have connections to Chariho. The loyalties lie with school and not with the families of the towns. We are to blame for not putting up enough candidates to protect our interests, but whether it is our fault or not, I like the fact that Hopkinton sticks up for the families when they vote.

    Comment by Paying Attention — April 23, 2008 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  8. Hi again!
    Traditionally groups, follow Robert’s Rules of Order, Latest Edition, unless rules adopted by a body or organization conflict with Robert’s Rules of Order,than the adopted rules of the organization take precedence over Robert’s Rules.
    Are Robert’s Rules of Order used in governance of school committee meetings or subcommittee meetings?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  9. Hi!
    1.I understand that Bev Kenney’s been subbing at Chariho. She is retired from the district. She is the least objective person in regards to Chariho on the Hopkinton Town Council. If that is true she should have identified that fact Monday night when they voted on the request for Chariho buidling bond matter. Her husband is school building committee chair and their son might work at Chariho? Not sure?
    2. Any employee can ask for their performance review made in public. It is the option of the employee.It can be open or closed. As far as I know all votes have to be made in public though.I will stand corrected if that is wrong, but I believe it is right.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  10. Scott the vote was reaffirmed in the public session. How we voted in public session was how we voted in the exectuvie session.

    Comment by bpetit — April 23, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  11. So the super can tell the committee he wants his job and contract to be discussed in secret? I don’t like it since his job is so public but if that is the law then I guess we can’t do anything about it. If the committee volunatarily keeps discussion of his performance from the public than I strongly disagree with them.

    I do understand keeping issues with kids or taxpayers out of the public since they are not employees and don’t work for us. They are entitled to their privacy. Employees should not expect privacy from employers who pay their salaries. If it is the law it is the law but I think it is bad law.

    Bill Felkner said that there is no law for union contracts to be secretly negotiated so why are supers given more power to hide their contract negotiations?

    I also have to wonder if the super can require discussions of his contracts length must remain secret and sealed?

    Why can’t the committee talk about the length of his contract? Who gets multi year contracts anyway?

    If we had a super regularly reducing budgets and saving us money on union contracts or teaching the kids to the point where test scores were amazing then maybe a multi year contract would be justified but what has ANY (not just this one) Chariho super ever done that warrants taxpayers being committed to them for years?

    I want to vote for school board candidates who will promise to only keep things secret they legally can’t make public. (Like when the super legally requests it be kept secret.) We don’t always have to agree with politicians but we should always be entitled to know why we disagree.

    In the future we should try to get poltiicians who promise to be honest and open with the town. I think our TC is pretty good. We need more choices for school committee.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  12. Hi!
    In the past Mr. Polouski voted against automatic one year extensions of three year contracts. Did he do do last Tuesday evening?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  13. Hi!
    Do do was a typo I just caught. It should say in second sentence Did he do that last…,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  14. Hi!
    As a suggestion you may want to discuss what you optionally do in public and must do in private as a school committee. I believe personnel matters and student matters such as behavior/disciplinary must be held in private if requested. Do labor things always be held in private if at least one side requests it such as contract talks.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  15. Hi!
    The filing period for school committee candidates and other canidates is June,23,24, and 25TH,. THe last day no later than 4 PM,.
    If interested in running as a Republican contact me at 401-377-4643 or ,.
    I am Hopkinton Republican Committee Vice Chairman. Party Chairs in Hopkinton are Kenneth Mott, Republican and Vincenzo Cordone,Democrat.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 23, 2008 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  16. Robert’s Rules of Order are not laws, they are rules of conduct. The larger the body, the more the rules should be used. Small groups, especially those under 12, usually don’t hold hard and fast to Robert’s Rules of Order. Did Chairman King Day use it to stiffle debtate? I don’t know but wouldn’t doubt it, he’s one of the most arrogant people that I’ve ever met. That man needs to go and I hope the voters of Richmond vote him out this coming November.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 23, 2008 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  17. If they group isn’t following particular rules then I guess anything goes? Why listen to Day if there are no rules? If the board stop debate with less than a 2/3 vote and they follow robert’s rules, then they broke the rules.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 23, 2008 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  18. Truth or consequences I dont disagree with you on the fact that there needs to be transparency. But before you jump down my throat and praise the Town Council take a look at the Westerly Sun.

    As a matter of fact here is the posting, it is about the police contract.

    “Hopkinton did not release the amount of accrued com­pensatory time for union members when it denied an Access to Public Records Act request filed by The Sun last fall.”

    I think they did a great job finding and fighting this but there must be a reason they felt they didn’t have to come forward with how much time and money is out there for the compensation.

    I will admitt to you I did make a mistake the other night. I voted to seal the minutes and I apologize for this mistake. I think they all have a right to go into executive session to discuss their performance, ( I believe they have a right to request this, but another thing I will look in to ) but once the contract is agreed to I think the minutes should be open to the public. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  19. I’m trying not to jump down anyones throat. I apologize if it seems I am. I do get frustrated when info is kept from us.

    I’ve read here about the HPD police and the problems with all their spending. Brown Univ. reported a few years ago that RI police departments were the worst at breaking the open records laws. The police in RI, not only Hopkinton, refuse requests for information even when they are legally obligated to provide the info.

    My wish is for all politicians to vote for records and meetings to be open every time they can do it legally. Why hide info? I’ll never understand it.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  20. OK, so lets get this straight! WE ALL PAY for something we can’t control, can’t investigate, can’t question, and we believe that the work product not only could be better, but is overpriced and poorly kept. AND many believe we should not complain, but PAY MORE! Have I got that right?

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 24, 2008 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  21. That’s my impression of Charlestown and Richmond’s argument. We complain too much, ask for too much info, and expect too much. We should be like them and shut up and pay.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  22. Dorothy is that question directed to me? If it was, I dont recall saying anything like that.

    What I am saying about the executive session the other night is this, As far as I know the super and assisitant had the right to request their evaluation be held in executive session. Where I made a mistake was to vote to seal those minutes. I don’t think there was anything said in that meeting that couldn’t be released to the public should they want to look at the minutes.

    I know a lot of you think we as a school committee are doing all kinds of things behind your backs. What I was referring to earlier with the Town Council is that they also go in to executive session but it seems to be ok for them to do it without question. Almost seems like a double standard here.

    I don’t have a problem with the way the Town Council has handled their business. I just want to say that, because I don’t want to be misunderstood here. Sometimes legally things can be requested to be heard in closed session just as well as some can request to have it heard in open session. I think they way we handle the minutes after the fact can be different to some degree.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  23. Truth or consequences I don’t feel that the public asks to many questions. I respect the questions; it is when people start to throw around accusations without the facts that bother me. I think the public should be more involved from all 3 towns. Than ultimatly the school committe has the final say with our votes. Hopefully we all listen to the tax payers, look over the information handed to us, we do some research on our own to back our thoughts and make a decision that is best for the Chariho School District.And yes that does mean that there are times we need to go against what some in our town believe is the best. Not everyone can come to meetings, town or school, but on the same token not all come to these sites and blog either so I think to go by what we hear on these blogs alone is an injustice to the tax payers also, hopefully, and I can say I do, ecspecially on the bigger items, the elected officals go out and talk to people about how they feel.

    I want people to understand if we are doing what we are elected to do it is a lot of work and efforts to try and do right. I will make mistakes, but will accept them when I make them and yes I have made a few since being elected.

