Chariho School Parents’ Forum

October 27, 2008

EP wants contract negotiations in public – NEA says, “nyet!”

Filed under: contract negotiations — Editor @ 11:35 am

The East Providence School Committee would like to hold the contract negotiations in open meetings. What a grand idea!

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

[update] I just got off the phone with one of the EP Committee members and he says the public response has been enormous. The only negative comes from form letters sent to him, all with the same postage meter number.  A number we have since found is owned by the NEA. Shocking!



  1. We need more of this kind of investigations so the public is made aware of the power of the entrenched interests. School systems are so large that when an issue comes up they can literally mobilize hundreds of troops to sway public opinion. We see this with Chariho when it comes to the re-voted bond. Inevitably vocal supporters for spending more and more money have connections back to Chariho. Unaware members of the public, inundated with Chariho propaganda, begin to believe the empty rhetoric to the detriment of the community.

    How can we have a school where contracts are hidden, educational outccomes are dismal, yet few connected to Chariho seem even a tad bit outraged by the failures? But, when their income stream is threatened, letters to the editor. Cries of “for the children” come from everywhere. Hopkinton voters have done a fantastic job in figurng out the game. Hopkinton has been the only town willing to hold Chariho’s feet to the fire, and still, Chariho refuses to change its way of doing business.

    Good for the people of East Providence for taking a stand. We should all require our schools to stop the nonsense and do their jobs responsibly.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  2. Good for EP! How can the school committee carry out the public’s wishes without any discussion of the options?

    Even if the negotiations themselves can’t be public, the school committee’s goals and progress can be reported, and that would be a big improvement.

    Comment by david — October 27, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  3. The Rag profiled School Committee candidates. Mr. Day claims he wants openness in regard to contracts. The fool doesn’t seem to realize he has voted against openness time after time. Mr. Preuhs is wrong on just about everything. Mr. Vecchio sounds pretty good except he wants negotiatons to remain secret. I don’t like his position on the issue, but he beats the heck out of Mr. Petit and Mr. Preuhs.

    WOOD RIVER JCT. — Three candidates are running for two seats in the Chariho School Committee.

    William G. Day is the incumbent and is running unopposed as Richmond representative to the school board. Ronald Preuhs is the incumbent and is running for the Hopkinton seat. Richard A. Vecchio is challenging Preuhs for the Hopkinton seat.

    Nobody is currently running for the empty Charlestown seat. The other empty Richmond seat that is being vacated by Deborah Jennings, who decided not to run for re-election, will be filled by a write-in candidate.

    Preuhs failed to file his nomination papers by the deadline, so he is now running as a write-in candidate for the Hopkinton seat.

    All three candidates have different opinions on several important topics being faced by Chariho schools next year.

    •William G. Day

    Age: 66

    Address: 17 Nooseneck Hill Road, Richmond

    Affiliation: Republican

    Political experience: Current school committee chairman

    Do you support the upcoming bond referendum of up to $25 million for renovations for the high school, middle school and a permanent Reaching Youth through Support and Education School to replace portable classrooms?

    “The way you have them listed (beginning with the high school renovations) is most important. By passing a bond for all three, it will allow us to take money for general operations and put it more into repair and maintenance for schools. I’m on the building committee as well, so with the state of economy and budget issues, this may be the last opportunity for any kind of state aid. It’s guaranteed right now, but going down the road it could be changed.” Day says they can get 56 percent for new construction and 60 percent for renovations.

    During the upcoming teachers’ union contract negotiations, do you think information on the contract should be made public before it is ratified?

    “I see nothing wrong with having openness so the taxpayers can see what it would cost. I don’t see this being a hindrance to reaching an agreement.”

    How would you respond to accusations that Chariho “underestimates revenue and overestimates expenditures”?

    “Anybody who tries to use this argument has no concept on how hard it is to put together a budget. Because we have to vote in March for a 2010 budget, all we can do is give our best estimates on things like teacher contracts and heating. Transportation for certain students is not as cut and dry as household budgets. We started out with $100,000 allocated for brick work at Hope Valley School and ended up spending over $750,00 now.” Day says that Superintendent Barry Ricci is currently getting input from principals and is preparing to present a budget in the beginning of December.

