Chariho School Parents’ Forum

October 16, 2008

Full HTC presentation

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 10:30 pm

Here is a link to the complete presentation from the Hopkinton Town Council.



  1. First and foremost, let me thank Sylvia Thompson for her hard work and effort in compiling this information for the residents of Hopkinton.
    In my opinion she is being too nice to the school committee. Maybe this is how politics work, but my family’s well being and budget does not have the luxury to play politics. Spending and taxes are out of control in this school district, and something must be done. We should not be “encouraging” and “requesting” the committee to review the budgets and spending at Chariho. We should “require” and “demand” they do this. If they do not meet the demands of the taxpayers, then we should vote in those who can do the will of the people.

    Comment by RS — October 16, 2008 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

  2. Mrs. Thompson did an amazing job with the presentation. Anybody paying attention should have their eyes wide open.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 17, 2008 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  3. Hi!
    I spoke publicly at the recent town council meeting praising her efforts and it was not picked up by the press. Since Sylvia and I are both Hopkinton Town Council candidates but from different parties in an election season, you would think my support was news worthy.
    The press has not done this yet:
    1. Ask Chariho area political candidates for school committee and town council about how to better handle the finances in the Chariho Regional School District.
    2. How they are going to vote on the Chariho bonds and why.
    3.Should people vote yes on the bonds which incurs bonded indebtedness and makes it more difficult for a town to withdraw?
    4.For Charlestown candidates: Should Charlestown voters really vote yes when your ad hoc education committee reported UNANIMOUSLY for Charlestown to withdraw but to vote for the bonds? That would create a problem with bonded indedtedness if Charlestown withdraws.
    5.To Richmond candidates: Should talk of a potential Richmond-Charlestown School District be allowed to continue when the assessable base of Charlestown is approaching nearly three times that of Richmond?
    6.To Hopkinton candidates: Would you rule out considering through litigation get an equalized tax rate or more more relief in Chariho School District finances?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — October 17, 2008 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  4. Scott, nothing much that you do IS news worthy! What’s your campaign slogan, “It’s all about me”?

    Comment by CharihoParent — October 17, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  5. Question #6 is a very good one. I’d like to know who among the Town Council candidates would be willing to pursue legal recourse should any of the re-voted bonds pass?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 17, 2008 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  6. CP has a real hard one for Scott, hey?

    Comment by RS — October 17, 2008 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  7. RS, I’ll leave the chubbies for you to get over him.

    Comment by CharihoParent — October 17, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  8. hirst is a boob and thompson says the same recycled garbage youve all cried about for years

    Comment by yawn — October 17, 2008 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  9. And you make us all….well, yawn. Go back to sleep.

    Comment by RS — October 17, 2008 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  10. The Rag is in full propaganda mode. First they publish an article on the Hope Valley School trying to convince us running millions in surplus is a good thing, and now they run a proganda piece on RYSE. As expected, they offer little, if anything, to balance their “reporting”. You can read and comment on the RYSE propaganda here:

    The pro-surplus piece can be read here:

    With The Rag firmly in the pocket of Chariho…Chariho adds thousands to The Rag’s income stream every year…we can expect more lies, distortions, and misreprentations to grace their pages in an effort to fool Hopkinton voters into approving one or more of the re-voted bond elements. I truly hope Hopkinton voters are paying attention to leaders such as Mrs. Thompson.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2008 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  11. By the way, The Rag once again refers to the RYSE buildings as “trailers”. Take a good look at the pictures accompanying the article. How anyone can be inside those building and still call them “trailers” is beyond me. Unless, of course, the person calling them “trailers” is trying to influence voters…they probably shouldn’t have included pictures if they want us to believe they RYSE students are stuck in trailers. My home should look as good.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 19, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  12. If the high school bond passes Chariho will divert money to building RYSE. Take it to the bank. The bond language doesn’t tie their hands and the plan is already in place.

    Do you remember the leaking RYSE building last year? The building leaked because Chariho maintenance allowed snow to accumulate on the flat roof. Rule #1 is no sitting snow on a flat roof yet there it sat. A ten second call to the leasing company and you’ll find out that Chariho was well aware of rule #1. A leaky RYSE roof served a public relations purpose. If the high school bond passes you will see Chariho change priorities because of an “emergency” like leaky roofs. They aleady built a lot of waste into the high school bond so it won’t be hard to claim that the RYSE buildings are more important than a track and a band room.