    Keep the comments coming, because somehow we need to try to pull them all together to make this district whole again.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  24. I agree the websites don’t cover everything but the lack of defense makes me think there is no defense. CP tries but rarely makes sense or puts forth a logical argument. Bob P. tries to defend bad decisions sometimes but it seems pointless. Facts are facts. Why do most of the public discussions here tend to be all on one side? I think those supporting the status quo are afraid of having their positions looked at closely. I want Chariho to spend less and deliver more. I can’t imagine trying to convince people Chariho delivers enough and spends too little. If that was my position I’d avoid talking about it too.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 24, 2008 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  25. I hope I didn’t come off defending everything we do as that was not my intentions. I started this whole conversation by saying I was wrong with the sealing of the minutes and really not sure why it is even asked for. I will be the first to admit that was a mistake on my part and can even be called statis quo, as I didn’t give it any thought until after the fact. My mistake. Again I don’t feel there was anything talked about that needed to be sealed. I can’t go into it becasue it was sealed. I did say earlier and stand by it that there are some things that need to be sealed like those of the students of the district. But they also have the right to be heard in public should they want.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  26. Bob,
    If you and the others agree that there isn’t anything in those minutes that would require them to be sealed, there isn’t anything to stop you from changing your mind, right? Couldn’t you at the next meeting revote on that issue?

    I will check on the law, anyways. Curiosity has gotten me.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  27. I am not sure on that Lois but let me know. And all I am saying is that I felt I messed up by voting to seal those minutes, please don’t misunderstand me I am not saying the whole committee does. I am only speaking for myself here. As in any comment I make here, it is only my interpertation,thought or feeling towards something and I do not speak for or on behalf of the rest of the committee. It is not correct to do so or mislead you into thinking that.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  28. sorry about the last sentence

    It is not correct to do so and I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  29. Thanks for clarifying that. I knew what you meant, but it is important to clarify that as others may not have understood.

    I could see others in the committee making the same mistake you made, that is why I had suggested that this issue be addressed. After all, we are human.

    I would also think that a thoughtful public body could address that they could make a mistake in interpreting the laws. (A solicitor present at all meetings would hopefully alleviate that problem.)

    I would hope that there would be an avenue by which you as a school committee, or any public body, could correct a mistake if there is a consensus. Perhaps, when the committee meets with the solicitor publically, this question could be asked.

    I did look at the laws. I did not find anything that would suggest that you could not as a committee consider opening sealed minutes or a portion of them. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  30. Mr Petit,

    My query regarding why we should be called on to pay for overpriced, poor quality, secret negotiations, and poor performance was not directed at you, but simply an exasperated, disgusted comment on the current sad state of affairs.

    By the way, I really believe that teachers try their darndest to do the best they can for the students. I believe that the leadership has deteriorated to a secretive, underhanded, illogical, selfish, thoughtless, self important, self serving, and empire building secret society.

    Kids in their society are used as an excuse, and sure as heck are not the focus of their attention for any improvement, excelence or acheivment, especially if it causes any difficulty or sacrifice for them. I am sure they believe that kids come first,but only after them.

    Hope that clears everything up for you.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 24, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  31. Lois I can and will ask about that just to find out what the answer is and get back to you. The attorney will be at the next meeting. You are right, there should be a way to change it. I think Bill tried this at one time and I can’t remeber the reason behind not changing or re-voting. I was on the majority side so I would think I could bring it up for a re-vote.

    Dorothy yes it does clear it up and I hear your frustration. I am also glad to hear you give credit to the the teachers, as not all are bad and it is nice for them to hear that at times too.

    Can someone tell me if the ad-hoc committee is still meeting about the 5th and 6th graders? I haven’t heard on how that was going and I am interested in how things are going.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  32. I think that most of the writers are NOT complaining about teachers generally, but the poor leadership they are given. I know we all complain that they are given pay raises that are more then in the private sector, but who among us would decline a raise? We need to work to change many things, and certainly we need to negoatiate to keep costs down. YES, that will affect how much teachers are paid, but that will be the end result, and until we get there, we can’t blame individual teachers. We need to negotiate a livable, but fair( in step with the private sector) wage, expect and demand leadership from the administration. Demand transparency, honesty, and consistent leadership.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 24, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  33. Dorothy I fully agree with everything you said here Mrs. Gardiner and couldn’t have said it better myself. Sometimes things like this take a little time to get the ship turned in the right direction. It has been full steam ahead for many years now and something this big cannot be turned on a dime. I know it is frustrating for at times because it most certainly is for us. I think it is starting to happen in some areas and like Bill said in others we fall short……way short.

    Comment by bpetit — April 24, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  34. Bob,
    Since you asked, we met today at the 1904 building, with Dan Cartier, Bill DiLibero, Doug Reese, Barbara Capalbo, 2 ad hoc committee members, Brad Ward, who is our building inspector, Holly Eaves, and a few others from the town DPW, and a resident, as well. We went from the basement up to the 2nd floor. A great deal was discussed. I took some pictures and I believe Dot Gardiner took some a while back. Perhaps, this is something we can post online sometime for all to view.

    When the issue comes down to what to do, the pictures will perhaps give people an idea of what to expect.

    It is a lovely building. Surprisingly in excellent shape. But, there are some things that would need to be addressed.

    The main issue is obviously fire safety. Many of the issues within the building would not be an issue if there was a sprinkler system.

    We are trying to set up a meeting with an architectural firm now. But, there is no money alloted for that yet. The new budget, which has not been voted on yet, has a line item in that. I imagine we will be limited as to what we could have an architectural firm do without money in our current operating budget.

    I talked at great length after the tour with Dan Cartier. He had a great deal to offer regarding the newer Ashaway building and the Hope Valley School. If in the end, if the taxpayers decided to abandon the 04 building because of feasibility, cost, and other problems, then we still need to address the other buildings to make room for the 5th and 6th grades. Mr. Cartier and I discussed some options with that.

    I could not believe the space in the basement. What a waste. Not that it could be used for classrooms, it does have some issues that may have to be dealt with, regarding fire safety.

    There was a lot to digest today, and I hope to elaborate more, as soon as I can.

    Dinner time. Have a nice day.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  35. TorC, I find your statement about the “status quo” rather amusing. You (the you is meant for everyone, not just you personally) are the ones supporting the status quo. You want to keep the schools in the same condition that they are in. You want to keep the ancient 1904 building. You want to go after the administration while the unions play you for their fools just like they always have. You don’t really want change, the only thing you want for change is for Charlestown to pay for 75% of the expenses while they send the fewest students to the school. Even if you got your so called tax equity there would still be a problem giving the kind of schools that the students deserve. If the school district wanted to build new building, you would say that wasn’t right, they should be in modular buildings. There is no statisfying many people from Hopkinton.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 24, 2008 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  36. Forget the darn 1904 building, it’s a waste of time! Geesh… I hope it goes to bond issue so that I can vote against it!

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 24, 2008 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  37. You don’t have to worry about it. It is Hopkinton’s decision as to what to do with it.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  38. bpetit says: “Hopkinton did not release the amount of accrued com­pensatory time for union members when it denied an Access to Public Records Act request filed by The Sun last fall.”

    First, they didn’t have to, this is not an open meetings issue. Even if it was, the issue went to arbitration, and the council was required to remain silent.

    The town discovered through an outside audit that compensatory time was being accrued by the department. The records, which were kept by the department, had never been turned over to the finance department, so they were unaware that this was going on. The audit was what brought it to the surface. The town put an end to it last year and the union grieved it.

    The union lost as the existing contract did not have anything regarding this type of situation regarding how it is accrued. The arbitrator said that the town could stop the compensatory time because they are the employer and they have this right.

