Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 12, 2008

Update on EP

Filed under: contract negotiations — Editor @ 4:44 pm

PRESS RELEASE

NOVEMBER 11, 2008

CONTACT: ANTHONY CARCEIRI

EAST PROVIDENCE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER

 

THE EAST PROVIDENCE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT AND THE EAST PROVIDENCE TEACHERS UNION, NEARI MET ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 8TH BEFORE A PANEL OF THREE ARBITRATORS – IN THE FIRST OF FIVE SCHEDULED INTEREST ARBITRATION HEARINGS.

 

 

DUE TO FAILED MEDIATION TO REACH A NEW AGREEMENT ON THE TEACHERS CONTRACT THAT EXPIRED OCTOBER 31ST, THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT AND THE UNION KICKED OFF THE FIRST HEARING OF FIVE, SCHEDULED TO CONCLUDE BY THE END OF NOVEMBER. ALTHOUGH THE UNION WANTED TO DRAW THESE PROCEEDINGS OUT OVER A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME, THE NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR APPOINTED TO THESE HEARINGS AGREED WITH THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE THAT THIS INTEREST ARBITRATION MUST TAKE PLACE WITHIN THE STATUATORY TIME FRAME.

 

THE SUPERINTENDENT AND HUMAN RESOURCE DIRECTOR OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT AND THE CITY MANAGER FOR EAST PROVIDENCE TESTIFIED FOR 7 HOURS ABOUT THE DIRE STRAITS THAT THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT FACES. THE EXTRAORDINARY DOCUMENTATION EXHIBITED, CAPTURED IN BINDERS EASILY 10” THICK, ALL POINTED TO THE ULTIMATE VICTIMS OF THESE DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES: THE STUDENTS OF THE EAST PROVIDENCE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT. TESTIMONY OF THE THREE DREW A FRIGHTENING PICTURE OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT UNDER WATER STRUGGLING TO PROVIDE EVEN A BASIC EDUCATION FOR ITS STUDENTS AND UNABLE TO PAY ITS BILLS.  BILLS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DUE PROVIDERS OF THE MOST VULNERABLE MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN.

 

MR. LONNIE BARHAM, THE HUMAN RESOURCE DIRECTOR FOR THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT, TESTIFIED THAT HE HAS RECEIVED THREATENING CALLS FROM THE FINANCIAL OFFICER OF A SPECIAL EDUCATION PROVIDER DEMANDING OVERDUE PAYMENTS FOR OUT OF DISTRICT TUITIONS.  OTHER BILLS WERE NOT PAID IN ORDER TO SEND PARTIAL PAYMENT TO TEMPORARILY SATISFY THAT PROVIDER.  THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR CHOICE – THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT IS NOT EQUIPPED TO PROPERLY EDUCATE THESE PARTICULAR STUDENTS.

 

AT THE CORE OF THIS CONTRACT DISPUTE ARE THREE MAJOR ISSUES FACING THE ARBITRATORS:

§         THE ABILITY OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT TO PAY FOR THE EXISTING CONTRACT OBLIGATIONS

§         THE CRITICAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT TO CREATE EDUCATIONAL BEST PRACTICES IN EACH OF THE EAST PROVIDENCE SCHOOLS WHILE PROVIDING FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT POLICIES, AND FINALLY

§         TO DETERMINE TO WHAT EXTENT THE PROPOSALS EXCHANGED BETWEEN THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT AND THE UNION ALLOWS FOR AND SUPPORTS SUCCESSFUL EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES AND POLICIES WITHOUT SPENDING MORE MONEY – IN EFFECT: IS THE ALLOCATION OF MONEY DESIGNED TO DIRECTLY SERVE THE STUDENTS?  IS THERE ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY TO SERVE THE STUDENTS, THE TEACHERS AND PARENTAL NEEDS?

 

EVEN IF MONEY WAS NOT AT ISSUE, AND IT IS IN AN ENORMOUS WAY, IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THE STUDENTS IN EAST PROVIDENCE DESERVE A DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED EDUCATION AS COMPARED WITH WHAT IS DELIVERED TODAY.  A TEACHER CONTRACT THAT PLACES THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS BEFORE THE NEEDS OF THE ADULTS IN THE SYSTEM IS CRITICAL. DR. MARIO CIRILLO, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, UNDER SCORED THIS POINT DURING TESTIMONY.  “THE PRIORITIES IN THE SCHOOL BUDGET HAS TO BE RESPONSIVE TO ADDRESSING STUDENT NEEDS.  OUR STRATEGIC PLAN OUTLINES THE WAYS WE MUST MEET THOSE NEEDS AND CURRENTLY WE ARE NOT EVEN MEETING REQUIREMENTS FROM THE STATE.”  DR. CIRILLO OUTLINED THE NECESSITY FOR SYSTEMIC IMPROVEMENT OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE NEED TO INCORPORATE BEST PRACTICES OF ENGAGING PARENTS IN THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION.  HE POINTED OUT THAT THESE ARE BUT TWO OF THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS INCLUDED IN THE DEPARTMENT’S STRATEGIC PLAN – NEITHER OF WHICH IS ADDRESSED EFFECTIVELY IN THE CURRENT TEACHER CONTRACT.

