Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 5, 2008

The morning after

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 12:23 pm

Congrats to Sylvia Thompson, Tom Buck, Beverly Kenney and Barbara Capalbo and thank you to all who helped me win a seat on the Council.

The bond was an obvious disappointment but not completely dead.  The HS and MS seem to have passed by about 80 votes and there are 140ish mail in ballots and 40ish provisional.  Doesn’t look good but there is “hope.”

From a purely political strategy perspective, I think it is amazing that the bond vote is as close as it is.  I left work early and got to the polls about 4:30 or 5.  Every poll location had multiple people handing out pro-bond flyers and I didn’t see a single anti-bond piece anywhere.



  1. Hi!
    Congratulations to the winners. I will call each one personally. Called Barbara earlier but she stepped out. Talked to her husband.
    I will remain interested in Hopkinton and politics. Whatever the merits of the bonds, I am concerned more about not finally resolving fiscal issues among member towns. It will be interesting if Charlestown will follow and try to leave. I assume not.
    Three Chariho Town Council incumbents lost; Mageau in Charlestown and Gosper and Davis in Richmond. Any word on School Committee write-ins in Richmond and Charlestown?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — November 5, 2008 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  2. The uncounted votes would have to break around 80% against the bond. I can’t imagine this is possible. A good portion are likely college kids paying no taxes and just out of High School. The better bet is vouchers and/or legal resolution.

    Vouchers are vigorously opposed by institutional interests. Opponents usually fall back on the argument that allowing parents to use vouchers weakens educational outcomes for the children who remain in government schools.

    The argument is bogus. Most, if not all, objective studies show government school outcomes remain stagnant or improve. I’ve yet to see any legitimate evidence that government school outcomes worsen when vouchers are employed. Is it better to leave all children in failing schools because it makes us feel good? Besides, if a student is doing well in government schools, their parents would probably choose to leave them there. The children most likely to be removed are those who need a different approach. I understand why Chariho would be selfishly opposed to vouchers, but why would anyone who is truly thinking about children oppose voucher? With a modicum of common sense, they should anyone oppose vouchers?

    Legal action would be more costly. I want Hopkinton to take a serious look at the possibility, but I would refrain from going too far down the path unless we have a good chance to successfully change the taxing scheme in court.

    Congratulations again Mr. Felkner. I look forward to you and your council colleagues forgng ahead looking for solutions to the Chariho problem. By the way, any chance you’ll create a website like this for town issues?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 5, 2008 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  3. CR.If we were to subsidize school choice with vouchers, would we also have to shell out over a million dollars a year to parents who already have their children in private schools?

    Comment by george abbott — November 5, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  4. George, Almost every choice program I have seen requires that students are new (entering K or new to the district) or have been in the public school for a year. They exclude grandfathered students.

    There are exceptions, but rare and usually tagged to enrollment declines so as to ensure that no additional costs are incurred.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 5, 2008 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  5. I suspect that those already making the decision and spending their own money to protect their children from an inferior Chariho education will not begrudge parents who are given the same opportunity through vouchers.

    If Hopkinton goes with vouchers, once competition kicks in, Chariho is likely to improve their dismal performance. After a few years, we might actually see families sending their children back to Chariho as it rises to the challenge.

    I am curious where Mr. Abbott gets the “over a million dollars a year” figure? Does Hopkinton already have more than a 100 children in private schools? If so, I am amazed.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 5, 2008 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  6. In response to Scott: I ran as a write-in for school committee in Richmond, and I am still waiting to hear back about the results–town hall was counting them this morning.

    Comment by mcolesquared — November 5, 2008 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  7. You ran as a write-in candidate? I never saw or heard from anyone running a write-in candidate for the school committee in Richmond. Why wasn’t it publized more?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 5, 2008 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  8. You ran as a write-in candidate? I never saw or heard from anyone running a write-in candidate for the school committee in Richmond. Why wasn’t it publized more?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 5, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  9. CR.I dont know the exact #.Another Question:Would the town issue vouchers to illegal alien parents?

    It’s my understanding that Obama may assign abandoned homes to illegal aliens.Hopkinton has many abandoned houses.

    Comment by george abbott — November 5, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  10. It was late September before I got started, and I only had about 500 flyers. I had help and support from the Richmond Republican Committee, the Richmond Democratic Committee, PTO parents, and friends. Flyers were handed out by members of both committees and family at CYSA, Chariho soccer games, and in a few neighborhoods around my friends’ houses….I was too late to get any information in the papers.

    Comment by mcolesquared — November 5, 2008 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  11. Strange, GAbbott is worried about giving the taxpayers money back to them……I guess he thinks it must be his.

    Comment by RS — November 5, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  12. RS.A certain # parents are already willing to provide a private education for their children .Does it make good economic sense to offer parents government money when they are willing to use their own resources?

    Comment by george abbott — November 5, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  13. Ah, and where did this government money come from, the infamous money tree??

    And I would beg to differ the parents are already “willing”. They are forced to seek “private education for their children” in order for them to be able to compete in the world markets because Chariho only provides a minimum level of education as portrayed by the poor proficiency level. Of course this is the parents who care about their childs education, and can afford it. If you can’t afford it but care, a voucher could be the answer. I think this choice should be made by the parents involved, not the politicias they elected.

    Does it make good economic sense to fund the Chariho system the way it currently is?? How long has it been funded this way, and how long has the system been lacking proficiency??

    Comment by RS — November 5, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  14. There are about 60 students in Hopkinton at private schools and about 90 from Richmond.

    But, honestly, George is right that it would be politially near-impossible to offer vouchers to students already in private schools just because of the costs. Some means test them, thus eliminating most of the pre-enrolled private school students (assuming they are from wealthier families). Others us the time requirements I listed above.

    I havent heard the illegals into empty homes scheme – but considering we have an Executive Order requiring that the police take action when they find an illegal, we could just use the empty homes as collection points for ICE.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 6, 2008 @ 12:22 am | Reply

  15. Jim Cramer alluded to the illegals into empty homes scheme on his CNBC show last night.

    Comment by george abbott — November 6, 2008 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  16. Bill:Would Hopkinton forgo state educational aid on the vouched students?

    Comment by george abbott — November 6, 2008 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  17. Personally, I think we should. Not sure if we have to, but it might make things easier. We would still use if for students wanting to stay at Chariho, but the voucher-users could only be funded by town money.

    There are also tax credits that operate similarly.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 6, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  18. FYI:The rental agreement for the RYSE PORTABLE CLASSROOMS expires in May,2009.

    Comment by george abbott — November 6, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  19. Am I wrong to assume the 5/6th graders moving back to town is a dead subject with the passage of the bonds??

    Comment by RS — November 6, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  20. Bill.Were you on WPRO about 1 hour ago?

    Comment by george abbott — November 6, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  21. Hello RS,
    No, I certainly don’t think the issue is moot. And the bonds haven’t passed yet.

    If we tried vouchers I doubt we would try at a high price tag – perhaps $2500 or $3000 per child – not 6-10. I would also believe that this program if instituted would be moving forward not helping students already in private schools.