    They will have more public relations problems diverting middle school funds but they don’t expect the middle school bond to pass anyway.

    Chariho is very nervous about the true cost of RYSE coming to light. They avoided a crisis when the Sun reporter didn’t insist on seeing the budget numbers. They had two excuses ready and they worked. Ricci has moved positions around over the last few years so he could say the positions are not RYSE positions. Take a look at teachers asst. and aides. Notice the large increase from a few short years ago. These are RYSE employees hidden in the mainstream budget. They knew he questions were coming.

    Take it for what its worth. You don’t have to believe me. I am anonymous for obvious reasons but I am in the know. Take it to the bank.

    Comment by In The Know — October 21, 2008 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  13. Nothing you post surprises me In The Know. I used to work in a flat-roofed building and any time we had accumulations above 4 inches the maintenance department would be on the roof removing snow. I should have figured the supposedly leaky roof was a pubicity stunt by Chariho.

    By the way, when you’re on the phone with the leasing company, why not ask them how much to purchase the existing infrastructure? I bet the buildings can be had for a lot less than the milions Chariho is dying to spend.

    As to moving around budget numbers to pretend RYSE costs less than it does, I noticed the huge increase in Teachers’ Aides (or Assistants) and asked about it here when Mr. Petit was participating. I’m still waiting for an explanation…although it looks like you provided the answer. They even added an aide or assistant to the VoTech budget…I wondered why after all these years they needed to add this position. I guess you hidc them wherever you can.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 21, 2008 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  14. Then there were three. After pro-surplus and pro-RYSE articles, The Rag in now attempting to pull on the town’s heartstrings by reporting 18 year old “Amanda Blau”, a Chariho student “representing her peers”, spoke out in favor of the bond at the Town Council Meeting.

    The Rag doesn’t report on Ms. Blau’s tax bill, so we can’t tell if she is an innocent foil for Chariho who doesn’t really have anything to lose by Chariho sucking millions more out of the community or maybe she is a large taxpayer but feels her money is well spent?

    I’m still waiting for The Rag to run a detailed article on Mrs. Thompson Chariho presentation. I guess with stories about the goodness of stealing money to put into surplus; forcing families into social service programs; and a Chariho students desire for a new track, there isn’t enough room for something as frivolous as Mrs. Thompson’s presentation?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  15. There is 1 Blau listed on the Hopkinton tax roll, but not an Amanda.

    Comment by RS — October 22, 2008 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  16. You can watch Ms. Blau and others speak here:

    Although The Rag indicates Ms. Blau represents her “peers”, she acually graduated last year. Her position seems to be that the current conditions at Chariho are a distraction to the students. She acknowledged numerous problems, including admitting she wasn’t ready for Middle School when she was in 5th grade, but despite all the problems she supports passage of the bond (she didn’t specify if she wants them all to pass).

    No offense to Ms. Blau, but The Rag chose to spotlight her because she is a sympathetic figure (another publicity stunt). She made an emotional appeal and even acknowledges the many problems. Some people don’t even break a sweat when spending other people’s money (OPM).

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  17. Both of you should at least the girl credit for getting involved and speaking up publicly for what she believes in. You make it sound like she’s been put up to it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — October 22, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  18. No, not at all. I don’t think she was “put up” to anything.

    If you watch the meeting there are several presentations where information is exchanged. This includes Mr. Abbott and Mrs. Kenney reciting Chariho talking points which are in error. Regardless, they at least tried to put forth a fact based argument in favor of the re-voted bonds.

    Ironically, Ms. Blau concurs with many of the points made by those opposing the bond, but makes an emotional appeal nevertheless to support the bond based on how the conditions at Chariho make the students feel. She’s entitled to make an emotional case for the bond, but The Rag chose to spotlight her while continuing to ignore the real problems with the state of affairs at Chariho. My bone to pick is with the local media’s reporting of Chariho issues. I harbor no ill feelings towards Ms. Blau. She spoke as I would expect from someone with her life experiences.