 

THE TESTIMONY STARKLY IDENTIFIED:

§         A TEN YEAR HISTORY OF SCHOOL DEPARTMENT DEFICITS,

§         THE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CURRENT 4.2 MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT;  AND

§         THE FACT THAT THE DEFICIT CONTINUES TO GROW ABSENT DRAMATIC SAVINGS TO BRING THE LEVEL OF SPENDING DOWN.

 

RICHARD BROWN, CITY MANAGER FOR EAST PROVIDENCE, POINTED OUT THE 3 CORE AREAS DRIVING THE MASSIVE DEFICIT SPENDING:

§         THE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE TEACHERS CONTRACT

§         HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS

§         SPECIAL EDUCATION COSTS

 

 MR. BROWN IS AT THE RECEIVING END OF THE RECENT LAWSUIT FILED BY THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT AGAINST THE CITY AND NAMING HIM PERSONALLY.  KNOWN AS THE CARUOLO ACTION, IT SEEKS TO GET MORE MONEY FROM THE CITY TO COVER THE DEFICIT FOR THE MOST RECENT SCHOOL YEAR. YET, MR. BROWN WAS PRESENT FOR THE FULL 8 HOURS AND TESTIFIED IN SUPPORT OF EVERY DOCUMENT THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT ENTERED AS EVIDENCE BEFORE THE ARBITRATORS.

 

MR. BROWN EXPLAINED THAT THE DEBT OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT IS A DEBT OF THE CITY. THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT DOES NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO RAISE MONEY AND THE CITY IS OBLIGATED TO PAY THE BILLS.  BUT WITH THAT SAID, THE CITY MANAGER WENT ON TO EXPLAIN THE ABSOLUTE WALLS THEY RUN INTO THAT PREVENTS THE CITY FROM RAISING THE REVENUE REQUIRED TO WIPE OUT THE SCHOOL DEFICIT ANDTO PAY FOR THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE EXPIRED TEACHER CONTRACT.

 

HE STATED THAT THE COST OF HEALTH INSURANCE HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS, THE PENSION COSTS FOR THE TEACHERS ARE SIX TIMES HIGHER OVER THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME AND THE COST OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TUITIONS HAVE TRIPLED.

 

MOST COMPELLING WERE STATEMENTS MADE DURING MR. BROWN’S TESTIMONY.

 

 “IT IS APPROPRIATE TO LOOK TO THE TEACHERS CONTRACT FOR SAVINGS.” HE POINTED TO THE BREAKDOWN OF BASE SALARY COSTS OF ALL SCHOOL DEPARTMENT STAFF:

§         TEACHERS: BASE SALARY 33 MILLION DOLLARS

§         TEACHING ASSISTANTS: 2.5 MILLION DOLLARS

§         CUSTODIANS: OVER 2 MILLION DOLLARS

§         PRINCIPALS/SCHOOL BUILDING ADMINISTRATORS:  1.5 MILLION DOLLARS

§         SECRETARIES: 1 MILLION DOLLARS

 

HE WENT ON TO POINT TO CONCESSIONS MADE BY OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT UNIONS. THE CUSTODIANS AGREED TO HEALTH INSURANCE COST SHARING AND THE BUS ASSISTANTS WERE ELIMINATED UNDER THE TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT.

 

EVEN WITH CONCESSIONS FROM THE OTHER UNION CONTRACTS YET TO BE SETTLED, MR. BROWN TESTIFIED: “WE CAN’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO THE 4.2 MILLION WE NEED TO COVER THE DEFICIT.”

 

SO, WHERE TO GET THE MONEY IF NOT FROM THE LARGEST CONTRACT EFFECTING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET? THE CITY CANNOT, BY CHARTER, EXCEED THE 3.5% TAX CAP IN PLACE THAT PROTECTS THE PROPERTY TAXES FROM RISING BEYOND WHAT IS ALREADY HARD ECONOMIC TIMES FOR THE TAXPAYERS IN EAST PROVIDENCE. THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS OVER 8%.  THE UNCERTAINTY OF JOB SECURITY FOR THOSE PEOPLE STILL EMPLOYED IS THE REALITY.  THE CITY CANNOT EXCEED THE STATE TAX CAP OF 5% TO RAISE REVENUE WITHOUT THE STATE AUDITOR GENERAL’S PERMISSION.  MR. BROWN TESTIFIED THAT THE AUDITOR GENERAL MADE HIS POSITION CLEAR.  HE STATED THAT THE SCHOOL AND CITY MUST “FIRST ELIMINATE ALL DISCRETIONARY SPENDING TO CONSIDER WAIVING THE PROPERTY TAX CAP.” THAT MEANS, FOR EXAMPLE, NO MORE:

