Chariho School Parents’ Forum

May 21, 2008

Thurman Silks LTE in the Westerly Sun

Filed under: Tax — Editor @ 11:09 pm

The Editor
The Westerly Sun

The front page story in the Westerly Sun on Sunday, May 18th headlined “Charlestown pressuring Hopkinton to pay for school improvements” reported the comments of Charlestown politicians and a lawyer keeping up the relentless chant about Hopkinton’s unwillingness to spend money on Chariho.

Your readers would have a better perspective of the decades-long controversy over Chariho funding if they were aware of the basic source of disagreement between the Chariho towns. This has been going on for a long time.

In 1998 the property tax rate for the Chariho District in Charlestown was $8.51 per $1000 assessed valuation for Chariho alone, in Hopkinton it was $13.67 and in Richmond it was $15.44.

That meant that for a $200,000 property, a home owner in Charlestown paid $1702 in taxes for Chariho alone, a Hopkinton homeowner paid $2734, and a Richmond homeowner paid $3088.

Fast forward to 2008. The rate in Charlestown had dropped to $4.81 per $1000 assessed valuation for Chariho alone, Hopkinton was $11.95 and Richmond was $12.75.

That meant that the $200,000 property in Charlestown now pays $970 for Chariho, Hopkinton pays $2390 and Richmond pays $2550.

The good news is that the tax rate went down for everybody. The bad news is that in 1998 both Hopkinton and Richmond property owners paid more than 160% of what Charlestown property owners paid for property of the same value, but in 2008 both Richmond and Hopkinton property owners pay at least 246% of what the Charlestown taxpayer pays. It’s getting worse!

It strikes me as the height of hypocrisy to accuse taxpayers who are already paying at more than twice the Charlestown rate for the schools of not paying for improvements. They already are, and have been for years. They just aren’t being credited for it.

There is one weird aspect to all this. Richmond taxpayers are being treated even more unfairly than Hopkinton taxpayers. But the Richmond Town Council has joined with Charlestown in attacking Hopkinton. Do Richmond taxpayers realize that equalized school taxes would save their Town more than $2 million for their school costs annually? Does their Council?


Thurman Silks
Hopkinton City




  1. peaches for me, peaches for you

    Comment by uandi — May 22, 2008 @ 8:14 am | Reply

  2. Life’s a peach, then you lie.

    Comment by Real Question — May 22, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  3. are u calling thurm a liar?

    Comment by 1958 — May 23, 2008 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  4. Hi!
    I cut out Thurm’s letter as well as The Sun editorial the same day and pasted it in record/directory I got at Job Lot, I use as a scrapbook. It will be interesting what rebuttals they are to it!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 23, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  5. glad to know that scott

    Comment by 1958 — May 23, 2008 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  6. I never saw the Sun editorial. Did they favor more spending at Chariho but maybe they called for greater accountability and better results? Maybe not?

    Comment by Real Question — May 23, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  7. The Sun still wants the bond, but they were also appalled at the way the administrators contracts were slipped into existence. Maybe the chink in the armor is growing wider. No one can justify Mr. Ricci not telling the school board that the contracts would roll over before their next meeting. It was politics at it’s worst.

    And the way teachers – but no administrators – are being fired left and right in Westerly, Stonington, North Stonington (also reported in the Sun) is a little scary. If you fire four Deans of Students – that’s almost 1/2 million with benefits – maybe eight teachers worth.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 23, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  8. Hi!
    It is probably an obsession of mine but we ABSOLUTLEY NEED an OUTSIDE MANAGEMENT STUDY in our school district! We certainly need to increase criticism of the lack of attention of local officials before criticizing the general public.
    What is the EXCUSE of the MAJORITY of Chariho area town council members and numerous, normally, the majority of Chariho School Committee members who don’t question items that deserve questioning?HOW ABOUT NO EXCUSE,REALLY! You may argue the running of the schools is completely the purview of the school committee and administration. However other Chariho town “leaders” are not totally out of the equation. Some “on paper” have financial expertise. Why are they apparently remaining silent?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 24, 2008 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  9. The name CHARGERS turns out to be quite the cruel joke for the taxpayers in Richmond and Hopkinton.Perhaps we should put the logo on a credit card with the understanding that Charleston will get the lowest interest rate in in perpetuity.I’m sure that Mr. Reddish and his genius cohort will be more than willing to carry this idea forward.

    Comment by george abbott — May 24, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  10. hey abbott,
    why did you vote to resubmit the bond?

    Comment by why — May 24, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  11. The real money is in operations , especially instructional and administrative costs. I do respect the views of bond opponents who feel that approval of another 20 year financial commitment will be a disincentive for Charlestown to make any concessions towards tax equity.

    Comment by george abbott — May 24, 2008 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  12. so why vote for it then? sounds like u are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Comment by why — May 24, 2008 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  13. Why don’t you identify yourself?Sounds to me like you have a hidden political agenda.Your postings seem to be different than most of the other anonymous participants.