    • Ronald Preuhs Jr.

    Age: 43

    Address: 42 Karen Drive, Hope Valley

    Affiliation: Independent

    Political experience: School committee, 2007- present

    Do you support the upcoming bond referendum of up to $25 million for renovations for the high school, middle school and a permanent Reaching Youth through Support and Education School to replace portable classrooms?

    “I think its right for our school and children. If anybody has toured our school recently, they know we need to fix them up.”

    During the upcoming teachers’ union contract negotiations, do you think information on the contract should be made public before it is ratified?

    “No, what we should do is have a meeting with the community before negotiations begin so we get their input and use it during negotiations.”

    How would you respond to accusations that Chariho “underestimates revenue and overestimates expenditures”?

    “We had a huge surplus last year that has been building up for years. I advocated using that money to do some of the upgrades we have done this year. I’m also an advocate of keeping a surplus of only two to four percent.”

    •Richard A. Vecchio

    Age: 40

    Address: Elizabeth Court, Hope Valley

    Affiliation: Independent

    Political experience: None

    Do you support the upcoming bond referendum of up to $25 million for renovations for the high school, middle school and a permanent Reaching Youth through Support and Education School to replace portable classrooms?

    “I don’t support any of the three. Last November voters of Hopkinton rejected the same proposal, and they defeated it for a reason. As far as I’m concerned it’s a misrepresentation of democracy.”

    During the upcoming teacher’ union contract negotiations, do you think information on the contract should be made public before it is ratified?

    “I think the negotiations process should be between the committee and union. It should be private, but all details should be made public before it is ratified. The committee should consider bringing in an outside negotiator who has experience negotiating teacher contracts.”

    How would you respond to accusations that Chariho “underestimates revenue and overestimates expenditures”?

    “It’s been an ongoing problem. The current budget shows a surplus due to over-budgeted items, and they haven’t used all expenditures they were given. That’s the people’s money and it shouldn’t be taxpayers money used as a piggy bank for council.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  4. The Rag also has a profile of the Hopkinton Town Council candidates.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  5. It’s looking more and more like I won’t be voting for either candidate running for State Representative in District 38. Mr. Kennedy is a proven failure having helped bring the state to its knees during his 20 year tenure in Providence. Ms. Richmond has been unwilling, thus far, to take a stand on the re-voted bond. Ms. Richmond also favors adding tolls to Route 95. I’m not totally against tolls considering many Northeastern states tax us as we travel, but to use tolls as a means to increase revenue so the state has more to spend is not an attitude I will support.

    You can read the full profiles here:

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  6. The per pupal cost for RYSE students is now $68,053 ,according new data that has just been released to the School Committee.This figure is 497.9% above the district per pupal cost of $13,669.The RYSE cost figure does not appear to include the $220,000 annual rent for the portable classrooms.

    Comment by george abbott — October 27, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  7. I wonder what else they left out? Divide the number of RYSE students into $220,000 and add it to the $68,000. Much harder to know the number of employees they’ve hidden in non-RYSE budget items but who really exist only because of RYSE. We can be certain the $68,000 is low, and $68,000 is enough to send shivers down my spine…I’d probably pass out if they admitted to all the RYSE expenses.

    The Rag recently published a pro-bond tearjerker spotlighting a family with a Downs Syndrome child using RYSE’s services…includng at-home visits from a “clinician”. Here’s the best the family could offer when asked to enunciate the value of RYSE:

    When asked how the child had improved the father replied, “Just the everyday things, manners, language. Sometimes if he was frustrated—”

    The mother added, “It was physical. It was them helping us getting him to express himself. That was the biggest thing, to verbalize more.”

    As an example, she continued: “It was getting him to say no, rather than throwing things off the table.”

