Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 5, 2008

Chariho to the public, “mind your own bee’s wax!”

Filed under: contract negotiations,Unions — Editor @ 3:27 pm

FYI – It came out of the Chariho Contract Negotiations Sub Committee (or whatever its called) meeting that the negotiations for the teachers’ contract will NOT be held in public.  They will grant you a public meeting beforehand to express your thoughts.  Although, this seems as a waste of time as they know our thoughts, they just don’t seem to want to do it.  As a reminder, you might want to search old posts and see the contract over at OSPRI to refresh your memory of the average 10.5 percent raise – per year –  given to teachers in their first 10 years of employment. 

The sub committee consists of Holly Eaves, Andy McQuade and Bob Petit.  Maybe one of them would like to explain why they don’t want the public to have a say during the negotiations.  The Union gives the people they represent a word in the process – the Union won’t approve a contract without approval from the membership.  Why won’t our school committee, who spends our money, get our permission before they sign the deal?

Then again, they might not respond at all because they did all this in executive session.  But there are no penalties for divulging sealed information, including information that is questionably sealed in the first place.  So when they say, “I can’t speak about that, the meeting minutes have been sealed,” just ask them why they don’t give you, the public, the same rights they give to the Union membership.  Exactly who do they represent?

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63 Comments »

  1. We already know the answer. Ms. Eaves has aspirations to be in the union. She probably would like to be a teacher in the Chariho system. Her interest in keeping negotiations hidden from the public are self-serving.

    Mr. McQuaide has been in Mr. Ricci’s back pocket from the word go. He’s been an advocate for the status quo. Did anyone really expect him to reverse course and take the side of Chariho families over Chariho employees?

    Mr. Petit is cousin with one of the top administrators at Chariho. He claims his family connections don’t influence his decisions, but the evidence clearly contradicts his public denials. He also lacks the intellect to understand the impact of his decisions.

    Truth is there is no reason to hide negotiations from the public unless you once again plan on giving away the store (and our hard earned incomes) to the union. The union side of the negotiations are kept abreast of negotiation…the public will be kept in the dark.

    In the end, we (the public) are too blame. We keep electing Chariho apologists, and not enough of us demand change. We can’t do the same thing over and over, and then expect results to change.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 5, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t think their motivation is that malicious. They probably just don’t want the difficulty of being responsive to the public because they know the contracts are so out of whack that we wont be happy with anything less than substantial reforms. But they are also afraid of pushing the union to a strike (and Polouski will warn us all about it) so if they keep you out of the negotiations, they can appease the unions and the public will eventually get over it (as we always have).

    And we can’t blame the voters all the time. Look at Richmond. Bill Day is the only one running. If just the people who work at Chariho and are related to him vote, he will win.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 5, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  3. I’m not sure where this ‘blog note’ should go as there are many topics and the many responses that ‘are worthy’ depending on your side of the issue but one that strikes me among Charlestowns most recent regarding proclamations of withdrawal is best (and there be many, more from the three towns by the talk on the street) was an Article dated August 20, 1982 page 9 with no Author.

    Headlined

    Charlestown School Surveys Available

    Charlestown-
    Residents who have not yet received a survey questionaire concerning the building school facilities here are urged to pick up a form at the charlestown School.

    School commitee Chairman Randall Collins said this week that the town’s voting lists were used as a key to send residents the surveys. However, he added the list’s are not up to date and the committee was concerned some residents may not receive a copy.

    When the survey is completed, persons can return them to to the school or Town Clerk’s office at the Town hall.

    The deadline for returning the survey is August 31.The school board will tabulate the results before making a decision on what type of construction it will recommend to the Town council. The results before making a decision on what type of construction it will recommend to the Town Council. The results may be ready at the boards September meeting, the chairman said.

    Collins added that the board tried to cover all the possibilities when preparing the survey. Persons are asked to number the possibilities according to preference.

    The possibilities are:

    _Continue as is with grades seven through 12 at Chariho Regional High School
    which are on double sessions:

    -Withdraw grades seven and eight from Chariho High School and build a middle school;

    Withdraw all grades from Chariho High School and build a middle school for grades five through eight, and tuition grades 8 through 12 to another district;

    -Withdraw all grades from Chariho High School and build a middle school, as well as regionalize grades nine through 12 with another district;
    -Build a school to house kindergarten through fourth grade and convert a present school to a middle school;

    -And, resubmit the Chariho referendum calling for $5.1 million addition to Chariho High School.

    The council voted in May to ask the committee for direction on the feasilibility of building a middle school or additon to present facilities.
    The survey is a direct result of that request.

    The council action followed the defeat of a $5.1 million referendum in April which would have allowed construction at Chariho High School, and subsequently end double sessions.

    In May, when seeking committee imput, the council noted that withdrawing seventh and eighth grades from Chariho would not end double sessions for all Charlestowns youngsters.

    The town has sought the approval of voters in prior years to build a middle school school at Ninigret Park, but the plan was defeated. However, voters at that time did approve withdrawal of seventh and eighth grade from Chariho.

    August 20, 1982 Page 9, No author.

    Somewhere in the past couple of months it has been noted in this blog and/or the local paper (The Sun) the gyrations of what it will would take for Charlestown to leave “The District”. This has been a ongoing ‘message’ since 1982, twenty six (26) years the threats of a Town that has lived off the backs of Richmond and Hopkinton taxpayers. The dots are easy to connect,can you? (August 20, 1982, Page 9) Chariho Fool District 50 year Anniversary.

    If I’m incorrect please advise all of us not by opinion, make other notations.

    Charlestown ( not married to the district in August 1982? not married now 2008) Why haven’t they left in the ‘most recent’ 26 years. The STATE AID OF RICHMOND AND HOPKINTON IS ONES GUESS!
    I guess it depends on if Richmond and Hopkinton are paying? THE VOTE IS NO ALL THE WAY AROUND on ALL SPLITS OF THE VOTE. This is a 50 year old conflict which no body has chosen to have the fortitude to grasp.’

