Chariho School Parents’ Forum

October 28, 2008

Another letter in the Sun

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 10:30 am

Chariho campus plan will only hurt children’s future

Every statistic measured on the Chariho school system over the last decade points to an abrupt collapse in student achievement and high scores on standard tests coinciding with the move of fifth-graders to the middle school. All efforts to correct this have failed. The collapse perpetuates itself in the mediocre scores, compared to national averages, throughout Chariho’s remaining grades and in the lack of first-rate college acceptances.
Long gone are the days when many Chariho students in each graduating class were routinely accepted into national service academies and promi­nent Ivy League and technical col­leges. Why is this? It’s obvious! It’s been written of, spoken of and screamed at the administrators and school committee for years. Fifth
grade is too early to move young, emo­tionally tender students to a stark, unfriendly, foreboding and frenetic campus. Chariho, by design, has been handicapping your students with this policy for years and wants license to brand the practice in “Campus 2010.”
Our neighborhood elementary schools are warm, calm, friendly, nur­turing environments that foster learn­ing achievement which has been acknowledged by state and national governments and organizations, whether the students were in the old K-6 system or the present K-4. Yet the school committee and the administra­tors turn a blind eye to these facts and barge ahead with a campus plan bond issue that will not only break our bank in very hard economic times, but most surely continue to ruin our children’s
future achievements.
Chariho enrollment is now back to 1997 levels and still going down, as more and more families lose their homes. Over the last year there has been a dramatic exodus from South County overall. It’s time to move the fifth-and sixth-graders back to their neighborhood elementary schools, move the ninth grade into the middle school, and slowly renovate the high school’s empty classrooms during the school year with the existing surplus.
Please vote “No” on all segments of the Chariho 2010 bond issue and send the planners back to the drawing board for a school system that puts the youngest and most vulnerable stu­dents’ needs first.
Mimi Johnson Hope Valley



  1. As I read the letters against the bond, it truly is amazing to hear again of the many mistakes Chariho’s administration and School Committee have made in recent years. They can’t get a budget within $2,000,000 of actual costs. They sent math scores plummetting by choosing a curriculum with a terrible history of failure. They compounded the error of putting 6th graders into the Middle School by then doing the same thing to 5th graders. They turn over the Ashaway 1904 building, which can house hundreds of students, after having let it fall into disrepair. They ignore the maintenance needs of all the schools, but especially the Elementary Schools. They then ask for a bond for everything but the Elementary Schools. They add more employees as student enrollment is declining. They negotiate fooish contracts which do not reflect taxpayer limitations in trying economic times. They sneak in RYSE claiming it will save money. They then spend the next several years hiding details. Through RYSE they eliminate all therapy options for parents. Every child is put into a program designed and tested for violent juvenile offenders (read: criminals). I could go on, but the point is made. Chariho is mismanaged and no longer delivers a solid eduation to all our children. I understand why those making a living off Chariho would want to see the gravy train ride continue. I can’t fathom why anyone else would support more of the same for the next 20 years?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  2. Must not be true CR, the flyer from Chariho doesn’t say anything about 20 years of servitude. You are making up lies again and don’t know what you are talking about.

    Thought I would beat CP to this post.LOL.

    Comment by RS — October 28, 2008 @ 11:57 am | Reply

  3. Good imitation…like a true professional you didn’t even try to refute one fact…went right for the emotional jugular…you are a human Memorex.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  4. Ah yes, shoot down RS on another section so switches over to here to throw jabs… Funny how RS does exactly what he claims others do and jumps all over them or doing.

    As for the your post, CR, I agree with most of what you’ve said but here’s where I have the problem and not sure how to resolve it in my mind. The administration says that if the bonds are approved they will devote the freed up funds for the elementary schools. The problem is, we can’t really trust the administration or the school committee to follow what they’ve said.

    Comment by CharihoParent — October 28, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  5. Based on even a cursory review of the management of Chariho, how could anyone trust them to make good decisions and follow through?

    With the huge tax disparity, Charlestown can afford to send more money to Chariho in hopes that one of these days they’ll get it right, but many in Hopkinton don’t have the same luxury. If Chariho got its act together they’d probably free up enough money to accomplish most of the infrastructure objectives without a bond.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 28, 2008 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  6. CP, I try to understand and contemplate your opinion regarding the bond, but what I keep coming back to is the ability to fund the elementary expansions through annual budgets. I think you could agree that the elementary issue is greater than an annual budget line item. So, their argument regarding addressing the elementary issue, (ie… fifth and sixth grades), is rather moot, with the exception of repairs and maintenance.

    To further elaborate, at some point, a bond will have to address the issue of the fifth and sixth grades. Nickle and diming the fifth and sixth grades will not bring them back. Even applying a million dollars a year from their over-inflated budgets will not address these children.

    Quite honestly, I do not trust it to be done correctly, and I would think the towns could do a better job of taking care of these properties. I’ve seen the 04 building. I’ve seen the Kaestle Boos reports. The fact that we have a bond addressing repairs and maintenance is evidence of this need.

    Removing the fifth and sixth grades from the middle school will open up ample space for RYSE and will prevent any need for expansion. So, this eliminates 2 of the bond questions.

    Also, I stand by my position that the repairs and maintenance should be a budgetary item. New construction or emergency funding should be the only reasons for asking for bonds. And even emergency funding could be done through a loan. This addresses the high school portion.

    So, I will be voting NO on all 3 parts of the revote.

    Furthermore, regarding our budgetary practices, I do not agree with the present practices on budgeting, but we continue to see 2+ million dollar surpluses, which you would have to admit is unheard of in this country, it seems, lately.

    I’ve seen the audits. They are over-stating expenditures and understating revenues.

    The surplus money should never be used for operational expenses, like the health expenditure which was done recently.

    A reasonable fund balance, which should be voted on, should be kept, a line item should be budgeted for repairs and maintenance, and anything over should be applied to a capital improvements fund, or returned to the towns. All of this should be brought before the voters.

    Please, consider my reasoning.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 28, 2008 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

  7. We are still a district. I believe there are benefits to being a district. Building another elementary school would be the best choice, but as long as funding is at a stalemate, we may have to consider the fifth and sixth grades and the elementary school repairs and maintenance issues through our own town management. This is sad, but may be true.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 28, 2008 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

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