Chariho School Parents’ Forum

July 23, 2008

LTE in ProJO

Filed under: Corruption,Unions — Editor @ 1:59 pm


Walter Amoroso: Let’s sue school committees


01:00 AM EDT on Monday, July 21, 2008



I was wondering: If the school districts in West Warwick and Cranston can sue the municipality in which they operate, why could not the citizens of those communities countersue, for damages, the school departments and the school committees that run those departments and sign those teacher contracts with the unions, so economically devastating to the people of the community?

The reasons: malfeasance in office, reckless spending of public funds, endangering the welfare of the community, causing emotional pain and suffering, causing economic hardship for the retired on fixed incomes.

Maybe we can recover damages for the damages inflicted on us by these self-serving public servants who now have turned the tables and serve nobody but themselves. The public’s standard of living continues to decline while the school administrators’ and teachers’ standard of living continues to improve, no matter what the economic conditions are.

There is something wrong here, and maybe a dose of their own medicine is what they need to feel the pain as we do. Are there any lawyers out there willing to undertake this sorely needed case pro bono? We cannot afford an attorney.

Maybe we can include the police and firefighters, too, while we are at it.



  1. If I recall there were threats of lawsuits against the families of Hopkinton a few years ago when Mr. Hirst led the effort to cut $2,000,000 from Chariho’s budget. Chariho officials suggested a $2,000,000 cut would devastate the functioning of Chariho.

    We now know that Mr. Ricci and the rest of the administration along with the School Committee lied to the community. Not only was $2,000,000 available to cut, but they had an excess of $2,800,000. The surplus doesn’t even include the significant waste and unnecessary employees included in that year’s budget…they probably could have cut $4,000,000 without impacting students one iota.

    Communities need to fight back against unrestrained government growth. The judiciary needs to stop forcing communities to pay beyond the economic ability of our poorest families. The letter writer is correct in noting that all around us the economy stagnates, yet we are expected to continue with business as usual with school employees and school budgets.

    If there is a lawyer willing to take on a claim of overspending by Rhode Island schools, I would think the teacher to student ration of around 11:1 would be a great place to start in making the case for excessive spending.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 23, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  2. Hi!
    The real farce about my cut was the then Supt. witheld much information from me, I was asked to identify where the cuts were to be made even though information was witheld from me but I certainly had ideas at the time, and with a revote a audit was not conducted by the state to prove the school district could not operate on the amount I proposed and was approved by the voters in the first vote.
    Since you know I am a candidate for Town Council I ask this question, please identify your town of residence:
    Q. Would you support a lawsuit to once and for all force an equalized tax rate in the Chariho Regional School District? This lawsuit would be costly with no guaranteed results.
    Since this is something we need to consider in Hopkinton particularly, it is something I need to look at, as a town council candidate, as a possible solution to dealing with the financial inequities in the district.
    It appears at this point the only source of a potential lawsuit would come from Hopkinton.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 23, 2008 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  3. Scott,
    But you NEVER presented your ideas to anyone! Not even the school committee at the time you suggested the cut nor later when they held meetings. All you ever said was that you had ideas. You expected everyone to go along with you without presenting them. That was the ludicrous part of the what you had proposed. It looked very much like what you had already done in Hopkinton, you as part of the town council, nearly bankrupted the Town of Hopkinton and then you made it appear that you were trying to do the same thing to Chariho. Of course the other two towns’ voters were upset with you, what did you expect? No ideas forthcoming from you only hurt you, not help you! Besides, Scott, what do you care, you’re not even a freaking taxpayer! You mom and your brother are but you aren’t!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 23, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  4. Hi!
    I will let my record speak for itself. And for my caring I will let my decades of community involvement speak for itself. BTW I think I champion the taxpayers with the best of them! FYI the property I reside at 20 Maple Court, Ashaway, is in all three of our names!
    It is ironic you chastize me but not Mr. Pini who witheld information from me prior to the vote and also not Mrs. Brown who made the dubious statement to a question afterward that if she told how much was mandated was all they would get to run the schools. You omit the fact the school committee never defended their need for the amount and AVOIDED an Caroulo examination from the state.

