Chariho School Parents’ Forum

June 24, 2008

K-6 and K-8 on the move

Filed under: grade spans — Editor @ 5:08 pm

Angus Davis, RI Board of Regent member has a blog called Best for Kids.  Here is an interesting post:

The ProJo has an article today on Cranston schools moving to a K-6 grade configuration, allowing the district to operate more efficiently with less staff. The question on whether K-6/7-9 is better than K-5/6-9 or K-8 is an open one. Some studies suggest K-8 has advantages. Nearby, Boston has moved to K-8 schools and Providence has indicated its desire to do so also. Just this week, Education Week published an article about a North Carolina study that found the advantages of K-8 models, yet cautioned whether the move to K-8 is worthwhile. This graph shows some disciplinary benefits for sixth graders in a K-8 setting (click to see bigger version):

The short answer: there is not much definitive data showing Cranston’s new grade configuration to be bad for students, yet there is a lot of financial data to suggest it will save district money, and there’s hope this new configuration may actually have some important benefits for sixth graders. We’ll have to wait and see.

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97 Comments »

  1. Mrs. Buck has posted extensively on the topic of grade configuration. If I’m not mistaken most of the support for Middle Schools is theoretical while the benefits of K to 8th and K to 6th are based in reality.

    Like the voucher argument, the worse that can be said for K to 8th and K to 6th is that it is not better for children. Most studies indicate it is better, but certainly not worse.

    Also like vouchers, most of the opposition to K to 8th and K to 6th comes from the entrenched interests within public schools. I believe that opposition to both are based on what the adult employees want rather than what the children need.

    I look forward to Mrs. Buck’s comments on this issue.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  2. Good idea on the K-8 model but given the current voting “no” to bonds how do we expand the elementary schools to accomodate the extra room needed? What do we do with the current middle school? Do we raze the high school and add on to the middle school to make the room needed for the high school? Just some thoughts.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 24, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  3. If they really are “portable” then purchase them and move them if need be. Put the RYSE kids in a few classrooms at the Middle School.

    A couple of million spent on the Ashaway 1904 buildings makes classrooms availabe for a few hundred more children.

    Since the Chariho campus in located in Richmond, isolate a part of the Middle School as to segregate the children and turn a wing into a Richmond Elementary School.

    Enrollment has declined and I believe it is projected to decline further. The 1904 building creates more than enough total classroom space. It will take a little creativity, but plenty of space is inexpensively available we only need the will.

    Problem remains that Charlestown can afford shiny, new buildings…Richmond wants shiny, new buildings (whether they can afford it or not). Oh, and a new track too don’t forget.

    Hopkinton doesn’t care about new or shiny as long as they are safe. We’re concerned about protecting the financial well being of our families so they can provide more than an education for their children. The K to 8th or 6th requires School Committee leadership. I won’t be holding my breath.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  4. Constipated Resident, where will the couple of million come from? Richmond Elementary, as I showed you once before has had very little change. I don’t believe that the middle school wouldn’t be large enough to isolate a wing and turn that one wing into the Richmond Elementary School to handle grades K through 8. And if it is, there’s more money needed, where does that come from?

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 24, 2008 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  5. Hopkinton has functioned for years with two Elementary Schools. No reason Richmond couldn’t do the same.

    I give you my personal guarantee that if the 1904 building is put back into compliance at a cost of $2,000,000 or less, and the end result is a reconfiguration eliminating the Middle School, Hopkinton will gladly approve their share of the cost.

    We’d probably even tolerate RYSE…although I would still push to give parents alternative options.

    So here we have it…the “portable” buildings get moved to a Charlestown location to accomodate their elementary children. Richmond takes over a wing of the Middle School for their elementary children. Hopkinton gets a renovated 1904 building for their elementary children. Problem solved. I’ll send my bill.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  6. Again, I repeat, I don’t think there would enough room for a grade K-8 configuration in an “isolated” wing of the middle school. Care for another stab at it?

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 24, 2008 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  7. My mistake, I see what you’re saying about splitting up Richmond grades. but here’s another fly in your ointment. Lois talks about building community. Doesn’t splitting up the kids take away from building community?

    Another question, Since renovating the 1904 building is only for the benefit of Hopkinton, how would Hopkinton’s share of the cost be determined?

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 24, 2008 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

  8. Well, my children attended a K-8 school, and I can vouch for both strengths and weaknesses of this organization. I would support doing this, as long as we don’t try to do it poorly, and the voters are cognizant of the potential issues.

    I think it’s good to keep the older influences from the middle school kids; on the other hand, the kindergarten and younger grades parents might get nervous about the influences they will see in the teenagers now attending school with the little ones.

    Also, you necessarily have fewer kids per grade in each school, which leads to less ability to group kids based on performance in subjects like math, and you get less efficient use from playground areas, since you likely want to reserve space for the different age groups to play among themselves.

    You also need pricier features in the schools, like science lab space, dedicated art and music spaces, bigger libraries, etc.

    Most significantly, new school buildings would have to be built in Charlestown and Richmond, and probably Hopkinton too, since I don’t think any of the school sites could accept a doubled student population.

    Comment by david — June 24, 2008 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  9. I wrote post 8 before I saw the proposal to use part of the middle school. Since that involves putting 6 year old kids on the same campus with the high schoolers, I have to ask if that’s a do-able proposal, since exposure to older influences is already considered a big problem on the current Chariho campus?

    Comment by david — June 24, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  10. I can’t believe it isn’t possible to keep the children apart. Or do we need to hire a school police department to do it?

    Here’s what we know…with the addition of space for a few hundred more students via the 1904 building, we have more than enough room without adding any more. Should Hopkinton go with school choice, that probably means a few more hundred spaces available.

    How the schools can be used to reach the goal is open for discussion, but suggesting there isn’t enough space is disingenuous.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  11. David,
    I think the geography of the Cranston layout might make a difference, but you make a good point. Most of the complaints I hear stem from younger kids exposed to too much from the older kids.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — June 24, 2008 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  12. CR, I am not familiar with the 1904 building. It’s big enough house all kids from Hopkinton in grades 5-8? I was recently at Hope Valley, and it looks pretty full already; you’re not doubling the population there!

    What about lunch, library, gym, playing field space, etc., at Ashaway? And since I’m not one of those people who think anything beyond teaching the three R’s is an unnecessary “extra”, I would want this thought about in advance, rather than assuming it can be worked out later.