    I’m happy to see Ms. Blau participate. Considering her acknowledgement of the myriad of problems with Chariho management, she may come to the same conclusions as many in Hopkinton once she has a financial stake in the community. As noted, it is always easy to spend money when it’s not yours being spent.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

  19. Ms. Fonts spoke eloquently at the meeting and asked some newsworthy questions, such as whether there is any move underway to take legal action to require equitable taxation at Chariho. My impression from listening to Ms. Font is she really wants to support more spending at Chariho, but she recognizes the inherent unfairness of unequal taxation for individual households within the distict.

    Perhaps Ms. Fonts’ points were printed in The Rag, but her comments didn’t make The Rag’s website.

    Mrs. Ure also spoke out emphasizing the current fiscal crisis in the U.S. and in Rhode Island. She asked how we can support spending more at Chariho when so many of us are struggling to make ends meets.

    Mrs. Ure was not mentioned in The Rag’s website blurb either.

    The Rag’s website only mentions Ms. Blau’s emotional appeal in support of the re-voted bond(s). Like the stories published about RYSE and the surplus, The Rag goes heavy on the bond side of the issues and extremely light on the opposition.

    Considering the opposition to the re-voted bond(s) is much more logical and consistent, any media outlet with a modicum of integrity would at least give equal coverage to both sides. The Rag chooses a different route. This is not an indictment of Ms. Blau, but a reflection of The Rag’s agenda.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  20. An emotional appeal about the conditions at Chariho are neither here nor there, the problem raised by responsibley fiscal taxpayers is…………..Why hasn’t the maintenance issue been dealt with in the anuual budgets. The powers to be can neglect the plan maintenance for as long as they wish, then expect to get a poorly worded bond pushed through for the sake of the children. If this doesn’t smell a little fishy to anyone who maintains any sort of property at all(i.e homeowners, business owners, etc), then you are wearing blinders, benefiting from the winfall, part of the good old FEEL GOOD BRIGADE, or on life support in a hospital somewhere(in which case we excuse you).

    P.S. Hey CP. where did I discredit or say Ms/Mrs Blau was put up to anything??

    Comment by RS — October 22, 2008 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  21. Rs.About 87% of the Chariho budget is devoted to employee salaries and benefits.When you add in heat,utility ,transportation and out of district placement costs,there isn’t much money left for building repairs or capitol improvements.

    Comment by george abbott — October 22, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  22. You make room by negotiating reasonable contracts.

    As RS notes, no responsible home or business owner allows their property to fall into disrepair and then take out loans to make up for neglect. It’s not as if Chariho hasn’t been taking plenty of money out of the community through the years. Chariho receives money from the community which places us near the top of the entire country in per pupil costs. There is nothing unique about Chariho or Rhode Island other than giving away the store with employee contracts.

    My suggestion would be for Chariho to get their fiscal health in order. Fire the superintendent and get someone in there with a proven record of delivering superior education at a reasonable cost. I wouldn’t complain if you paid a competent superintendent $200,000 if they could save us millions in budgeting.

    This isn’t rocket science. The rest of us manage to get it done with stagnant wages and soaring expenses. We adjust and reprioritize. We do it, and Chariho can too. They need a change in attitude and a change in leadership. We must send them the message again by rejecting the latest attempts to steal our wallets. We vote no again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  23. Hello George,

    I would think if there isn’t enough money to meet the budget requirements for Chariho, then the administration would ask for more to cover such costs as maintenance, etc. Isn’t it the responsibility of the administration and the school committee to see fit that these items are taken care of??
    It makes me wonder if they didn’t want to ask for more because they thought they were up against the “taxpayers wall” already. I just find it hard to believe that a budget is submitted and there is not any funding in it for facilities maintenance and nobody on the school committee or similar group for the administration didn’t look at this and say “Hey people, where is the money to maintain the facilities. I this what you are telling us…..There has never been any budget request for facility maintenance??

    Comment by RS — October 22, 2008 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  24. RS:It would be virtually impossible to include enough money in our annual budgets to implement the present 5 year capitol improvement plan for our schools.We have been under tremendous pressure from the Richmond and Hopkinton councils to keep our budget increases as small as possible in order to to avoid property tax increases at the town level.Labor,heat,utility and transportation costs are fixed according business contracts or labor agreements.The 3050 property tax cap has also added additional pressure to the budget process.The School Committee does not seem to have the will or ability to cut positions or entire programs.Richmond wants to solve the budget problem by shifting capitol project monies for the main campus from the annual budget to long term bonded indebtedness.They also want to save the $290,000 annual cost of renting the Band trailers and the RYSE portable classrooms.This cost-shifting activity would free up money that is needed to repair our elementary schools.The School Committee agrees with this tact.Hopkinton,on the other hand ,wants a bond or multiple bonds that would include repairs to elementary schools in each town.They also oppose Middle School and RYSE questions.They also want to return the 5th grade students to the elementary schools.You should ask Tom Buck,Sylvia Tompson and Barbara Capalbo for the specifics of their alternative proposals.