    Be Well tri town voters.

    Comment by James Hirst — September 5, 2008 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  4. I’m not blaming voters per se, but the “public” (myself included). Mr. Felkners are few and far between. Not enough of them stepping up to the plate and running for political office.

    I don’t think I accused any of them of being malicious. Self-serving? Yes. But their intent isn’t evil. Hey, if I had control over my salary or the salary of relatives/friends, and their salaries were paid in large part by other people, I’d probably be very generous too.

    As important as the contract are for gaining control of costs, the number of unnecessary employees might be the bigger problem. We can’t negotiate this issue away…the administration must slice and dice. Another pipe dream.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 5, 2008 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  5. Mr. James Hirst once again highlights the bluster of Charlestown. They tolerate inept administration, poor academic results, and all the other Chariho nonsense because Richmond and Hopkinton families bear the brunt of the cost of Chariho. Charlestown will never leave if we let them off the hook again. Time for Hopkinton to call their bluff one more time. Will they go? Don’t hold your breath.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 5, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  6. I have a question: Since Mr. Day is the only one running so far, is it feasibly possible that other people have tried to submit their name for Mr. Day’s position, but, they are immediately eliminated? I am not familiar with the ‘voting’ process for the school committee. Also, since, almost everyone in the administration is related to someone else in the administration, why not invoke a rule on eliminating nepotism (i.e. discrimination), perhaps in the Chariho Act(?), (again not familiar with that document).

    Would you not consider, for example, Mr. Petit in a position of ‘conflict of interests’ since he is empowered by a relative in the administration?

    Comment by "Texas" — September 6, 2008 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  7. Like I said before, the subcommittee is nothing more than a FEEL GOOD GROUP, nothing more. So to ask that something more happen, just ain’t on the agenda…sorry folks you can all go home there is nothing more to see here, move along.

    Comment by RS — September 6, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  8. Ref #6 – The school district has absolutely nothing to do with the voting process, it’s all to do with the towns. What you suggest is so way off base. The fact is that no one else took out nomination papers for school commitee. There are two seats in Richmond up election this time. The other one that is open is Mrs. Deb Jennings who has chosen not to run for re-election. Personally, I had thought of running for the seat but just reading these blogs I’m not about to subject myself and my family to this kind of cruelty where no matter what you say or do, it’s not the right thing.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 6, 2008 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  9. I have no reason to believe that Bill Day, Andy Poloski and Bob Petit are not all honorable men.The fact that all three reportedly have relatives that work for the Chariho School System must therefore be a statistical sampling error or an unexplained ripple in the mathematical law of probability.

    Comment by George Abbott — September 6, 2008 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  10. Thats the easy part CP, just don’t read the blogs and go about your business as a school committee member. What could be so hard about that. Who cares what a dozen people on a blog say. Unless of course some of what is said is relatative to a position of yours and you don’t want to be held accountable. There is that word again….accountability.

    Comment by RS — September 6, 2008 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  11. Sorry,I forgot to include Andy Mc Quade.He makes 4 out of a total of 11 School Committee members who reportedly have relatives that work for Chariho.The total tri town population is over 20,000 persons.The Chariho School System employs fewer than 1,000 persons.Many of Chariho’s employees live outside of the district.

    Comment by George Abbott — September 6, 2008 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  12. We live in a relatively small community. It would make sense that there would be school committee members that have relatives or friends that work for the school system.

    Now, as far as Holly Eaves, I met her once and was able to talk to her for a time. I find her very intelligent, and she surely seemed to me to be for the kids no matter what community they live in. I did not find her self serving in any way. Perhaps, I am naive, but I found her quite likeable.

    Curious is right. With little involvement from the community, we are responsible. Situations like possible conflicts, and I emphasize possible, will arise. So, what are they to do especially if others will not volunteer for the subcommittee? (And Bill, I know that you would, but the others have been challenged repeatedly the last couple of years, and they are likely not to support that move.)

    So, here is my cheap 2 cents worth. Nevermind, it is free…. These are people’s fears:

    1. strike
    2. losing quality teachers to a higher paying district.

    [Please feel free to add to this list.]

    Number 1 is the fear that many people worry about. What to do with the kids (ie…child care); how will a strike affect my 12th grader; what if we force a strike, will the teachers behave like the Tiverton teachers and punish the students because of the union demands; etc,….

    Number 2 has been going on for decades. School districts compete with each other for the best teachers and they try to keep them by offering competitive salaries. If they are not competitive, then the experienced and likely proficient teachers may leave to a district that pays a higher salary, leaving districts with frequent turnover. And why not look for higher wages? They retire at an early age, so they have plenty of time to find a more permanent situation. And FYI… This is not any different than any other person making a career choice which best serves their needs.

    Well, this is the disadvantage of having many school districts within our little state.

    And perhaps, this is a good argument for having the governor’s office controlling contract negotiations for the entire state, for each and every school district, as a whole. Every teacher within the state would be paid based on the same contract, and the school committee, which may have close ties within the community, which is to be expected, would remain neutral because they wouldn’t be involved with the negotiations.

    I’m not much for governmental control, but the current situation within this state is a serious problem. We have 39 cities and towns within the state, 4 regionalized school districts, and a very large, national teacher’s union with a lot of resources. How can these individual towns, cities, and school districts every challenge the current system alone?

    So, our subcommittee dilemma to me is a symptom of a very large problem in our very small state. Mind you, this is just an observation. I hope that I am wrong, but I wonder if we would even be questioning this subcommittee if contracts were negotiated differently. Just something to ponder…..