    The practice apparently had been going on for years. Yet, past practice was not the issue. Thankfully, the outside audit was done. The town received the information, and it was stopped right away.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  39. P.S. The councilors and the solicitor brought up the issue through many of the council meetings, but much of it had to remain quiet as it was in arbitration.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  40. The most important part of the meeting was tabling a set of contracts that were supposed to be approved. Andy McQuaide made the motion and I forget who seconded it. There were 11-13 ?? contracts for administrators that were going to be rubber stamped. At the Chariho budget meetings we could not remove any administrators because their contracts were not up — They were not staggered to allow the school board to cut, delete, or remove an administrator. And if these contracts are approved without staggered terms, we are stuck. This must not be allowed.

    I am hoping Tom Buck can speak to this with the board. Andy made a great move and the board has temporarily agreed. Support them.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  41. If it’s Hopkinton’s decision as to what to do about the 1904 building, why is someone from the school district there?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 24, 2008 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  42. I do not know that. Perhaps, she was an interested party. We have nothing to hide.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  43. The school building was turned back over to the town. The DPW people have to take care of checking on it and maintaining it, which includes bleeding the boiler out, while it is operational, on a weekly basis.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 24, 2008 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  44. Let me get this straight. Hopkinton did an outside audit and discovered that compensatory time was being accrued by the police department. Through an outside audit they discovered a problem and corrected it. I assume this will save the town money in the long run.

    Just so I’m clear, Chariho was going to do a management study of the district to see where money could be saved. The majority of the school committee members removed this item from the budget, to “save money”.

    Ah yes, that makes perfect sense. But wait, wasn’t Barry Ricci against the management study? Makes one wonder what could have been uncovered and how much money could have been saved by the district and the taxpayers.

    Comment by NewBlogger — April 24, 2008 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  45. Thanks NewBlogger for your comments, but the town did not do an outside audit to discover the compensatory time issue. It was brought to our attention by the new Financial person, Mr. James Lathrop. He also is the one suggesting a different pay schedule for Chariho to assist with the town’s cash flow (also Charlestown’s and Richmond’s). He comes from the private sector (not public or municipal) so as he questions procedure(s) he finds areas where we can improve our financial stability. He has been very useful and pleasant and helpful to say the very least. He has, indeed, been saving us money already.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  46. Hello CharihoParent,

    This was the last walk-through of the 1904 building with the school district. Dan Cartier told Doug Reese (our head of Public Works) all the things and processes they needed to do with the building. I don’t know if Mrs. Eaves was representing herself or the school board, but she was and is welcome to attend especially as we (Hopkinton) have to decide what, when and how we determine the use or not of this building.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 24, 2008 @ 8:43 pm | Reply

  47. Remember to let us charlestown residents out of the district and support us with all your hopkinton and richmond ‘representives’ in a slam dunk 7-0 vote when we want to with draw (again). Also welcome our ‘vocational students’ first as we will your young people room permitting on a tuition basis as best we can since neither of your towns can afford to build your own schools. Cash works best for us.

    Comment by It's Over — April 24, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  48. Its a shame that the SC Chairperson seems to be having a melt down before the tri towns eyes. Just because one is paranoid, doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you and your performance.

    It blew up in the districts face after the NEA tried to smear Felkner and they the SC played along/laid down (why?) at the cost of the tri town childrenand taxpayers. I haven’t heard Gingras or Barr apologize. It was Barr’s union exploits that cost the children and the taxpayers. No taxpayers of either towns (CHA-RI-H0) can be proud of such a display. The 800 lb gorilla (NEA-RI) couldn’t swish this banana. Is the current SC Chairperson trying to wear themselves down after the dog and pony show they chose to participate in (?), because it appears FELKNER will be the last dog in the ring.

    Not exactly Richmond and Proud. We’ve been embarrassed before by such displays/outburts when on the Town Council many years ago (the 70’s I believe). Is it time for a ‘Time Out?’ One would think so.

    Comment by Disgraced — April 24, 2008 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  49. It’s great to see after a 48 hour period of the last sc meeting the passion
    no matter what side of what issue your on. I’ve read them through and see a lot of sides and thoughts to what is going on. Glad to see folks paying attention and passionate. More facts then feelings if we can. That would be great. Bill Felkners site? If yes, Thanks. Also appreciate all your thoughts from chariho parent, dorothy gardiner, bob petit, barbara c. and the a.k.a.’s. (Also known as’)

    Good to see those residents above choosing not to be fooled or schooled by the school committee. Tri Town kids first, teachers and their benefits second and administrators last.

    Is the SC Chair OK? Lucid? Lets hope so. Maybe the Vice Chair needs to step in? Whats up with the leadership or lack of it? Why the vacuum?
    Thanks again I’m learning from you folks all.

    Comment by Heartened — April 24, 2008 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  50. To Newblogger: I apologize to you regarding the outside audit. Mr. Lathrop is outside of the police department, but he is still a town employee. I misunderstood as well. My statement was a little misleading. Again I apologize.

    I have spoken to Mr. Lathrop about Chariho’s finances, as well. He makes sense, and his idea would benefit all 3 towns, regarding the payment schedules.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 25, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  51. Forget changing the payment schedule. The geniuses on Richmond TC have spoken and unless Hopkinton agrees to throw away millions of dollars more at Chariho then Richmond refuses to save itself any money by changing the payment schedule! A banker, a finance professor, and still not a lick of sense.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 6:19 am | Reply

  52. No need to apologize Mrs. Buck. As a new person viewing the finances, Mr. Lathrop picked up on a problem that has now been corrected.

    There are certainly areas where Chariho could save money. I for one believe eliminating some of the many administrative positions and the many administrative assistant positions would be a good place to start.

    An outside management study could have zeroed in on some of the areas where money could be saved, and not at the expense of the students. They might have even got to the bottom of the whole RYSE financial situation. The Chariho administration says RYSE saves the taxpayers money. Does this savings include the costs for ALL the extra councilors this program needs? I don’t think anyone has really seen proof that this RYSE venture really is saving the taxpayers money.

    Yup, if only a management study was done, who knows what would have been uncovered and how much money could have been saved in next year’s budget.

    Comment by NewBlogger — April 25, 2008 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  53. Funny thing about government. They are all for auditing private businesses but they hate to investigate there own way of doing business. The Prov. Journal has a story about an audit done on Providence summer lunch program (whatever that is). They discovered that the administrators were fraudently collecting money from the federal government for lunches that were not purchased or served. Hundreds of thousands of dollars taken from American families and stolen by government workers.

    Who knows what Chariho is doing with all the money we give them? Richmondparent is asking what private schools do with special needs kids but nobody seems to care what Chariho is doing with these kids? We know we spend a fortune but do we know what results we get for the money? Why be concerned about what private school MIGHT do when we don’t even know what public schools are doing?

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  54. Lois don’t get me wrong here I agree there are times that things need to be worked out before it goes out to public. I have said this all along; it is not that the Town Council or the school committee is trying to hide things as we are being accused of. Funny how you jumped right out to defend the Town Council on how they handle this situation. This does show indeed that even the town Council knows there are things that have to be discussed in executive session until resolved. I am referring to your comments 38 and 39. I don’t disagree with the way the Town Council handled any of this. And I don’t disagree with you.

    Answer to question #44 ( New blogger) – No Barry Ricci was not against doing a Management Study. I was the one to bring it forward and spoke to Barry a few times about this while I was trying to research companies and Mr. Ricci was very supportive. I know this for a fact because I was the one talking to him. Someone else just made an assumption and started a rumor that he was against it and others jumped on board. All Barry Ricci said about it was he felt it should be done through the budget. I made the motion to put it on the table and I made the motion to take it off the table. Hopkinton voted down the budget that was put out to them as it is, would you have passed a budget with another $100 thousand in it just because the Management Study was in it? I do agree with Barbara the Mr. Lathrop has made some interesting observations and suggestions for the town and the district. He did work with the Financial Subcommittee and thought the recommendation of the 2%-4% for surplus was reasonable.