    Comment by david — June 24, 2008 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  13. Your attitude is why we need parental choice in schools David. While probably everyone agrees on the three R’s, the “extras” we each prefer could be very different indeed.

    Vouchers are preferable, but at the very least government schools should provide the basics and parents should have the choice of using their own resources for “extras”.

    You want “extras”? You pay for them or support vouchers, but don’t force your “extras” on my child.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  14. I don’t normally have time to read so many of the posts – but have seen quite a bit tonight. We must be hitting records as we got 200+ comments on a post when we used to be lucky to get 200 hits in a day. With that being said and because its become so busy, could I propose we tone town the vitriol. And I’ll address this first at CR since you have been around for a long time and post a lot of good research and it was a good point on vouchers – think sweden and edmonton with many varieties of schools (and i still think you are 2 people, perhaps husband/wife team) – but you can get people riled up. How about we take a break from the back and forth and ignore comments not worth responding to. Love the data, but lets not feed the lions, please

    Comment by Bill Felkner — June 24, 2008 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  15. I dunno, CR. Some parents disagree on how much math is important, on the books to be taught in English class, and some would consider french or spanish an extra, while others would sacrifice science education. How do we adjudicate those differences in the public schools? Seems to me the default position shouldn’t be the least common denominator.

    I do think educating in the liberal (classic liberal, that is) tradition, including subjects sometimes considered “extra” like art and music, should be part of everybody’s education. To say nothing of how those subjects support traditional academics — after all, what is music but math and physics on display?

    Comment by david — June 24, 2008 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  16. Sure thing Mr. Felkner. I can ignore with the best of them.

    David I understand that many would disagree. Exactly why I am a strong supporter of parental choice.

    My family happens to be devoid of any artistic genes. Tone deaf and stick figure men are the best we can do. While I have appreciation for the arts, my personal experience for myself and my child is that there’s been a lot of wasted education time spent futilely trying to teach my family the arts. I didn’t pay attention and didn’t care. My child has the same traits.

    Nobody should have paid for me to be in art or music class after 2nd grade. I wasted everyone’s money. I wasn’t alone.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 24, 2008 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  17. “Since renovating the 1904 building is only for the benefit of Hopkinton, how would Hopkinton’s share of the cost be determined?” This is the problem. This is it. What it boils down to is that it would mean spending more money in Hopkinton than in the other two towns. This is why the district suffers. We will never get past this attitude, and if we can’t then a partial withdrawal is becoming the only option for all 3 towns. Because Hopkinton has 2 schools, then it isn’t fair. That is the cry.

    If this is the problem, then nothing is stopping the other 2 towns from purchasing land somewhere within their respective towns and building their own elementary school. And if the Chariho Act has to be changed for this to happen, then so be it.

    The simple fact is that Hopkinton had the presence of mind to build themselves 2 schools, and the other 2 towns didn’t. So, now that we are part of the district as a whole our schools have to suffer because it is not fair that we have 2 and they have 1. The 1904 was left to neglect, and now when it matters most to do what’s best for the kids, too bad for Hopkinton. We won’t spend $2 million on your school because we would rather spend $15-$20 million on a new elementary school or on the campus (Campus 2010). Invest only on the collective property.

    I believe it was in 2001, there was a $35 million bond that addressed a new elementary school and renovations to the high school. Two towns voted for it. Guess #1: The town of Richmond. Guess #2: The town of Hopkinton.

    The problem now is that the budget is so out of control, that this same scenario would likely be rejected because Hopkinton can’t take the increases anymore.

    I’ve heard the argument that no-one wants their child to go to another town’s schools, nevermind the fact that we currently have out of town children attending Hope Valley. Personally, that is a lame excuse because Hopkinton and Charlestown are sending their kids to Richmond to the middle & high schools.

    Communities are in and around schools. Each elementary school is its own little community, and it benefits the younger adolescents. It seems to get lost in the middle school. Point: If the 5th and 6th grade issue is dealt with, then a world of space for the RYSE program will open up. The modulars can be removed. The funds can be progressively applied to the high school for repairs. No additions will need to be added to the middle and high schools. Oh, the savings there. And the problem of placing the 5th and 6th graders in a more appropriate environment will finally be dealt with.

    The argument: What is being proven with study after study, with real research including test scores and records regarding disciplinary actions, is that it benefits children to keep them in the elementary environment/community for as long as possible.

    The elementary schools have the added benefit of being smaller schools.

    Children typically have one teacher.

    Sixth graders are the older students, not one of the younger students. In the case of Chariho, we would have between 50-80 sixth graders in the elementary school, rather than 300+ sixth graders in the middle school.

    Behavioral problems are lessened because the children are clustered in smaller groups, they are in a familiar environment with teachers and administrators that they have been around for 7 years, and they have no exposure to older adolescents within their elementary community.

    If the towns at this time are unwilling to address the issue of crossing the imaginary boundaries to send their children to Hopkinton, then so be it. Let’s address the 5th and 6th grades this way. Mrs. Capalbo has stated that it may be prudent to have a bond written in a way that all 3 towns can be responsible for their own improvements. So, if Hopkinton wants to refurbish the 04 building and put a small addition on Hope Valley for say $6 million, and Richmond and Charlestown want to spend to their hearts content, then why should we stop them. Let them each spend $15 plus million to build their own elementary schools to deal with their overcrowding issues and to bring their 5th and 6th graders back, they can pay for their own brand new shiny things, and we can make do with our own existing structures and pay for ours. Then Hopkinton won’t be holding you back, as people would claim that we are.

    In the end, two wings would open up. One wing could be used for RYSE. The other wing could hold the 9th graders. The middle would have grades 7-9, the high school would have grades 10-12. The overcrowding issue would be dealt with. The lockers probably would not have to be replaced. The elementary children would be in a more appropriate environment with a playground(s) for social and physical growth for the younger adoloscents. It’s a win-win, don’t you think? Hopkinton would be happy because we could spend within our means, and the other two towns would be happy because they would have their two schools and everything would be fair.

    Thinking beyond that though, Richmond and Charlestown would likely not want to pay for maintenance for our two antique building, so that wouldn’t be fair for them. I can hear it now. So, in a few years we will be griping again about maintenance. This is why it just seems to make sense that a partial withdrawal is the way to go. That is not what I would want, but with years of complaining by all 3 sides at one point or another, we have to take care of what is ours. If the towns aren’t going to collectively agree to this as they should have done when the district went to K-12, then let’s just reverse the process. Enough is enough.