    We need to know the system would work effectively for our town citizens footing the bill. At over $14000 per student at present and a school budget based on student percentage – this voucher system could help our reduce school taxes. Bill will bring up the subject in council I am sure that the public on all sides will debate and discuss the pros and cons. I also believe it still needs to be approved by the state government and RIDE not just us. Bill can speak to this. We have a lot to learn and although I am very specifically for public education, I think this is the right time to assess vouchers and charter schools.

    I also wish to thank everyone who voted and everyone who voted for me. I am thankful and honored. A ballot is the bedrock of our democracy even if teenagers vote and don’t pay taxes and it is important to be part of the community of America – this is the way we do things. Now everyone who voted can complain vociferously and proudly on any topic they wish. Thanks again. I look forward to the next two years.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — November 6, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  22. Yes, George. Talking with Mayor Cianci about vouchers.

    As for Barbara’s question – YES we will need help from the State House.

    In Rhode Island there is a constitutional article on Home Rule for Cities and Towns (article XIII) which would allow a town to independantly make this change, but unfortunately it is trumped by more specific language in our costitution’s Education Article (article XII). Section 1 of the Education Article states that “it shall be the duty of the general assembly to … adopt all means it may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education ….”. This provision was interpreted by the Rhode Island Supreme Court as giving the legislature the exclusive power to design and control education, both public and private, in Members of Jamestown School Committee v. Schmidt, 405 A.2d 16 (1979), and Chang v. University of Rhode Island, 375 A.2d 925 (1977). An earlier decision, Royal v. Barry, 160 A.2d 572 (1960), had held that a school committee’s exercise of its powers could not be regulated by local legislation whether by ordinance or charter, but only by state law. Thus, while Schmidt stands for the proposition that the Education article does permit the state to confer benefits on private school students, such as the free busing at issue in that case, local governmental entities do not appear to have authority to implement such programs without state authorization.

    That being said, there may be a gray area if we don’t use state fund but soley rely on local taxes. Regardless, it would be best to have the approval and support of our Providence representatives. So, maybe people should be making their views known to Senator elect Frank Maher and Representative Brian Kennedy.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 6, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  23. Here are two helpful links for legal issues. In short, just like most law, there is vague language that suggest we can, and others that suggest we can’t. Anything is do-able, and this should be doubly so as it is an action of the will of the people – not mandated to them.

    RI specific constitutional provisions

    How to write constitutional legislation for choice

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 6, 2008 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  24. Bill.I just caught the end the call,but I did hear the mayor complement you about the extent of your knowledge on vouchers.You sound different on the radio.

    Comment by george abbott — November 6, 2008 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  25. I do believe all ballots have now been counted except for the provisional ballots, which there doesn’t seem to be enough of to make a difference. Looks like the bond questions stayed as they were with the 1st and 3rd question passing and the 2nd question being rejected.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 6, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  26. While I welcome Mrs. Capalbo’ tepid support for vouchers, I wish she would show us evidence which would lead her to be “very specifically for public schools”? Shouldn’t we all be very specifically for any solution which elevates outcomes for the most children? I’m no expert, but I haven’t seen any objective information which demonstrates public schools get worse when vouchers are in play. Does the word “public” have a hypnotic effect resulting in the total disregard for outcomes? As Mr. Felkner has stated, vouchers make every school a public school.

    I’m also concerned with the very low amount mentioned by Mrs. Capalbo. While I do agree we shouldn’t reimburse parents who have already taken steps to protect their children’s education, I would hope we would expand the opportunity to the greatest extent possible. While I expect vouchers would save the community money, most importantly is vouchers would produce first rate educational outcomes for Hopkinton children. Saving money is a nice bonus, but the focus of vouchers should be on the substantial academic benefits.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 6, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  27. Thanks, George. Mae is sick and I’ve been running 100 mph this week and a little run down myself. Someone else said the same thing. Maybe a little R&R is in order for the weekend.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 6, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  28. mcoles, do you have a copy of your flier that you could send to me electronically? I’m very curious as to your stance on various issues that are plagueing the Chariho School District. If you have something that you can send me please use this name at Thank you in advance.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 7, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  29. I don’t like portraying the voucher programs as cash give backs to parents of school aged children, there are lots of town residents that do not have school aged children but still pay taxes.

    However, I do believe that an element of competition must be infused into our educational system, clearly spending so much money with such little results is a rather disappointment. Clearly there’s a lot of factors out there that influence students ability to succeed, not just the school’s fault. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an area where the teachers, administration, and parents were all concerned about losing piles of money so that some urgency to improve the product would be generated.

    I suppose that I am the classic parent who has just started to really are, my five yo will likely be headed into the Chariho system next year.

    This looks like a great web site, hopefully it will be my catalyst to getting involved.


    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 7, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  30. Ms. Cole, thanks for running and best of luck on the school committee.

    Take care, David

    Comment by david — November 7, 2008 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  31. You’re right Mr. Daniell it is not a cash give back. Parents will never see the money. The town would pay the school the parents choose. No different than what we do now except there will be choices.

    I urge you to research school choice. Mr. Felkner has posted numerous links as a place to start. I think one source is the Friedman Foundation. If you run across negative information, I encourage you to look at the funding source. The teachers’ unions pay for a lot of the research and they demand a certain result.

    If you have a child soon to start in the Chariho system, please keep a close eye on the child’s math skills. We’re told they are changing to a new math curriculum, but no one seems certain if the new curriculum is good enough or even better. Chariho has ruined the mathematical potential of many children over the last few years as they clung to a politically correct math program based on constructivist theories. These math theories have proven disastrous across the country. The U.S. is now even further behind other countries in large part because of constructivist math.

    Glad to see you get involved. Hope you’re not one of those who thinks money is the answer…it’s not. Vouchers will be a good first step to putting our children on the right path. We need schools to compete if we want our children to be able to compete globally in the 21st century.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 7, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  32. CR, call me Gene …

    It’s interesting how the same old problems never change, I grew up in a small NH town where my grandfather was mayor, school board, state rep, etc. so I’ve been pretty close to politics for a long time. These issues have a deja vu element to them.

    Money isn’t going to solve the school problem, the US spends a lot more than other industrialized nations, but we don’t seem to get the results. Although, I am very sympathetic to teachers, they have a tough job … I’m afraid school issues are so heavily politicized that I just can’t support the effective monopoly of the public school systems as they stand. Some form of vouchers has to happen. So I do support school choice, however that doesn’t mean much as the design of the choice system is the tough part.

    I’m a lucky parent, I can afford to send him somewhere else, but that’s the easy way out. I heard about this “new math” thing, sounds crazy to me, “old math” seemed to work pretty well. We will see how it goes, I expect some hearty disagreements down the road as I was lucky enough to choose a major in college that offered a lot more math than I care to remember.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 8, 2008 @ 12:25 am | Reply

  33. As was noted in a past former Hopkinton Councilors qoute a short time ago (,before this most recent council, financial cleansing will take place based on the economic conditions at that time.
    They have now gotten much worse since that time and the next round of financial cleansing will take place.

    I have to commend the current council of mr. cordone, capapalbo, thompson and buck for working along with the manager and taking over $200 plus from the towns budget to meet the then current demands of the chariho school district. Pretty soon the Town Hall will be open from 8am to 10 am m-f.