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 7, 2008 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  13. Lois:Bill Day has relatives in both of the unions that represent Chariho’s employees.Why does he bother to seek reelection knowing that he cant participate in contract negotiations do to potential conflicts with the ethics laws?I realize that we have a relatively small tri town population,but that still doesn’t account for the fact that 4 of the 11 members of the Chariho School Committee have potential conflicts because their relatives work for Chariho.I’m not aware that many potential conflicts at the town level.

    Comment by George Abbott — September 7, 2008 @ 12:48 am | Reply

  14. Wow, all I asked was maybe there are problems and issues created in the district and the only people you keep voting in and complaining about may need a change of venue to occupy their time and let new people run the district for awhile.

    I admitted I am not familiar with the way your district handles political ‘protocol’, but this whole blog stated, and others I have read, always mention that many positions in the district have hired their relatives, even Brian Stanley’s name was mentioned.

    Comment to Charihoparent (#6 in this blog): I agree with your last statement,”…no matter what you say or do isn’t the right thing”. I agree because the ‘decision makers’ never change! In addition, the first part of your comment is an excellent point. However, there are people out there that want to be involved, but feel it is a losing battle, if only a few players change.

    You have to get rid of the major problem before anything will change. The major problem is the person in the district with the most influence over what the board thinks; and as Mr. Abbott so aptly points out in his comments above, almost half of the school committee have relatives that work in the district.

    Well, tell me Mr. Abbott, if the school committee members did not always agree with the ‘real problem’, do you think their relatives may stand a chance of being fired or moved to a less desirable position?

    There is lot to think about before you respond to a vote when you are entangled in such a Spider Web with the Spider staring down each member to make sure they are voting for what he wants, without the students or the taxpayers even considered!

    Mr. Felkner, pull this district out of the hole it is in and become the Superintendent. When you have straightened out and uncovered all that is really happening behind the taxpayers back, then give them the opportunity to see what they have been missing all these years. You are for the community, you live there. You don’t live 30 miles up the road and are paying taxes to a completely different district. Help these people.

    Comment by "Texas" — September 7, 2008 @ 2:25 am | Reply

  15. Texas: In regards to someone having “The major problem is the person in the district with the most influence over what the board thinks”. I don’t think it’s any one person who has the most influence, it’s a combination of people. You can’t really single out any one person. Bill Day and Andy P. have been on the school for way too long, Andy M. is still wet behind the ears and is too easily influenced by Barry Ricci since Andy M. probably regards Barry Ricci as the one who’s at the top of the heap at Chariho.

    Lois: What you’ve said about all the various union contracts, I totally agree with, it’s one of the reasons I would support at most 4-5 regional school districts in the state; Providence County School District, Kent County School District, Washington County School District and either a combined or seperate school district for Bristol and Newport Counties. Taxes will NOT be based on enrollment per community but rather based on property values, all votes must be a simple majority so no town can stonewall progress, all town must be equally represented on the school committee and there would be only one contract for the teachers per district.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 7, 2008 @ 7:39 am | Reply

  16. Chariho is and has been out of control for many years. No question in my mind that families are harmed and many children receive substandard education. All of this considered, no way would I ever want the state of Rhode Island, with all its corruption and free-spending ways, to control local schools.

    It’s nearly impossible to get our Charlestown and Richmond neighbors to consider our situation in Hopkinton. No way do I want Cranston, Pawtucket, Newport or the Rhode Islnd legislature having more say in how our schools operate. As badly as Mr. Day and the rest perform, there’s something to be said for the devil you know.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 7, 2008 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  17. CR, you’re correct, there’s no way would I want Cranston, Pawtucket or worse of all Providence have any sort of control over Washington County, that’s why I would suggest, if anything, that it would have to be by county. Also, there’s no way I would want the state legislature having any more say than what they already do. Unfortunaly, our school district is an extension of the state government already. I’m not sure if this is because we’re a regional school district or if all school districts are regarded in this way.

    Regional school districts can work, it works in other parts of the country. There’s no reason Rhode Island can’t have regional school districts. For one, there can be a tremendous cost savings by regionalizing.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 7, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  18. I include this article here because its the most recent blog topic and not to waste my time or those of other bloggers who don’t have the time to go back.

    Authored by Wendy M. Fontaine on tuesday April 6, 1999 page 3.
    CHARLESTOWN’S DEMAND UNFAIR, HOPKINTON SAYS

    Hopkinton-Town officials sounded off Monday on an ultimatum proposed by one of the three towns that comprise the Chariho Regional School District, calling the demand unfair and inappropriate.

    At a chariho Act Revision Committee meeting held last week, Charlestown officials proposed a new funding formula to support the regional school system, and threatened to pull out of the district if their proposal was not supported by Hopkinton and Richmond. (Again, Again, Again blogger note)

    Hopkinton officials say the take-it-or-leave-it offer was out of line.

    “I don’t think it was appropriate for us to receive an ultimatum,” Town Council President Susan Schaffer said.

    Charlestown proposed a funding formula that calls for contributions based on based on property vailues, the number of students sent to regional schools and pooled state aid (if Mr.Abbott or Mr.Felkner or Mr. Petit may want to comment) isn’t this something proposed or mentioned somewhere in recent vintage by Mr. Andrew Polouski? Blogger note, I don’t know, looking for an answer here. Obviously pooled state aid would cancel out valuations of property which is why Charlestown state aid is low.

    Back to the article.

    Under this formula, Charlestown would pay 40 percent of the district’s costs after state aid and other income is deducted. Although the town would be paying more under its propsed formula, the increase would be less than alternatives proposed by Richmond and Hopkinton. The town currently pays 38.7 perecent of the district budget after state aid is deducted, according to a document released last week by Charlestown Town Council President Charles W. Beck.