§         SENIOR CENTERS

§         RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS

§         FIREWORKS HERITAGE DAY

§         CITIZEN POLICE ACADEMY

§         SCHOOL BAND

§         ALL SPORTS PROGRAMS

§         ALL AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS

§         DRAMA

 

MR. BROWN SAID “THESE DRACONIAN STEPS MAY IN EFFECT PAVE THE WAY FOR THE EAST PROVIDENCE TAXPAYERS TO BEAR UNAFFORDABLE PROPERTY TAX INCREASE TO PAY FOR THE COSTS IN THE TEACHERS CONTRACT. UNION CONCESSIONS MUST TAKE PLACE.” THERE IS NO APPETITE OR ABILITY TO EXCEED EITHER THE CITY OR STATE TAX CAPS.

 

THE CITY MANAGER WENT ON. “IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO BRING THE SCHOOL COSTS IN TO LINE, WITHOUT THAT THE FISCAL LIABILITY AND HEALTH OF THE CITY IS IN PERIL.”  SO, THE MESSAGE WAS CLEAR, EVEN IF THE STATE TAX CAP WERE EXCEEDED, THE COMMUNITY WOULD BE STRAPPED WITH HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES AND REMAIN BURDENED WITH AN UNSUSTAINABLE TEACHER CONTRACT.  THE STUDENTS WOULD BE LEFT WITH A STRIPPED DOWN SCHOOL SYSTEM.

 

IT IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL TO HEAR COMPELLING STATEMENTS FROM A CITY MANAGER, STATEMENTS THAT ARE FACTUALLY INDISPUTABLE AND SCREAM THE MESSAGE, HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYS DO WE NEED TO SAY: THERE IS NO MORE MONEY?

 

WRAPPING UP HIS TESTIMONY, MR. BROWN SUPPORTED THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE’S PROPOSALS TO THE TEACHERS UNION:

§         SAVINGS NEED TO BE ON-GOING AND CONTINUOUS

§         WE NEED TO BE DELIVERING MONEY TO THE KIDS; WE DON’T NEED TO BE DELIVERING MONEY TO THE EMPLOYEES.

 

THE SESSION CLOSED WITH HIS FINAL REMARK: “I WOULD DESCRIBE EAST PROVIDENCE AS ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY.”

 

THE UNION REPRESENTATIVES APPEARED TO RECEIVE THIS INFORMATION IN STRIDE AS DOCUMENT AFTER DOCUMENT WAS INTRODUCED AND POWERFUL TESTIMONY WAS HEARD. CLEARLY, “FIRE IN THE HOUSE” WAS BEING SCREAMED. YET SOME OF THESE TEACHER UNION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS WERE BUSY MARKING UP WHAT APPEARED TO BE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS, OTHERS MAINTAINED BLANK STARES WHILE ANOTHER WAS OBSERVED FLOSSING HER TEETH.

 

 

 

 

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61 Comments »

  1. Whoever heard of a teacher’s assistant? To my knowledge they didn’t exist when I was in school and if they did exist, they must have been few and far between. We did have aides, but even then it was only in Elementary School and they basically monitored the playground and lunch room.

    Why do part time workers, teachers, need assistants? Sounds like EP got rid of bus monitors too. Good for them…stupid and wasteful idea from the beginning. One child gets tragically killed because of human error, and the next thing we know we’re all on the hook for millions…probably billions nationwide. Whatever happen to personal responsibility? More union employees…that was the driving force…not some poor kid who isn’t coming back no matter how much we spend.

    Get rid of the unnecessary administrators and teachers. Go back to basics. Special education programs should recognize the limitations of those students and money should be spent wisely. If they are incapable of learning algebra and the best we can hope for is to teach them not to tip over the kitchen table when they are mad, why does it cost $70,000 per year, per child?

    We have lost our minds in this country. We’ve been brainwashed with “for the children” for so long that we’ve begun to think schools/government is more important than families. Not sure how or if we can get back our sanity, but maybe an economic recession is a great thing if it forces us to rethink our priorities and gain back control of our schools.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 12, 2008 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  2. Woe is me

    Comment by RS — November 12, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  3. Off topic:

    By THE NEW YORK TIMES
    Published: November 11, 2008
    BANGKOK — Myanmar’s military leadership continued its crackdown on dissent on Tuesday, handing down prison sentences of 65 years each to 14 democracy advocates, according to regional news accounts and reports on a Web site for exiles.

    The convictions came a day after a blogger was sentenced to 20 years for “creating public alarm,” among other offenses, The Associated Press reported.

    Tuesday’s sentences were delivered by judges operating within the compound of Insein prison, which holds many of the country’s estimated 2,000 political prisoners. Family members spoke to news agency reporters in Yangon, the country’s largest city, and said that they and defense lawyers had not been allowed into the courtroom.