    Comment by george abbott — May 24, 2008 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  14. The internal tax rates of each town are meaningless. The key item is the absolute amount that each town pays. The facts show that for the current fiscal year, Charlestown (34.5%) actually pays more for Chariho, than Hopkinton (33.1%) and Richmond (32.4%). This results because Hopkinton and Richmond receive more State Aid to Education. So in reality, Charlestown actually pays the most for Chariho, despite that fact that Charlestown has the fewest students in the district.

    Over the last 20 years, the desire for coastal vacation and retirement homes has driven up the price of homes in Charlestown in the areas south of Route 1. These houses have skyrocketing assessments and contribute an increasingly large proportion to Charlestown’s tax base. This has skewed the tax rate within our town. A $200,000 house north of Route 1 is now assessed for $400,000-$600,000 when this same house (square footage, bedrooms, baths, etc.) is located south of Route 1.

    The houses along the coast are in a very vulnerable area. A hurricane of the likes of the 1938 hurricane, could wipe out a large share of these properties and jeopardize this tax revenue. Therefore, with potential sea-rise from global warming, Charlestown’s “gold coast” may be built on a shaky foundation long term. Consider what happened to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

    Hopkinton also has a “gold corridor” along route 95, but it seems like little has been done to capitalize on its economic value.

    Most year round residents that live in Charlestown are not wealthy. The 2000 U.S. census showed the median family income was $64,688 for Richmond, $59,143 for Hopkinton and $56,866 for Charlestown.

    I see no future for Chariho. I hear the same tired dialogue going on today that was going on 10 years ago. Because the three towns have not been able to arrive at consensus on the capital projects, the facilities have been allowed to deteriorate (the high school is a disgrace) and because of this it will be very costly to fix them.

    Tax equalization may be fun to bandy about, but is not going to happen. It will be much cheaper for Charlestown to withdraw. Charlestown has already studied the issue of setting up an independent school district extensively.

    We are all adults and the endless chasing our tails on the Chariho issue is counter-productive. I think Hopkinton needs to determine what it will cost it to set up an independent school district within its town or perhaps with Richmond (since the tax assessments per comparable house are similar). I don’t think Hopkinton has done this on a serious basis.

    I agree that Rhode Islanders pay an extremely high amount for public education, with rather mediocre results. I think the NEARI union leaders are disgraceful with their continued assaults on taxpayer for more money, like we all have money trees growing in our backyards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave RI an “F” for return on investment for dollars spent on public education. If these leaders worked in the private sector, where pay is based on performance, I believe they would all be fired.

    Rhode Island as a whole would be in a much better economic shape if our state had some decent leadership over the past 20 years. Instead we have had more than our share of self-serving, corrupt stooges in the General Assembly. As a state, we have failed to transition from a manufacturing to knowledge-based industries to adapt to the demands of the 21st century global economy. We have the worst business tax climate nationwide, so it is a challenge to attract new businesses to our state. We will suffer much pain as our leadership is forced to confront reality to get our state back on an even keel. This will make addressing the Chariho issue even more difficult.

    Comment by Charlestown Resident — May 24, 2008 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  15. OK for the totally anti-Chariho crowd to remain anonymous (i.e., Real Question and Truth or Consequences, et al) but not OK for some who questions you, Mr. Abbott? Sounds like double standards from someone who talks out of both sides of his mouth.

    Comment by CharihoParent — May 24, 2008 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  16. Standing ovation for Charlestown Resident! So well put! It’s so bad in this state my plan is to vote with my feet within the next 4 to 5 years.

    Comment by CharihoParent — May 24, 2008 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  17. I supported the bond based on the 3 way split of construction cost’s .I also support an equalization plan that would include operational costs.This has been my position for the past 15 years.Many taxpayers are unwilling to crawl into bed with Charlestown for another 20 years without a firm commitment for a tax equalization plan.I understand their concerns and I will work for the change that is necessary to achieve fair taxation for CHARIHO’s 3 communities .Supporting the bond does not lessen my commitment to work towards tax equalization or a taxing district for CHARIHO.Perhaps this matter will have to be resolved in the courts at some point.

    Comment by george abbott — May 24, 2008 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  18. Charlestown Resident,
    Your described scenario just shifts the ‘centralized control’ of the current school board to the ‘centralized control’ of the town council – or another school board of their appointment. It doesn’t solve the problem – problems you accurately describe.

    I suggest that competition would be a better form of control. Each town should issue vouchers. Once each child has the voucher, the amount contributed by each town becomes moot. Its not contribution by town – its contribution per student. And the competition will bring options and improve efficiency and effectiveness all around.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 24, 2008 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  19. georgie,
    you represent hopkinton…..stops selling your town down the river

    Comment by what? — May 24, 2008 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  20. standing ovation charihoparent? What?

    Comment by what? — May 24, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  21. Do they ignore the inanimate status of Charlestown on purpose? Charlestown is not a living organism.

    If Mr. Charlestown, Mr. Hopkinton, and Mr. Richmond were three living, breathing taxpayers than Charlestown Resident’s argument would make complete sense. Of the three taxpayers trying to support their families, Mr. Charlestown would have the higher tax burden.