    I can only wonder what these parents could do for their child if we simply gave them $50,000 per year? Many families live on less than $50,000 per year, so this family could likely dedicate one or both parents to teaching their child to verbalize more and improve his manners.

    I doubt we’ll see The Rag splash the $68,000 figure on the front page. If they did, not much chance they’ll analyze what could be done with $68,000 per year.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  8. The concluding paragraph of the linked article sums it up succinctly:

    “This cozy arrangement is very much in the unions’ interest, since transparency would risk public opposition, and very much in politicians’ interest, since they get to be generous with public funds without having to be responsible for them,” Scheer said. “Only one party is screwed: the public.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  9. Sickening. Government bureaucracy at its utmost finest. Of course the people on the receiving end of this will tout how great the programs are. A 2009 Rolls Royce is a nice car too, but my 94 toyota gets me around just fine.

    Comment by RS — October 27, 2008 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  10. We could all hire a private teacher for our children at $68,000 per year. Imagine what a regular child could achieve with 12 years of one-on-one teaching. I dare say we could take children of average intelligence and turn them into whiz kids for $68,000…a future President perhaps?

    Yes, it would be a fantastic world if we had enough resources to provide every child with $68,000 worth of education each year. We don’t do this because it is not sustainable. I’m not sure why we do it for any child?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  11. Thats the extent government goes when its not done with common sense. Especially with some of these children who are just learning life skills. And when I taught at the Groden School the children had much more severe disabilities but we didn’t spend anywhere near $68k per. $50k to a parent might be enough to keep them home with their own child – imaging the better care they would get too. But we couldn’t even get them to approach parents about driving their kids to providence (remember, we are paying as much as $442 per day shuttling them north) it is doubtful they would risk loosing a child to funded-home schooling.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 27, 2008 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  12. So once again it is about employing adults?

    In reading about the RYSE family, it sure didn’t seem that Chariho was adding much of value which couldn’t be gotten more easily and at much less expense. With a little training, these parents probably could have achieved the same results. They probably could even arrange for their own field trip to the state landfill. If we can give parents more desirable options and save money while doing it, then why isn’t choice the policy? I guess we’re back to jobs for adults.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  13. When it comes to most Government programs, is all about swelling governments role, all else is secondary.

    Comment by RS — October 27, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  14. I would venture bet that families caring for their children at home would qualify for direct care and clinical services that would be reimbursable by the state and federal government.Also,there are existing state wide programs that provide clinical care and support services to emotionally troubled,behaviorally disordered and developmentally challenged children at no cost to local taxpayers.The services of Psychological Centers,one-on-one direct supervision and Social Work services provided at the RYSE program cost local taxpayers $1,626,289.These services are not reimbursable by government agencies or health insurance companies because the are being rendered in an educational facility.

    Comment by george abbott — October 27, 2008 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  15. Good point by Mr. Abbott. When we’re told RYSE saves money compared to alternative programs, this is probably only true if all the alternatives were paid through Chariho. Sounds like there were options (prior to RYSE) available funded by the state rather than a local burden. This coincides with the parental benefits such as pyschologists and job placement. I wouldn’t put it past Chariho to offer parents adult services as an enticement to get them to support RYSE.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 27, 2008 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  16. Hey GA, I am a local Hopkinton taxpayer, and I pay for the state services you mentioned. It’s called State of Rhode Island income tax withholding, and federal income tax withholding.

    Comment by RS — October 27, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  17. RS.Why should Hopkinton property taxpayers have to pay for services that are supposed to be available through the state government?Also, Health Insurance Companies are now required to fund Mental Health Services under legislation that was tagged onto the financial bailout bill.Why shouldn’t they be required to pick up part of the RYSE tab?

    Comment by george abbott — October 27, 2008 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  18. Not only are chariho taxpayers paying for job training for RYSE parents, but drug counseling and mental health services as well. All things we already pay for with state and federal taxes. They call it “wrap around services”. There is absolutely no way we are saving any money with RYSE. The worst part is that this prison model system does not include intergration back into the regular classroom. This is the goal of Bradley and South Shore mental health. RYSE children are set up to be ostrasized by the general population. We don’t need a 12 million dollar building for 50 children in a program that is failing.