    The Irrawaddy Web site, which is based in neighboring Thailand, listed the names of 14 advocates it said were sentenced to the 65-year terms.

    Some of the advocates were reported to be veterans of a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that nearly succeeded in toppling the military leaders in Myanmar, formerly Burma. The advocates were arrested in August 2007 in the early stages of protests that swelled later into mass demonstrations led by monks that were violently put down.

    Relatives of the advocates said they were convicted under a wide range of laws, like the Foreign Exchange Act, which bans Burmese from holding foreign currency without permission. Other laws reportedly used were the Video Act and the Electronics Act, which require Burmese to hold permits for various types of ordinary electronic equipment.

    One of the best-known examples of the use of these laws was the sentencing in 1996 of James Nichols, an honorary consul for Norway, to three years for possession of a fax machine without a permit in his Yangon home. He died in detention, several months after his conviction in April 1996. Analysts say the real reason for the conviction appeared to be his friendship with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader who is under house arrest.

    Punishments for dissidents have become much harsher in recent years, according to Win Min, an expert on Burmese politics at Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand. A decade ago a sentence of 20 years was considered very unusual, Mr. Win Min said.

    Comment by george abbott — November 12, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  4. And the West Warwick story doesn’t sound much different … maybe there’s a wave of change coming our way.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 12, 2008 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  5. Same leadership that denied its people aid during the cyclone this summer.

    Comment by RS — November 12, 2008 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

  6. WHO CARES ABOUT EP??????????

    Comment by whatever — November 12, 2008 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  7. We’re so starved for a decent School Committee and a competent superintendent that we’ll take it wherever we can find it. EP could lead the way for the rest of us if we pay attention.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 12, 2008 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  8. If you don’t care about EP you don’t have any self respect (tri town respect). That comment shows you are not engaged at all.

    Comment by James Hirst — November 12, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  9. Great replays this weekend on PBS showing of Operation Clean Government sponsored show of State of the State, with the distinguished gentleman, Mr. Edward Mazze and Mr. Leonard Leadaro professor of economics at the University of Rhode Island. A re taping of what was coming down the road.
    Tri town voters bought it, and now the consequences and now own it. Not the state problem but what the slim ‘majority’ own it for the tri towns.

    Hold on tight to your dreams. (Electric Light Orchestra, circa 1970’s)

    Comment by James Hirst — November 12, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  10. RE #6 … Presumably NEARI substantially / significantly drives the negotiating position of the union chapters. Therefore other contracts in the state will have impacts on the Chariho contract. State funding (or lack of) is going to be a driver for (most) all communities, same problem, same union. It’s the towns & cities that don’t coordinate enough. I seem to remember reading about a proposal to negiotiate one big state teacher contract … sounds interesting.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 13, 2008 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  11. I say let the school system in RI be 1 under the state, get rid of the regional systems, level the taxes statewide for the schools, and 1 contract for the entire system negotiated at one time. Could it be any worse than the 1/3 proficient we now are so proud of. I’m sure there are some negatives to this approach, but what we do now isn’t working. We need change……hey i’ve heard that somewhere before.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  12. I think we need less edicts from on high, not more. The state can’t run a vaccuum cleaner. Who wants them solely responsible for running schools? Not me.

    Yes, Chariho has been failing for years. But isn’t there some chance it can be turned around through vouchers or legal action? With the full force of the special interests and the uninformed voters, we still almost put the bond down again in Hopkinton. Chariho is likely the areas largest employer and that’s a tough beast to slay, but under the control of state politicians we’ll become tasty snacks for the education beast.

    Sorry, but as little respect as I have for the wisdom of my neighbors in Richmond and Charlestown, I have even greater fear of the stupidity which exists at the other end of the state. Can anyone really say they trust the corrupt officials in Providence more than our own corrupt officials down here?

    There is no reason the schools can’t now consolidate services and contracts while still remaining under local control. Besides, the big nut is in retirement and health benefits…it’s the goodies such as low/no co-pays and retirement well before 65. Unlike the private sector where most of us share the burden with our employers, teachers have had us paying the total freight. I don’t see the situation improving under the eyes of the part time legilators who make sure they themselves get expensive and unearned healthcare plans.

    The problem isn’t local control, the problem is local ignorance. They don’t get less ignorant as you move up the government food chain…they get more ignorant and detached from every day realities. Who do you think pays more attention to the people, Mr. Kennedy or Mr. Felkner? Even a fool like Mr. Petit is more in touch than state politicians. Mr. Kennedy barely knows where Hopkinton is on a map. His colleagues probably know Hopkinton, MA (home of the Boston Marathon) better than they know Hopkinton, RI.