    Since the three towns are not people, then Charlestown Resident’s argument that Charlestown mays more for Chariho is meaningless drivel. The actual “people” of Charlestown pay much, much less for Chariho. The people who vote on whether to spend more and more do so based on their financial realities. In Charlestown they vote for Chariho spending with a much lower individual tax burden than Hopkinton.

    The tax discrepancy and its impact on more spending, i.e., bonds and budgets, is predictable. The “people” spending 2.5 times more for Chariho are less likely to approve of more spending at Chariho. The solution is to make Chariho an equal burden for every “person”. Then we might see more agreement on what needs to be done about Chariho. Maybe when Charlestown “people” are paying the same as Hopkinton “people” they will join us in calling for greater transparency and accountability?

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 25, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  22. Both Charlestown Resident and Curious Resident are correct and well-spoken. That is why this problem is so difficult, but must be solved. If it involves revising the district finances or if it involves partial withdrawal or if it invlolves a court, it will have to be addressed and answered.

    We are individual families not abstract ‘towns’. We are all hostage to the RI General Assembly giving away our monies – health, pension, salaries, etc. so that we are 1/2 billion in debt. If we don’t work together nothing but acrimony will exist – and all of us, all three towns, didn’t create this problem but we are the ones who must understand each others position and solve this in some creative way.

    If Charlestown want to disband the district and withdraw, fine. If Richmond actually thinks it’s cheaper (or the same) for their citizens to go with Charlestown and not pay an astronomical price, so be it. If Richmond and Hopkinton can come to the table as partners with these very same issues, we can prevail. If Charlestown understands our position, as we understand their position (we wouldn’t want to pay more either) maybe we can come to some conclusion that can slowly correct the funding over several years and still address their smaller proportion of students.

    Unless we speak civilly to each other, nothing will occur but rancor.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 25, 2008 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  23. With the prevailing attitude coming out of Hopkinton, I’m afraid speaking civilly will not happen. Until people like Curious Resident and company stop with the rehortic nothing is going to happen. The feeling that I get from others in Charlestown and Richmond is similiar to Hopkinton, we don’t want anything shoved in our face or down our throats the way Curious Resident comes across as doing. I would have hoped that by now at least two representatives from each of the towns could have sat down and had a normal conversation to try to talk about the issues, similiar to what was going on with the Tri-Town meetings but seem to have fallen apart, just like everything else to do with the school district, just like the buildings are, do to inaction.

    Comment by CharihoParent — May 25, 2008 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  24. thats because of the idiots from charlestown and richmond…..what?

    Comment by what? — May 25, 2008 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  25. What?, another comment that is so stupid. It’s your kind of attitude that will stop any progress in its tracks before any progress can be made.

    Comment by CharihoParent — May 25, 2008 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  26. In a 1993 year end review, The Westerly Sun dated January 4, 1996, p6 under the title of Chariho mourned losses: worried about its future, under the paragraph of Twice bitten:
    For the second consecutive year, tri-town voters axed proposed changes to the Chariho Act, the district’s governing legislation.

    Revisions to the act were nearly passed during the passed during the November 1992 wlections. A majority of voters in the district approved the revisions but because Charlestown voters said no, the revisions died. Charlestown voters were opposed to a section of the act that would have taken away each towns veto power power when voting on district consturction and expansion issues.

    Early in 1993, the school committee voted to drop that change and resubmit the rest of the changes for voter consideration at a special referendum in October.

    But the revised act was defeated again- by all three towns. This time, voters were concerned about a new provision that would allow admiministrators to redraw district lines to allow elementary students to attend other schools if necessary to ensure the best use of district’s resources.

    . . .Despite Pini’s assurances, many parents were opposed to the idea, fearing their children would be bounced from school to school within the district.

    There is other information a couple of other paragraphs that doesn’t add or subtract from my reading that would affect any of the tri towns.

    I would think however that the Westerly Sun article of Charlestown pressuring Hopkinton to pay for school improvements, Solicitor authorized to review state law in efforts to solve latest dispute over Chariho funding, authored by Chris Keegan, The Sun staff, May 18, 2008 (Sunday) is you find the adjective of … into the wind is a waste of the good people of Charlestown money.

    There may be other articles supporting the Charlestown Town Committee beyond this point in supporting the ‘SUIT’ which hasn’t been noted yet and may only be a spin of the wheel/desparation ( of forcing Hopkinton to pay more beyond what it payed in 1958 which off the top of my head was 58% of the building costs). It would be ashame if that is true. Misters Mageau, Polouski of Charlestown, Misters Oppenheimer and former councilor Michael Sullivan now in charge of RI DEM and former Council president and Mrs. Thompson of the Hopkinton Town Council who are aware of the divisions and issues of a divided Chariho School District from their years of service on the Towns.

    This not to be laid at their feet, but participants who have some sense of history into what has gone on.