    I am very disappointed by the running of our schools. Ashaway has leaking roofs, mice, an abandoned, neglected building, etc… Richmond has their abandoned basement (If their basement looks like the 04 building, then they will be very upset), water problems, lack of space, etc… Feel free to add to the list of problems. Point being: I don’t believe these buildings were turned over to the district in the condition they are currently in. The school committee has to take charge and get control of these budgets, and begin to care for the infrastructure. These things should never be left to bonds to repair. It is a budgetary problem. Let’s just do it.

    Bill, and others, I hope I helped promote some thinking here. I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. I believe the ideas would help with the notion of keeping the younger and older kids together, as well as, deal with academic and behavioral issues.

    I believe that the arts are something that should be dealt with in the Jr. and High schools. (Limited, though!) More so, with clubs, like Drama club, yada yada. It should be a choice thing, like Vo-tech (old term I know) The earlier grades should be dedicated to the basics. Certainly, some of the arts programs are offered outside of the school, and parents can choose to pay for these extra-curricular activities on their own. Just a thought.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 12:39 am | Reply

  18. Long but excellent Mrs. Buck.

    Milton Friedman is readily available to listen to on the internet. The following link is a speech from Mr. Friedman in February. He doesn’t start speaking until the 10 minute mark (you can fast forward).

    Mr. Friedman is focused on educational issues in this link. I recommend listening to Mr. Friedman on any economic issue. He is quite brilliant and cuts through all the wishy-washy logic of those advocating a redistribution of wealth.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2963778444209025185&q=choice+education+%22milton+friedman%22&ei=a8xhSP6GKKP-qALX44T7AQ

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 25, 2008 @ 1:00 am | Reply

  19. I don’t really have much to add to Lois’ post. Much of it is good and logical, some her opinion, but to say that Hopkinton’s two elementary schools are the result of their foresight is, I think, a misreading of history. Hopkinton has had two population centers in Hope Valley and Ashaway for a long time now, something you don’t see even today in either Richmond or Charlestown.

    Comment by david — June 25, 2008 @ 6:37 am | Reply

  20. Lois,
    I was trying to get at a specific point when I asked that question. If we are school district then we need to act as a school district. If it were to be deemed that Richmond Elementary was too small to accomadate grades K-8, which in my mind is probably the right way to go (I meant the K-8 model), and a new school needs to be built or the middle school needs to be revamped in some fashion, the whole district has to contribute, even if it for the benefit of Richmond only. If it were deemed practical to renovate the 1904 building, then the whole district need to contribute. But who makes the determination if the use of the 1904 building is possible? What I do have a problem with is putting Richmond and Hopkinton students in good decent buildings, either or renovated, and saying to Charlestown, here you can have the “portable” buildings, some how that just doesn’t sound right. So Charlestown would probably need either some expansion or possibly a second school building, again, the district needs to contribute as a whole. I do notice one thing on this blog, there seems to be total lack of any kind of input from anyone in Charlestown.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  21. History Lesson: Found out from an long time resident that there used to be another school, torn down long ago, in Hope Valley, located on the big hill above Spring Streets and Mechanic Streets.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  22. Whether I agree or disagree with you on the funding of new schools, the fact is that Hopkinton can’t afford the construction of new schools. I believe this is a big part regarding why we voted down the last bond and the 99 mil.

    So, the option for Richmond and Charlestown is to recognize this fact. The option to fund your own elementary schools will solve your problems, and Hopkinton can choose their own funding for their existing schools. We cannot afford to invest the way you think your town can. So, let’s accept that and come to solutions. Reread Mrs. Capalbo’s solution. It makes sense that someone who has bond know-how should look into this possibility.

    CharihoParent: I understand Richmond’s and Charlestown’s dilemma regarding space. Please recognize our’s regarding affordability.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  23. Well, the school committee deemed it not practical and turned it back over to the town. I wonder how the other town’s would have felt to have one of their used up buildings turned back over to them.

    The 2003 Kaestle Boos study did not suggest the abandonment of the building. We’ve had people look at the building. Strangely, they all say it is structurally sound, and that it has potential. But, it isn’t feasible to invest $2 million into a structure. It is more feasible to invest $15- $20 million in new schools. What’s the logic in that?

    So, I’ll be honest when I say that the towns should move forward in their own way regarding elementary schools. This is my opinion.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  24. I’m no good at ignoring repetitive idiocy. I’m conditioned to respond. Since it’s not my blog I’ll take my leave. Good luck.

    Comment by Real Question — June 25, 2008 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  25. Lois,
    Perhaps the best thing would be for the all 3 of the towns to pull K-8 out of the district entirely. Leave the high school as the Chariho Regional High School. Start up school committees in each town for the elementary schools. Does anyone know if the regionalization bonuses did in fact get removed by the state? I know there was much talk about it but I don’t recall if that actually got passed or not.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  26. Ah yes, someone who can’t discuss but can only throw jabs is taking their leave.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  27. Lois:I believe the regionalization bonus has been removed from the annual state education aid to Rhode Island cities and towns.Sundland may have had a hand in this.Perhaps the money went to bail out Central Falls.The state pays over 95% of their school bill.Central Falls has FREE garbage collection and they recently expanded FREE fire and rescue services.They have reportedly squandered about $10,000,000 of the money that they saved when the state took over their school system.

    Comment by george abbott — June 25, 2008 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  28. David,
    Good level head you have there. I applaud you for bring out the problem with having the elementary school children going to what is now the middle school. That was a very valid point that you brough up and it is right on the mark.

    Also, I think you’re right on the mark too when you bring say that the students should have some exposure to the liberal arts. The three R’s are the foundation but there does need to be some expansion from that foundation, science, history, the liberal arts are part of that expansion from the foundation. Foreign languages should also be available to the elementary school students but not mandatory in my mind.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  29. George,
    Isn’t Woonsocket and Providence also heavily subsidized by the entire state?

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  30. Yes

    Comment by george abbott — June 25, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  31. I think that should read heavily subsidized by the taxpayers! The term state( in my opinion) also includes those who do not pay taxes…

    Comment by RS — June 25, 2008 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

  32. Here’s an interesting article on the benefits of a K-8 school model. The comments are as good as the article.

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MaggieGallagher/2007/01/02/shut_down_the_middle_schools?page=full&comments=true#comments

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  33. Well, if the regionalization bonus is gone, then what is holding any one town back to address their own desire to house their elementary k-6/8 in a new school or expand on their own, other than the Chariho Act? Theoretically, nothing, right?