    I’d like to see less state involvement (mandates). Not more.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 13, 2008 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  13. I’m simply looking at a cost control measure by having the state pool all school resources. I do not know if our local burden would be less or more, but if it were less then why would I not want it. I do not feel we will get the level of educational system we pay for, so if I can find a way to ease the local burden with the same results why is that a bad thing. Trying to go the other way(local control) doesn’t appear to be in favor, i.e. a vote to bring 5/6th graders back, nothing done; a bond spending more for less and burdening the taxpayer with tax inequities for the term of the bond.
    Time is running out for my children, the oldest will start school in 2 years, and from what I’ve seen from the past 2 years, nothing has or will changed. So if my option is to bear the cost of my child’s education myself, then my next goal will be to reduce my tax burden as much as possible, since any attempts to forge change appears to be a fruitless effort. If I could only find happiness in substandard education, then I could just send my kids off to Chariho everyday with my blinders on and sip my morning kool-aid.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  14. I don’t disagree except I have little faith the state politicians won’t be worse than the local politicians. On the face of it there seems to be some logical places to cut costs, but let’s be real, do policians in Rhode Island ever give us back our money or do they spend it someplace else…and usually someplace else where we end up paying even more down the road.

    I don’t trust government. The nature of government is to control, and the bigger it gets the more controlling it gets. I’m afraid our neighbors have strayed far from the values which made this country what it was to begin with. Individual liberties, personal responsibility, free markets – all traded in for government taking over as Big Daddy tending to our every need.

    For those who can afford it, get your children out. For those of us who can’t afford it, the best chance we have is locally…once all the decisions start getting made in Providence we don’t even have a slim chance of changing anything.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 13, 2008 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  15. I honestly can’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  16. Putting all the schools under one umbrella makes sense if we were running a business or something to do with our personal budgeting. In those cases the incentive is to reduce costs and enhance our own income.

    Government is different. Government is run by people who use our money to enhance their own power and income. They do this by giving our money to the people and groups which secure their power. Even worse than sending our money to the state to run the schools is sending the money to Washington, D.C.

    I want as many decisions as possible to be made at my kitchen table. Understanding there is a limited need for government, I want as many decision as possible made close to my kitchen table.

    I find myself fogetting the nature of government sometimes and things like consolidating schools starts to sound good…it is logical in my world, but the minute someone reminds me we’re talking about government, not business, I come to my senses.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 13, 2008 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  17. At least if we could get a few state labor lawyers to coordinate negotiation with the unions as I’m sure the unions do … then 800 lb pound gorillas would be matched against each other, instead of the relatively inexperience local negotiators getting run over.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 13, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  18. I agree Gene, a professional negotiator is much more valuable than not using one. The problem I see is the teachers are fairly quick to strike in RI simply because the taxpayer has no recourse and the majority of the parents are more interested in ther kids being out of the house(out of their hair) and in the classroom. I have yet to see the parents have the fortitude it takes to see a strike through, the teachers strike and the committee folds. I think the only way we can cut the budget is to cut the staff, getting the current cadre to accept anything significant isn’t going to happen, they will eat their own before they use a dose of common sense. Remember they feel they are entitled, they earned it on the backs of a failing(1/3 proficient) system, and I have yet to see one of them defend their record.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  19. I can’t help but comment even though I said I wouldn’t, here’s what I would like to see:

    1) No more than 4-5 school districts, Washington County, Kent County, Providence County and either a joint Newport-Bristol County or a separate one for each of those two counties.

    2) School districts should not be an extension of the state government (as they currently are) but rather under the control of the local municipalities that are a part of that particular school district.

    3) Unions in the school districts should not be able strike. Any union official or member that calls for a strike should be given a significant fine or at least 30 days imprisonment. No amnesty allowed, either.(Similar to the permit required firearms in Massachusetts)

    4) Teacher contracts should be either by district or statewide.

    5) No school committee member or administrator should be involved with negotiations. The school districts would have to hire professional negotiators and all negotiations would be required to open to the public.

    6) No one who has any tie to a union or school district or related to an employee be it an administrator, teacher or staff member would be allowed to serve on a school committee. Nepotism in this state has to end.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 13, 2008 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  20. I think professional negotiators would be great, but wouldn’t the ultimate decision still be made by School Committees loaded down with relatives and friends of school employees? Don’t forget, most on the Chariho School Committee won’t take bathroom break without Mr. Ricci’s permission. We need to School Committee members with a backbone and voters who won’t support self interested School Committee members. We’re a long way from that now and wishing it were true won’t make it happen. School choice and/or legal remedies are the only short term solutions for Chariho families.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 13, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  21. CR, that’s why I said that the school committee members can have no ties to the school district or unions (point #6). As for school choice, that would probably work for the short term but we also need long term solutions. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by legal remedies.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 13, 2008 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  22. Sounds good to me CP.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  23. I think it’s fair to be concerned with situations where family members supervise other family members … but, boy, how do you structure the restriction? What does related mean? If the superindentant’s spouse is on the board, that’s reasonable to exclude, but what if a board member’s nephew/niece is a teacher? Where do you draw the line. We’re talking about a board where two slots went to write-in candidates, it’s not like people are running to sign up. I find this odd, if ~80% of the town’s bugdets are for the schools, wouldn’t the SC be a more prestigious seat?

