Chariho School Parents’ Forum

August 26, 2008

“Chariho Forever!”

Filed under: Charlestown — Editor @ 7:25 pm

That quip comes from Andy Polouski at the Charlestown meeting Monday night discussing their plans to withdraw from Chariho.

From the Westerly Sun:

CHARLESTOWN — After a rumble of misunderstand­ing about how its report was originally released, the Ad Hoc Withdrawal Committee presented its findings to the Town Council last night in a congenial workshop, where there was much agreement about the problems facing the Chariho Regional School District.
Emphasizing more than once that his committee sought a long-term solution to what it perceives as a long­term problem, Giancarlo Cicchetti said that the best option for Charlestown would be to eventually fully with­draw from the regional dis­trict and create its own kindergarten through grade 12 school system.
The primary problem with
the regional district is entrenched political differ­ences over funding between the three towns, which has resulted in the defeat of need­ed bond referendums, Cicchetti said. Seeing no reprieve from this stalemate in the future, Cicchetti said the best way to secure Charlestown’s educational future is for the town to go it alone.
At that point, Cicchetti
attempted to show render­ings of a new Charlestown school campus that were developed by Newport Collaborative Architects, but James Mageau, the Council’s acting president, objected.
“I think we’re getting off track here,’’ said Mageau.
Mageau said he did not want to give voters the impression that Charlestown
had decided to split away from the district when this decision was still “prema-t­ure,’’ especially when their support is needed for a $25­million Chariho bond on the ballot this November. The bond money is slated to bring Chariho’s Richmond campus up to code and elim­inate the need for having classes in trailers.
“I don’t want to confuse the public,’’ said Mageau.
In his opinion, Charlestown should only consider withdrawing from the regional district if the bond questions fail and if the town is unsuccessful in get­ting Hopkinton to be more supportive of the regional district, Mageau said. On the latter point, Mageau said he wants to explore the idea of suing Hopkinton for breach of contract for failing to approve needed bond ref­erendums.
“Hopkinton has never been supportive of the dis­trict,’’ Mageau said, noting Hopkinton voters last November refused to pass a bond question to repair the schools.
At the end of the work­shop, the council did look at the architect’s renderings, but not before it was firmly established that the first order of business was con­vincing voters to approve the bond questions and, to that end, enlightening Hopkinton voters about the value of being part of the Chariho district.
“The people of Hopkinton must be educated about how lucky they are to have two other towns share the cost of educating their children,’’ said Andy Polouski, vice chairman of the Chariho School Committee, who spoke when the workshop was opened up for public comment.
Hopkinton could never afford to educate their chil­dren by itself, said Polouski adding, “I hope the people of Hopkinton are smart enough to stand up and not destroy the most valuable asset they have.’’
“Chariho forever!’’ Polouski said before leaving the podium.
Regarding the issue of withdrawal, councilwoman Harriett Allen asked the Ad Hoc Committee what they had concluded about the idea of partial withdrawal — in other words, leaving Charlestown students in the regional high school, but bringing the younger grades back to town. From talking to people in the three towns
over the years, Allen said she has the impression that everyone wants their kids to go to the high school, but they want the younger ones closer to home.
“That just screams partial withdrawal,’’ she said.
The committee studied that option and concluded it wouldn’t work for the same reason it concluded that full withdrawal was Charles­town’s best recourse — polit­ical differences would pre­vent the three towns from funding such as system, said Cicchetti, a member of the school committee.
Toward the end of the workshop, Cicchetti sought to get the Council on record as saying they support the withdrawal plan, even though no vote can be taken
during a workshop. If and when withdrawal comes about, it would expedite pro­ceedings with the state if longstanding Council sup­port could be shown, he said. But then the reality facing this council surfaced: Some of them may not be re-elect­ed in November. Cicchetti called this “unfortunate tim­ing.’’ But councilwoman Katharine Waterman said she was willing to go on record saying the following: “I would like to see Chariho remain strong; how­ever, I have very little faith in its ability to do so,’’ she said.
If Hopkinton voters don’t approve this November’s bond questions, Waterman said it would be time to “move on.’’



  1. We do need Charlestown to take their sizeable tax advantage, which results in almost limitless tolerance for waste and mismanagement, and start their own school system. Hopkinton voters must reject the latest bond vote if we have any hope of Chariho reformation.

    Charlestown has blustered before about withdrawal, but when push comes to shove they recognize they benefit the most when Hopkinton is forced to fund excess spending. If Charlestown politicians truly put children first they would run away from Chariho and use their incredible wealth to build a school system worthy of their affluence.

    Hopkinton cannot afford Charlestown any longer. We can barely afford Richmond, but with Charlestown gone, Richmond won’t have a partner joining them in giving Chariho everything they request.

    I will continue to promote school choice first and foremost as the solution to the failures of Chariho. While we wait for America to wake up to why countries around the world offer educational choice, we must do what we must to tame the Chariho beast. Vote no again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 26, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  2. I know the article said Polouski is the vice chairman of the school committee, but without the benefit of reading that statement, I would swear he works for Chariho and the NEA.

    Comment by RS — August 26, 2008 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  3. Curious Resident,

    With no pun intended is this the same Andrew Polouski (?) that was headlined in a Westerly Sun Article dated November 13, 1991 and authored by Kathi Benoit, Sun Staff Writer

    CHARLESTOWN-Just a little more than a year after he was sworn-in, town Council President Andrew J. Polouski has resigned.