    It’s only gotten worse based on those projections. By all means chime in if you disagree.

    Ones in Hopkinton can expect with a flat line or reduction in ‘STATE AID’ going forward (2009-2010) pretty much known before the current bonds passed yet the supporters of those bonds held back from announcing that in their blather in letters to the editor, (they knew or withheld the information to get the bond passed) but will be laid at the feet of the next hopkinton councilors and its tax payers. As well of the voters in Charlestown and Richmond.

    Get your members of the Hopkinton Council (and I know some will) and let the voters now they voted or help voted their town into insolvency and not the incoming Hopkinton Council.

    Comment by James Hirst — November 8, 2008 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  34. The past council did a great job controlling costs. I still don’t think we need a town manager, and we obviously don’t need the army of police officers, but the council was dealt those cards and didn’t contrbute to the growth of unnecessary employees.

    I won’t hold the current council responsible for the voters and Chariho. I do expect them to offer alternatives so we can try our best to neutralize the Chariho beast. Whether vouchers and/or legal remedies, they must take steps to save the less wealthy families among us.

    Mr. James Hirst has surmisd we will see reductions in state aid. I won’t be surprised if the reimbursement rate is lowered. A slim majority in Hopkinton failed to watch out for their neighbors. I suspected it would happen, but the charge was led by Chariho employees and non/low-tax paying voters. The council must be aware that the bonds failed in the eyes of those paying the freight. We did not ask for this, and the council should do whatever is within its power to blunt the impact.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 8, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  35. Hopkinton if extremely fortunate to have Mr. Felkner working on our behalf. He may be the most knowledgeable person in regard to vouchers in the entire state. With his election to the council we will have a member who knows his stuff. The real tough part will be getting everybody onboard. The emotional rhetoric about public schools is powerful. Most of us attended public schools and it can be difficult to admit they have strayed far from their mission.

    Gene I wouldn’t be so determined to give Chariho a shot if I were you. Elementary Schools are very formative and your child will not get a redo. If you’ve made good choices and have the financial means to protect your child from an inferior education, then you shouldn’t hesitate. We should all be as lucky (although I’m sure your success is based on hard work and not luck.)

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 8, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  36. yep, the past council did a great job…..glad to see buck, capalbo and thompson get back in. i liked cordone and thought he worked well with the council…..but if he wasnt gonna run, im glad felkner is in his place.

    Comment by yep yep yep — November 8, 2008 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  37. CR … So your position is that the elementary schools are really that bad?? Feel free to drop me a private note

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 8, 2008 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  38. Seems like our state government isn’t all that supportive of charter schools. I hope the governor can find the funding but we also know that our legislature is not very supportive of charter schools so it wouldn’t surprise me if they cut the funding, which is really shameful on their part.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 8, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  39. Gene,
    I urge to seek the opinions of the parents whose children are attending the school.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 8, 2008 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  40. Actually, Hope Valley Elementary does comparatively well. From what I’ve been told, many of the teachers there recognized the harmful impact of the constructivist curriculum and taught around it. They did this with the principal’s tacit support. Because of this, Hope Valley is the superior performer of the Chariho schools. On the other hand, Ashaway’s leadership embraced constructivist math, so the children there haven’t done as well.

    That said, testing shows all the schools, incuding Hope Valley, to be below what I find acceptable for my child. Keep in mind that “proficiency” is a very low standard, so when schools deliver only 30% proficiency, even the 30% may be far below what we should expect. Are there students who do superior work in inferior schools? I’m sure there must be, but if I had the financial resources, I wouldn’t play the odds.

    If I understand it correctly, there is no testing which provides broad based comparison of private and public schools. The inferiority of a public school education may not really be known until all the children merge in college or in instances where private school children join public school children in High School. Shockingly, children taught at home by parents without teaching certificates also do better academically. On the global level U.S. public schools avoid testing which allows for comparison, but once again, we discover the consequences when our children compete with foreigners in college and in the global marketplace.

    I don’t think it can hurt to talk to parents with children in a school, but you’re kidding yourself if you think there are many parents who will admit their child is not being taught properly. I can’t imagine a parent admitting they keep their child in a school yet the school does a terrible job. Human nature doesn’t usually work that way. Who wants to admit they are standing idly by as their children’s futures are being sacrificed?

    No insult intended Gene, but I try my best to guard my identity as I’ve made numerous comments which have angered the powers-that-be at Chariho and in the community. I certainly don’t want any consequences for speaking my mind, but most of all I want to protect my child from retaliation due to my big mouth.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 8, 2008 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  41. Is there an action plan for Hopkinton to initiate a voucher program?Are the ad hock groups to study the return of 5th and 6th to Hopkintion still up and running?Is there an action plan to use,preserve or demolish the 1904 building?

    Comment by george abbott — November 9, 2008 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  42. I can’t speak for the ad hoc committee George but I said before the bond vote I would not use my time looking into returning the fifth and sixth grade to elementary if the middle school bond passed. The voters have spoken and by approving the middle school they told me they like things as they exist.

    Lois Buck, Elaine Morgan, and Kat Felkner did a great job looking into the issue along with Barbara Capalbo’s guidance. The research was clear. Fifth and sixth graders belong in elementary schools. I was very disappointed in the bond vote results and I agree with those who say it came down to taxpayers versus Chariho supporters. Too bad we don’t get another chance like they did.

    I would love to see vouchers. We put my daughter into St. Pius this year. The cost is a huge burden for our family but I don’t care if the town pays or not. My wife and I decided we can’t trust our daughter’s future in Chariho’s hands. My oldest son was taught the old math and started at Rutgers this year. Does great at math. My younger son was part of the constructivist experiment and is still struggling with math because of the damned “new” math.

    I can confirm Hope Valley school tries to teach around constructivist math. I was told this by insiders at the school. Not good enough for us because they still waste time with the constructivist text books. They’re trying to teach both constructivist and the right way at the same time. Are the new text books better? I don’t know but I do know we would never put our daughter at risk on a chance Chariho got it right this time.

    Bill Felkner is an expert on vouchers. If the council forms an ad hoc committee to look into putting in a voucher plan I’d be happy to help out (knowing it wouldn’t help my family). I wouldn’t put in any of my time unless the council is committed to actually going forward with vouchers. Opposition to vouchers is huge and we see what Chariho can do (bond vote) when they martial all their power. They even get parents to vote against their kids own interest.

    All and all I am disgusted right about now. My kids will not be able to live in Hopkinton and I’m not even sure we can afford it much longer.

    Comment by Jim L. — November 9, 2008 @ 1:24 am | Reply

  43. It may be premature to kill the efforts to get the 5th and 6th graders back into an appropriate learning environment. Yes, the bond passed, but most likey this was a result of school employees and the younger, taxless voters driven to the polls by Obama. One group has a self interest and the other group is too ignorant of the consequences to know any better. We still have a large majority who have asked to be presented with options for fixing the grade configuration problem.

    Vouchers do put an end to the whole thing though. If parents are given the choice, those who prefer their pre-teens being grouped with the teens will have the option. Those who do their homework, ala Mrs. Buck, will choose to send their children to schools which are configured to maximize positive learning outcomes.