    Other parts of the country use county gov’ts sa the focal gov’t entity, in the north they really don’t do much. It would be an interesting concept to evaluate how that might work to consolidate like functions in the next higher regional govt. I have to believe that rural towns like CH, RI, and HO are much more alike than different, but hey I’ve only lived here ~12 yrs, maybe I’ve not plugged in enough.

    Anybody want to talk about the argument that schools need more money to fulfill fed and state mandatory requirements? Is this real or just an excuse?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 13, 2008 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  24. Chariho has been asked in the past to identify mandates so we can transparently determine the financial burden. Former School Committee chairperon Stephanie Brown, whose husband is in jail for defrauding Connecticut schools, was said to have stated (paraphrasing) she wouldn’t share specifics on mandates because then taxpayers would know where to make cuts. She’d rather have us in the dark so they can threaten to cut the programs most beneficial to our children.

    While Ms. Brown is gone, her mentality apparently still dominates Chariho’s culture. I’ve asked for mandates so we can determine if we’re better off rejecting them all. Maybe we’d save money? If I recall correcty, Mr. Felkner felt rejecting state and federal money would not be worth it, but I’m pretty sure he couldn’t tell for sure because the scope of the mandates isn’t even known to him as a School Committee member.

    Personally, I’d like to go back to the days when we decided what was best for our children rather having it dictated from Providence or Washington, D.C. Probably just another pipe dream of mine.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 13, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  25. Ethical people should always recuse themselves from situations where a conflict of interest is evident.

    The school committee had a gentleman there about a year ago discussing code of ethics. And when to recuse themselves.

    It’s up to the taxpayer/voter to take notice and file complaints where complaints are due.

    It’s up to the person holding office to be up front about all his/her relationships involved with the school system, past and present. I don’t know of any current relationship that has been kept secret.

    I am concerned regarding school committee members that were once former teachers that have no relatives currently benefiting from their votes. Undo influence is possible. Recall?

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 13, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  26. I don’t know if this link will help. Hope it does!

    http://www.ethics.ri.gov/Code_of_Ethics/Code.htm#Code

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 13, 2008 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  27. So what you are talking about is openness, honesty, transparency, and accountability…..where have I seen those words before.

    Comment by RS — November 13, 2008 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  28. I say let the teachers strike. They are not doing anything for our students anyway. Do you know how many experienced people that have appropriate Math skills, but, yet are unemployed, people that held positions in the Sciences that have been layed off, or people who once had Communication jobs who have the skills to teach English better than any teacher in Chariho now… thousands. The students may grow up and become responsible citizens! Anyone has the ability to teach from a teacher’s manual; lesson plans, daily activities, overheads, tests, and even CD’s are included in every subject in each teacher’s manual. Employing someone that knows the topic can teach students how to apply the material they learn. Unemployment is so high, teachers currently making over $50K a year now, could be replaced by someone who will work for much less, just to meet their mortgage payment. They may even find the indescribable joy of the teaching profession, and decide to become a ‘professional teacher’!

    This is a perfect time to let them strike and to demolish the administration. Petition the administrators out of office and get competent business people in there that can run a district and balance a budget. What type of emergency are Ricci and the Board waiting for, stashing almost $3.0 million dollars in reserves? That money could have been budgeted to maintain the schools all these years. Is it in a CD earning interest (that is a direct deposit into Ricci’s bank account)? Is this $3.0 million dollars actually sitting in reserves not earning anything? The articles just mention the huge reserve of this school district, they do not mention if this money (taxpayer’s dollars) is in an investment account. Imagine the possibilities for structured management and a system of cross-referencing funds and invoices. Their budget is a convoluted Excel Spreadsheet. It contains so many lines of expenses that no one would be interested in going through it line-by-line, (too much information hides the obvious).

    No one, not an auditor, or a state organization should approve an Excel spreadsheet created by a district employee, as the district’s school budget! It would be prudent, (if the Board wants to considered trustworthy), for the district to be assigned an accounting firm (paid for from the district’s reserve account / taxpayer’s money), to review the financial statements yearly, and disclose the information to the public. The accounting firm should be a national firm; and a new firm assigned every 2 years, by the taxpayers. This process should continue until every expense can be validated and the taxpayers are satisfied.

    Comment by Questionable — November 14, 2008 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  29. All excellent points Questionalble, but how to we get there from here? We can’t even get them to control salaries and benefits. The voters pass bonds rewarding an administration which is inept at best and corrupt at worse. Hiding employee numbers, costs of programs, lawsuits filed by parents, etc. is not the behavior of an honest system.

    No doubt a “teaching certificate” is baloney. We need teachers who know the subject matter and can communicate it effectively. Not everyone can teach, I certainly can’t, but we put severe limitations on the quality of teachers by excluding those who are knowledgable in favor of those who can pass a teaching program practically devoid of expertise in subject matter.