    Comment 48 ( disgraced) another thing that should just be over. The complaint was dropped. Let us get back to what we should worry about and that is the education of the students in this district. Go to the Labor Relations Board site and look at the frivolous complaints that are out there against other school committee’s filed from the NEA. Bottom line is once there is a complaint filed, frivolous or not, it has to be answered to. Just because it was frivolous doesn’t mean it just goes away. Now it can, so let it and lets move on.

    Comment from New Blogger about the RYSE program. Is it about the children and their education or the money? Just a question. If I came to you today and told you or showed you (which I can’t just hypothetical) that it was a wash. It didn’t save and didn’t cost the district anymore money to have these children here or out of district, what would you want me to do? Would you want me to motion to close the program or continue on? I am curious as to how many of you feel not just New Blogger…..

    Comment by bpetit — April 25, 2008 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  55. Hi!
    Two straight questions:
    1. Was the management study included in the recent adopted 2008-09 school district budget? I believe it isn’t. Correct me if I am wrong.
    2. How many line item transfers were done between adopted budget line items in last year’s,2006-07 school budget, and how many has this been done so far in this 2007-08 budget? Only the school committee has the power to approve those changes.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 25, 2008 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  56. I saw the perfect observation about RYSE and special ed on these boards. Why force kids into one program? Nobody seems to know how good RYSE does for the kids and nobody will supply specific numbers on cost. At the very least special ed parents should have the other programs they can choose from. Until someone shows me RYSE is guaranteed to be the best program for all special need kids then I disagree with RYSE being the program. For all rhetoric about it being “for the kids” when it comes to RYSE they don’t seem to be about what is best for kids at all. Don’t close RYSE but let parents decide if they want their kids in RYSE or an outside progam.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  57. Scott Bill no the Management study was not included in thisyears budget. And it was still voted down would you have voted for it with another $100 thousand in the budget?
    Off the top of my head I think I recall 2 transfers in the two years I have been on the committee ( 1 1/2 yrs.). And the point of this? Not sure where you are going with that?

    Real Question- you didn’t answer the question I asked all you did was come back with the same thing you have been saying. Is it about the cost or the education?

    Funny things is how many people that say they don’t know how good RYSE is for our kids have a clue as to how the out of district programs are for our kids. Are they better? I know how you feel about having a choice of schools, that is not what I am asking here. Do you know if the out of district programs are beter for our district students? Do you know if they get a better education? do you know if it would cost less?

    Comment by bpetit — April 25, 2008 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  58. Mr. Petit- I base my comment about Mr. Ricci being against the management study because I watched the school committee meeting when this issue was discussed. He was very defensive about the need for the study. In his passive aggressive manner, he down played the need for the study and came across as being insulted that anyone would even consider the study. I believe he even snapped at George Abbott during the discussion. Mr. Ricci appears to have little patience for Mr. Abbott.

    When RYSE was first proposed, the argument made by the district was that the program would save money, that’s why I mention the money aspect. As a taxpayer, it concerns me that the administration cannot produce clear documents that show exactly how much this program costs each year and also how much is being saved.

    What concerns me as a parent, is the number of times I read in the paper that the police have been called to the RYSE building. It concerns me when I hear kids are being forced into this program and the parents have to go to court so their kids don’t have to go to RYSE.

    It concerns me when I hear from the parent of a child in RYSE that her son was being tormented at school to the point he wanted to drop out.

    It concerns me when I hear there is an elementary school age student in RYSE, with all the older children, because the administration didn’t know what else to do with this child.

    There are children that need extra help and attention, and they should be given that. I haven’t seen any proof that these children are getting the best education out of RYSE.

    The original argument made by the administration in support of RYSE was that it would save the district money, this has never been proven. When a parent sues the district so their child does not have to go to RYSE that only proves RYSE is not the solution for everyone and students should not be forced to go there.

    I would love to see the school committee demand (and actually receive) the financial documents that prove RYSE is really saving the district money. A management study may have helped crack this nut.

    Comment by NewBlogger — April 25, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  59. I saw the same meeting where Barry Ricci was obviously irritated the discussion of a management study. Came through loud and clear. George Abbott seems like a decent guy but he’s pushed around easily and Ricci takes advantage of Abbott’s low key personality.

    NB observations about RYSE are exactly on target. The program is unproven and nobody will provide any details on cost. How does anyone compare when the program we use doesn’t provide any answers?

    I do not feel schools should ever be forcing children into experimental progams. RYSE and the treatment they use is not proven best for every student. It hasn’t even been proven best for one student never mind all of them.

    I trust parents to make these determinations in any case. Bob Petit is certainly in a better position to tell us the cost and effectiveness of RYSE but he doesn’t do that and instead insists outsiders should tell him about the cost and effectiveness of the myriad of other options available. When all else fails I guess distraction is what we should expect.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  60. All the parents who had to fight the Chariho lawyer when their kids were placed in RYSE clearly believe that the other locations were better. Who are we to tell a parent what is best for their kids?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 25, 2008 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  61. New Blogger I don’t recall Barry Ricci getting on George about the management study. I am not saying it didn’t happen but I don’t recall it, all I am saying is if there is one thing I know of for sure; because I was the one who was working on this; Barry never said he was against it. I don’t know what more to say. I was the one that brought it up, I looked into the different companies, I e-mailed different school committees/boards and commissions to get information on MGT especially and I am telling you in working with Barry on this issue he never said he was against. I will go out on a limb here and say that in this instance I would know better than anyone in the district because of the extensive work I was doing on this, but yet you seem not to believe me? Than you question why the Administration gets upset or after a while might not answer. Except the answer on this one. I truly was working on hard on this and I am telling you he didn’t say he didn’t want to do it, but strongly thought it should be a budget item.

    I don’t know about the RYSE program saving money or if that is something someone said and everyone followed along. The transportation costs in it self should save money. The administration shows the costs of the program every year. Still doesn’t answer my question. Is it the cost or the education?

    Now as far as the the police being called to the RYSE program or the RYSE students being the ones that cause the trouble.

    How many people realize this: when a student gets in trouble in the high school with a serious infraction, we as a school committee have a choice

    1) Send them to RYSE (because we have a program in house we can use)
    2) Send them out of district
    3) Home school them (pay for tutoring)

    One way or the other you are going to educate these children, no more expelling from school. Laws say you can’t.
    These calls for the police you are talking about, not all for the RYSE program because they are RYSE students (as everyone likes to say). There are more students in trouble at the high school and end up in RYSE than RYSE students having the police called on them. This is a total misunderstanding or another rumor that everyone jumped on. I am not saying there hasn’t been problems with RYSE students also but not as much as people like to blame. I have been in more disciplinary hearings since joining the school committee for high school students than students that are in the RYSE program. The good thing about this program is that when a student makes a mistake we have an option with this program in our district. WE can send a student there for some time try to work with them and slowly integrate them back into the high school with monitoring. The other choice is to send them out of district and let other schools worry about it. I don’t like that alternative as we all make mistakes Even the “good” kids may make mistake once in awhile, is it fair to send them out of district or should we try to work with them?

    Being tormented at school to the point of dropping out? I wish some of these parents would come to the school committee meetings or file a report on these things. I hear a lot of people say they know of someone that had a problem with the RYSE program but they don’t let us know about it; can’t fix what you don’t know. I can’t go on hear say. And to stop any arguments about the one person that did come forward (I will not use the name as it is not right too without them knowing) it was not handled right from the beginning and created a mess for all involved. I wish this person would ask to have it on the agenda and come and speak and let us know as anyone who has a problem.

    With that said, bullying and tormenting went on when I was in school and will go on long after I am gone I am sure. It happens in RYSE, middle school, high school, elementary school, on the play grounds in the neighborhood and so on. I am sure you get the gist. I don’t agree with blaming that on the RYSE program and it isn’t even a good point.