    In the END, all the towns have been played for 50 years and let a blind eye go by and now with the financial crisis upon us as in 1992 and 1993 in Rhode Island under the Sundlund ( (D)Gov-RI) adminsitration) and now Governor (R) Carcieri Administration. We can expect less town aid, less school aid and creamed by raising taxes. How are you going? No disrepect but I don’t understand if Charlestown Taxes were doubled they are still less than the folks of Richmond and Hopkinton. Is my compass off (?) and if so, facts only please. Just reporting what has happened and no opinions needed. If so do your own research and quotes!

    Be well tri towns.

    Comment by James Hirst — May 25, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  27. In a March 12 1991 article from THE WESTERLY SUN, entitled Charlestown faces legal action on ‘tax district’ by A.J. Algiere.

    Treasurer Baily Blancehette asked the town Council Monday night to take immediate legal action to establish a Chariho tax district to begin July 1. (1991)

    Blanchette called for a tri-town council meeting to discuss the proposal to create a seperate tax district solely for educational purposes. If charlestown rejects the proposal, he said, “injunctive relief” from the court should be sought immediately by Hopkinton and Richmond.

    The Charlestown Town Council rejected the district idea in February, blasting its proponents and accusing them of trying to “bulldoze” Charlestown taxpayers.

    Approve from the three town councils is necessary before legislation to establish the tax district could be introduced into the General Assembly.

    Charleston’s refusal could force Richmond and Hopkinton to sue their neighbor, claiming the current method of taxing on a per-pupil basis is unfair.

    Charlestown councilors have expressed outrage with the plan which initially would raise Chalestown taxes while significantly lowering Richmond’s and hopkinton’s school bills.

    The taxing district would operate in a way similar to a fire district. Voters would receive bills based on property valuations and educational costs.

    Many school districts through out the country operate in a similar manner to equalize school costs.

    Blanchette said a lawsuit would have to be initiated before municipal budgets are approved and the fiscal year tax rates established.

    “We must ask for injunctive relief. It’s a matter of representative taxation and equity,” said Blanchette.

    State Department of Education official Frank Pontrelli wouldn’t comment on the matter until “further investigation” but he acknowledged such tax districts have been formed throughout the country.”New England is one of the few areas where taxing districts are not common,”he said.

    Residents of Richmond pay taxes based upon 60% of their assessed valuation; Hopkinton upon 80 percent and Charlestown upon 100 percent.

    The district would base taxes on equalized assessments taken from an agreed upon year. Charlestown’s last assessment was in 1984; Richond’s in 1981; and Hopkinton’s in 1992.

    The projected cost of education, including mortgage payments for the middle school, special education costs and minus estimated state aid-
    is $13,739,587.

    Current Construction debt and special education costs are included in municipal budgets.

    Charlestown’s tax rate is $15.91 per $1000 of assessed evaluation, 68 percent of which pays for education; Richmond’s tax rate is $51.02 per $1000, 73 percent for educational costs’ and Hopkinton’s is $37.86 per $1,000 valuation, 72 percent for schools.

    If the budget is approved Wednesday Night,$10.26 of Charlestown’s projected tax rate rate of $15.30 er $1,000 valuation will go to education. Charlestown’s education contribution will decrease by 61 cents per $1,0000.

    Of Richmond’s projected tax rate of $57.79 per $1,000 of assessed property, $44.02 is proposed for education, raising the tax rate by $6.77 per $1,000.

    Of the Hopkinton $43 per $1,000 property assessment, $32.40 per $1,000 is for education raising the tax rate by $5.14 .

    A unified tax district would combine tri-town taxable property assessment of $814,803, Cjharstown boasting a taxable base nearly three time sthat of its neighbors.

    Each of the towns, in 1991-92, would pay an equalized rate of $16.86 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

    Including projected municipal tax rate increases,the Charlestown tax rate would increase by $6.61 to $21.91 per $1,0000 of assessed valuation. A resident with a house which has a value of $100,000 would recieve a tax bill of $2,191, instead of $1530 per $1,000 based on per pupil education expenditures.

    Richmond’s equalized rate would be reduced by 47 percent to $30.64 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation or $27.15 per $1,000 less than te current projection. A taxpayer with a house which has a value of $100,000 would pay $3,064 instead of the of the projected $3,467 based on 60% valuation.

    Hopkinton taxpayers currectly expect a projected tax rate of $43 per $1,0000 property assessment. They could see their rate reduced to $27.46 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, reflecting a tax rate reduction of $15.54 for education.

    For a homeowner with property valued at $100,000, whose projected tax bill will be $3,440, based on 80 percent valuation, would see a reduction to $2,196.00 per $1,000 assessment.

    Unified assessment- based solely on property values- would result in Charlestown’s contribution being 35.53 percent of the total educational educational costs; richmond 29.82 percent; and Hopkinton paying 34.64 percent of the costs. “We have to get this monkey off our backs,” said Blanchette.

    The savings are massive and Charlestown’s increase is for one year. then all three towns will pay an equal rate,” said Town Council President Robert Corrigan.