    CP, the towns did operate their own schools up until the middle school bond. They had their own school committees. If I recall, Mr. Andreotti served as superintendent of schools for all 3 towns. Correct me if I am wrong on that. Quite honestly, I was just out of school about that time, and local happenings were not any concern of mine.

    Personally, I think it benefits the towns to be fully regionalized. Problem is that we have so many differences that it seems that we keep spinning our wheels. Someone once said to me that it would be best to back out the way we came in. The thought was that if we couldn’t work things out then the first step would be to deregionalize beginning with K-4 or K-6. Since, we have K-4 in the elementary schools, then that would be a logical choice to start.

    I hope it never materializes, but I still have to be realistic.

    I had hoped that the communication within this blog could have helped solve our dilemmas. It has some, but it has provided more of a sounding board for years of frustration with residents.

    I will try to remain optimistic.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  34. Another article from March 2002. Interesting that it’s been tried in various sized school districts and seems to be pretty good success in all them. Chariho.. scatch that… Each of the towns need to take a good long hard look at it.

    FindArticles – Revival of the K-8 school: Criticism of middle schools fuels renewed interest in a school configuration of yesteryear
    School Administrator, March, 2002, by Priscilla Pardini

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  35. I will state my position on grade configuration. There is substantial research regarding K-6, therefore I am convinced of its benefits to our children. K-8 has its benefits and drawbacks. Some people may have a problem with 7th and 8th graders being with the 6th graders. This is the scenario at the middle school with a greater concentration of children there.

    K-8 is a tougher decision to make.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  36. Certification is different with 7th and 8th grade as well. Classes are done differently. Teachers specialize with one subject. Resources would be spread out far and wide.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  37. Lois,
    That’s why I said the 3 towns need to take a good long hard look at it. From what I’m reading though, the trend is starting to turn back towards the K-8 model.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  38. Lois,
    I had missed your post #33 until just now. The Chariho School District started out as grades 7-12. When the middle school was built that was that was when the school district began including the lower grades. The selling point that the district used was the increase in the regional bonus. And also, that was the last time all 3 towns agreed at the voting both. You are also correct that the 3 towns had their own school committee up until that time. I’m not sure about the superintendent part, I wasn’t living in the area at that time but my sources of information recall that also though.

    Your initial question about what’s holding any one back now that the regional bonus has been taken away is right on, theoretically nothing is hold them back.

    I also agree that perhaps we should back out the way we came in, that was also the recommendation of the Richmond Education Advisory Committee. If I recall correctly, they advised the town council that the first step should be to withdraw grades K through 5. It was also recommended by the committee that within 5 years of the forming of a Richmond School District that the educational needs be reviewed again. Nothing was ever done with the recommendations since the report was presented almost 2 years ago. I do know that Richmond has started to form a Chariho Withdrawal Committee but they have yet to hold any meetings.

    Unfortunately, when people start with the “better than thou” attitudes and constantly put people down and on the defensive things begin to deteriorate rapidly. I have found though that you do bring good value, good thoughts and good intellect to the discussions. I believe it was David that once complemented you for discussions with him. I too want to thank you for presenting your side and how you feel about in an open and honest manner and with diginity above all else. I find that when I can discuss things with you, I can keep an open mind and try to understand your views and I respect your opinions. I may not always agree but I do respect them.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  39. I have long felt that this forum can be used to benefit our kids and our towns.

    I don’t care to lecture people, and I will only say this once, but I know that a great deal of people would like to participate here. Their concern has been the antagonism.

    Sometimes, it is hard to put ones feelings aside. Often, I have to refrain myself, and I find myself hitting the backspace button quite often.

    I try to read everyone’s comments. Whether we agree or not, we all agree that we want the best for these kids.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  40. I agree we all want what’s best for the kids. What we so many of us disagree on is how we get there and what is actually best for our own child. Perhaps school choice is the answer, I’ll go that far. I’m not so sure about vouchers though, I’m on the fence as far as that goes.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 25, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  41. You’re much more tolerant than me Mrs. Buck. After explaining the same point ten times I eventually write people off as being intellectually deficient or rabble rousers. I’m going to try and respect Mr. Felkner’s wishes and ignore the ignorant and rabble rousers, but it won’t be easy.

    As for the impact on open discussion, I guess someone could be scared off by the heated rhetoric, although popular media and entertainment would lead me to believe that the more controversy and animus, the greater popularity. My experience with blogs is the boring ones die off. This forum is useless if no one pays attention.

    I think the bond was defeated last time because Hopkinton had leaders like your husband who said what needed to be said. Lies were refuted. When the lies kept coming, town leaders kept correcting the record.

    There’s a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I would hate to think that those supporting Hopkinton’s factual positions were out-squeaked by the lies of the Chariho apologists. Chariho has been loudly squeaking and lying for years. This is why Chariho is a mess. I’d hate for the public to miss out on the truth because we chose to nice over interesting.

    I guess it is a matter of perspective.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 25, 2008 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  42. Curious, I would agree that that is the motive of some people.

    I, personally, was angered by the “It’s time to..” comments. The same thing happened with the 99 million bond. And I saved that pamphlet too, but can’t find it. I expect unbiased comments about what is being done. I don’t want to hear the, “If you don’t do it, all heck is going to happen.” That is a way to manipulate a yes vote, but in my case it backfired.

    Also, I have strongly felt that the 5th and 6th grade issue is the key to the RYSE and middle school expenses. And I have always believed that the high school should be in the budget. I would drive my child to school and come in at different times of the day and find the exercise equipment idle. Wasted space.

    The alleged endorsement was another thing. I even went as far as viewing the DVD over and over again to get down the head bobbing and comments when the council specifically asked about the submission of the legislation. Now we have bonds without an endorsement. It just boggles my mind.

    The one common thing that most everyone is in agreement with has been the 5th and 6th grades. This should be our focus. The empirical studies are there, and it is not theory.

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 25, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  43. Fear is a powerful motivator. Would you be surprised to hear that Westerly’s School Committee is talking about introducing another bond and they are claiming the state reimbursement is in jeopardy? Threatening the loss of state reimbursement must be step one in the School Commitee handbook for scaring voters.

    Mr. Felkner posted a list of union tactics used to win contract negotiations. The government spending crowd seem to have a playbook too. One technique is to depict opponents using negative imagery. This is done because it works. It works because much of the voting public pays scant attention, but they will pick up on talking points like “It’s time to…”

    “It’s for the children” may be a lie, but if we don’t call it a lie, then many people believe it. We may not like it, but harshly identifying those who want to take our money and use it irresponsibly may be the only way to penetrate the public conciousness and have any chance of stopping the games. Vitriol works and if we allow them to use it while we only play nice, then don’t be surprised when they win again and again and again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 25, 2008 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  44. Lois:I believe that Barry Ricci strongly embraced the “It’s Time” slogan during last years bond campaign.