    The students in the RYSE program are monitored, if there was an elementary student in the RYSE program than I know they were watching carefully. To be honest with you I think there are more elementary students that should be at the RYSE program. I think they need that structure to achieve a better education. Maybe we should consider some classrooms just for them.

    You haven’t seen that they are getting the best education out of RYSE, OK, where would they get a better education for what they need? Can you show us that by sending them to any of these other programs our district students would receive a better education? Were more of these students graduating when they were out in these other programs? Were their grades higher or lower? Did they attend school and when they didn’t did the other schools really care? I mean they were still getting paid so what difference did it make to them if the students came or not. At least in district if they don’t come to school we know and care.
    When a parent sues the district? What one parent? Out of how many students in RYSE since it opened. I recall Westerly getting sued by a regular student about 8 years ago over a tee shirt that the girl wore to school. Should we close the high school and send them away? I am not saying everyone will be happy with RYSE or the high school. You do have choices, we have a lot of students that go out of district, and RYSE is no different.

    Again we do see a financial statement every year on RYSE. The question still stands than.

    To you is it about the COST or the EDUCATION of our students. If it cost the same exact amount to send our RYSE students out of district as it would to keep them here what would you want us to do? You haven’t answered my question either.

    Comment by bpetit — April 25, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  62. I’ve answered your question. If it costs the exact same amount I want the parents deciding where their kids should go. Who are we do decide what is best? With all due respect I trust parents to determine what is best for their kids – not Chariho, not you, and not me.

    As for cost versus education, there is clearly a limit on how much we should spend versus the end result. No doubt pretty much every kid would get the best possible education if we provided them with a private tutor. We don’t do this because it would cost a fortune. We do limit what we are willing to spend to educate children. With RYSE we aren’t told how much it is costing nor how well the kids do. Anybody can graduate and grades are most often subjective so that is not a true measure. Tell us how much RYSE costs and give us objective data on results.

    However effective RYSE may or may not be, there are numerous other theories and alternative to RYSE’s methods. Barring wide discrepancies in cost families should make these decisions not an institution with a vested interest in keeping all the children in one program.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  63. While I don’t doubt Bob P.’s recounting of Barry’s demeanor, I saw the same SC meeting as NewBlogger and Barry was extremely put off by the discussion of a management study. He tried his best to deflect and postpone. He was successful.

    Maybe he was nice about it with Bob P. because he knew that once he got past the public vote he could easily manipulate the situation and avert the study. As we know now that is what happened. No study. No outsiders looking for savings or management methods. How convenient it worked out the way it did.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  64. Mr. Petit- I too thought I answered your question. IT IS BOTH THE EDUCATION AND THE MONEY! BOTH!

    Mr. Ricci may not have “said” he didn’t want the study, but actions speak louder than words. He got very defensive about the study at the meeting when it was discussed. He certainly wasn’t advocating in favor of it. Nor did he voice an objection when it was slated not to be included in the budget.

    I don’t think you should have removed the management study from the budget. You ask if people would have voted for the budget with the extra $100,000 for the study. That’s not the appropriate question. If cuts were made in other areas of the budget (administration for one) then money would have been available for the study. This study wasn’t a major factor in the final analysis of the budget.

    I believe the study would have saved the district money in the long run. We might have even found areas to cut in next years budget, thereby saving money.

    I agree with RQ that you are in a better position to provide us with the information on the cost and effectiveness, not the other way around.

    Maybe if Mr. Felkner got some support from other school committee members when he asks for information, then we will all be better informed. I hear committee members make requests for information. I hear Mr. Ricci brush them off. I do not hear the majority of the school committee demanding the information. Let’s not forget, Mr. Ricci works for the district.

    Comment by NewBlogger — April 25, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  65. This whole mess is NOT going to go away, and it sure won’t get any better until the school committee acts as it should. THEY are in charge of Mr Ricci, not the other way around. It is up to the school committe to run the meeting, request and expect reports, determine when a management study should be done, and in general act as the employer, NOT the employee.

    Until we see them acting in that capacity, with the best interests of the children, and the budget of the taxpayers, we are doomed to continue to repeat our mounting mistakes.

    The school committee should be asking and expecting answers for any new curriculum such as:
    Where has this been used before?
    How long has this been in use?
    What advantage does it have over our current study program for this subject?
    Has this been tested?
    How much better did students perform?
    How much does it cost?

    ANY new program should be questioned, and management should be studied for efficency, productivity and performance. Buildings and budgets should be revewed also for efficency and productivity of staff. Costs should be evaluated for all projects.

    Sounds like a business? It should. Any time you spend 50 MILLION dollars a year, it not only is a business, it is a BIG business.

    So there you go. All of you on the school committee, all taxpayers, here is a framework for recovery. GO FOR IT!

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 25, 2008 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  66. While the towns disagree about tax equity I’ve never figured out why we can’t agree about the need for transparency and accountability. Why does Hopkinton not get buy-in on the need for the school to report to us on results and costs?

    Dorothy G. is 100% right when she says Chariho is big business. Unlike most big businesses this one is allowed to treat its customers and it stockholders like garbage. The board of directors (SC) turns a blind eye.

    Change is in the air and I think it’s been a long time coming. There will be short term turmoil. Jobs could be lost, but in the end I think everyone will be better for it.

    Comment by Real Question — April 25, 2008 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  67. Hi!
    Bob, thanks for your answer on the budget question. I still would have likely have voted against the budget. The surplus issue which I did not focus on is a relevant one.
    As far as change in the air it is not likely.
    There are school committee seats open in Hopkinton, one-Ronald Preuhs,Jr.; Charlestown,one-Ginancarlo Cichetti; and Richmond-two- Bill Day and Deb Jennings. Few candidates are actually willing to run in an election. However it is interesting how many people including myself applied for Lois Russell’s vacancy when she gave up the school committee seat she held.
    It is my understanding/impression that is likely two won’t be able to run because of federal related employment-Cichetti and Preuhs,.
    Those wanting to run on GOP side for any office contact me at 401-377-4643 or ,. We are now meeting at the Hopkinton Police Station, Third Sunday of the month at 7:00 P.M., I am the Republican Vice Chairman in Hopkinton. Kenneth W. Mott is Chairman.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 26, 2008 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  68. It was discovered and confirmed by Ricci that the RYSE 1-page budget spreadsheet did not include back office costs (payroll, admin) nor did it include the legal bills, which were over $100,000 during the first year of RYSE when so many children were forced into the program. And one parent did try to speak to the Committee about it (Elain Morgan) but was not allowed to talk because the chair (Bill Day) said her comments were not relevant to the discussion on the agenda. The agenda item was the no-bid contract we signed with Psychological Services Inc. for RYSE. We were trying to determine if PC Inc was worthy of this no-bid contract – but apparently the thoughts of a consumer of those services was not relevant.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 26, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  69. Dear Heartened,

    Can you imagine the CHIRMAN of the SC discussing a PRIVATE and PERSONAL matter in a public place. (West Bakery) A matter which was much more private then a public discourse in a questionable “Executive session” of the SC?