    Credits to the Westerly Sun, March 12,1001 and to writer A.J. Algier, Sun Staff Editor. Article Headline, Charlestown faces legal action on ‘tax district’ pages 1 and 5.

    Comment by James Hirst — May 26, 2008 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  28. The decency and courtesy of Mr. Thurman Silks is well respected no matter what side of your issues donkey (Democrats) or your Elephants (long memories) are on. I personally an independent. He has been a historian, politician, 1966 Hopkinton Town Council, activist (part of the diologue) and better yet a husband and father. A great man no matter what town you live in.

    Though his numbers may not rub you or your towns the right way the are they aren’t pie in the sky. THURMAN is the real deal. 40 years of bringing it to the table.

    Thurman, Thank you!

    Comment by James Hirst — May 26, 2008 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  29. thank you? he’s just looking out for his own wallet…..gimmie a break jim….the guy is a disgruntled tax payer just like the whining babies in richmond and charlestown

    Comment by boston tea party — May 26, 2008 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  30. Would the last middle class over taxed group leaving RI turn the lights out as they leave? Seems as if the increasing taxes, lack of business, downturn in jobs, overpriced fuel and housing will force many out of the State, leaving the rich, the old who are unable to move, the poor and the illegals to run the state.

    Leaving will be the intelligent, growing families. The young, well educated, and the rest of the hard working core of America will be in that group. Then, Rhode Island will finally get what it is striving for. Underperforming public schools, which will be self directed towards the poor, and those unable to pay for private education. A two class system of the haves and have nots, and a drain of the educated and skilled workers. A beautiful state can only exert its beauty as a leash to keep its citizens for so long. Soon, self preservation will take over, and then “Good bye Rhode Island, I may love it, but I can’t survive here”.

    This state will be another Detroit. Rusted, rat infested, gang led, and high in crime. The only industries will be education, health care, social services and law enforcement. And those industries will be on the downturn and lacking in quality due to a lack of money. Look around, see the homes for sale. Not all of these sales are due to foreclosure. People are indeed, moving out, and moving up… another state.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — May 26, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  31. Nice research by Jim Hirst. For anyone in Hopkinton who thinks that approving a bond will lead to any agreement on fair and equitable taxing, we are 17 years removed from 1991. Hopkinton will continue to be strung along if we don’t make our stand now. If the 1991 TC had the foresight to seek injunctive relief we might by on the right track today.

    Dorothy describes my view of RI. My children are on the college track and they are constantly advised to get the heck out of RI. I don’t want my kids paying the retirement for government union workers. If enough kids get out the current union employees may find themselves facing a bankrupt state which cannot honor retirement contracts. I suggest government employees start now to negotiate retirements like the rest of us. You may get nothing if you keep it up.

    Comment by Real Question — May 26, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  32. CharihoParent talks about having Hopkinton’s advocacy for tax equity “shoved in our face or down our throats”. Mr. James Hirst documents how the issue of tax equity was front and center in 1991. If CharihoParent and other dimwits consider 17 years a short time to wait, then there is no satisfying them. Hopkinton families have been economically pushed around for decades. Charlestown could care less if our poorer families can afford to pay exorbitant taxes. Civility is fine as a gesture of good faith, but after 17 years (or more) a little rudeness is in order.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 26, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  33. Regarding the titled Council rejects Chariho budget report by A.J. algier, sun Staff Reporter. Hopkinton-The Town Council Tuesday night joined its Richmond counterpart in rejecting results of the Chariho Budget fact-finding panel.

    The state fact-finding group was impaneled in November to reveiw Chariho’s budget and determine if it us sufficient to meet the distict’s needs. Voters had previously rejected the school board’s budget, and demanded cuts in the spending plan.

    The school board made some cuts then said it couldn’t slash the budget further because of mandates and contractual obligations. (Sounds like the $2,000,000 cut by Scott Bill Hirst and the expense dog and pony show that pursued) and the waste of a redo vote and its cost at the expense of the ‘children.’ As its come to light that was a $2.8 million dollar district surplus/windfall. (Mr. Scott Bill Hirst, your only embarrassment was you didn’t request a $2.5 million dollar cut. Dispute it look it up. Still would have kicked another 300 tho to the district).

    (Back to the story), The panel found the voter approved Chariho school 1991-92 budget of $23,034,048 inadequate to meet district needs. However the panel recommended a school department surplus be used to fund the shortfall.

    The panel recommended $809,000 be restored to the budget from 1990-91 fiscal year surplus.

    In a letter to the Town Council, Town Treasurer Bailey Blanchette said the panel did not specially address which “contractual, legal or regulatory obligations are underfunded, nor to what degree this underfunding exits.

    Blanchette also cited the “magic number” which corrects these unspecified shortages “amounts to extactly the net difference between the state aid to education figures used in preparing the (school) budget, and the actual amounts appropriated by the legislature.”

    Blanchette agrees with the panels criticism of the school budget presentations which do not include actual expenditure figures for prior years. “I whole heartedly agree with their recommendation that these be included in all future budget presnetaions,”he said.