    Hopkinton and Richmond favor an equalized tax rate for the three towns, (not a new proposal from Hopkinton and Richmond, yet it appears Charlestown won’t leave, remember this was 1999), a solution recommended by consultatnts hired to study school overcrowding. this formula would hike the contribution needed from Charlestown.

    Charlestown officials said an equalized rate would unfairly drive up taxes in their town, whci now has the state’s thrid lowest tax rate.

    Schaffer said tax equalization is “the only alternative for Hopkinton.”
    (Correctly if I’m wrong but isn’t this the thoughts or feelings of 4 out 5 Hopkinton Council members? in 2008)

    “Let them (Charlestown officials) do what they think is right for their town,” Schaffer said. “As fari as Hopkinton is concerned . . .we are going ahead with one of the recommendations from MGT.” MGT of American is the consulting firm hired to study overcrowding.

    The revision committee, whcih has met regularly for more than a year to solve the district’s overcrowding problems, will meet Thursday at Charlestown Town Hall to consider Charlestown’s final offer. The meeting is exp;ected to be the committe’s last.

    Memeber os the town Council also supported an agreement last week by the school district’s three towns on the release of Article 31 funds.

    Schaffer said the resolution to release funds to the school system is a compromise that resolves the Article 31 controversy while avoiding litigation.

    Article 31 is a funded state mandate aimed at improving performance gaps in math, health, reading and writing. Over two years, the Chariho towns have held nearly $1 million from the school system. (Sounds like it needs to happen again, possibly).

    The agreement sets up a second district financial meeting, when voters will be asked to approve a warrant outlining a spednign plan for the fiscal year 1998-99 Article 31 money.

    If the warrant is approved, each town will hold a special town meeting to appropriate the money, or will approve funds at its regular financial town meeting.

    “As far as a compromise goes, I think it worked out well for the three towns,” Schaffer said.
    Tuesday April 6, 1999 Page 3, Wendy M. Fontaine, Author.

    So what is the moral of the story here? You do the math. Can we as tax payers score better than our Juniors at roughly 22% in Math?

    I guess Charlestown in 1999 within one paragraph made what they felt was their best offer, in paragraph four, Charlestown proposed a funding formula that calls for contributions based on property values, the number of students sent to regional schools and POOLED STATE AID. (Blogger note capped).

    Be Well tri town voters.

    Comment by James Hirst — September 7, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  19. You would think regionalization would result in cost savings, but as we’ve seen since Chariho absorbed K-6, the beauracracy can’t help itself and brings on more and more unneeded employees. Since reducing the number of employees is the big reason why regionalization theoretically saves money, we can see it really doesn’t work if the oversight is lax and inmates are allowed to run the asylum.

    I remember the days when Hopkintn ran its own Elementary Schools. Our School Committee members did not have to share decision making with other towns with more money and different objectives. Although we lost control of our children from 7th to 12th, Hopkinton had the ability to constrain part of our education burden. I believe we spent less and had better eduational outcomes in those days.

    As Mr. James Hirst excellent research demonstrates, Charlestown has never had any concern for our families. Don’t expect other Washington County towns to care either. Richmond and Charlestown may need regionalization to subsidize and/or constrain their spending impulses, but I think Hopkinton loses in every way when we give up direct local control.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 7, 2008 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  20. Mr. James Hirst prefers to live in the past, I’m looking to resolve issues now and in the future. CR, you have such a negative attitude toward everything, hence my earlier comment that I wouldn’t put my family through the negativism that comes from you and your cohorts. I find it rather ironic that you want say that Richmond and Charlestown need regionalization but you fail to say that Hopkinton also needs regionalization. Hopkinton cannot afford it’s own school district, your taxes would increase astronomically.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 7, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  21. Perhaps we could begin the equalization process by limiting the current “tuition” plan to actual instructional costs.

    Transportation,security,heat,utilities, central administration,maintenance and other missilaneous costs would be shared equally by the the three communities ,or funded through a regional property tax. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to pool the state aid monies if the regional tax was only applied to non instructional costs.

    Comment by George Abbott — September 7, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  22. Whoever you are Curious resident, you sound like one of the alumni of the 70’s or ‘reformers’ guiding lights (some of those who have read the same articles as apparently many have from different years but finally finding the light with limited time are pulling this all together to a no vote all the way around and then finally the politics are out and the facts are in. Charlestown can respectfully build their own schools with little expected from chariho since so little has been put forward (over the years). Lets hope the math comes forward since the creation of ‘The district.’

    Hopkinton is in no possible way to give up direct local control. Fifty years off documentation is in front of you (if you look for it).

    I’m still trying to sort you out kindred spirit, class of the 1970’s (?) you know the deal and many before you and after me who finally have become engaged. Lets get the facts out to the newby’s (long time ‘historians’ of the district (the past five years).

    I support Mr. Abbott (a social worker with young people, Mr. Felkner advocate of proper education and research at the highest level, Ms. Capalbo (a person of integrity and balance, Ms. Thompson (someone who served during our town during the last dark period which hopefully bring us through this one in Hopkinton and Mr. Buck who I grew up with attended the same schools, has seen the same problems, lies etc and what is best for the Hopkinton people. It is a good mix and balance. I don’t agree with all your politics but I respect your will and passion and I’m sure you respect a healthful disagreement. And I expect facts to get in the way. Be well.

    Comment by James Hirst — September 7, 2008 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  23. Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. CharihoParent sees negativity when I express realism. I am rarely swayed by emotional appeals, i.e., “for the children”. This is a propaganda technique.

    I am critical of Charlestown and Richmond. My criticism is based on their actions. From votes of confidence for a failed administration to decades of threats of withdrawal, these towns have tolerated failing schools which cost an arm and a leg.