    As for routine audits, we need to look no further then Narragansett and the recent arrest of the Finance Director for stealing school funds. Think it can’t happen here? Mr. Felkner’s Transparency Train is a great step in holding all government entities accountable, but who can make heads or tails of a budget seemingly designed to distract and confuse?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 14, 2008 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  30. Curious Resident, you sound well educated, I am sure you would be an excellent teacher. You are correct when you stated teaching certificates are “baloney”. I know teachers at Chariho that wanted to teach a particular subject, but since there was a vacancy in the another department that is where they stayed. However, they stay employed. It is the worst ‘management style’ I have ever seen, all at the expense of the students. If the administration had the students in mind, the students would not be graduating and wondering what they will do next. I read a comment that stated there were over 20 Guidance Councilors in the district. Is that true? That is deplorable. You know, we cannot set aside the Principals and the Assistant Principals and the Assistant to the Assistant Principal, the “Dean(s) of Students”, the Curriculum Advisors and their assistants; all employed at a high salary. They are ultimately responsible for the education of the students. But because there are so many of them, maybe nothing does get done, but they love to go to work and sit in their polished offices without the roof falling in or the paint coming off the walls, and think to themselves, “What to do, what to do, what to do…” That is your third line on the organization chart of the Chariho School District. Get rid of the redundant positions, and the reserve account will grow even larger, then possibly the taxpayers would get a rebate check!

    Comment by Questionable — November 14, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  31. They have Guidance Counselors for Middle School students. Why? Other than the end of the 8th grade when they may need help making choices for courses to take in 9th grade, why are Guidance Counselors needed from these students.

    We also have Teachers’ Aides and Assistants up the wahzoo. Why? On top of all the “help”, we also a national loser in low teacher to student ratio. So an abundance of teachers working part time need the help of an abundance of aides and assistance.

    Again, what to do? We reject bonds and they just keep bringing them back until finally they get the voter profile they need. We rarely have enough candidates running for School Committee, never mind members who watch out for the community rather than the employees.

    This is why I say we need to do something decisive. School choice and/or legal action for tax equity. Anything short of these two solutions and we are destined to continue on the same failed path. I’ve already begun looking to get out, but I’d prefer to stay with a manageable tax burden and a superior school system. It’s not looking good.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 14, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  32. I’ve been told ‘off the record’ by a former SC member that numbers were put on mandates to budget items when they served on the school committee and now they don’t. Whats up with not telling anyone?. Informed electorate is dangerous? Sounds like a high level of deceit. Person is still active in tri town politics.

    Comment by Jerome — November 14, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  33. Let’s home school kids with a one time uber computer and software and get ride of the largess of the administration, all benefits all the time. Speach impetement included.

    Comment by Eric — November 14, 2008 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  34. Not sure Jerome if your thinking of the same person but this has happened during the time the two dudes from Richmond and Charlestown have been on the committee. Is it true they have past picka dillows? Will they continue the lies?

    Comment by Mark — November 14, 2008 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  35. Rhode island has the highest unemployment rate in the country (2008). The economy is the worst or 50th of 50th states (2008). What will the fixes be to the second year of $350 million plus deficits. One of the fixes echoed before and after the election, is what occured in 1992. Dated January 5, 1992, Titled State anticipates 19 percent drop in education aid, credited to the Associated Press and Sun Staff reports

    Providence (AP) The state Department of Education has mailed state aid projections for fiscal 1993 with reductions to local school districts averaging 19 percent.

    In all, local superintendents have been told to expect $55 million less from the state.

    The projections based on a 15 percent reduction in statewide education budget which the Board of Regents was required to prepare as part of the state planning process.

    Budget deliberations are to begin later this month.

    Other factors that may affect individual estimates include changes in the state aid formula to achieve equity or changes that may result from court action.

    According to a Providence Journal report, Gov. Bruce G. Sundlun denied his adminstration is seeking the the 19 percent cut. Sundlund said the figures is ony a projection resulting fromm an effort to reduce state spending.

    Sundlun said a decision on how much education funding would be reduced has not been finalized.

    But Westerly school Superintendent Andrew S. Carrano said he will rely on figures provided by the state to develop the town’s school budget.

    “I don’t if the numbers are real. the numbers we got at this time last year were later cut in half. But we will use the state figures in developing our budget'” Carrano said.
    Westerly’s aid will be reduced 7.2 perecent, from $3.6 to $3.3 million.
    “Whatever the state cuts will fall on Westerly taxpayers,” Carrano said. “The state expects us to continue to meet contractural and mandated obligations. But they are broaching their obligation.”
    Sundlun has said one of his priorities in the coming year will be to minimize the impact of the economic recession (blogger not sounds familar now in 2008)on school aid.
    And Janice M. Baker, interim commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said state education officials will aso work to protect funding levels.
    But she said school districts should consider contingency plans for possible budget cuts.
    School districts in ExeteWest Greenwich, West Warwick and Pawtucekt are suing the state over its education formula, saying it discriminates against poorer districts.