    Comment by george abbott — June 25, 2008 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  45. Mark Levin discusses local taxes and the attitude of the government crowd, including School officials. He lives in Virginia but apparently the arrogance goes beyond our borders. You can hear his commentary at around 60:10 (an hour and ten minutes) into his show.

    Be warned that Mr. Levin isn’t always nice to those who support big government.

    [audio src="http://podloc.andomedia.com/dloadTrack.mp3?prm=2069xhttp://abcrad.vo.llnwd.net/o1/levin/rss/levin06242008.mp3" /]

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 25, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  46. No need to worry about where to place your children, a plan is already in the works.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCommentary.asp?Page=/Commentary/archive/200806/COM20080625a.html

    Comment by RS — June 26, 2008 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  47. I think it’s not a bad idea to have K-8 schools, but I’d need to see how this could be done without having to build a ton of infrastructure. If it could be done in the Chariho system using existing infrastructure – I could be on board with the idea. If it’s going to take building new schools – the costs outweigh any savings.

    The argument about having such younglings in with teenagers being a bad idea – I think – is assuming the worst of our youth. I’m sure we have some bad apples in the system – and they should be dealt with adminstratively as they are being dealt with already, however – in my experience – older kids love helping out younger kids and this will instill positive values (relate to community service) in our teens. Segregating the teens from the children would actually be a bad idea, imo.

    Comment by njwashor — June 26, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  48. It can be discouraging RS. Imagine willingly turning your children over to the government to indoctrinate from infancy. Locally we’ve already introduced government parenting to some Chariho district pre-K children. Not only are we allowing government to take over more and more of the parenting responsibilities, we pay for it too.

    I read in today’s ProJo that we have a number of candidate running for Town Council. Included on the list are Mr. Abbott, Mr. Scott Hirst, and Mr. Felkner. My question to every candidate is where do you stand on parental choice? Since the only candidate I can rule out now is Mrs. Kenney, school choice will likely weigh heavily into my decision. There’s enough research and real life results out there to make a decision so I’d expect every candidate to stake a yes or no position well before the election.

    I would hate to see Mr. Felkner gone off the School Committee, but maybe he can have more impact on the Town Council? Because the school wastes most of our money, having oversight of the school is vitally important, but with the introduction of parental choice, the Town Council could shift control of educational spending.

    Mr. Pruehs is running for School Committee. I oppose his election (he was appointed the first time). He has done little to protect the families of Hopkinton. Mr. Richard A. Vecchio is running against Mr. Pruehs. I don’t know anything about him. Hopefully he’s not a teacher or connected to a school employee in any way. I’d like to have an alternative to Mr. Pruehs.

    The campaign could be lively.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 26, 2008 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  49. We have been through this discussion before Mr. Washor if you want to do some searching back on this website. Research indicating the advantages of K to 6th and K to 8th has been linked and discussed. Mrs. Buck has done a lot of looking. I’ve yet to see any concrete data where the Middle School model was shown to be superior to the other models.

    I believe one of the advantages of K to 8th was having the older children interact with the younger children, but this occureed when the young teens (7th and 8th) were not having their behavior influenced by the older teens (9th through 12th). I’m guessing the 7th and 8th graders in K to 8th grade schools haven’t grown up as fast as the children exposed to the older teens in other kinds of schools.

    I’d be interested in any data you can share which demonstrates having pre-teens educated in the same environment with 9th to 12th graders is advantageous? Please provide links if available.

    As for any shift in grade configuration the logistics would be up to the School Committee. They have shown not the slightest hint that they care to address the issue in any meaningful way. This despite the fact that all three towns have shown a preference for getting 5th and 6th graders away from the teenagers in the Middle School environment. One more reason why the towns should take back control of our elementary education.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 26, 2008 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  50. Charlestown’s ad hoc committee on withdrawal has once again recommended Charlestown leave the Chariho district:

    http://www.projo.com/education/content/SC_CHARLESTOWN_AD_HOC_WITHDRAWAL_06-26-08_J1A_v40.41ef491.html

    Several years ago Charlestown took similar steps, but after Chariho employees got political, withdrawal was averted by a few votes.

    The ad hoc committee estimates the cost of withdrawal and establishing their own school system to be around $50,000,000. The commitee claims this would be much cheaper than tax equalization. I think think they are correct. Not only would it be cheaper for them, but without Charlestown’s tolerance for spending (due to their low taxes) it would likely save Hopkinton money too as we would have more power to reject ridiculous employee contracts and expensive programs.

    Charlestown’s withdrawal could be a win/win for us all. I hope they actually go through with it this time.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 26, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  51. Question for Hopkinton. Is there only one seat on the school committee to be filled in this election year for Hopkinton?

    I know Richmond has two and the old man continues to run for one of them. God help Richmond with Bill Day on the school committee.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 26, 2008 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  52. Yes, only Mr. Preuhs. He was appointed to fill a one year vacancy and now would run for the office if he wishes to continue.

    I would advocate a partial withdrawal of K-6 or a Chariho Act change that keeps the full district together but allows each town independance to determine the renovations or new construction of their K-6 buildings. Each town pays for its own elementary school building and maintenance. These are town properties not school properties and they are our asset or liability when the school decides to dump them back into the community after less than minimal maintenance.

    As the 5th and 6th in Hopkinton and Charlestown return to their own towns for education, two wings are available at the Middle School. These wings can be used for either ALP and RYSE in one and Richmond’s 5th and 6th in another or some other choice with the Town of Richmond and Chariho Middle School discussing options.

    In Hopkinton, Vouchers are still on the table for those totally unhappy with the Chariho District programs and should continue to be discussed and hopefully moved forward.

    If the district remains together but with the elementary school buildings overseen by each town, I would also agree with Richmond that the number of school committee members should be equal – preferably, for me, a total of nine.

    These bonds that the school is demanding locks all of us into a quagmire.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 26, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  53. Barabara,
    I understand what you’re saying about the town and control over their elmentary schools. I don’t think there’s even a need to change the Chariho Act though to allow us the determination of renovations or new construction. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t even recall seeing anything in Chariho Act that controls it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 26, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  54. You are almost correct. The Act right now, allows us to fix our schools whenever we would like but without the district reimbursement because effectively we are not going ‘through the district’ to renovate or build schools for them.