    As for selling and getting out. Here’s the response I received from a local realtor. “Hopkinton is a very sluggish market right now (property taxes on top of declining market) so my advise if selling would be to list on the low end to get a quick sale.”

    As it stands, the bond vote seals our fate and makes it increasingly difficult to get out. Legal remedies and/or vouchers would go a long way to improving the “sluggish market” before more families get hurt. The Town Council should be focused on the families teetering on the brink of foreclosures. The self interested and ignorant have spoken. It’s time for the leaders of the community to step up to the plate.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  44. It seems like the top complaints are: (1) Math curriculm, (2) 5&6 at the middle school, and (3) Vouchers.

    I’m curious about how the new math curriculm gets set when even teachers don’t support at one school, assume many more don’t to … is the issue with the administration?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 9, 2008 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  45. i heard capalbo hijacked the ad hoc meetings and they havent met since. she did that with the edc too……shes got the knack for beinga control freak that cant handle losing arguments. if the ad hoc wants to accomplish anything, leave capalbo out.

    Comment by things that make you go hmmmm — November 9, 2008 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  46. Gene, your list of objections reflects opinions expressed on this blog, but I do not think it reflects the school district well. Past surveys notwithstanding, there is no groundswell I’ve heard in Richmond or Charlestown for grades 5 and 6 at the elementary schools (new buildings are needed, possibly new or expanded sites). Likewise with vouchers. As noted, the math curriculum in changing, and most of the folks who post here believe bad faith on the part of the school district.

    Comment by david — November 9, 2008 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  47. By every measure taken, all three towns have only expressed a desire to have 5th and 6th graders in Elementary Schools. This includes parental survey district wide, and a non-binding referendum vote in Hopkinton. Various committees from Richmond and Charlestown have also concluded Chariho grade configuration is detrimental. I would agree there is no “groundswell”, but complacency is not the same as agreement. Clearly the Chariho powers want to keep the younger children at the Middle School. No argument there.

    The constructive math theory is based on polically correct nonsense. With girls and minorities historically doing less well in math, a group in Cambridge, MA (TERC) invented a math curriculum (constructivism) which greatly diminishes math algorithms in favor of math abstractions. Thus, estimating and calculators replace accuracy and fundamental math skills.

    After being implemented in the 1990’s and seeing math test scores plummet, California came to its senses and got rid of constructivist math. Test score began rising. Of course the TERC company and others kept up their drive to sell their theories and textbooks. Chariho, and many Rhode Island schools, fell for the sales’ pitch and brought constructivist math to our children sometime in the 2000’s.

    There are math curriculum known to produce the best math students. We know they work because they have proven themselves over the years. After destroying the math potential of hundreds of Chariho students over the last few years, last year we were promised a change. Unfortunately Chariho didn’t go with a historically proven curriculum, so we must wait to see if the change is positive and enough of a change.

    As previously noted, vouchers are a hard sell. Powerful interests with immense political power are lined up in opposition. The bond vote is a great example of these groups’ ability to manipulate public opinion. How can anyone in this country, a country made great by the concept of individual liberty and free market capitalism, oppose school choice is beyond me, but it happens so it must be true.

    Vouchers do not mean public schools disappear. Everyone happy with the performance of Chariho is free to send their children there. Vouchers simply frees those of us unhappy with the inferior education delivered by Chariho. Why do people want to force children to attend bad schools? Why? This is especially true for low income families who have no possible alternatives. I write it off to elitism. But maybe there are other psychological reasons.

    David is right. Most participating here do not reflect the mood of the community. Most people choose to ignore the many problems at Chariho. We talk about the problems and look for solutions. Again, I don’t know why so many don’t care, but when a school delivers proficiencies levels which “reflect” a school doing little to prepare children for the future, the lack of a “groundswell” of outraged disapproval can only mean people are not paying attention.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  48. Ref #41.. George, if an ad hoc committee was formed by the current council it should go out of existance when the current council’s term expires (I’ve been told that it has to do with no ordinance for the committee) regardless that the majority of the council was re-elected. That being said, I have also been told that the new council could choose to reappoint the ad hoc committee as soon as they are sworn in.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 9, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  49. hey hmmmmmm…..i agree with your post…..ive seen capalbo hog meetings talking about NOTHING. i think she likes to just yap yap yap. No doubt shes gonna be trying to tell the next president what to do….unless she wants it for herself. then NOBODY can tell her what to do

    Comment by couldnt agree more — November 9, 2008 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  50. Lack of a groundswell may well be due to many of us not understanding the situation, well minded folks who haven’t paid enough attention to know either way … if I had seen this blog before the election, then I would have been asking more questions, at this point I don’t know who to believe.

    Can’t say I’m thrilled with the idea of 5&6 at the middle school, but again, I don’t know the in & outs of the issue yet.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 9, 2008 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  51. What’s to believe? I agree with David that the opinions here don’t necessarily represent the majority view. Since I don’t believe a majority is inherently correct, doesn’t both me a whit to be in the minority except when the majority runs over the minority in ignorance. The re-voted bond is case in point.

    Chariho is a failure in my opinion. The rest is beyond debate because they are facts. The Chariho apologists can’t argue with the truth. They use emotional rhetoric and ignore the facts. Here’s some of the facts. Test scores are low. Cost per student is among the worst in the country. Employee to student ratios are far out of whack with most school systems. Maintenance of infrastructure has been neglected in budgeting. The School Committee negotiates contracts with double digit increases. Benefit packages far exceed what most people receive in the private sector. Contracts are hidden from the public until it is too late to influence them.

    You get the idea. You won’t see anyone present information refuting the above facts because they can’t. The question is what to do in light of the facts? Many of us here seem to agree that Chariho needs to change and the best way to do it is to starve the beast. Through the years the minority has complained but things get worse and worse.

    Over in Richmond we have the Town Council issuing votes of confidence for a superintendent who has fought to protect the status quo. How is this possible? Don’t ask me, but Richmond political leaders know the same facts we know, and they issue votes of confidence. Other apologists, such as School Committee member Mr. Petit, claim it is “for the children”. How can any of the facts above be “for the children”. Let me know if you figure it out?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  52. I also don’t want to misrepresent myself as some kind of great public school champion; my three daughters attended the private school through grade eight, and catholic high school. Our family had one year in public school, kindergarten in 1994-1995.

    Reading the Chariho teacher’s labor contract that year clarified the issues in public education for me, and we had significant issues with the principal that helped us decide to go to private school.

    I think most of CR issues above are typical of Rhode Island school districts (personnel costs squeeze out other needed expenditures, benefits out of whack, large number of employees). Sunday’s newspaper has a great article on the East Providence school committee that is trying to change the contract in a serious way, which is politically brave. I wish it was being done here.

    As I’ve gotten involved the in town finance board in recent years, I realize that the issues around school funding have to change, because otherwise small residential towns like mine (Richmond) are gonna go broke.

    Comment by david — November 9, 2008 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  53. Cost per student is among the worst in the country…. Isn’t this because the teacher unions have the state of RI by the proverbial gonads? Also, looking at other school districts (per Mr. Felkner’s website) within the state Chariho is about average. Also, cost of living in the northeast US exceeds many other areas of the country which will drive up the cost per student in any nationwide comparison.