    Comment by george abbott — October 22, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  25. Actually, parents from all three towns have expressed a preference to have 5th and 6th graders in an Elementary School environment.

    Mr. Abbott is correct in the lack of will to cut positions by the School Committee. This lack of will also exists in the administration. Sadly, as student enrollment has declined, we have seen spending on employees head in the opposite direction.

    The bonds are really about compensating Chariho for its inability to budget responsibly. Since they can’t control contracts and they can’t get rid of unnecessary employees, they instead turn once again to the taxpayer money tree to bail them out. If my child was as irresponsible I wouldn’t tolerate it…why would anyone want to reward the Chariho child?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 22, 2008 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

  26. Well Mr. Abbott, the Chariho issues are similar to my own and I expect most taxpayers in Hopkinton. I haven’t had any capital improvement plans for several years now. Budget increases……funny, I wish I had the problem of only receiving a small increase…my budget has shrunk by 30% in the last 5 years. I only wish my heat, utility, and transportation costs were fixed, they too have increased year over year. The slowing economy has also added additional pressure to my budget process. I also practice cost-shifting activities every month, determining which dollars go to which debts.
    There is a name for this process, it is called budgeting. I cannot go ask for more money and expect to receive it, can any of you? The taxpayers go through this process everyday, every week, every month, year over year, and we do this with an ever increasing tax burden placed upon us by the school budget and other taxes. We have to make the necessary cuts in discrectionary spending to make this process work. I think it’s time those who spend our money are held accountable, and participate in finding a solution. The solution isn’t spending money we don’t have, if the current financial situation in the country isn’t proof of this, I don’t know what is.

    Comment by RS — October 22, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  27. RS.You need to argue your case with Prince Henry and Calypso Joe.

    Comment by george abbott — October 23, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  28. Prince Henry, Calypso Joe, and the Merry Band of Bonds are all getting voted off the Island.

    Did you hear the latest from the State House yesterday, the news is worse than first thought, and doesn’t look any better for the next fiscal year either?? Now where did I put that book, Budgets for Dummies, I think I’m going to need it.

    Comment by RS — October 23, 2008 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  29. nice response from abbott…..really sensitive…..and you want to be on the council? you buffoon couldnt cut it on the school committee…..youll only be an embarrassment on the council

    Comment by nice — October 23, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  30. I didn’t even understand Mr. Abbott’s reference to Calypso Joe and Prince Henry? I thought he was being silly. What does it mean?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 23, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  31. Beats me, but it doesn’t change the seriousness of my second sentence. Seems too few taxpayers are concerned about the state of fiscal affairs in Rhode Island. I just don’t get it. They must not understand budgeting so therfore just don’t bother with what they don’t understand, or are riding as free passengers on the handout train.

    Comment by RS — October 23, 2008 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  32. It was actually a thinly veiled political attack on Bill Day.We all need to lighten up a bit!

    Comment by george abbott — October 23, 2008 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  33. Prince Henry the Navigator was the third child of King John I of Portugal. he was involved in the slave trade to the Americas.
    I assume this means GA thinks we should all be happy in servitude to the elitist.

    Comment by RS — October 23, 2008 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  34. Bill Day ain’t no elitist!

    Comment by george abbott — October 23, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  35. I have to agree with Mr. Abbott. Mr. Day is an ignoramus looking out for his family’s interest. He figured out that going along with the elitists keeps his family fat and happy, but I don’t think he’s an elitist himself. If Mr. Day does believe he’s better than most of the people he’s supposed to be serving, then he’s dumber than he sounds.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 23, 2008 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  36. dont quit your day job abbott……that “joke” is retarded… the way…i didnt know scott bill hirst supported the bond. i saw a flyer with abbot and costello ….err, i mean abbot and hirst and a support the bond flyer was stapled to theirs. so its official….scott bill hirst endorses the bond!