    Because of that recommendation, Blanchette said he is perplexed by the panel’s

    “logic” in contrasting the 1991-92 budget of $23,048,024 with the 1990-91 budget of $23,833,418 and its citing of a $738,384 difference to support their finding that the district is underfunded.

    Blancehette said the actual expenditure for fiscal year 1990-01 was $22, 712,911 , or $1,120,507 million less than appropriated.

    Using a comparison of the the recommended budget to the actual expenditures, explained Blanchette, the 1991-1992 budget is $335,000 more than the actual expenditures. He said when the revenue side is considered, the surplus for 1990-91 is $1,838,420 which is 7.7 percent of the orgininal budget projection.

    “This inconsistancy in logic appears to exit for the exlusive purpose of increasing the Chariho budget by the net increase in the amount of state aid. The entire fact finding report is suspect at this point, as there is no evidence that the actual realities of the funding of Chariho were ever reviewed, said Blanchette.

    For all tri town voters review, Titled: Council rejects Chariho budget report, thursday, February 20, 1992.

    A.J. Algier, Sun Staff Editor, Thursday, February 20, 1992. Page 5.

    Comment by James Hirst — May 27, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  34. Last paragraph is exist and not exit and exclusive and not exlusive.


    Comment by James Hirst — May 27, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  35. More excellent research by Mr. James Hirst. Of particular emphasis is the criticism in 1992 that budget proposals did not include actual expenditures for previous years. For anyone who thinks the current administration innocently omits actual spending, do you want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The budget games at Chariho have been going on for years. Charlestown can be excused because even with the budget tricks they get off dirt cheap. Richmond chooses to ignore the purposeful budget manipulations. Hopkinton has finally put its foot down and said enough is enough.

    Who knows how long it was going on before 1992, but we have further evidence that Chariho refuses to change. Who is dumb enough to trust these charlatans with millions more?

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 27, 2008 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  36. Thank God Hopkinton had the Blanchette guy looking out for them. Although I guess he was ignored since to this day Chariho still scams taxpayers with budget games.

    Who was this state panel? Is every government group corrupt? If I read this correctly the “panel” used budgeted figures instead of actual figures and then claimed Chariho needed what was budgeted rather what was spent? How stupid to they think we are?

    Did taxpayers respond to the scam by giving Chariho the money? Did Richmond join Blanchette in recognizing the scam? Sure sounds that way. What has happened to Richmond since then that they no longer stand up to Chariho’s administrations when they scam taxpayers?

    Nothing changes at Chariho. They take and take and take. What do we get in return? More taking and lots of employees. That’s about it!

    Comment by Real Question — May 27, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  37. Tom Buck and Barbara Capalbo asked for actual spending. Can’t get it this year they were told. 17 years notice isn’t enough I guess? I blame the voters for letting this go on year after year. Here we have a panel approving Chariho’s spending and even they criticize Chariho for not telling us how much they spend. Why has this been allowed to go on for years? No complaints from the community?

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — May 28, 2008 @ 10:15 am | Reply

  38. Hi!
    Yesterday I testified on all three bills regarding the Chariho bonds at the House Finance Committee hearing. Copies in both DVD and VHS format can be obtained by contacting ,.They may have other formats?
    Only Joe Scott for and I against the bills spoke yesterday. Only Vickie Goff of The Sun , from the press was present. Representatives from the DOE was there explaining various bonds isssues involving schools. Other school bonds were discussed also during with other people present.
    I recall action on all was postoned/continued until tomorrow?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 28, 2008 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  39. Hi!
    It would be for Capitol TV address.I got it wrong.
    BTW it needs to be remembered that whether there is ever an equalized tax rate in Chariho, it is more than a reasonable assumption that friction will continue if the district remains intact and fiscal issues are not adequatelt resolved.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 28, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  40. Is the revote still to be introduced into the senate by Algiere? Is it still conventional wisdom that the revote bill will not pass without full support of all three TCs?

    I think it is a good thing if politicians are wasting their time, but if there is a strong chance that the revote will happen then we must be ready to begin reminding our neighbors and friends of Chariho’s history. With history as a guide Hopkinton faces decades more of uncontrolled budgeting and terrible education for the kids if we lock in the status quo with approval of a bond.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — May 28, 2008 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  41. Hi!
    I find it of interest that State Rep. Donna Walsh did not attend the hearing on the Chariho bills she co-sponsored with Rep. Scott. Brian Kennedy did not attend yesterday but he is not a co-sponsor. I don’t recall if Donna Walsh was at the last House Finance Committee hearing I attended a couple of weeks ago on in regards to the Chariho bill.
    Dennis has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Rhode Island State senate. Politically speaking he represents all of Charlestown except a small piece represented by Sen. Breene. In 2006 Dennis lost the Charlestown part of his State senate District to Patrick Scmitt, his opponent. I have no personal issue with Dennis on this.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 28, 2008 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  42. I understand that Ms Walsh was absent due to illness. I do not agree with her sponsoring the bill, but I do know that she was unable to attend.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — May 28, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  43. Dot,
    Thanks for your clarification. I don’t she attended the other one a number of local people went. She might have had a conflict at that one?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 28, 2008 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  44. SBH,
    I’m sure dennis algiere will sleep better knowing you dont have an issue with him on the bond……