    We all know that a discussion in a public place not only has no expectation of privacy, but was unprofessional and much worst then Mr Felkner discussing the general merits of a contract discussion without disclosing any information that was confidential. Since Mr Day has made the final run at disclosing personal and private information, shouldn’t the SC rehire the attorney to review HIS performance and publicly read a letter of censure to him at the next meeting? Go for it, Mr Petit.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — April 26, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  70. RQ, regarding your post #51. The payment schedule does not really save money, you still pay the same amount to Chariho. It doesn’t benefit anyone except if the town has to take out a tax anticipation note. Richmond and Charlestown both schedule the payment of taxes early enough so that a tax anticipation note does not need to be taken out for the increase from 5% to 9% in September, why can’t Hopkinton also schedule the payment for a better cash flow? Maybe your town council should look into that.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 27, 2008 @ 8:06 pm | Reply

  71. It was pointed out that Hopkinton and Richmond receive the same amount of education state aid. If this is true, why does Richmond list less education state aid revenue in its budget than Hopkinton? Why do both Richmond and Hopkinton list less state aid for education than they supposedly receive? If the decrease in education aid isn’t because of interest paid on loans then I wonder what it is?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 27, 2008 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

  72. Education aid is education aid. It’s a guess as to what the state will give the town since it really is set until after most towns have already decided on their budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Richmond level funded the account from the FY ’07 budget to the FY ’08 budget. I don’t know what Hopkinton used for their figure. One thing I know for sure, it has nothing to do with interest paid on loans since you have state that differently. Maybe you need to attend more Finance Board/Commission what ever (Hopkinton calls them) meetings, Town Council budget workshops and public hearings so you can be more aware of how the budget is determined and reported to the citizens of the town. Also, if you check the Department of Education’s web site, Hopkinton and Richmond do have a difference in what they are suppose to receive for the State Education Aid for both FY ’08 and FY ’09.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 28, 2008 @ 4:28 am | Reply

  73. Ironically, Hopkinton, the town of fiscal watchdogs, has no active finance committee; their budget is created solely by their town employees.

    Comment by david — April 28, 2008 @ 7:14 am | Reply

  74. Hopkinton did conduct interactive budget workshops. I don’t know what a finance committee would do but if it does anything like the school committee then maybe we are better off not filtering taxpayer input through a committee? The school board held workshops but they didn’t listen to outside input. Not sure if Hopkinton council listened to outside input either but their workshops allowed for open discussions. In my experience Hopkinton’s budget process is much more open than Chariho’s process.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 28, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  75. We use exactly what the state gives us for school aid. It is labeled in the budget ($5,680,469 – same as last year) and applied specifically against the monies due the district.

    We also have one more budget meeting tonight, April 28th, to finalize the budget that will be brought to the taxpayers May 6th at 7:30 in Ashaway School. This will make four open budget meetings. You are welcome to attend and we actually listen to you. Our budget is created by our town employees, adapted, changed, cut and added to by our Town Council and the input of all citizens on committees or those who wish to attend. I would still like to have a Finance Committee but we don’t have one right now. It is a good idea however.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 28, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  76. What would a finance committee do that is not done now but needs to be done? I’m not against it but committees aren’t always a good thing for taxpayers.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 28, 2008 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  77. Hi TorC,

    You are right but not every council will have as many open budget meetings as we have done or be as open during public forums. A Finance Board helps protect the citizens from the town employees and the town council if necessary.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 28, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  78. I’d be worried that a finance committee would be one more layer added to protect government spending. Hopkinton has budget meetings where taxpayers can be heard. A finance committee sounds impressive but is it so great? Look at Richmond town council’s lineup of an economics professor and a banker, yet they are unable to grasp that Chariho should be transparent and accountable. Please do not select an “elite” group of taxpayers at the expense of the rest of us.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 28, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  79. Hi!
    A professor or assistant professor of finance in Richmond. I was on the Hopkinton Board of Finance from 1991 to 1996 before being on the Town Council from 1996 to 2004;. A good finance board can spend more time on analysis. Not to criticize Richmond but I think it unwise to have four year terms for town council members as their charter commission proposes. In fact I believe only Burrillville may have four year terms in Rhode Island for council members possibly Providence? Providence BTW is the only city or town in Rhode Island where school committee members are NOT elected but appointed.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 29, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  80. Well TorC,

    We don’t have one (Finance Board) at the moment and last year’s tax percentage at 1.7% was the lowest in the state via the council. So I’d say we were really frugal last year. This year will be higher 2.something is my guess (we don’t know yet) but we’re trying to keep it down. The financial town meeting is next Tuesday the 6th at Ashaway School at 7:30.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 29, 2008 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  81. Barbara, your tax increase last year may have been only 1.7%, but your municipal spending increase between fy07 and fy08 (according to figures on the town’s website) was much higher — about 5% (comparing adopted fy07 with adopted fy08). The year before, the increase was about 4% for municipal spending.

    That tells me you’re paying down your town’s fund balance to keep limit tax increases, and since you guys are now asking for relief on your obligations to pay Chariho, maybe that should cause you some worry, unless I’m mistaken here.

    Comment by david — April 30, 2008 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  82. This is the same game played by Chariho. Spending increases but they budget more revenue and/or apply surplus funds. The key figure to report is spending yet the media and most politicians try to focus our attention on tax increases. I don’t know if Hopkinton’s spending has increased as David says, but if so, they should be honest with the community and tell us how much more they are spending?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 30, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  83. Hello David,

    Actually, I believe you are mistaken. Not that we haven’t used it in the past – which is why we had that 18% debacle. We did learn however and haven’t used our fund balance at all in the last several years. This year we have asked to use $9,000 of our surplus, as a one time cost, to fund the One Call system for four years for our Emergency Management in Hopkinton. This is a really good use of the surplus for everyones health and safety.

    But as far as the Chariho tax relief, the problem is yours too. 1st Quarter taxes are due Sept 15th (perhaps yours are different?)- the Chariho obligation is due Sept 1st before taxes are in. The state reimbursements are after we pay, not before. That means that your town or ours may need to borrow money to pay Chariho before we can be reimbursed by our citizens or by the state in the normal course of events. Brian Stanley, CFO of Chariho, understands the dilemma of our town and said OK. It is a loss of interest for Chariho, not a loss of funding.

    Hopkinton has very little debt service, Richmond’s is much higher. Your town determined its needs and your citizens agreed. That’s good. Our debt is small and we need to add to our infrastructure costs. Hopefully our citizens will agree and fund a Road Bond. Budgets are always tiresome and frustrating. We all wish we had more money to spend on our citizens – about a million would return to us (and to your town too) if we equalized the school cost per household. You don’t want this, we do.

    I realize we may not agree but I have appreciated your comments in the past.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 30, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  84. TorC,

    We don’t know that answer yet. We just finished cutting and adding to the budget prepared for next Tuesday on last Monday night. We have actuals and budgeted amounts for the Financial Budget Hearing – we can’t give actuals for ’07-’08 because the year isn’t finished yet, but we do have them for ’06-’07. And they are always presented with prior numbers. If some categories have moved it will say so on the budget sheet itself.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 30, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  85. Does the Hopkinton town council report spending increases or not? Feel free to include justification for spending increases such as One Call, but please tell us how much more of our money you’ll be spending one year to the next?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 30, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  86. Our two comments crossed. When it becomes known is the actual increase (or decrease) in spending reported in the media? Or do they just report tax increases and budgeted figures?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 30, 2008 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

  87. Hi Barbara,

    I’m not really trying to play gotcha (well, maybe a little), but I do try to look into things I don’t understand, and I like to compare Richmond to Hopkinton since they’re so alike in many ways.

    According to this file, (, your municipal budget for the current (07-08) year is 5,732,593. According to a different file, (, the budget for the previous year (06-07) was 5,511,495. I believe these are the finalized budgets for both of those years. By my calculations, that’s an increase of 4.01%.

    Comment by david — April 30, 2008 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

  88. And actually, Barbara, I would prefer tax equalization. I grew up in a place with schools funded by county-level government, and there everybody is taxed on an equal basis.