    On the other hand, I am very positive about Hopkinton’s willingness to control costs and educate our children. I’m not willing to support increased loss of control using the same logic which put Hopkinton’s elementary students under control of Chariho. With all the complaints about “mandates”, why Hopkinton would want to cede even greater control to outsiders who give us all these mandates is beyond me.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 7, 2008 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  24. CR, I guess we’ll see what happens this coming November when the towns vote on the bond referendums. I’m not making any predictions, just going to sit back and wait on that one.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 7, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  25. James,
    Long time ‘historians’ of the district of the district (past five years)? Are you refering to your brother in that statement? Is that a self-appointed position or did that come from the school committee or town council?

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 7, 2008 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  26. So, here lies the problem,
    1. sacrifice more local control if regionalization changes by county, or
    2. gain more local control by going ones way, or
    3. remain in the status quo.

    Like anything, it is important to look at the past so we don’t make the same mistakes twice. Strange how this has been going on for 50 years with contention going in spirts. And what happens, the same issues keep arising.

    If you were to take Mr. Abbott’s numbers (1,000 employees and 20,000 residents, estimates), what does that average? 5%…. But, our school committee has 4 of 11 with relatives within the district, which is far from 5%. One could argue that the school committee does not represent the demographics of the community.

    Herein lies the problem, there are 2 positions open in Richmond with only one person running. Again, people are afraid to either challenge the system, or a afraid of retribution, or just don’t have the time as they are raising children or may have a career that interferes with the responsibility. It is sad though that out of 20,000, we can’t get 11 school committee members.

    Another observation, we have 2 school committee members wishing to leave to become councilors. My question is why leave? My thought is that they feel that they can accomplish more for their constituency if they run for council. This means the next council is going to have to fill their positions. If Mr. Abbott and Mr. Felkner were to become HTC members, is it safe to assume that the HTC will have to appoint 3 individuals. (Isn’t Mr. Preuhs seat open, too.) Again, out of 20,000 people, this is where our constituency within the school committee lies.

    I now ask, why are these positions so hard to fill? What are the issues at hand? This is concerning, don’t you think? Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 7, 2008 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  27. So the Town Council will be the ones to replace Mr. Abbott and Mr. Felkner should they win seats on the council? Great…I hope they do better than they did picking Mr. Pruehs.

    Mr. Felkner’s was pretty much alone in his efforts to change the status quo at Chariho. Mr. Abbott sometimes voted with Mr. Felkner, but Mr. Abbott lacks the aggression and vocality of Mr. Felkner. Assuming the Town Council does appoint School Committee members, I hope they look for people from the mold of Mr. Felkner. For all the frustration of constantly having the School Committee capitulating to the failed status quo, Mr. Felkner was able to bring greater public attention to the many problems. Maybe with a couple of Mr. Felkner’s on the School Committee the public will gain even greater awareness.

    The re-vote must fail if we are to have any chance of things changing at Chariho. If a bond passes, Mr. James Hirst will be posting similar articles from 2008 in another 20 years. Nothing will change unless we send the message we’re not taking it anymore.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 7, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  28. I doubt the tax burden as a percentage of household income was higher at anytime in the past 50 years as it is now.

    Comment by RS — September 7, 2008 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

  29. I don’t know, but I can tell you that the tax burden is what drove my parents to North Carolina. Initially, they left Hopkinton to live in Charlestown, then they moved south because they were concerned about their retirement.

    The tax burden has always been tremendous in Hopkinton. It probably has lessened somewhat because our student enrollment has been surpassed by Richmond. On the other hand, with increased burdens of contractual obligations with health care and then mandates, one could argue the reverse.

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 7, 2008 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

  30. By the way, my parents pay under $500 per year for taxes.

    I am curious on their school taxation. I believe my mother said that the state pays the school costs. How it is funded, I will have to find out.

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 7, 2008 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  31. With the bond re-vote imminent I’ve begun exploring options should Hopkinton allow its tax burden to be controlled by Richmond and Charlestown for another 20 years. In speaking with a Westerly real estate agent, I was told that home prices in Hopkinton are much more depressed than surrounding communities because of our property taxes. His words, “Not good time to have a home on the market in Hopkinton.”

    For Hopkinton voters to voluntarily cripple another generation of families would be inexcusable. I’m speaking up whenever I get the chance, but as we know from history, the constant drum beat of “for the childen”, coupled with vote upon vote, can eventually wear down opposition. I hope Hopkinton voters understand all the tricks being used, but my family will be prepared to abandon ship if it comes to that.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 8, 2008 @ 7:45 am | Reply

  32. I see how it is, CR. Yell and scream but when it comes to actually having to do something, you run. Sounds like cowardice to me.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 8, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  33. Not surprised you confuse wisdom with cowardice. You seem to lack the former.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 8, 2008 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  34. Since when is responsible financial planning that benefits your family cowardice? If moving from a state with negative growth, irresponsible spending and taxing habits, a record of corruption, and a system of entitlement and welfare considered cowardice, then I am the biggest coward around and I readily admit it. I for one will make sure my retirement is not subjected to any sticky fingers from any state.

    Comment by RS — September 8, 2008 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  35. My thoughts exactly RS. As the country strays further and further from Federalism, where each state sets its own rule rather than centralized control from Washington, D.C., I am concerned there will be no place to go if our national politics continue to head down the socialist path. That said, Rhode Island is far ahead of most other states as it relates to the government running our lives, so there are still lots of options.

    People like CharihoParent may not mind turning over individual responsibility for their family to the government, but I’m not the kind to allow my child to be harmed just to make a point. My retirement income will not be spent paying for Chariho employees who retire in their fifties. I guess they will have to depend on the CharihoParents of the world to keep them on the golf courses?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 8, 2008 @ 9:48 am | Reply

  36. Russia and China,both former communist countries, are now fascist mercantile states.The United States is rapidly becoming a socialist country.