    Comment by what? — May 28, 2008 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  45. As a representative of Charlestown but not Richmond or Hopkinton Algiere is taking care of his people. Approval of a bond givse Charlestown families years more of Hopkinton and Richmond subsidizing their generosity with Chariho and its employees. On its own Charlestown would pay a heck of a lot more than what they pay now. It’s as if we agreed to share costs with Bill Gates except we gave him the power to choose what he wants to buy. Charlestown doesn’t bargain shop. They shop at Nordstroms. When the credit card bill comes due Hopkinton is stuck paying.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — May 28, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  46. Myth #1 – Approval of a bond givse Charlestown families years more of Hopkinton and Richmond subsidizing their generosity with Chariho and its employees.

    Mythbuster #1 – The facts show that for the current fiscal year, Charlestown (34.5%) actually pays more for Chariho, than Hopkinton (33.1%) and Richmond (32.4%). This results because Hopkinton and Richmond receive more State Aid to Education. So in reality, Charlestown actually pays the most for Chariho, despite that fact that Charlestown has the fewest students in the district.

    Myth #2 – On its own Charlestown would pay a heck of a lot more than what they pay now.

    Mythbuster #2 – A two-year study completed by the Charlestown Interim School Committee in 2004 showed that the cost of an independent Charlestown School District (including construction of a new middle / high school complex) was the same as staying in Chariho and doing the needed facilities updates over a 20 year period. The finances for the proposed Charlestown School District were reviewed by the Charlestown Budget Commission, RI State Dept of Education, and NESDEC, an independent school research group.

    Hopkinton residents seem to be all hung up because a $200K house in Charlestown, pays less tax than a $200K house in Hopkinton. Take that same $200K Hopkinton house and move it to Quonochontaug and it will be appraised at close to $1 Million, with the associated high tax.

    Following that logic, if Hopkinton residents with $200K houses want to lower their taxes, then encourage the town to develop some attractions to get more wealthy people to move into Hopkinton.

    Comment by Charlestown Resident — May 29, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  47. Charlestown Parent doesn’t write as if an imbecile so I assume they choose to mislead.

    As Barbara C. has said over and over it does not matter what a town pays. Towns are not alive. Towns do not have jobs. They do not raise children. Towns are an abstraction. Chariho’s cost to each town is a trick. The cost to each family is what counts in real life.

    It does matter what people pay. When Chariho spends Hopkinton families pay about 2 1/2 times what a Charlestown family pays for the spending. If Hopkinton families approve Chariho spending they do so at a cost 2 1/2 times more than Charlestown families who approve the same spending. Charlestown families have been approving budgets for years knowing the same exact budget will cost Hopkinton families more than twice as much. When Hopkinton calls for restraint and accountability they are ignored.

    If Charlestown is confident that they can run their own school system at a comparable cost then they are foolish to put up with us for one more minute. Go. Tell Walsh and Scott you don’t want a revote. You want out. We wish you well.

    I’m tired of Hopkinton families paying for Charlestown’s generosity with school employees. Be generous at your own expense.

    Comment by Real Question — May 29, 2008 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

  48. sounds pretty obvious that charlestown resident is richard hosp. as usual, his figures are skewed

    Comment by what? — May 30, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  49. I’m with those who don’t fault Charlestown for wanting to keep the status quo at Chariho. Who can blame them from wanting to get such a great deal?

    The problem I have is that the leaders such as Hosp pretend they don’t understand Hopkinton’s position. They pretend that it is okay for Charlestown to have an equal vote when deciding on budgets which will cost Hopkinton families 2 1/2 times more than the families in Charlestown. Who can’t figure why Charlestown tolerates more spending than Hopkinton?

    The politicians play dumb and tell us it is because Charlestown families cares more about the kids than Hopkinton families. Hogwash! If spending money is a measure of caring then Hopkinton taxpayers make Charlestown taxpayers look like Scrooge. Hosp and the rest know this is true yet lie to the public. They don’t have to agree to equity but they should stop lying about the impact when taxpayers from each town are taxed differently.

    Comment by Real Question — May 30, 2008 @ 11:02 am | Reply

  50. speeaking of dumb politicians…..good bye John Craig. Mr. resignation a second time. That council was screwed up before……now theyll get no buisness done for sure. what a pathetic group. charlestown should be proud

    Comment by what? — May 30, 2008 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  51. Craig is gone? I hadn’t heard that. The Charlestown TC is entertaining if nothing else. Allen is one of the biggest dopes around. She was in the Chariho Times making a fuss about some home owners association she belongs too. Sounds like she may be on the TC to protect her own interests. Funny to listen to the Charlestown TC go after Hopkinton TC. They can barely function themselves.