    Employee to student ratios are far out of whack with most school systems…. Another area where if you look at the OSPI web site, Chariho student/teacher ratios run about average as compared to the rest of the state. Another instance where I believe the teacher unions drive this figure up higher throughout the state of Rhode Island when compared to national averages. There is no way the teacher unions should be the one dictating class sizes, etc.

    All in all, much of the problems that plague Chariho plague most of the state of Rhode Island because the teacher unions and other unions have way too much control. I agree with CR when it comes to negotiating teacher contracts out in the open where the public knows ahead of time what is going on and can have more input into the contracts. My only question though is will the public pay enough attention to the negotiations to be able to enough influence?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 9, 2008 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  54. David, I’m a Richmond-ite as well, are the Finance Board meetings open to the public? I’d like to understand the situation a lot better …

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 9, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  55. Chariho apologists frequently compare Chariho to other Rhode Island schools, but this doesn’t work for me. We have local control and most of the problems can be fixed locally. I don’t care if the other Rhode Island towns and cities allow the lunatics to run asylum, we should be better. If our children are to be successful, they will need to compete globally. I know it is a character trait of many Rhode Islanders to have an extremely narrow perspective, but we do no favors to children if we limit comparisons to Rhode Island schools.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  56. Gene,
    All meetings of town committes, commissions, boards and town councils are open to the public unless they move into executive session which I’ve only seen happen with town councils.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 9, 2008 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  57. CR, once again you’ve failed reading comprehension, it really is a shame that you can’t read and comprehend any better. I’m not apologizing for Chariho at all, I’ve placed the blame where I feel it lies, rather smack on the shoulders of the unions.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 9, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  58. Hi again Gene,

    Finance board meetings are indeed public. The finance board will meet once in December to elect officers, then will meet weekly beginning in January through March into early April, when we deliver a recommended budget to the town council.

    At you can find info on all town boards and commissions, along with agendas/minutes for public meetings.

    Comment by david — November 9, 2008 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  59. CP you just can’t help but put your foot in your mouth. I simply said Chariho apologists limit their comparisons to other state schools. I have no idea if you use the same technique, but since my statement about Chariho apologists upsets you, I guess you’ve identified yourself. You are a funny guy.

    Gene, click on the link below to read a comprehensive report on school choice from the Friedman Foundation. The paper incorporates very recent data. If you poke around the Friedman website you can find tons of information on the topic.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  60. CR, I know you love to classify people, especially myself. If I hadn’t said what I said you simply wouldn’t have said anything about Chariho apologist or about comparing Chariho to other Rhode Island schools. Cranky old fool.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 9, 2008 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  61. You classify yourself. I comment often about Chariho apologists. If you feel the shoe fits, take your foot out of your mouth and put it on.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 9, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  62. Contrary to the assertions of a self identified Chariho apologist, Education Week ranks Rhode Island third in per-pupil spending based on 2005 figures. The adjusted amount for Rhode Island per-pupil spending was $10,581. The rankings are “adjusted for regional cost differences”. You can find the rankings here:

    From the NEA, Rhode Island is 2nd in teacher:student ratio at 11.3 teachers for every student. The NEA ranks Rhode Island 9th in 2004-2005 per pupil spending at $10,641. The NEA ranking doesn’t make cost-of-living adjustments. You can find the NEA rankings here:

    Education Week ranks Rhode Island 41st in total student achievement. You can review the rankings here:

    To summarize, Rhode Island is a national leader in per-pupil spending. We also have a ridiculous teacher to student ratio. Despite all the money we throw at schools, we are among the worst in educational outcomes. Chariho’s per-pupil expenditures are above average even for Rhode Island. Our test scores are abysmal.

    No, we don’t need school choice, everything is hunky-dory. I’m now going to go back to sticking my head in the sand and chant, “for the children, for the children”.

    Chariho apologists can make all the excuses in the world, but the facts are the facts.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  63. Yes, CR, you do comment often about that. Every time someone doesn’t agree 100% with your views they are get such a classification. I’m so glad I don’t live in your pessimistic world. Are their problems with Chariho, yes there are, not much denying that. Are their remedies to the problems, surely there are but nothing as drastic as what you say. More taxpayer involvement is a sure step towards fixing what ails Chariho for one. I’m glad to see someone like Gene getting involved. I’m glad to someone like Mrs. Cole get involved, too and look forward to her serving on the school committee. She has some very good ideas and if the Charlestown candidate is the person that I think it is, that person will also fight for the taxpayers. There is a glimmer of hope despite Andy P. and Bill Day being on the school committee.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 10, 2008 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  64. Singing Kumbaya doesn’t work CP. Fifty years and counting. I live in the real world where every second of wasted time is another young mind lost. I guess its okay if it takes another 50 long as it isn’t your child getting shafted out of a decent education.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 7:49 am | Reply

  65. CR … I hear what you’re saying, when there’s a situation that you feel is being handled with gross incompetence and it effects children, is pretty hard to take sitting down. I’m glad you care, you’ve made me care a lot more, hopefully you can take solace in small victories as CP is right in the perspective that moving entrenched bureaucracies is painfully slow. Keep up the drum beat, someone has to, but atleast enjoy the small victories, a little bit anyway.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 10, 2008 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  66. CR, who said anything about another 50 years? I want change as soon as possible, another 2 yrs of ths will be too long!

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 10, 2008 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  67. I’ve had some personal involvement in the lives of children harmed by Chariho’s inability to do its job. I also know families struggling mightily under the weight of Hopkinton’s tax burden. Tough to find solace in small victories when the consequences of Chariho’s behavior are so immense and so tangible.

    I had prayed that the bond would be rejected and finally motivate change at Chariho. Perhaps I’m actually too optimistic because bonds have failed for years, yet little has changed. Maybe this is an opportunity? Maybe this Hopkinton Town Council has the courage do something to help children and community families?

    Besides the obvious benefits of improving educational outcomes for children, vouchers would quickly change the funding dynamic at Chariho. Richmond has shown amazing tolerance for Chariho’s nonsense. I’m tired of analyzing the psychologically behind the support, but would adding to Richmond’s tax burden finally make them take notice and demand change?

    Charlestown has threatened to leave for years, but when push comes to shove, they sacrifice the education of their children for a sweet tax scheme. Would Hopkinton vouchers cause their tax burden to increase enough for them to finally take action to protect their own children?

    I’ve yet to see any logical opposition to school choice. The opposition uses emotional rhetoric which appeals to our sense of fairness, but when you look at the facts, there is nothing fair about Chariho. Why not take the path which pomises the best results at the lowest cost while also helping the most children?

    By the way Gene, I posted a number of links to websites which clearly show Rhode Island is a national leader in per-pupil spending (even when adjusted for cost of living). I’ve also posted a link demonstrating Rhode Island is a national loser in failing to properly educate our children. Contrary to Chariho apologists’ excuses, Chariho is a dismal failure in just about every regard.

    Posts with several internet links requires approval by Mr. Felkner so my post hasn’t shown up yet.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  68. I understand, fighting for strong beliefs is often a frustrating a lonely endeavor. When my grandfather introduced the first resolution in an elected body to encourage the impeachment of Pres Nixon, he was seen as a crackpot; of course time proved him right. He made the point to me once that there’s a fine line between being an ignored crackpot and a constructive advocate. Of course, he laughed, he was never had the sense to do the latter.