    Comment by george abbott — September 8, 2008 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  37. Here we go again, CR and RS making assumptions of others they don’t know. Worthless banter from them.

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 8, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  38. Predictable meaningless response.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 8, 2008 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  39. Uh…ok

    Comment by RS — September 8, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  40. Does that mean my parents are cowards too?

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 8, 2008 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  41. Fomer Regionaliztion ProponentsCharge ‘No cost’ romises Not Kept, Authored by A.J. Algier and Peggy Field. riday February 24, 1989

    Were the Richmond, Charlestown and Hopkinton voters “sold a bill of goods’ when the approved kindergarten through 12th grade regionalization in 1986?

    “We were told the school was not going to cost anything. It looks like we have been sold a bill of good,” said Hopkinton Town Council President Sandra Johansen at a recent meeting.

    A groundswell of opposition has surfaced following release of the proposed $18.3 million 1989-1990 Chariho Regional School Budget which reflects a $3 million or 18.8 percent increase over the current fiscal year’s spending plan.

    Tri-town council members have expressed outrage over the proposal which will force the municipalities to seek a waiver of the state imposed 5.5 property tax increase cap.

    The chariho budget alone, excluding each town’s municipal expenditures, will force the municipalities to exceed the mandated 5.5 percent cap.

    Many of regionalization’s strongest proponents, those who fought hard to get the K-12 plan passed after numerous defeats, are publicly demanding the budget proposal to be cut.

    Previous supporters of the plan want to know what went awry; whey peroperty taxes are expected to take a dramatic leap; and what can be done to amend what they see as a crisis for taxpayers. (SOUNDS LIKE HISTORY WANT TO BE REPEATED IF THE TRI TOWNS BY IN).

    Arned with a flyer distribution in 1986 urging approval of regionalization, Johanson noted the flyer promised “minimum taxpayer cost for operation expenses due to $6.7 million surplus.”

    Hopkinton Finance Board Chairman Philip Tracy exhoed Johanson’s concern regarding the current Chariho budget and previous promises.

    Tracy said the school budget, which will be presented to tri town voters at the March 7 District Meeting, will cost Hopkinton Taxpayers an extra $9 per $1,000 assessed property valuation. The average home in Hopkinton is assessed at approximately $55,000. He says the increase per year to taxpayers would be about $500. (What would it be in todays dollars on an average house, lets say $200,000 and not $55,000 and wanting $28 Million and not the 18.3 in 1989?, Chariho Parent I know you don’t like to live in the past but maybe you can at least sharpen your pencil for this financial word problem. In advance I appreciate your help). This does not include increases in the municipal budget.

    Tracy has urged the Town Council to “take a stand on the budget” and says he fears residents will no longer be able to afford to live in the community that they grew up in.

    Richmond faces a more difficult dilemma. The town has been forced to call a special Financial Town Meeting to recoup $770,000 in deficits-a result of unpaid special education costs coupled with landfill and Birchwood legal fee deficits.

    Voters, if the Chariho budget is approved as proposed, coulf face a $10 per $,000 valuation increase in property taxes to fund the regional school operation. the amount does not reflecdt an expected increase in the municipal budget.

    Jackie Kenyon of Richmond says she sents a great deal of resentment from residents when the recall the promises of regionalization. Kenyon said on the regional School committee from 1976-1982.

    At a School Committee meeting Tuesday, Kenyon held a copy of a pamplet urging Charlestown voters to “Vote Yes” for regionalization in 1986.

    The pamphlet lists advantages of regionalization including serpartion of middle school and hish school students on buses (the committee voted to transport students together), a new 750-seat auditorium and minimal operational costs.

    According to Kenyon, the attitude at the time was: Let’s get regionalization and we’ll solve the problems later.”

    “We are all pro-education,” she says, but adds she cannot support the budget proposal.

    She is critical o teachers who argue cuts will hurt students. “if that’s their concern, then why wasn’t that a priority when they negotiated their contracts?”

    Kenyon fears redidents panicked at the prospect of steep tax hikes will make irrational decisions at the Financial District Meeting.

    Meanwhile, the school committee has defended the budget whcih it adopted earlier this week.

    Part of the cost overrun problems (will that happen in this 2008 version?), according to authors of the K-12 plan, is the lack of increased bonus state aid to regionalized school ditricts.

    Sen. albert J. Russo, R-Hopkinton belived the bonus aid would be recied by the school district for the first five years.This funding was to be used to offset the cost of maintenance and the operational budget.

    “Basically what we’re saying here is that they’re (the taxpayers) getting something for nothing,” Russo said in 1986.

    Regionalization backers did not realized the bonus state aid will not be received until 1990, two years after the regional school committee is formed. Officials were under the assumption that bonus aid aid would begin two years after regionalization was approved-which would be this upcoming budget year.

    Some town officials recall regionalization hearings, (blogger note capped for effect, this sounds like todays (08) nonsense) WHERE SKEPTICS OF PLAN WHO CHALLENGED THE STATE AID ELIGIBILITY DATE WERE CRITICIZED FOR MISLEADING THE PUBLIC.”

    Members of the Comprehensive Study committee said in 1986 the bond issue for removation of the high school and construction of the middle school was ‘figured on the high side.’ (Sounds like school budgets based on most recent years). The project was estimated at $12 million, and $900,000 was added for additional expenses.

    However, when former Comprehensive Study Committee member Philip Friend, who prpeared the orginal bond figures, last month asked Supt. Andreotti about $900,000 which he belived was allotted for “transition” funding, he was told no such fund actually existed. The $12.9 million bond issue is the total construction budge to be used at the discretion of the Building Committee, according to Assistant Supt. Ronald DiFabio.