    The difference is that I realize that the Chariho act is the law and that it’s really hard to change, and that Charlestown is unlikely to agree to a change to an incredibly good deal for them, especially if it’s true (as I’ve heard) that all of the regional school districts in the state use the “per student cost” as the basis of their tax contributions.

    I think your position of “I want the regional district but I want its organization and funding changed in a fundamental way” isn’t gonna succeed. If you base your support for any Chariho bonds on the slim-to-none chance that Charlestown agrees to equalization, that means you really don’t have to agree to anything, ever.

    That’s the cynical view of some in Richmond to the evolving Hopkinton stance on tax equalization late in the bond process (actually, the last two bonds). As the possibility of a bond passing begins to loom, the discussion of tax equalization gets louder and louder.

    If equalization is the linchpin, I think you should be planning your withdrawal. Charlestown won’t ever agree unless there’s a real risk to the status quo.

    Comment by david — April 30, 2008 @ 11:51 pm | Reply

  89. Equalization is only the linchpin if the other two towns expect Hopkinton to heavily invest in Chariho with the wide tax disparity in place. Until each family, regardless of where they reside, carries the same burden for Chariho spending then Hopkinton will probably vote as if we pay 2 to 3 times more than Charlestown. That’s because we do. Most often it will be Hopkinton rejecting increased spending, be it bonds or budgets. Doesn’t it make sense when consumers paying 2 to 3 times more decide to stop spending?

    I’m okay with Chariho making due with its annual budget. I look forward to contract negotiations where the administration no longer assumes anything goes.

    I don’t want Hopkinton to withdraw from Chariho. We can’t afford it. Hopkinton should stay in Chariho and accept or reject spending based on what our families pay. If Charlestown or Richmond have an urge to put up new building or they want to continue to offer school employees amazing salaries and benefits, then I think they should be planning their withdrawal.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — May 1, 2008 @ 12:17 am | Reply

  90. Hello david,

    You are right that I am not for withdrawal (TorC is right- it is an expensive problem), but I am for a fundamental shift in the funding mechanism. And I am quite aware that it is very difficult to try to accomplish.

    I don’t believe every other regional district (and they have two towns not three) are only on a per pupil basis. If they are it is because both towns are realtively similar in the way they tax their citizens. No one has the disparity that Chariho engenders.

    Either Charlestown will decide to withdraw and create their own school district or they will consider the expense of going on their own as compared to funding equally and find it is less expensive to stay with us than leave.

    We certainly could consider funding repair/rebuild/fix our own elementary schools sending a town bond through the district (obviously it is to their advantage) and paying for the work for our elementary school as our own citizens determine. We are the landlord and own the property – it is to our advantage to make sure it is not a liability but cared for properly for our smallest citizens.

    The middle and high would still have to be a combined bond, but if the school will not even begin to address the funding inequity they have as tough a road as we. Also please realize that the largest inequity is not a bond – its the routine 50 million dollar budget every year.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 1, 2008 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  91. Hello again david,

    You are also right as to the bond/equalization timing, but I don’t think of it as cynical. At the beginning I was not for the bond for any number of reasons – equalizing the tax rate wasn’t part of it. It was only as I learned more about the funding mechanism that I and other councilors began to see the larger picture, and realized that this is the time to come to the table and resolve this problem.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 1, 2008 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  92. Hi!
    What should always be remembered the Rhode Island State Constituition gives the Rhode Island General Assembly the authority to promote education. The real question how will the Rhode Island General Assembly employ their CONSTITUTIONAL POWER?
    The state enjoys great power of its cities and towns. It has created spending caps, makes mandates which can be funded or unfunded, and change local government. For example,years ago in most small towns the local council acted as courts of probate, a change in law required communities to hire probate judges. They may have made an exception for Block Island at that time?
    What has caused confusion/concern recently is political courtesy, allowing local officials to approve local legislation to go forward, and the ability of the Rhode Island General Assembly to use its pregoratives to pass legislation, that impacts a local area regardless of what that local area thinks. Of course, there are often political repercussions if local will is circumvented.
    School Committee members are not often challenged in elections, so it is generally easier be elected to the school committee than the town council where you have less guarantee of election. General Assembly members locally in the region are mostly unopposed.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 2, 2008 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  93. david,

    If Charlestown withdrew (I don’t believe in my wildest dreams that they will take Richmond with them) and only Hopkinton and Richmond remained – what problems or solutions does that engender using an equalized tax rate by combining grand lists?

    We have similar populations; Richmond has a higher mean income than Hopkinton, but we have similar economic development – Richmond is at present ahead of Hopkinton; similar land mass; similar housing costs; possibly higher state school reimbursement combined costs; we can renovate our two elementary schools for 5th and 6th – you can use a (now) free wing at the middle school if you don’t want to build; ALP and RYSE also have a wing at the middle school space; the high school is no longer crowded; we should be able to cut administration by a third.

    Richmond has more students than Hopkinton, but equal is equal. We would actually take a loss. Of course, Richmond could decide that they preferred to be independant of both Hopkinton and Charlestown. We both get bought out and you get the campus.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 3, 2008 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

  94. Charlestown will throw a bone Richmond’s way from time to time but there’s no way in hell they will choose to withdraw with Richmond in tow. Richmond clinging to this possibility is sadly pathetic.

    Should Charlestown choose to use their substantial wealth to offer their kids the best education money can buy, Richmond will either have to go it alone or swallow their pride and admit they need Hopkinton.

    If Richmond wants to salvage some dignity they can team with Hopkinton and then insist we agree to tax equity (which would be to Richmond’s advantage). With all noise we’ve made in Hopkinton we certainly would have to have a lot of chutzpah to deny tax equity to Richmond.

    There’s always an outside chance that all three towns will wake up and offer parents the ability to choose schools for their kids. I’m not holding by breath but boy would that be something!

    Comment by Real Question — May 4, 2008 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  95. A reminder that within the district you can choose a charter school for your child and the district has to pay the tuition, but not always transportation if it is too far away from however the mandate is written. Not private or religious schools though.

    Real Question, good points.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 4, 2008 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  96. The school district (by state law) does indeed provide bus service for private and parochial schools within the Washington County area.

    Comment by david — May 4, 2008 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  97. Richmond and Hopkinton effectively have tax equity (within 10 or 15%, I’d guess) already.

    Comment by david — May 4, 2008 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  98. “Effectively” having tax equity isn’t good enough to protect future generations (my child). If I understand correctly, Charlestown, Richmond and Charlestown “effectively” had tax equity when Chariho was initially formed. Look at the situation 50 years later. Who knows, I’ve been doing some digging in the backyard and if I strike gold or oil…effectively having tax equity will quickly disappear.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 4, 2008 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  99. Hello david,

    In that case, I believe outside of the Washingotn County area they do not privide bus service for private, religious or charter schools? Thanks for the clarification.

    And you are right Hopkinton and Richmond are relatively equal – but not with Charlestown added into the mix. Then we are subsidizing their children on all educational levels.

    I know Oppenheimer (anyone else?) understands this and if he will not come forward to support Hopkinton’s position he is abrogating his fiduciary responsibility toward Richmond’s citizens. It is so much simpler to just not know the numbers and plead innocence. But it is so expensive.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 4, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  100. The point about tax equity is that a Richmond / Hopkinton regional district wouldn’t have a hard time, I believe, agreeing on a unified tax rate for the two towns because of the similarity of tax burdens already. I wasn’t suggesting that there was no need to codify that.

    Comment by david — May 4, 2008 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  101. Barbara,

    I actually do’nt know the rules about school buses for charter school students. I do know that all students at the Met School (which is state-run at sevearl campuses around the state) get RIPTA bus passes with which to get around. I do not know if their local towns get billed for those passes.