    My only point is that you seem to understand the situation very well, CP doesn’t seem to disagree with you in concept, but you don’t want to alienate those like CP. This doesn’t mean that you should stop keeping the pressure on the powers that be, rome wasn’t built in a day, blah, blah, blah.

    I feel your passion for the issue, it’s nice to know that some people care.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 10, 2008 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  69. CP finds Mr. Felkner “antagonistic and volatile”. He claims to be frustrated with Chariho, but then spends his time attacking those seeking change. He seems especially sensitive to any criticisms of the administration. He blames the union but saves his passionate diatribes for us here.

    There is a disconnect between what he says he wants and where he focuses his attention. The most recent example is his refutiation of Chariho spending near the top on a national basis. This has been rehashed over and over again, but it is the nature of a blog for information to disappear quickly. Thus, when someone new comes along, we start the same old games again. I had to spend my time looking for data specifically for you. The rest of us discovered the facts a long time ago. CP create distractions to what end?

    CP is already alienated. He denies it, but many of us believe he has a personal interest in Chariho. Either that or he is the most scatterbrained person I’ve experienced. I don’t ask everyone to agree with me, but if you don’t, please try to keep your counterpoints logical and accurate. All of us are misled from time to time, but don’t become so emotionally tied to a position that you lose all ability to reason.

    I leave compromise to other people. I don’t see any way I could ever compromise my child’s future. I know this isn’t what you are suggesting, but I don’t see any alternative. No doubt I have moments of antagonism and volatility, but if this diminishes the arguments for change at Chariho, then the fault lies with those who would throw away the future of childen because I make them mad.

    If you get a chance to read back through some of the posts here, pay close attention to School Committee member Mr. Petit’ posts. He was elected to the committee with promises of reform, but he’s done nothing but capitulate to the Chariho status quo at every turn. My style may not change any minds, but it is all I have.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  70. I fear the best and most efficinet way to make the necessary changes might lie in the following link:

    …or if you prefer to do it yourself:

    After watching the latest election results both local and national, my family has intensified its discussion of a more “friendly” enviroment to raise our children, now if there were only someone who wanted to buy a house in RI I could sell mine.

    Comment by RS — November 10, 2008 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  71. Fair enough, I will look at the links, are there any prior blogs that you would specifically recommend reading?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 10, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  72. If you are looking for proof that Chariho is a national leader in cost, and a national loser in outcomes, Mr. Felkner approved my post with various links. Scroll up to Post #62. Keep in mind these figures come from groups supporting the educational establishment. They certainly do not want parents to be able to choose schools, but the facts are the facts.

    Some of the best information is contained in the general blog area. Other than going back and reading (2 years worth), I don’t know how you can access it quickly.

    Mr. Felkner has listed topic headings on the side. You can read about math, grade configuration, contracts, etc. there, but realize most of the discussions have occurred in the general blog area. Besides Mr. Felkner, Mrs. Buck is post some of the most useful and fact-laden information. She hasn’t been very active here lately, but if you see a post with her tagline, it is probably worth reading. You’ll like her posts as she speaks her mind but is much more sensitive than me 😉

    Mr. James Hirst has done an excellent job researching Chariho’s history. He’s even gone through the tedious process of reading through old newspaper clippings and sharing the history of Chariho’s financing problems from the very first days. Mrs. Gardiner has also made valuable contrbutions, and she has also been a prominent local voice raising concerns about the way Chariho operates.

    I’m sure I’m leaving others out…oh, on the Math Analysis link we even had a national figure contribute with information on the deleterious effects of constuctivist math. Constructivist math was briefly defended (one post I think) by a Jamestown, RI principal.

    Lots to read, but I personally wouldn’t spend too much time unless you are questioning the legitimacy of the facts. Chariho fails our children academically and fails our families economically. Something needs to give. I had hoped the rejection of the latest re-voted bond would provide the impetus. That’s by the boards now.

    Change at Chariho needs to be driven my other means. School choice is one way…Chariho is unique and vouchers would not only improve educational outcomes, but it would also force voters to reconsider funding and budgeting. I urge Hopkinton to undertake the challenge of moving vouchers forward, but I’d still be happy if Richmond or Charlestown did it. All it will take is one town and the rest will have no choice but to act.

    Legal action to impose a fair and equitable district taxation is another idea worth exploring. When Charlestown households have the same financial burden as it pertains to Chariho spending, they should respond by expecting increased accountability and improved outcomes. I could be wrong on this one though…Richmond households pay the most yet to the best of anyone’s recollection, Richmond voters have never rejected any spending proposal at Chariho. They must have a high pain tolerance over there…maybe too much gasoline leaked into their water supply or maybe it happened from drinking all the rusty water at Richmond Elementary School?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  73. PS – You should avoid my posts as I am long winded and mainly try to stir things up so people pay attention to the other more valuable posters. I’d tell you to ignore CP, but he is the sensitive sort, so I don’t want to offend him or he’ll call me cranky (I don’t mind cranky, but the “old” part really hurt). RS and Mrs. Capalbo have good insights too but tend to be more philosophical than fact-based. David has brings a private school parent’s take on things and he is also linked to the Richmond power structure. He can be an enigma at times.

    We’ve had various political figures contribute. Mr. Petit was a frequent poster for quite some time, but was scared away by my “antagonism and volatility”. He also seemed to be very afraid of facts and figures. He also lied quite a bit and then would spend hours telling us what we read wasn’t really what we read. There is conjecture that he wasn’t lying, but lacks the intelligence to understand what he says. Chariho’s Financial Director, Mr. Stanley, is Mr. Petit’s cousin…what a coincidence. School Committee member Andy McQuaide (little Andy) came here early on and pretended he was somebody else. He’s very immature as was evident watching School Committee meetings (before they were taken off cable). Hopkinton Town Council member Mrs. Thompson doesn’t directly contribute but she did incredible research on Chariho spending and budgeting and Mr. Felkner posted links here.

    Through it all no one has brought anything to our attention which would make us think Chariho is heading in the right direction. Aside from the unresolved math curriculum, we’d be hard pressed to identify one area where Chariho has shown a willingness to deviate from business as usual. CP is right about one thing…we do need more people to pay attention. School choice would be an excellent place to start making them take notice.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  74. Let’s clarify some things here, CR.

    1) then spends his time attacking those seeking change… Haven’t I not also said that Mr. Felkner has some good ideas, it’s his methods that I object to.

    2) refutiation of Chariho spending near the top on a national basis…. I didn’t deny that at all but rather I question the problem stems from, is it entirely at the hands of the Chariho School District or is there shared fault with the unions? Also, our wonderful state legislature also shares fault with the problems we have the unions.

    3) For the record, one more time, I have no interest in Chariho other than my daughter and wife both being Chariho graduates. I have no link to any union at Chariho, nor does anyone in my family. I have no link to any administrator at Chariho, nor does anyone in my family. I have no link to any school committee member, other than knowing some of them enough to talk about what I feel are problems at Chariho, same with the rest of my family. One more instance where CR throws out acqusations hoping something will stick.