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

  5. I find it pretty pathetic that the School Committee would need to rely on Mr. Hirst or any other private citizen to tell them where to cut a budget which was inflated by at least $2,800,000. I don’t believe the School Committee was too dumb to know the Mr. Ricci and the administration were presenting bogus budget numbers. Maybe some of them were too stupid, but not all of them.

    I would support a legal effort to force Charlestown families to pay equally for Chariho. While Rhode Island has regional schools which pay by town rather than district, this taxation scheme is unusual when measured by what is typical around the country. I wouldn’t be suprised if the tax disparity at Chariho is the worst of any in the entire country.

    My hope would be for the bond(s) to be rejected again by Hopkinton and then Charlestown voluntarily removes itself from Chariho, but if any one of the bond component should pass, then I would urge Hopkinton’s Town Council to take the legal steps necessary to protect Hopkinton families from inequitable taxation.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 23, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  6. Scott,
    It’s only in C/O with your name. Heck, your mom even has a veteran’s widow deduction on it.

    You’re missing the point. Scott said here and back then that he had ideas, what were the ideas? Still to this day he only says he has ideas but never, ever comes forward with anything concrete. He’s the typical politician, all talk, no action. Pathethic!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 23, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  7. When it comes to your personal attacks of Mr. Hirst there doesn’t seem to be a point. I’m guessing there is something more to your anger than meets the eye.

    Mr. Hirst had the idea that a budget with excess of $2,800,000 could be cut by $2,000,000. School Committee members and the administration claimed it couldn’t be cut. Whether by mere luck or brilliance, Mr. Hirst was correct and a few years later we find out that Chariho’s administration and the School Committee lied to the community. Unless in on the lies, every taxpayer should be outraged by what happened.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 23, 2008 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

  8. CR,
    I wasn’t and am not the only person with a disdain for what happened then. SBH indicated that he had specific ideas, what were they? To this day some 3 years later, no one knows still. It seemed to be more than a hunch about a budget surplus. SBH isn’t the only politician that I have a dislike for but when it comes to him, he’s perhaps one of the more laughable characters other than James Mageau, opposite ends of the spectrum as to why but both laughable and both characters.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 24, 2008 @ 3:53 am | Reply

  9. Do you have as much disdain for the administration and School Committee who straight out lied to the community threatening programs and athletic under the guise of “not enough money”?

    There may be plenty of reasons to dislike Mr. Hirst (he seems harmless to me), but a budget battle in which he was on the right side seems odd. With all the politicians out there to hate, picking Mr. Hirst is weird. Oh, well, it remains a mystery, but I will continue to believe it is personal. He crossed path with you somewhere along the line and your not happy about it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 24, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  10. CR, to answer your question straight out, yes I have as much disdain for the administration and the school committee that lied to us. That being said, I have no use for someone who makes comments like they have/had ideas but never comes out with them. Neither was the right thing to do. Also, knowing that SBH would never come forward with his ideas, the writing was on the wall where the school committee would cut. They behaved just like every other awful school committee in the state and went straight to where they knew the parents would be most upset. No one did the right thing, SBH, the administration or the school committee. SBH blows his own horn with not much substance behind it. As I said before, pathetic!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 24, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  11. Agreed CP. Hirst is just a wannabe politician. get a job. stands on a record of a 19% tax increase and a bankrupt town 10 years ago. yea, way to go hirst.