    The Act change I would like to propose would allow us to use the district reimbursement (we are fixing the schools for the district – we are not withdrawing) and allow us the independance to renovate or build without the other two towns approval because we are paying for these changes to our own property independantly per town not through the district.

    At this time we either pay by town without state reimbursement or all three towns pay for any other towns upgrade of their school property and must agree within a Chariho bond or the Chariho budget. Slightly difficult.

    Effectively the town elementary schools get fixed, renovated or built by the determination of town citizens; tax equalization is not an issue; the district is intact; Chariho leases the buildings and we get control of the property and its maintenance or upgrade to the benefit of all our students.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 26, 2008 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  55. Hi CR,

    I am new to this blog and am not going to reread all of yesterdays news just so that I don’t discuss something that has been talked about before. If you don’t want to discuss “old news” then don’t bother to respond to it.

    And I do believe you and I are saying the same thing if you re-read my post.

    Comment by njwashor — June 26, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  56. I can see how my post was misleading now that I re-read it… I was talking about k-8 not k-12. I would not want to see young children in with older teens… I completely agree with you.

    Comment by njwashor — June 26, 2008 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  57. I was trying to be helpful Mr. Washor. Past blog posts contain many links to research which we may not come across again in a new discussion. I have no problem stating my opinion over and over and over (ask anyone, they’ll tell you). My suggestion was not an attempt to save me from typing. This website has a search function but I’m not sure if it works.

    As for the K to 8th being good for the younger teens as they interact and mentor the pre-teens, yes, I think research Mrs. Buck posted reached that exact conclusion. I guess we don’t disagree on this one.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 26, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  58. I support partial withdrawal of K to 6th because it would set the stage for full withdrawal should Hopkinton still be unable to keep up with the spending proclivities of Charlestown and Richmond. With partial withdrawal we are still stuck with the contracts and budgets acceptable to the other two towns. History has demonstrated they lack the discipline to insist on reasonable spending. That said, mutually agreeing to take back physical responsibility of the Elementary School infrastructure is a good first step.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 26, 2008 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  59. Barbara,
    I believe George Abbott said the regional bonus is gone. Wouldn’t the towns though still qualify for the Housing Aid, which I believe is at 30% or is that only available to the school districts?

    I would also support a K-8 school, the reading I’ve been doing on shows that 6th,7th and 8th graders do better in school, are more willing to mentor the younger students, have less discipline problems. A lot of private schools follow the K-8 school model with much success. There’s a lot of food for thought and much more research on our part I believe is needed to make sure that this would be a good model to follow. Right now, I have haven’t seen much of any drawback on this other than from, who else, the unions.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 26, 2008 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  60. re: post 47 from njwashor, I think there are both benefits and drawbacks to K-8 schools. In my children’s (private) K-8 school, the older kids are reading buddies with the younger kids, they help the young children’s teachers with boots and coats, and they provide role models (generally good) to the younger kids.

    At the same time, the young kids are exposed to teenage behavior, especially before and after school and on the school bus, which bothers some parents quite a lot.

    Comment by david — June 26, 2008 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  61. Housing aid is separate – it is effectively part of our state taxes returned to us. The 30% (or more depending on area of state and ‘poorness’ of citizens) is reimbursement to us for building or renovating schools. It is not ‘Housing Aid’ and is only available if you bond for building.

    You are right CP the research is quite extensive concerning K-6 and K-8. I believe Lois is the most qualified in my mind to answer these balanced choices. The K-8 is more neutral insofar as the older the student, the less the assistance or comfort with the littlest students. At Grade 6 it seems to balance a better.

    At any rate all three towns can, obviously, handle K-4. To move to K-6 means renovating Hope Valley and Ashaway for Hopkinton; rebuilding for Charlestown; and either building new for Richmond or using a wing in the Middle School for 5th and 6th.

    Of course all three towns handle special needs for the entire district – which, obviously, means crossing town lines for specialty elementary classes. I don’t believe any of the schools (or towns) find that troublesome or problematic. When we discussed it at the Ad-Hoc School meetings we specifically tried to have spaces and classrooms for all of the district students that we have (so far) been responsible via the district organization.

    As to the reimbursement rate – if it has been lowered to 30% and we can get this rate without regionalization, why remain as a district? We may also be able to get a higher rate if we are a ‘poorer’ community. At one point (perhaps several years ago) I believe Hopkinton would have recieved 46% by itself.

    At the moment we are still a district. Not a taxing district, just a school district. And we have severe problems on many fronts – not just town by town, but unsustainable union contracts, by district, by administration, by bond (for what? and for whom? and when?), by national and state scores and assessments, by abysmal math curriculum, etc. Parents and members of town committees and councils recognize these issues and are trying to resolve them for the benefit of the kids first (they deserve a good education) and the citizens next (they deserve sustainable contracts and not to go to the poorhouse).

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 26, 2008 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  62. Barbara,
    Thanks for the clarifications. Your last paragraph is especially pointed and I have to agree with the perspective you’ve put forth. The math cirriculum seems to lousy pretty much state wide from the cirticisms I’ve heard from parents in other school districts. DOE failed the students and the parents when they allowed many of these math cirriculums. I feel they need to go back to the basics, especially in math.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 27, 2008 @ 7:00 am | Reply

  63. I have a comment that is apparently in queue because I posted a few links. I apologize for the delay.

    I hope they will help those interested in the K-6/K-8 debate.

    Thanks and have a nice day!

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 27, 2008 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  64. Hi David,

    I do imagine contact with older kids could be upsetting to many parents, but according to the research on this page, the numbers show that kids in middle school systems actually behave worse than kids in k-8… now I am sure the numbers may have been compiled in a manner to benefit one side of the argument… but that is what this set of numbers say. On the flip side… I would share the same concern as well and would want to see more “proof” that a K-8 system is the way to go.

    Comment by njwashor — June 27, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  65. An interesting question has been raised on the Richmond blog in regards to the possible withdrawal from the Chariho School District.

    http://richmondrinews.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/wavering-in-charlestown/

    I’m curious to see the replies.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 27, 2008 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  66. I will post the links individually. Thanks for your patience.

    http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/grade_configuration.cfm

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 28, 2008 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  67. http://www.pubpol.duke.edu./research/papers/SAN07-01.pdf

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 28, 2008 @ 9:21 am | Reply

  68. There are other links, but I been having trouble posting. I will try again later. I hope you find the above interesting reading.