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

  52. go on the westerly sun website and the article is there

    Comment by what? — May 30, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  53. The revote has made it out of the Finance Committee. Hopkinton’s Town Council should already be looking at school choice as a solution to the Chariho problem. If we get locked into another bond we will eventually be overwhelmed by Charlestown’s ability to spend money without causing significant economic damage to their families. The same can’t be said for Hopkinton.

    Chariho will not effectively educate our children at a reasonable cost until they have no other options. With Richmond and Charlestown capitualing to their every demand, Hopkinton must take steps to hold Chariho accountable. School choice will achieve the goal. As Hopkinton families begin to find better schools, Chariho will improve. Charlestown, and especially Richmond, will be forced to take more financial responsibility for Chariho. Perhaps they will finally require transparency and accountability?

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 30, 2008 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  54. Hi!
    I do not know John Craig well but he has been allover the place politically like some other local pols. We have been sociable when we meet.Both he and Donna Walsh now Democrats ran for office previously as Republicans. Craig was actually elected as a Republican years back to the Town Council. Donna may have been elected as a Republican years ago to the town Council? She certainly ran as a Republican and Democtat for Town Council in the past.
    What is interesting as I saw a copy of the testimony of Craig and McQuaide today on May 6TH, neither addresses the fiscal differences between the towns in their testimony and i don’t recall Joe Reddish did either for that matter.
    In tonight’s Westerly Sun it mentions that the House Finance Committee passed the bills to the full House. What is missed and never brought up was the consideration not many years back to not hold membership in the accrediatation agency by the Chariho School Committee.The school committee decided to stay with the accreditation agency. Membership in it is NOT required by law apparently.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 30, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  55. Accreditation is meaningless. It was discussed at a recent School Committee meeting and it was acknowledged to be of little importance. I’ve never heard of any child turned away from college because their High School wasn’t accredited. Think about it…only 20% of Chariho 11th graders are proficient in math. Isn’t this more important to a college than whether the lockers are new? Accreditation is one more part of the scam to get taxpayers to fund schools above and beyond the amount needed to provide a decent education.

    Hopkinton should be rushing to give parents school choice. The results will be positive for the children, the parents and the taxpayers. Everybody wins but unions. The time is now.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 30, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  56. Even Billy Day is on to the accreditation con game. If he gets it then I’m sure the Lewiss guy knows it too. Accreditation is a poor excuse for subverting a legal vote. RI is known for its state level corruption. I guess a revote is nothing compared to the other stuff the crooks and theives pull off in Providence?

    Comment by Real Question — May 30, 2008 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  57. Hi!
    In regards to #44 those of us in politics need to disagree without being disgreeable far too many people take politics personally because someone differs in opinion.
    In regards to #56, I recall Billy Day actually entertained doing away with accreditation a few years back with other school committee members. If accreditation is so important,why was it was being considered being done way with by the Chariho School Committee?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 31, 2008 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  58. You know the answer to that question, Scott. Just like in 2003 when Kastle Boos said that the 1904 building was structurally sound. But now Barry says that KB tells him that it is not safe for kids (but he doesnt produce the email from them that he said told him that).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 31, 2008 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  59. Bill,
    Clearly the media is not doing their job as well as MOST of your colleagues on the school committee on this as well as the town councils.Does Kaestle Boos present its findings only to the Supt. or the entire school committee? Frankly it is absurb that one would notified by a simple e-mail about the changed condition of a school building. It is hard to believe!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — May 31, 2008 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  60. If Charlestown Parent is correct in Mythbuster #2 (Post #46) – and I’m not disagreeing with him/her at all – why did Charlestown vote to stay at Chariho? I know you have a committee addressing it again – what do they say? What would you do now – in 2008?

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 31, 2008 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  61. SBH-
    why dont you move to charlestown and run for council there…..seeing that town’s voting record, you might have a shot at getting on

    Comment by what? — May 31, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  62. Accreditation is meaningless if the SAT scores don’t confirm its worth. Period. ‘High Performing’ is useless if the SAT scores don’t confirm value. Period. Good grades, good SAT’s, good community service, good scholarships. Period.

    Over 1200 on the SAT’s will get you a full URI scholarship if you keep a ‘B’ average in college. Good deal.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 31, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  63. I’ve said that voters of Richmond are morons for never rejecting any spending at Chariho. If Charlestown voters rejected a school system of their own which wouldn’t cost them any more money than what they pay for Chariho, then they are morons too.

    Comment by Real Question — May 31, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  64. Hi!
    I think affordability often impacts voting behavior generally speaking more than anything else. Since Charlestown has a very low tax rate and Richmond by thousands of dollars median household income they do not feel the financial impact like the other towns. To what extent is median household income used in allotting state aid money for education?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — June 2, 2008 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  65. It should say Hopkinton not other towns. Will try to check my posts before postings.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — June 2, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  66. oh come on scott….geeze…..

    Comment by what? — June 2, 2008 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

  67. I like my theory better. The majority of people who vote on Chariho issues in Richmond are morons. That explains why they’ve never seen a Chariho spending proposal they didn’t like.

    Comment by Real Question — June 2, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

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