    Comment by amen to that — July 24, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  12. CR, one more thing, once again your assumptions are wrong. I don’t know SBH personally, he never did anything to me personally. I know who he is, what he has done, that’s all there is to it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 25, 2008 @ 6:55 am | Reply

  13. Whatever you say.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 25, 2008 @ 9:11 am | Reply

  14. Hi!
    I prefer to keep personal attacks to a minimum. I did have ideas where the budget should have been cut, but we have at maximum 26 total of school committee and town council members. All of them should be contributing to the discussion let alone non members of those two groups. We are down two town council members, one each in Richmond and Charlestown have left.
    You may have seen the South County Providence Journal , today about my belief we need to investigate litigation on Chariho finances.We need to seriously look at dealing with the financial disparities in the district once and for all. Whether it is Charlestown withdrawal or an equalized tax rate. Right now it would seem/appear that only Mrs. Kenney out of the seven of us running for Hopkinton Town Council would not be willing to even consider a legal challenge to district finances concerning tax equalization. I will stand corrected if this is incorrect.
    I got a call this morning from the Hopkinton Town Clerk’s office that Tueday at 9:30 A.M., a lottery will be held for ballot placement for candidates.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 25, 2008 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  15. Dancing around the issue again, Scott, like a typical bad politician. That’s all you’ve been doing ever since you made that proposal. YOU said that YOU had ideas, still you won’t say what that are. Don’t pass it off to anyone else. What were YOU’RE ideas? Seems to me that YOU should have been willing to discuss YOUR ideas since YOU made the motion cut the $2 million. YOUR ideas should have been the starting point for discussions. Instead YOU avoided going to any meetings to discuss them and lay them out on the table. Then you show up at the District Financial Meeting strutting around thinking YOU’RE the savior of the district. In the end, YOUR motion fizzeled to practically nothing because YOU couldn’t be a man and present what YOUR ideas were.

    You’re a politician, you’re fair game when it comes to being ridiculed for your past performance. Motions made without the testicular fortitude to present what your ideas were. Sitting on a town council that raided the fund balance account then was forced to dish out double digit tax increases for two consecutive years leaves you wide open to be questioned.

    And who the heck cares that you got a phone call about the lottery for ballot placement of candidates?

    Is that what this forum/blog is all about, your running for office? Once again, pathetic!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 25, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  16. I believe SBH did ask Pini and Ricci for a list of mandated services so he could determine what was not required (and thus eligible for cuts). But the school would not provide the information.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — July 25, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  17. Mr. Felkner, let me try to make this my point perfectly clear. I know SBH asked and didn’t get that information, there was stonewalling going on by Mr. Pini and the School Committee, but that’s not my point. My point is that SBH said he had ideas, even without that information, but he has never, ever come forward with what those ideas were. If he truly had any ideas he should have brought them forward so everyone at least had a starting point to begin discussion on these supposed ideas, that was a total failure on his part.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 25, 2008 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  18. Forget it Mr. Felkner…something going on with CharihoParent and Mr. Hirst that goes beyond this board. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that Chariho spends far above what is necessary to educate our children. Rhode Island’s per pupil costs are among the highest in the country, and our teacher to student ratio is a ridiculous 11:1. What ideas does anyone need for cutting spending? Eliminate jobs and begin to negotiate contract concessions that bring school employees in line with private sector employees. Brilliant, huh?

    To think Mr. Hirst or any other person not intimately involved with the school’s finances could say with specificity where to make cuts is silliness. Although I know with certainty there is plenty of wasted money, I couldn’t do it from the outside looking in. We know the budget games Mr. Ricci and the administration play. We’re not allowed to know how or where the money is spent.

    There’s something else behind the anger of CharihoParent. Mr. Hirst wanted to cut $2,000,000 when there was excess taxation of $2,800,000. Whatever you think of the guy, his actions in this instance were praiseworthy, not condemable. Yet for some reason, CharihoParent picks this issue to attack Mr. Hirst. Doesn’t make any sense so logically we must assume there is something we are not being told. I think it is personal.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 25, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  19. CR, that’s where you foolishness comes in believing that SBH knew that there was $2.8 million in excess funds at that time. No one really knew there was that kind of excess since it was all hidden. At that time Mr. Ricci wasn’t as involved as he is now. Much of the blame at that time is on Mr. Pini and the school committee for hiding things (Stephanie Brown is a prime example of that), those are the ones who should have been forthcoming. Oh, by the way, SBH could run right over me with his car (oh wait, according to the tax rolls, he doesn’t own a car!) and not know it was me. I’m just another person to SBH, don’t know the man enough to even talk to him although I’ve seen him around and he’s seen me. I just have no use for phonies like SBH.