    CR, my problem with you has been that I don’t see the world as “out to get me” or screw me the way that you do. There’s many ways to get things done, some work better than others. My wife often says, “You get more with honey than what you do with vinegar” but in your case, I think you use a stronger acid than vinegar. I also know that the time for honey with Chariho has long since run out. Action is definetly needed but unlike you, I’m not about to beat others over the head with a bat and instead look for ways to work on the problems in a more agreeable manner.

    CR, the funniest thing of all, I know what to say to jerk your chain and you fall for it every time. Now let’s see how you will go about not comprehending what I’ve written.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 10, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  75. Yes, you vociferously object to Mr. Felner’s methods, my methods, RS’s methods, Mr. Hirst’s methods, Mrs. Gardiner’s methods, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. You do this while claiming to agree with us on most Chariho issues. You also question almost every claim we make, even when we’ve provided solid evidence several times. You never seem to do anything else but attack us. Is your solution to be really, really nice to Chariho in hopes that this time they will do something different?

    On the other hand, you spend little time attacking the people who you supposedly disagree with. Why is this? Why are we wrong for attacking Chariho for its failures, yet you feel fine attacking us for our attacking Chariho? The same logic which says Mr. Felkner is wrong for bucking the School Committee, but the School Committee isn’t wrong for bucking Mr. Felkner. While we’re criticizing Chariho’s budgeting, employees numbers, test results, lack of transparency and all their other failures, you instead choose to criticize us.

    I don’t expect you to admit any connections to Chariho. This would defeat the purpose, but you are either one very strange dude or you are in their back pocket.

    My problem with you is you worry about our personalities while Chariho is destroying the learning opportunities for thousands of children. Maybe you should start worrying more about the personalities who would stand idly by while this was happening.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  76. CR, who’s the one who has used the term “morons from Richmond”? Who’s the one that has attacked Henry Oppenheimer? Just two to start with.

    Do I worry about our children in the schools? You bet I do. I worry not only about their education but I am also concerned about their safety while in the schools. While it was easy for some to say defeat the bonds, I couldn’t do that for the high school and middle school. I’ve been in both of those buildings with my daughter and I’ve seen the condition they are in. Am I happy that we have to spend this much money, no I’m not. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, now that the administration and the school committee have the bonds, we the taxpayers need to hold their feet to the fire and have them make good on their word that the elementary schools can now be properly repaired from the operational budget.

    As for what you call attacking, I find it rather ironic that you get your dander up when someone attacks you but yet you think it’s fair game to attack others that you don’t agree with, i.e. Mr. Ricci, Mr. Petit, Andy P., Ms Eaves for examples. I do speak out against some of the same failures but I don’t perceive it as being one persons fault, it’s the fault of groups such as the administration, the school committee, etc. Sorry that I don’t play the game the way that you do, I was probably brought up to be a bit kinder to my fellow man.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 10, 2008 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  77. Henry Oppenheimer? Boy, your memory is long. Whatever I said about him, I’m sure he deserved it. Where did I say I’m not critical? Clearly I am, but my criticism is focused on the policy makers. You claim to not support the policies, but instead attack those you claim agree with you.

    Your appeasement strategy doesn’t work. Why would anyone play nice with those causing harm to our children, but play nasty with those criticizing the policy makers? Were you brought up only to be kind to your fellow man who is doing harm to your family and your community? You worry about name calling while sticks and stones are breaking your bones.

    We the taxpayers don’t hold their feet to the fire. We the taxpayers elect incompetent politicians who issue votes of confidence to an administration which is failing our children. We the taxpayers accept idiots like Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski. You aren’t holding anyone’s feet to the fire except those of us here. We have no power. You are fiddling while Rome burns.

    I’m sure the new track and bleachers will make the children extra safe. How very perceptive of you.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  78. I read “bond = safety in school” ……any documentation or proof of any illness or injury related to the physical plant conditions at any Chariho school??? I surely missed this, would have weighed heavily on my bond vote.

    Or is this just more feel good reasoning for giving money to a failing institution??

    Comment by RS — November 10, 2008 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  79. He’s great with excuses, but he’s no apologist, LOL.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 10, 2008 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

  80. I may not be happy regarding the bond vote, but I will not ask for a revote.

    Moving forward….

    With all the rain we had at the end of last week, I went by my daughters classroom and noticed at least 3 5-gallon buckets by the window.

    Does anyone recall that a major roof leak occurred, what was it, 1 1/2 years ago at Ashaway, where a raging river was pouring down from the roof? Many involved rushed with many buckets back-and-forth to try to minimize the damage. Teacher’s supplies were destroyed. Saturated tiles fell from the ceiling. But, thankfully, no-one was hurt.

    But, hey, I’m sure the lockers at the high school look beautiful.

    Am I happy about the bonds? No. The track has me bewildered. Water problems at Richmond, structural problems at Hope Valley potentially costing $700,000 (glad that is being dealt with), the roof at Ashaway still not completed, an abandoned school that everybody used the “it’s a wood structure argument” to vindicate the neglect the school district dumped on the town of Hopkinton, leaving Hopkinton with the expense to deal with it.

    Forgive me for not being too sensitive here. In fact, I am angry.

    So, now this is what I see. The repairs will get done on the elementary schools. (Am I being facetious here?) That will be nice, but this is the reality. The repairs needed to be done on the high school as well. Did you notice how long it took to arrange for that. It eventually took a bond to initiate the prospect of the repairs. [As a side-note…Bonds are one way to circumvent the budget cap.]

    CP, you can add me to the pessimist club. I will be the first proud member of the pessimist club. I am a graduate of the class of 1983 from Chariho. (Bob Petit is a graduate from my class.) Many of the problems that exist at the high school existed then. Anyone who has not taken constructivist math can do the math here. All others, use a calculator.

    Though you may not agree with Mr. Felkner’s ways. We are more aware as a community than we ever were. These people on the school committee are adults. Perhaps, they ought to find a way to work with the man. That would be the adult thing to do.

    I hope you are correct in your dream of change. I, on the other hand, will believe it when I see it.

    Sorry, CR, I’ve not been able to participate as much. Thanks for the compliments. I had to post an emotional outburst today. No research links will be posted here, unless you have any psychological links that might refer to my present frustration and anger. Anyways, I will try to limit my future comments with less emotionalism.

    I, too, will help participate in voucher research, if need be. I do not know what role I could fill, but I will offer my two-cents worth. With inflation, that’s not very much.

    I feel better now. Thanks, and have a nice day.

    P.S. When can we get an answer on the math curriculum? When can we see the literature? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 10, 2008 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  81. Re post 72, I thought I’d clarify CR’s description of me as an ‘enigma’.

    My “linkage” to the “Richmond power structure” is my volunteering for the town finance board. The only contact I ever had with the town council prior to joining the finance board was when I spoke at a council meeting to represent the private school at which I was treasurer.

    If Chariho had a finance committee that develops the primary budget submission like Richmond has, I’d want to be part of that, too. Alas, it appears that the budget is developed by Mr. Stanley’s office and overseen only by the superintendent.