    With a roughly four by five advertisement in bold print,reads
    The New Proposed Chariho Middle School to be paid for with State Dollars Not Local Taxes!!! We urge you to Vote YES. Underneath it reads Broken Promises?-Former supporters of the tri-town school regionalization plan are claiming thety ere “sold a bill of goods’ when told the school consturction would cost taxpayers nothing. This 1986 flyer used to promote K-12 is being used as ammunition by those opposing the current Chariho budget.

    Authored by A.J. algier and Peggy field, Friday, February 24, 1989.

    Some argue the 2008 redo construction vote is another bill of goods. Are you buying? And at what cost?

    Be well tri town voters.

    Comment by James Hirst — September 13, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  42. wow that last post bored me right out of my mind….anyone actually read that ranting????

    Comment by what — September 13, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  43. Apologies for mispelling of headline of Former Regionalization proponents charge ‘no cost’ promises not kept. In most recent blog.

    Comment by James Hirst — September 13, 2008 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  44. A rant or reality, what

    Comment by kim — September 13, 2008 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  45. Rant? It was an article from The Rag. Oh, I guess an article in The Rag would qualify as a rant.

    History repeats itself over and over and over. Chariho has been shafting the community for more than 20 years. Promises of cost savings by incorporating K to 6 into the Chariho regional system were just another lie from the educational establishment. Turning Chariho into K to 12 simply allowed them to consolidate their power and hold the educational future of our children hostage to their empire building.

    Will we continue to be lambs to the slaughter? How many more families will be driven away because we refuse to hold Chariho to account? Hopkinton may have seen the light. No token gestures or bond tricks have fooled Hopkinton voters in recent years. Will November bring a different result? Wouldn’t it be great and demonstrate how tired we are of being played for idiots if Richmond and/or Charlestown joined Hopkinton in demanding change at Chariho? We can always dream.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 13, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  46. Correction curious resident, many argue not 20 but 50 years. Your narrowing your identity. Not a Newby but someone who has a point of reference at least. Your a tough person to figure. I hope we do withdraw from Richmond and Hopkinton and control our own destiny going forward. My taxes will go up either way but I won’t be controlled by the other towns. I hope my neighbors agree going forward.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom — September 15, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  47. Don’t know who you are Tom but I would guess not a neighbor. I would like control of our Town and School System. Out with Picard and Mageau, though I’m a women, I’m not impassioned for the two women but you have to give both of them credit and hats off for the madness they have endured for the sake of us residents. They deserve our support now and in the future. I’m a newby but lets get real and get on with the issues at hand. Build it and they will come. (Out of Charlestown tuition students) Our town, our school, our control. The other towns will sort it out on their own.

    Tom, from what I hear your on the ball in your thoughts. Charlestown! And Charlestown only.

    Comment by Connie — September 15, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  48. While on the matter of elections what is the rumor or fact of a previous article being something about sexual harrassment in the papers regarding a charlestown school committee person/member when they were on our council and resigned? How appalling.

    Comment by Connie — September 15, 2008 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

  49. I only trace it back 20 years based on Mr. James Hirst’s research presented here. I assume that the towns had a degree of agreement when Chariho was formed, although I vaguely recall someone posting news clipping from the late 1950’s where there seemed to some resistance to Chariho.

    In any case, we are where we are now. I hold no animus toward Charlestown. Our respective financial situations have evolved with Charlestown families reaping the immense benefits of a shoreline community. Good for Charlestown, but now they can afford to spend much more and, in my opinion, be much more tolerant of inaccountable spending and waste. Who knows, maybe Charlestown is okay with the Chariho employee contracts simply because many Charlestown families earn a great living and want employees to have the same standard of living? This isn’t a terrible thing, but Hopkinton families don’t have the same luxury.

    I do wish Charlestown voters would have considered the financial circumstances of Hopkinton families through the years. I’m not angry about it, but it would have been neighborly. I also wish Charlestown would stop trying to influence Hopkinton voters by threatening to withdraw. While the tactic might be effective with some in Hopkinton who can’t stand the thought of Chariho breaking up; until this point it has only been a ploy and Charlestown has been all talk and no action.

    For the good of us all it is time for Charlestown to go out on its own. They shouldn’t be waiting for the bond re-vote. They should commit to withdrawing regardless of the outcome. By linking withdrawal with the bond re-vote the leaders making this decision are admitting the education of Charlestown children is secondary to the financial benefit of having Hopkinton and Richmond subsidizing education. Charlestown can afford so much more than Chariho will ever have to offer. Why not give that to your children?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 15, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  50. Hopkinton resident is one’s guess, yet I agree, we (Charlestown residents even us newbies have more to offer and your right we Charlestown voters are better off. The ballast or sinking sound will be the Towns of Richmond and Hopkinton. To turn a Seinfeld episode phrase, Serinity Now!, Serinity Now!

    Comment by Connie — September 15, 2008 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  51. Connie your coming on a bit strong for a first timer, yet I’m a first timer to and yes, let the ballast go (Richmond and Hopkinton). No Serenity but hell to pay!

    Comment by Tom — September 15, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  52. I guess you folks forget that Charlestown is still one of the decks(towns) on the Titanic(State of RI), granted it may be further above the waterline than Richmond or Hopkinton, but the problems facing the state pale in comparison to the Chariho bond issue.
    For some reason, the citizens of RI seem oblivious to the forthcoming fiscal crisis facing us all.