    Thanks, and have a nice day. 🙂

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 28, 2008 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  69. Lois,
    Very interesting reading so far. One problem I did have was with the Terry Sanford Institute research. They pretty much only compare 6th grade. Some of the research compared the various school models especially the middle school vs. K-8 elementary school. So far, I’m still of the opinion that the K-8 model if very much worth while looking into. Short of that, I think K-6 is the next best option for the kids. I wonder if Mr. Felkner would want to propose a school model options committee to study this that would involve not only a few members from the school committee but also members from the general public and possibly a TC member from each of the towns (in other words, not a “sub-committee”).

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 28, 2008 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

  70. I included the Terry Sanford document because the post heading is K-6 and K-8. I find this one of the most recent documents, and if we are to start, K-6 is a good place to start. K-8 will be a tougher sell. If we chose to go K-8, then it could be in long term plans (ie…begin with K-6, then pursue K-8 a little down the road.)

    Some parents are reluctant to keep their 7th & 8th graders in the elementary school. Some parents of younger kids do not want their kids with 7th and 8th graders. I’ve gotten into some heated discussions regarding this.

    The thing is that the benefits strongly outweigh the negatives for a K-6 configuration. The positives and negatives of a K-8 school system will have to be looked at very cautiously.

    We know K-6 works. That should be our first goal. In the meanwhile, K-8 can be looked at, especially considering there are many districts throughout the country making the switch.

    Just a sidebar, I read an article about a district that was changing over to K-8. For them, it wasn’t the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Granted it was a city district. They had poverty, which put on an additional burden on the district. Converting to K-8 did not help them, it only sustained them. If I can locate the article, I will post it. (I think the city was Milwaukee, but I am not sure.)

    Have a nice day!

    Comment by Lois — June 28, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  71. Lois,
    OK, I see your point then concerning starting with K-6 and can respect your opinion on it. Heck, I could even support your position. It would be a good place to start, just would need to work out the space needed for Richmond students. The one thing I would not support though is those awful “mobil trailers”, besides there isn’t room on the current Richmond Elementary School compus and the property for sale next to it is not worth what is being asked for it and I’ve been told it would be usable for school expansion becaue of DEM regulations (a lot of wetland and it borders Meadow Brook). Given the current climate in the district, I’m not sure how that could be best worked out.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 29, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  72. Richmond has the most difficulty in expanding to K-6 and I do agree with CP that ‘trailers’ should not be used. They have a tendency to remain and become ‘permanent classrooms’. The use of a wing at the Middle School is the most frugal option as Hopkinton and Charlestown elementaries expand and Richmond considers options.

    Bill’s voucher option for a number of families is another good attempt at lessening school population and improving educational scores. Especially at the $14,000 price tag per student at Chariho.

    I can’t believe that the $67,000 price tag for a RYSE and for an ALP student is correct. First of all the 48 students quoted in the paper – only 26 or so are RYSE. The others are ALP (Alternate Learning Program). These ALP students seem to do better in separate classrooms but do not need separate schools. The RYSE students need the option of Groden Center, Meeting Street School, Bradley Hospital, and South County specialty schools. These are excellent facilities, nationally known and presently unavailable to our students unless the parents sue the district or Chariho decides for the parent that the child can go there. If a parent wants to stay at the high school RYSE program, they can. If they want a more exclusive school for their very special needs child, they should be able to get it. I, personally, just won’t agree to build a 4 million dollar building for 26 students.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 29, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  73. Once again, I’ve left out an important word in my previous post

    I’ve been told it (the land next to Richmond Elementary School) would NOT be usable for school expansion becaue of DEM regulations (a lot of wetland and it borders Meadow Brook).

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 29, 2008 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  74. I’ve heard that as well CP. It’s unfortunate because it seems an excellent place to expand and it’s close to the town hall as well. The properties would become easy for the town to maintain so close together. It is also a good sized piece of land. Maybe something could be worked out with DEM?

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 29, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  75. Barbara,
    I’m not sure of the size of the lot. You would think though that something could be worked out with DEM but I think we all know how DEM works… at a snails pace!

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 29, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  76. Why should we be guessing at the cost of a RYSE student, doesn’t the FOIA allow for the release of this information?

    Comment by RS — June 29, 2008 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  77. RS, they will only supply documents that currently exist. They will not create a new document. And since they don’t keep seperate ledgers for RYSE they don’t have that data. The information they give In$ight is the best we have (but they say its not accurate, even though the info came from Chariho).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — June 29, 2008 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  78. Hi Everyone,
    I’m sorry this keeps being brought up but it does so I feel the need to respond. Many people in your community live in modular homes. These are not trailers and we are taxed as if they are not trailers. My neighbors live in a modular. They have two kids. My brother lives in a modular. He has two kids. I have three kids myself. We all live in Hopkinton and I’m sure there are many more modular homes here.

    If Barbara or anyone else on the town council thinks our “trailers” are less than permanent or not the same as built on site homes then please give us a break on our taxes because the town taxes us as though our trailers were houses.

    My 1st grade daughter’s Hope Valley class was moved to the “trailers” during high heat at the end of the school year. The “trailers” were the only buildings with air conditioning. The “trailers” have been in Hope Valley for years and seem every bit as kept up as the main building.

    As part of the ad hoc committee looking at bringing 5th and 6th grades back to elementary I visited with Triumph Leasing Company. This is the company that leases Chariho the modular buildings. Triumph assured me that the buildings they provide are as permanent as any other buildings and may be better built since they have to meet codes from all over the country.

    I did not discuss the Chariho buildings in any details but they led me to believe that the Chariho buildings could be purchased. This was mentioned by somebody on this website but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in an official position (school committee) mention the possibility of buying these buildings. I’m sure it would be cheaper than building brand new buildings or additions.

    Sorry for being long winded but it irritates me to read modular buildings being called trailers.
    Adios amigos y amigas!

    Comment by Jim L. — June 29, 2008 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  79. I’ve been in modular homes and I’ve been in the modular school buildings. They are every bit as sturdy…maybe even sturdier.

    The Chariho buildings are referred to as “trailers” because they do not allow for creative elites to put their personal touch on the building design. They are boilerplate buildings and everyone can have one. When the Mr. Kenneys of the world get their name put on a plaque, they don’t want it to be for a run-of-the-mill building. No, no, they want nooks and crannies. When somebody else is paying nothing but the best for elites.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 29, 2008 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  80. Isn’t anyone open to the idea of building up? Or do we now have a problem with 2 and 3 story buildings?