    Poulouski, a Democrat, said this morning his resignation was prompted, in part, by the “lack of loyalty and trust on the part of the other four members” who asked him to “step down” from the presidency during the council reorganization process. In fairness their is more to this article and we hope to bring this to you on this blog as time permits.

    Is it? the same Andrew Polouski as mentioned above, in a Letter to the editor dated, Friday, December 13, 1991 by now legislator and Chariho Middle School ‘educator’, Donna Walsh of Charlestown, under the Titled Headline of Polouski’s coverups led to his and Schieldler’s departures one may argue the credibility is damaging.

    Ms. Walsh’s article dated December 10, 1991. Headlined: Polouski’s coverups led to his and Schiedler’s departures-

    I would like to expand on the relationship betwee the Charlestown Town Council and its administrator, Robt Schiedler, that was mentioned in a healine article about former president of the Charlestown Town Council, Andrew Polouski.

    It is my opinion that a deterioration of this relation was partly due to the coverups and permissiveness of Mr. Polouski toward the administrator. The following exmaples are the most glaring ones I know about.

    It was reported to me by a reliable source that on several occassions that the administrator gave mail addressed to the council to town employees before showing the mail to the council. A sensitive legal opinion was involved on one of these occasions, yet Mr. Polouski never objected to the prior view of this document by town employees, and went so far as to approve of this conduct.

    A town ordinance (sec. 1-4-0) and democratic policy require that preference for town jobs go to town residents. however, this ordinance and policy were ignored by the administrator and we learned athat at least fiver jobs were awarded to non-residents when theere were equally qualified residents applying for these jobs. The other council members were never informed of these hiring when they occured, and Mr. Poluski never objected to them whe he learned of them.

    Events of insubordination were commanplace. An examplle of this is the red town truck ftht was left in front of the town hall with a flat tire. Repeated requests to remove the truck were ignored over a period of two weeks. Only when another council member went eyeball to eyeball with the administrator was the truck removed.

    Any one of these events would have cause for dismissal in the real world. However, the administrator was living in an an unreal world free o discipline or consequences that were encouraged by Mr. Polouski’s coverups and lack of interest.

    Meanwhile, the council was learning of these events while Mr. Polouski increasingly refused to attend town committee meetings or to communicate with the other council members. In the end, assumptions, leading from isolutionism probably caused his downfall as well as the administrators.

    At no time were any votes or decisions made regarding Mr. Polouski or the administrator at any town committee meetings. And, it is my belief that had Mr. Polouski attended these meetings and had not reesigned, he would still be president of the Town Council.

    Donna M. Walsh
    Charlestown, RI
    (The Writer is Chairman of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee
    (December 1991)

    Curious Resident, Is this the same Andrew Polouski? that in a lead ‘headline’ line in The Westerly Sun dated Tuesday, October 1, 1991 on page 5 of the Westerly Sun, under the headline of Polouski outraged by release of sexual innuendo complaint. I have that article in full detail authored by Kathi Benoit but will hold off until a later date on its findings.

    Also an article entitled in the westerly sun, Sexual harassment report complete but council does not release copy.

    How about a dated october 16, 1991 article, Polouski will face new investigation.

    Is this the ‘moral compass’ of the tri town district? Ouch

    Please comment, Curious Resident. On would think their would be so type of suit if none of this was true. Thank you Curious Resident. Whats up with his actions? Chariho Forever?

    Comment by j — August 27, 2008 @ 12:04 am | Reply

  4. I’ll just add to my list of reasons why I believe that Charlestown needs to wake up get rid of this man. He’s an old fool that needs to go. His “Chariho forever” comment is the icing on the cake. I’m suprised that no one has commented on the “The people of Hopkinton must be educated about how lucky they are to have two other towns share the cost of educating their children” line since it is Charlestown that benefits the most from having the other two towns share the cost of educating their children. Go ahead, Charlestown, go it alone, you’ll rue the day that you do because even if there was tax equalization, I highly doubt you can pay for own school system for less but there’s the faction in Charlestown that has their mind set on it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 27, 2008 @ 5:04 am | Reply

  5. “The people of Hopkinton must be educated about how lucky they are to have two other towns share the cost of educating their children”………….

    I will interpret this for you all……..
    “The people of Hopkinton must be tricked and coerced into voting for the bond with the other two towns, so the lucky one(Charlsetown) will not have to bear the cost of leaving the district.”

    Feel free to make any corrections if needed, but I’m sure this is what I read.

    Comment by RS — August 27, 2008 @ 7:01 am | Reply

  6. That pretty much sums it up correctly.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 27, 2008 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  7. Charlestown can afford to pay for a school system above and beyond reasonable. They can do it by themselves or they can force Hopkinton to subsidize their vision. I’m not surprised they pick to share the costs…I will be disappointed if Hopkinton voters allow themselves to be fooled again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 27, 2008 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  8. Addressing the reports in post #3; having had Mr. Polouski as a teacher, I was not shocked to read about charges of improprieties. I only had Mr Polouski for one class in my academic career. Based on my experience, he had little grasp of the subject matter and would have been fired from the position if he was working in the private sector. Maybe he has a soft spot for incompetence?

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 28, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  9. More importantly than the article is the comments from Westely taxpayers. Sounds like they are tired of the money games and are outraged about never-ending requests for more and more.

    Will Chariho citizens show a similar degree of outrage over Chariho’s administrations inability to spend our earnings wisely? Will Hopkinton stand strong against ridiculous budgets? Will Richmond or Charlestown voters join us this time?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 4, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

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