    Comment by ARRRR — October 28, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  19. OK, guess my post was misunderstood. I was just making a point, those of us who pay state income tax are paying for the state services anyway. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with providing releif for the Hopkinton taxpayer for services rendered by the state. Now the tricky part, If the service “picked up” by the state/federal increases my tax burden at the state or federal level, then what have we accomplished? Reducing the local tax burden on taxpayers who do not pay income tax is a win for them, but simply transfers the burden to those who work, and at a greater level than spreading them at the local level. My point is shifting or moving the tax burden to another jurisdiction might or might not lower ones overall tax, cutting uneccesary program on the other hand would help to reduce the tax burden, assuming the “new” money is not redistributed. I never hear about cuts from anyone backing Chariho, only shifting(redistributing) monies.
    For a local politician, this sounds good, they can claim to have lowered taxes(at the local level) and brought much needed releif to their constituents. How one could do this knowing they are only shifting the burden is beyond me. Oh yeh that is the backbone of the modern politician….spin and deception.

    Comment by RS — October 28, 2008 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  20. Politicians use deceptive tactics because they work. I’ve been hearing calls for an increase in state funding for years from just about everyone. It’s as if having money taken from one pocket isn’t as bad as having it taken from the other. Drives me crazy.

    I’ve heard a few justify the mentality by saying the state is taking our money anyway, so we should get as much back as we can. This is true, but if you’re going to battle the state anyway, why not fight the right cause? We never win the battle to get our money back so why not to minimize what we give them in the first place?

    As RS knows, the problem with goverment isn’t where the money comes from…it all comes from us…the problem is where the money goes. If our money is spent to provide services and jobs for other able bodied adults, then the government is redistributing income. They are discouraging producers and encouraging non-producers. Who wants to work if you are forced to share the fruits of your labor with others not inclined to work as hard as you? Who wants to make good choices if it means you have to subsidize those who make poor choices?

    The argumnent is really one of capitalism versus socialism. Too many of us now look to the government to take care of more and more of our needs. People seem to think there is a money tree somewhere in Providence and Washington, D.C. They don’t seem to realize that money represents production…innovation…value. The government can print paper until the cows come home, but if there is little production backing up the paper, you might as well wipe your rear end with it.

    I think an Obama Presidency will give us all a good taste of what it is like to live under socialism. If he manages to get enough people to depend on Daddy government for their survival, then socialism will take root and eventually destroy this country like it has destroyed every other country which took the socialistic path (Venezuela anyone?). We’ve already taken the path…will we turn around?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  21. “When the people find they can vote themselves money,
    that will herald the end of the republic.”

    Benjamin Franklin
    (1706-1790) US Founding Father

    Comment by RS — October 28, 2008 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  22. The more of us who decide to vote ourselves money, the closer we get to the time when toilet paper is in short supply (think USSR) and money literally will an inexpensive alternative. Europe has pretty much completed their transformation and the European countries are well on their way to oblivion. The current generation will probably die off fat and happy, but they will be leaving their children with little hope for recovery.

    America may yet emerge from this period of stupidity. Maybe Obama will be a needed splash of cold water to the face. We can only hope we turn back to the founders for their guidance and wisdom before we completely self destruct. I could probably join my liberal friends and live my life fat and happy on the government dole, but my child expects more out of me so I won’t do it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  23. I feel your pain, but I could never live “fat and happy on the government dole”, wasn’t raised that way, don’t think that way, not wired that way, and I have too much respect for myself and my family.

    “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” I Timothy 5:8, TLB.

    Comment by RS — October 28, 2008 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  24. Benjamin Franklin is one thing, but now you’re quoting God? The socialist have their own Messiah these days.

    “…when you spread the wealth around, it is good for everybody.” Obama 10-11-08

    “I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways we still suffer from that.” Obama 2001

    The US Constitution “Represents the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this very day” Obama 9/2001

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

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