    My general opinion is that scme school committee somewhere has to be willing to suffer a huge strike in an attempt to resturcture the labor contracts here. East Prov may be the site of this “last stand” right now. I would hope Chariho would see significant chagnes in the contract being negotiated now, but I think that’s an unrealistic hope based on the lack of information about the contract so far.

    Comment by david — November 10, 2008 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  82. April 13, 2007 – Ashaway roof leak

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 10, 2008 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  83. David,
    I’m going to pretty much leave debating the Richmond side of things to you if you so choose, after all, I wouldn’t want to interfere with “an enigma” so “linked to the Richmond power structure” (just proves my point that CR will throw things out and hope something sticks) . Not sure how long it will take for someone to say that you’re a Chariho insider or connected to the NEA or are in someone’s back pocket also.

    I hope you pay attention to more than just this blog, there’s more to the issues of Chariho that what is presented here and the brow beating mentality of certain posters. Rather than building upon common ground and working from there they prefer to try to divide the school district to pit one town against another. Mrs. Buck is the most level headed of the posters here and stays away the personal barbs, I respect her positions but don’t always agree with them but that is what makes the world go round, we can’t all agree on everything.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 10, 2008 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  84. For the record, neither “enigma” nor “linked to the Richmond power structure” are insults. I don’t always agree with or understand David’s perspective, but unlike CP, he usually brings something to the table. I reserve the right to insult him at my whim.

    As for Chariho issues, the school’s per-pupil costs are among the highest in the country. The school teaches only 30% of our children to the minimal level of proficiency. What more is there? Oh, excuses…I forgot the excuses…but he’s no apologist don’t forget.

    I’ve said enough nice things about Mrs. Buck for a year. If CP likes her attitude, she probably needs to adjust it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 11, 2008 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  85. From the link Mr. Felkner posted:

    “School Committee Chairman William G. Day of Richmond later pledged that the district would do “whatev­er necessary” to address the conditions.”

    See Mrs. Buck, the district addressed the conditions as promised. Chariho purchased three 5 gallon buckets. Mr. Ricci authorized the purchase; Mr. Day drove to Walmart to pick them up (and get himself a smiley sticker); and CP reminded everyone it doesn’t rain every day so Chariho really can’t be blamed.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 11, 2008 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  86. CR, Thanks for your last compliment. I am deeply saddened.

    To all…

    But, back to one of my major gripes, what is to happen to the situation regarding the 5th and 6th grades?

    What do you think is feasibly possible for the district to pump towards the elementary schools to bring the fifth and sixth grades back to the elementary school?

    They scream that there isn’t enough room to do this, so if the parents and community want it, how are they going to deliver with minimal budgeted money towards repairs and maintenance to bring at least the 5th graders back? What’s the plan? Can you see where this is going?

    And let’s add to the list of what needs to be done at these schools. One of the things I’ve learned is that people have bits and pieces of information, so it is presumed that it really isn’t that bad. If there is anyone out there who can add to my list of known things that need to be done (see post #79) at these elementary schools, please add your two cents. I’ve already added mine.

    And what is the school committee going to do to pump more money into the infrastructure, while still keeping the budget under the cap, while also keeping the municipalities afloat? Wasn’t it Deb Jennings who was pleading Richmond’s case this last budgetary process to keep the budget down because of the town’s problem with the budget cap? Last time I checked, the three towns are not the federal government. We cannot print money whenever we need it.

    What is Charlestown and Richmond finally going to do to push fiscal restraint and management in the district? Status quo is killing Hopkinton. Richmond will soon follow. And Charlestown seems hunky-dory allowing it to happen.

    Finally, it has been a year now, and what has happened with the Chariho Act? Still no final copy?

    Again, this is why I am a member of the pessimist club. Answers would be nice for a change.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 11, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  87. I don’t really see the cap as a problem for Chariho, the town will simply apply for relief from the cap(been done already-this town). If the town holds the line, then the school will simply sue and most likely be awarded the money(been done already-other towns). I do not have any faith in the school committees ability to get the necessary contracts the towns need to meet their budgets. The stranglehold placed on the committee is far too great for them to overcome with the current mindset and methods of dealing with the NEA.

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

  88. RS’s assessment sounds about right. This is the same group of dopes who capitulated to the staff employee union. Every step they’ve take since, like keeping contracts hidden from the public, has shown us they aren’t changing.

    Only very odd people would expect the committee to change in gratitude because we approved bonds giving them millions more to spend. Sane people realize rewarding failure virtually guarantees more failure.

    I’m sure the next teacher contract will be overly generous and a few more Hopkinton families will be driven to move away. Don’t worry though, the School Committee members and their families will have no problem weathering the storm. They might even find additional money coming into their homes. How nice for them.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 11, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  89. Addressing Post #85, the more I think about it, the bond probably seals the deal on the Middle School. The 5th and 6th graders are stuck there. If implemented, vouchers will give parents a way to avoid the Middle School model.

    As for budgeting Elementary School repairs, don’t forget Chariho has been overcharging for years. Budget proposals have been inflated by over $2 million each year. This gives them lots of wriggle room. I’ve long thought they keep a huge surplus so they can give away more to employees while pretending they’ve been frugal…the budget goes up minimally but the surplus gets much smaller or disappears into the employees pockets.

    I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist. As a realist I expect Chariho to continue playing the same games. They’ve gotten away with it thus far and few seem interested in stopping them.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 11, 2008 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  90. RE: Post 80,
    David, Chariho has an audit commitee, you might want to check into it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 12, 2008 @ 5:28 am | Reply

  91. Mrs. Buck is correct in her description of the disgraceful conditions at the Ashaway school. Buckets are used to catch rain. The children have to exit and board the buses on the street because they can’t fix the fence and lot. One could lose a toddler in the run off from the incorrectly installed flat roof and when my first grader was in the mobile classroom, a family of skunks resided under it. Hope Valley school looks just as bad. But I’m so glad the high schoolers have brand new lockers and will be getting a sparkling new track “so they won’t be embarrassed to run”. Thanks everyone who voted for the bond without having a clue what they were voting for. By the way isn’t it illegal for a councilman from another town to stand so close to a polling place passing out propaganda. I thought they had to to be at least 25 feet away.

    Comment by ARRRR — November 12, 2008 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  92. AND…did you forget that “Lil Andy” on the SC took action regarding the Ashaway School? He contacted OSHA to get the contractor fined $1000 becuse I did not have a belt on when I rode the lift up 12 feet to look at the roof. Gues I should have used a ladder. Mr. Ricci took action by proclaiming there was “No emergency”, and the next day, the kids had to be evacuated from their class rooms! Pardon me, but then they took additional action by buying the buckets, and doing a few temorary repairs.

    NOW, if we wait a bit longer, this school will rank with the “old” Ashaway School, with mold, more leaks, a rotting roof, and the need for many thousands more in additional repairs. THEN, we will be told that we need to build MORE schools to replace this school, which will be deemed “unsafe” due to mold.

    By the way, is that a NEW sprinkler system near the track at the high school? OR were they just testing it the other day when all the sprinklers were on?

    See, we need sprinklers for the ground, but no new roofs for the buildings…

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 15, 2008 @ 8:46 am | Reply

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