    Comment by nice — October 23, 2008 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  37. Hi!
    I am voting against all three Chariho bonds. I understand the confusion. We passed out both flyers including an item sometimes from Nancy Richmond who has campaigned with us sometimes. Nancy has no issue in the Chariho fight. George and I are on opposite sides. It was agreed when he ran out we would pass no more out. We have spent a number of hours so far campaigning.
    It can be debateable whether this is an advocacy piece, the Chariho fact sheet but considering past publications it seems rather tame.
    I assume the Chariho bonds will be rejected. The economy alone will doom many referenda let alone the Chariho ones. While it needs to be admitted there are legitimate building needs in our schools, after twenty years of rejection of school bonds, it is time to focus on school finance as honestly as possible.
    George Abbott will get my vote on November 4TH,. Not only is he a close friend, he is an experienced community leader but not in the pocket of the school adminstration, regardless of his bonds support.Prefessionally he has worked with Rhode Island’s most needful children working in social work with the state.
    I am concerned with bonds passage as soon as one or more passes,bonded indebtedness kicks in, making it more difficult to address the financial differences of the three towns.
    Remember the political divisions on the bonds:
    Both party candidates are on both sides of the bonds:
    For: Beverly Kenney(D) and George Abbott (R)
    Against:Scott Bill Hirst(R),Sylvia Thompson (D), Thomas Buck (D), and Independents Barbara Capalbo and William Felkner.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — October 24, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  38. Ms. Richmond won’t take a position on the Chariho bond? While I won’t vote for Mr. Kennedy, I may choose to not vote if Ms. Richmond is unable to take a stance for her largest consituency. The only state politician with the gumption to stand up to the Chariho machine was Mr. Breene.

    As for Mr. Abbott, I would have voted for him if he had taken the right position on Chariho. He seems to want the same changes there as the rest of us, but he doesn’t grasp that passing a bond locks us into the same situation he fights against. His support for the bond makes no sense considering his stance on the Chariho issues. Oh, well, there’s enough Town Councilors standing up for Hopkinton so I still have plenty to choose from.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 24, 2008 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  39. Hi!
    I will contact Nancy on this. I perhaps was unfair to her. But she does not have a vote on the bonds as she lives in Westerly. Nancy will be a team player and will respect the Hopkinton Town Council institutionally. I can’t fathom she would defy a Hopkinton Town Council like Brian did on a “local bill”.
    This is not the first time Brian has done this. In the past he has done that dealing with legislation of the Ashaway Fire District. Ironically at one point I got so bad when then Governor Lincoln Almond office checked if the local fire district supported legislation dealing with them, his office was informed no and it was vetoed. Traditionally local bills pass without the Governor’s signature. What future local bills opposed by local authorities can we trust Brian on?
    Nancy Richmond is a go getter and a recognized leader. The number “2” Republican in Rhode Island, she is First Vice Chair of the Rhode Island GOP. You don’t rise to those heights without being able to work with people!
    It is my impression/understanding Nancy would not submit or support legislation opposed by local offials.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — October 25, 2008 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  40. My error It not I on fifth line.

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

  41. Glad to hear Ms. Richmond would likely respect the wishes of the voters as expressed by the Hopkinton Town Council. I’d love to see Kennedy gone as he is in bed with all the politicians down the other end of the state. Plus, he has no real life experience that I can tell. Never really held a job. Doesn’t have kids. Never married. No wonder he ignores the struggles of ordinary citizens. He’s clueless. He got elected when he was very young. Probably people thought he was John F. Kennedy’s child. He’s part of the cabal which has left Rhode Island in such dire straits. He needs to be gone, but I doubt it will happen.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 25, 2008 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  42. No real life experience, never really held a job, doesn’t have kids, never married… Sounds like SBH, too.

    Comment by CharihoParent — October 25, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  43. Sure, but at least Mr. Hirst has experience in the town he serves. Mr. Kennedy spends more time in Providence than he spends in Hopkinton. Does anyone around here even know the guy? Does he participate in Hopkinton life? I’ve seen the guy in person once in my life. I see Mr. Hirst everywhere.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 26, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Reply

  44. i see mr. hirst at the library….wink wink

    Comment by REPEAT — October 26, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

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