    Comment by RS — September 15, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  53. I look forward to Rhode Island’s economic collapse. Rhode Island politics are diseased. Rhode Islanders keep sending the same corrupt politicians to Providence year after year. Poverty pimps, unions, and other marxist special interests run the Statehouse. We’re not the only ones with a Brian Kennedy. I don’t see Rhode Island changing its political culture without a crisis of earthquake proportions.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 16, 2008 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  54. Hi!
    As a supporter of Nancy Richmond, the Republican nominee for State Representative in District#38, I hope you all give her a hearing when she campaigns in Hopkinton. Our district is all of Hopkinton and the northern part of Westerly.
    Nancy is a capable person. The number #2 Republican in Rhode Island as First Vice Chair of the RI GOP;former Westerly Town Council member, former Chair of the Westerly GOP and in the Real Estate business.
    Brian assisted in thwarting the Hopkinton Town Council controlled by his own party, by not fighting for Hopkinton on their rebond votes position this year in the Rhode Island General Assembly.To my recollection he stays usually mum if not all the time on Chariho issues even though he is a Chariho graduate and a “leader” from Hopkinton and part of the R.I. House leadership .In addition Hopkinton is the only Chariho town he “represents”! Remember Republicans have less than 15 members of the Rhode Island House out of 75 members, so he could have helped Hopkinton on this if he so desired. While Joe Scott and Donna Walsh represent other Chariho towns in the R.I. House, I can understand their positions as the Town Councils of the towns they represent supported the bonds.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — September 17, 2008 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  55. Why is SBH allowed to campaign here? Even the moderator of this blog hasn’t done it yet but SBH is allowed to do it? I would hope then that the rest of the candidates for whatever positions are also allowed to campaign here.

    By the way, Scott, don’t forget to mention that when you were previously on the HTC you were among those that raided the fund balance account for a few years and then had to have double digit tax percent increases when that account was almost totally depleted. Do you want a second crack at that and then hoist the blame onto Chariho? Granted Chariho doesn’t help but what you did as a member of the Hopkinton Town Council surely didn’t help the tax payers much either. Honestly, Scott, isn’t that one of the major reasons you were not re-elected at the end of that term? Are you hoping that the voters and taxpayers of Hopkinton have a short memory and forget all about that?

    Comment by CharihoParent — September 17, 2008 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  56. Hey CP, where did you find the rules outlining what can and can’t be discussed on this blog? I looked and could not find any terms of agreement or rules of conduct, etc. I guess it is up to the admistration of the blog to decide. I do not know of anyone being denied a right to post, do you? Heck, you don’t even have to say who you are to post. I wish the rest of the candidates would post here so we would know what their platform is and be able to find out more about them. So your attacks against SBH(referencing him posting here, not his past record) , while expected, proves what? I guess you just don’t like the man.Go get your people who you want in office to come the blog and post, heck get them to even acknowledge they are running, only a few people have even made it known they are in the game.

    Comment by RS — September 17, 2008 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  57. What do we want, less transparency? Mr. Hirst at least as the courage to interact with us here.

    Let’s face it, being able to question school officials and politicians with anonymity makes this a much tougher forum to interact with the public. Plus candidates are accountable for what they say here versus a private phone conversation or even a pbulic forum where they can deny what they’ve said.

    I’m no fan of Mr. Petit’s work on the School Committee, and he’s contradicted himself here many times, but at least he has had faced the fire which is much, much more difficult than a meeting controlled by the School Committee. Mr. Hirst, right or wrong, has faith in his convictions and doesn’t worry about what anyone might say. He tells you how he feels…no hiding…no tricks. Mr. Felkner is the same. Participating here doesn’t assure anyone my vote, but it a great first step toward getting my vote.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 17, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  58. I’ve heard of Mr. Hirst and Mr. Felkner and some of the locals of hopkinton. I know of Mr. Hirst being a life long resident, a student of history of local, national and some argue beyond (?) from the few locals still in the local area and he is studied supposedly being here for 50 plus years. Don’t know all his politics or beliefs but would agree to disagree if he was in my town for the fact he is engaged at least as is the Felkner person. The fact remains put them on your council and see if their are any life boats left when your TITANIC goes down. If Charlestown residents are smart they will be the first ones in the life boats by voting no all the way around. Serenity now!, Serentity now! If their was only two life jackets left in hopkinton section of the titanic between abbott, felkner and hirst who would get the two life jackets? By Hopkinton’s way of thinking, felkner and hirst sense abbot is pro building vote. Another reason why charlestown needs to leave, maybe all three will drown. Is Ms.Kenney the Captain of USS Hopkinton!

    Comment by Connie — September 17, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  59. Hi!
    I need to be quick.I don’t think I was really campaigning! However draw your own conclusions.
    Whether I win or lose, I want to be thought of being a responsible candidate.
    When the papers publish our views and backgrounds please consider mine.Thanks!
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — September 17, 2008 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  60. All campaigning means is you are asking for votes. Informed voters want to know where candidates stand on the issues. Not only is there nothing wrong with Mr. Hirst sharing his viewpoints, I think it puts him ahead of politicians who choose to share nothing. I even appreciate CP sharing what he knows about Mr. Hirst. If there is disagreement about issues, we can decide who is more credible.

    Yes, like Mr. Petit, politicians can pretend they are an advocates for families when they really are supporters of the status quo, but at least if candidates come here, they are on record. There’s always risk when voting for a politicians…the goal is to minimize risk.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 17, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  61. Hi!
    The Chariho Times http://www.charihotimes.com in yesterday’s paper has an excellent editorial on candidates during this campaign. It essentially asks candidates for specifics on issues instead of generalities. While it is difficult sometimes to be specific, candidates should be more specific than they generally are.
    Hopefully George’s and my joint flyer will be available today so we can give voters something to review.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — September 19, 2008 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  62. […] You will note in the article (linked here) that some states require this. I wish our Committee thought as much about the public. […]

    Pingback by EP wants contract negotiations in public - NEA says, “nyet!” « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — October 27, 2008 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  63. Do you have a real job? Or do you just do these Micky Mouse political positions so you can feel important. Get life douchebag.

    Comment by Ross Gravino — January 2, 2009 @ 7:48 pm | Reply


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