    Henry can speak for himself (as can the other three Richmond councilors), but given his druthers I’m sure a unifed tax rate would be preferable for him. The question for the town politicians — what do you have to offer Charlestown for this huge concession on their part? If the answer is nothing, why do you expect them to change?

    If you have a good financial year, and can afford to pay taxes above your required threshold, do you?

    Comment by david — May 4, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  102. Richmond has nothing to give to Charlestown because they already give it all away without recompense.

    What Charlestown might expect from Hopkinton is greater acceptance of spending at Chariho. Of course, if Charlestown families are paying as much as Hopkinton families, we might find they are less accepting of increased spending at Chariho. Wouldn’t that be ironic…but expected?

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 4, 2008 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  103. Charlestown knows the difficulties too. We have suggested recently and in the past, phasing the tax burden in over ten years to lessen its impact. But, you’re right, there is little we can offer Charlestown except the possibility of passing bonds without refusing for twenty years between each.

    Richmond and Hopkinton would have little difficulty balancing equality – Charlestown is just so far out of our league with a 2 billion dollar grand list (more than Richmond and Hopkinton combined) that they can talk about both of us improving our economic base, but it is an impossiblity to catch up or even get close – short of a tsunami.

    I don’t know our exact mil rates – its something like the following – Charlestown’s mil rate is 4.+ on a thousand, Richmond’s is 14.+ and we are 11.+? Someone out here must have the precise numbers. If state aid to education is abolished or severely curtailed we have an even bigger problem.

    The bottom line is that it is time to fix this problem and have the Chariho District actually act and function like a district. Richmond’s councilors won’t come to the table, Charlestown refuses to correct inequities (reasonably since they are not to their citizens benefit), and Hopkinton continues unabashed. Because we believe we are right for both of us.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 4, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  104. Isn’t the suggestion of sacrificing the veto power, on future bonds, something to offer? Isn’t the suggestion of sharing our state aid, (if we don’t have that taken from us), something to offer? These things are huge sacrifices on our part. Don’t you think? Correct me if I am wrong.

    I would add that the veto should remain on changes to the Chariho Act, if the towns have that right. I guess my question is, do they?

    Comment by Lois Buck — May 5, 2008 @ 12:17 am | Reply

  105. I guess the question remains, are those things enough?

    Comment by Lois Buck — May 5, 2008 @ 12:18 am | Reply

  106. Lois,
    Years ago a Chariho bond was proposed after the MGT study, which suggested a phased in equalized tax rate, in a compromise to give up the veto power in exchange for equalization for capital/construction costs. Charlestown overwhemingly rejected this while Hopkinton and Richmond approved.
    The Charlestown forces such as the anti-withdrawal SOS group in the past which included people tied to education or someone in their household, never came up with a scenario to address the fiscal disparities in the district, they only wanted to keep the district together without offering a solution and being able to ignore dealing with the problem.
    The real problem is Chariho issues seem to be weighted on the fear Charlestown might leave the district instead of once and for all addressing the fiscal differences of the three towns.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 5, 2008 @ 11:57 am | Reply

  107. So Charlestown rejected tax equity for bonds? Or was it equity for bonds and budgets? I don’t favor giving up the town veto for any reason, but if Hopkinton was willing to give it up for tax equity on bonds only, then Hopkinton voters were very lucky Charlestown rejected the compromise.

    Keep in mind that tax inequity is only a problem because it creates a situation where one group of voters can afford to spend much more and antoher group of voters can’t afford to spend what they are already spending. We have tax inequity versus every other town and city in Rhode Island. Only Charlestown and Richmond voters can force us to spend more then we can afford (albeit this disregards the impact of state mandates which are often driven my other communities).

    Hopkinton families can’t keep up with Charlestown families’ ability to spend at Chariho. Tax inequity means that a Charlestown family is spending 2 to 3 times less at Chariho then a similar Hopkinton family.

    I don’t blame a Charlestown family for not supporting tax equity. Why would they want to spend 2 to 3 times more? Unfortunately, when Hopkinton families reject bonds and budgets we aren’t given the same respect for our unwillingness to have our taxes increase even further.

    There are solutions to be had. One solution would be for Charlestown voters to recognize the overwhelming fiancnial burden Chariho puts on Hopkinton families and join us in demanding Chariho reduce spending and increase accountability. In other words, Charlestown families could vote as if they are paying as much as us. The problem with this solution is that it will take several years and a reshaping of the School Committee as the Charlestown School Committee members have shown not one whit of concern over how much Chariho costs families in Hopkinton.

    Another solution would be tax equity. This is the simplest solution. Once every taxpayer votes based on the same tax burden, we might still disagree, not as towns but as individual taxpayers. This solution will never happen. I would strongly oppose it if I lived in Charlestown.

    Charlestown’s withdrawal is a solution. They want bells and whistles. Their tax base means they can afford to pay for bells and whistles. Withdrawal gives them complete control. They will have to accept a significant tax increase, but even if they go top of the line they are unlikely to spend as much as Hopkinton families spend today for education. Charlestown may have sticker shock when they find out how much it costs them to go it alone, but when they see the price I hope they realize this is what they’ve been demanding of Hopkinton families for years.

    The most likely scenario is status quo. All three towns will continue grumbling but none of the towns will do anything of substance. Since this has been the non-solution for decades, I predict the status quo will remain.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 5, 2008 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  108. Hello CR,

    The MGT study proposed equity for the budgets as well as the bonds. They also proposed a ten year phase-in because the costs are high for Charlestown. Not that we – Richmond and Hopkinton – haven’t been paying those high costs for decades.

    We finally have leverage with the high school needing repair. The towns really must come to the table and address the issue of funding, so that the issue of bonds to repair/rebuild can be accomplished with everyone paying equally – therefore voting pro or con with an equal fiscal impact to their families.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 5, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  109. I don’t see Charlestown acquiescing to tax equity. I wouldn’t do it.

    The problem is that Charlestown gets such a great deal now and going on their own will be much more costly…probably not as much as tax equity, but still a large increase in education spending. Thus far, Charlestown has decided they’d rather put up with the limitations imposed by Hopkinton rather than strike out on their own.

    Hopkinton and Charlestown families come from two very different places. Charlestown families pay low taxes and can well afford to spend more at Chariho. Charlestown families without children in the school probably don’t even give Chariho any thought. It doesn’t cost them much and they aren’t motivated to stake a position.

    Hopkinton residents with and without children must cringe at the thought of spending millions more. Hopkinton families already pay a small fortune to keep Chariho running, and Chariho doesn’t return much on the investment. Hopkinton families are taxed to the max and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that families have been forced to leave Hopkinton because of the tax burden. I believe Mrs. Buck’s parents had to get out, and I’m sure they are not alone.

    Hopkinton families must continue to reject bonds and budgets. We must encourage Charlestown to take the plunge and leave the district. This is best for Charlestown’s children and best for our children.

    Chariho’s administration is desperate to get a revote. As long as they have the revote carrot to dangle in front of Charlestown they will be able to keep Charlestown in the district. Every person making a living off Chariho, probably the biggest employer in our towns, has a vested interest in Chariho remaining intact. The government forces are aligned heavily against Hopkinton families. The question is will Hopkinton capitulate again and stick the next generation with the Chariho monster? Or are we ready to finally slay the beast?

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 7, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Reply

  110. Maybe instead of Charlestown spending as much as Hopkinton we can ask that Charlestown support budgets which result in Hopkinton families spending as little as Charlestown family spend now? I don’t care if families pay the same as us. We can pay what they pay now and they can pay even less! I can live with that. How about it Charlestown? You vote for school board members who promise to lower the budget in half and Hopkinton will agree to vote yes on a bond? We still end up with unequal taxes but at least Hopkinton families can afford to pay the difference.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — May 7, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

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