    Comment by Lois Buck — June 29, 2008 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

  81. Jim and CR,

    I don’t have a problem with modular building. I have a problem with ‘permanent trailers’ like Ashaway and Hope Valley. I realize they have good things like air conditioning, but the little children who must use these also must dress to leave the buildings for the bathroom, cafeteria, gym, let alone anything else in the main school at Hope Valley – in the winter this is most time consuming. At Ashaway these tiny out buildings are being used for art and music and are not considered ‘classrooms’ but are effectively usable storage facilities – as if the Ashaway basement could not be used for the same storage.

    Lois is right. Build up. Keep buildings condensed in the landscape and keep them efficient. Not just in energy usage, but in time as well. Teachers and students who have to keep putting on and taking off coats, gloves, boots, etc lose teaching time – especially when you deal with tiny ones who need much assistance. Between classes, high school students should be able to get to their locker, the library and the bathroom without traipsing all over the school.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 30, 2008 @ 6:27 am | Reply

  82. Barbara,
    As I’m sure you must know, it’s not always feasiable to build up. Much depends on how the building was originally built. Sometimes it’s much more expensive to build up then it is to build across. That’s part of reason we don’t build up at the high school.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 30, 2008 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  83. The high school was supposed to be designed to have a second story built. If that is no longer (or never was) the case, an architect can add steel trusses or cantilever a second story over the first and add stairs and/or an elevator. With even a slightly peaked roof, energy is contained, the weather rolls off and the entire two stories is more efficient – you can even have a skylight over the stair well. It also almost single handedly doubles your classroom space and allows for larger lab facilities.

    Using, and not conserving, the land for the use of well and septic or pavement is discouraged these days. Adding the library to one end of the building changes vehicular traffic patterns radically not to mention students have much further to access a very basic and needful center of their studies.

    It may be more expensive, but there has been no information to determine this. The bond is bid by square foot not by actual blueprints or any drawings (except conceptual) at all.

    The maintenance shed seems well-designed and could be at least partially built by the Vo-Tech students. They have done excellent work in the past and would make this portion much less expensive. The track should simply be gone from the bond proposal as it is a ten year replacement proposition not twenty.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 30, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  84. Barbara,
    I didn’t say it couldn’t be done, I said it’s more expensive, that’s all. I had asked about building up with one of the Richmond members of the Chariho Building Committee about building up at the high school and that’s the answer I got, it was much more expensive then building out. I valued his opinion since he is very much involved in the building trades.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 30, 2008 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  85. But building out is less efficient, less energy conservative and more wasteful of space. Over fifty years which will hurt more? Take out the track and use that money to buy steel.

    I do appreciate the discussion CP.

    Comment by BarbaraC — June 30, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  86. I agree Barbara. It would seem that building out would also have added costs such as a foundation. You don’t have to build a new foundation if you build up. Especially when we run into brown dirt issues that seem to pop up. Not to mention the savings on heat, etc…

    Comment by Bill Felkner — June 30, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  87. I agree, seems reasonable to build up and not out, that’s why I asked the question.

    Comment by CharihoParent — June 30, 2008 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  88. Back when I lived in Richmond, they sure didn’t have any problem building up the Town Hall.

    Comment by RS — June 30, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  89. I think it should be looked at, but I figure fire codes will be even a bigger cost if you build another story, along with structural engineering issues.

    Comment by david — June 30, 2008 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  90. Build ramps for handicap accessability instead of stairwells, construct elevators.

    Heat rises, like at Ashaway, the upstairs is quite warm. In the late spring, it is quite toasty, so a good ventilation system and cooling system would have to be thought out.

    The state fire codes address children in PK, K, and 1st regarding second levels, so they do not have to be in the upper levels. The issue with the younger kids is the entry has to be to grade.

    I think Richmond may have more options than they realize. Hire the right architect, and you might be surprised. Find objective people, who are not closed-minded to the idea about going up, as well as out.

    If we can ever come to some funding agreement, I had thought once that a separate steel building could be built for an athletic complex at the high school. Then the old gym could be utilized for classroom space or library space, and the classrooms being used for exercise equipment could be emptied and used for classrooms. But, if we deal with the elementary issue, then this option is likely moot, as the student enrollment in the high school would drop with the removal of the 9th graders.

    Have a nice day!

    Comment by Lois — June 30, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  91. Stairwells still need to be built as they are the faster egress in an emergency and ramps are a given. Structural costs would go up, but sprinklers above each other allow the water to soak all levels faster or more thoroughly than sprinklers on one level although you still need the same amount.

    Comment by BarbaraC — July 1, 2008 @ 7:17 am | Reply

  92. Lois,
    I’ve missed something here, where would you put the 9th graders? Are you thinking that they could be put in the middle school? If that’s what you’re thinking, then are you going back to the jr/sr high school model?

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 1, 2008 @ 7:18 am | Reply

  93. ‘You get what you pay for’ is a real old adage and true. A free architect from an engineering firm that wants the job is not a good deal. A frugal and creative architect is worth the cost.

    Comment by BarbaraC — July 1, 2008 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  94. This is my thinking.

    1. K-8: The middle school could become the high school, the high school could become a K-8. Perhaps, the special PK’s and the special needs programs (ie…Autism, etc.) from the district, could be placed in the high school with the K-8. As this is likely a hard sell, another option is this:

    2. PK-6, 7-9 and 10-12. The bussing is even as far as transporting them equally and at the same time. Yes, this would be a Jr/Sr. thing. Add on to the elementary schools, even if that meant going up. The 5th and 6th graders would be back where they belong. RYSE and ALP would be on the campus in their own separate wings. The work to be done is the repairs. With less children in the high school, the lockers would not have to be redone because there would be less children.

    Just a thought, in recent years the student enrollment has dropped. I have wondered if this is a statewide thing. I have also noticed that the enrollment in many parts of the country has increased. Sounds kind of fluid. With the inability of Rhode Island to keep people here, the long term plan would be to consider that Rhode Island will get their collective acts (another word could fit here) together and enrollment will increase. We have to consider how this would be handled in a long term plan. This would have been a good thing for a management group to look into. Just a concerned thought.

    Have a nice day!!!!!!!

    Comment by Lois Buck — July 1, 2008 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  95. Lois,
    That’s an idea to think about and then get it discussed in depth. It sounds like a viable option.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 1, 2008 @ 6:27 pm | Reply


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