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 25, 2008 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  20. My understanding is Mr. Ricci was second in command at the time? I’m sure he was involved with every last detail and every last lie about the budget. If not, he was as incompetent as an Assistant Superintendent as he is now.

    Your history with Mr. Hirst is yours to know. The extent of your anger specifically towards him is pretty intense. Considering he’s not a Richmond politician I take your vitriol to be something more than you’re willing to share. So be it. He was right about the budget no matter if it was blind luck or not.

    Comment by Curious Resident — July 26, 2008 @ 12:54 am | Reply

  21. SBH-

    WHO GIVES A HOOT ABOUT A BALLOT PLACEMENT LOTTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by hulkamania is running wild — July 26, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  22. I think the SBH was just offering information for anyone who is interested, if your not interested then why be so jumpy? Its kind of like being forced to wade through other languages in instruction booklets, if it doesn’t interest you or apply, then ignore it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by RS — July 26, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  23. he should just be ignored

    Comment by yep — July 27, 2008 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  24. Hi!
    Just read these but heard about them. Busy with The Thomas Stanton Society reunion in Stonington, Connecticut this past weekend. BTW I was elected Vice President. I was recruited for the job. I realize some or certainly most of you don’t care about that but so be it!
    I want to stick with the issues. I am NOT perfect. I certainly had ideas on the budget and they did involve staffing but not totally.
    We allow a Chariho School Committee Chair then Stephanie Brown to respond at a post meeting after the budget cut that in responding to then Hopkinton Council Member Gary Williams, if they told what the mandates are that’s all they would get to run the schools. Not withstanding issue I had getting information from Mr. Pini before my motion to cut. Certainly an “uneven” playing field of information!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 28, 2008 @ 11:18 am | Reply

  25. Scott, you say you want to stick with issues yet you couldn’t post and stick with the issue, you had to start out by patting yourself on the back. Pathetic!

    Comment by CharihoParent — July 28, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  26. I think you 2 must have been married to each other before.

    Comment by RS — July 28, 2008 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  27. Hi!
    I have NEVER been married! Not against the institution though!
    Chariho Parent does not believe in a level playing field! Gives much latitude to school committee members and the school administration who has more information than I.
    The real issue is this: I understand Chariho Parent is a man from Richmond. He does not know me personally. Since I have the disadvantage of not knowing who he is, I can’t comment on him.
    This November Hopkinton will either elect me to the Town Council or not. But whatever happens, I will maintain an interest in my community!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — July 29, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  28. Couldn’t the town council pass a resolution prohibiting the transfer on moneys to the school district until they provide a list of what is mandated and what is optional to be taught in schools?
    Wouldn’t the list be available from some sort of accreditation board? What does the RI statutes say about education?
    11:1 student/teacher ratio? You have to be kidding me!

    Comment by boffthis — August 7, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  29. State law (the Chariho Act) requires each of the Chariho towns to pay to the Chariho Regional School District the amount of money calculated in accordance in the manner described in the Chariho Act to provide the money to satisfy the requirements of the annual district budget that is approved by the voters of the District annually.

    The Town Councils have no legal say whatsoever over the amount of money that each town must send to the District. Failure to send the required money would be a violation of State law. Any resolution would have no legal force.

    No Town Council in the District can require the School District to do anything, including providing “a list of what is mandated”.

    Anyone wanting to know what the RI statutes say about “education” could get a good start by googling “Rhode Island General Laws” and then look at the category “Title 16, Education”.

    I hope this is helpful, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Boffthis

    Comment by Thurman Silks — August 7, 2008 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  30. It is Mr. Boffthis (Sort of like the Larry, Moe and Curly thing). I knew someone would have an idea of where to start, thank you.
    It is a shame that everyone can’t agree. I think in the end it is the kids who suffer, and the parents who have to pay. (Although I do understand that some of the school board members and teacher are also “Clients” of the school, having their children educated there.
    Best of luck on this situation.

    Comment by boffthis — August 8, 2008 @ 11:06 pm | Reply

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