    “I’m sitting here and saying basically with this kind of money it will be impossible to run the school system,” David P. Connolly said. Connolly’s district would lose nearly $700,000.
    Central Falls has been taken over by the state, which will increase state financing for that district. And Britol and Warren, which will merge adminstrations next year will receive a regionalization bonus.
    The total $55 million reduction is the same amount the state indicated it would cut last year as budget negotiations got underway. The final cut last fiscal year was half that amount and reductions to districts averaged 11 percent.
    “Sometimes these things are trail balloons,” East Providence Superintendent John V. DeGoes said. “They threated 15 percent and it ends up being 7 percent and everybod’s hapy its 8 percent less.
    Using the state’s state aid projections, districts hardest hit would be Providence, whcih stands to lose almost $14 Million, and Warwick and Pawtucket, which each would lose more than $4 million. Woonsocket and East Providence would see reductions of $3.5 and $3.2 million, respectively. Newport would see an $888,000 decrease. Westerly stands to lose $261,000.
    Narragansett would see aid increase by $21,547.

    Anyway from what you hear on the streets expect more of the same next year (2009) and with a level of maintenance issue (school budget can’t spend less than its current levels) expect major issues. Of course I would be willing to bet this wasn’t on the brochures handing out in the voting lines regarding the budget. Then again its the voters fault who voted for the bonds for not being informed. Buyers beware.

    Comment by James Hirst — November 16, 2008 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  36. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana

    Also from Santayana

    “Wisdom comes by disillusionment.”
    “Habit is stronger than reason”

    This Santayana quote is dedicated to CP –
    “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers”

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2008 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  37. CR, CP probably thinks Santayana is a rock band.

    Comment by George — November 16, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  38. I wouldn’t doubt it. They were a good rock band though.

    CP and many of the those voting like robots for ever more spending by Chariho live by the philosophy that “habit is stronger than reason”. They defy reason regularly expecting different results. Not sure why, but habit is as good of an excuse as any.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  39. When CP is forced to leave RI by the voting they choose and missives coming down from Providence (lack of tax support), they will probably hug you/CR around your knees and go kicking and screaming.

    Comment by Cali — November 16, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  40. Won’t be hanging onto me. Those voting for the bond and approving every budget must have a lot more money to waste than me. I would guess I’ll be long gone before people like CP have reached the end of their rope (and bank accounts). Turn out the lights.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 16, 2008 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  41. So if I follow y’all right, the consensus on this site is to force a CHARIHO crisis through Hopkinton either litigating and/or setting up vouchers. The assumption being that the resulting crisis will bring down the house of cards and require an immediate dramatic reaction? The underlying theory being that CHARIHO is so bad, it can’t be fixed without a huge intervention?

    If this is the plan and if the Hopkinton TC has the will to act in this manner, what might be the road blocks that greatly diminish the viability, like the need of state legislative action?

    On a different note, there’s a lot of inferences about perceived SC member biases, like Mr. Petit and the finance director, are there others that are publicly known?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 17, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  42. Hopkinton and Richmond should band together and insist that Charlestown pay 1/3 of the cost of Central Administration,Heat,Utilities,maintenance,engineering,sports ,student activities,counseling,employee health care plans,retirement plans,employee training seminars,busing,new equipment and furniture and a host of other salaries and materials that cant be directly linked to a student/teacher ratio .Only direct student instruction by certified teachers would continue to qualify for funding based on the number of students from each town. All other services ,including the deans,principals,assistant principals,social workers,psychologists,nurses and other support staff would be billed in equal thirds in accordance with the funding formula approved for the renovations included in the Campus 2010 bond proposal.Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic.

    Comment by george abbott — November 17, 2008 @ 1:13 am | Reply

  43. Chariho is run as a regional district where it doesn’t appear that the town governments do not have much involvement other than writing a check once per year. As such there should be a regional tax to hit all taxable property evenly.

    I would view your plan as a compromise.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 17, 2008 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  44. A compromise which leaves us slightly better off, but still doesn’t allow for equity in the voting booth. Consider this analogy. A person in Charlstown can purchase a BMW for $25,000. The same car can cost someone from Hopkinton $40,000. Who is more likely to purchase the BMW?

    Now let’s say the BMW has a few problems. It is still a steal at $25,000, but a lemon at $40,000. Where is the fairness?

    Now add this to the mix. If the person from Charlestown buys the BMW, the person from Hopkinton is forced to buy the BMW too at the higher cost. The Charlestown buyer got a great deal for the money. The Hopkinton person got screwed.

    This is a simple illustration of the Chariho situation. This is not the American way. The only way to ensue everyone is voting on equitably is to make each person equally responsible for their vote. A split of 1/3 by town does not give us equity. The Charlestown BMW buyer may give a little more thought to their purchase, but they are still getting the much better deal.

    With Chariho we are all getting the shaft. It’s not worth even the money the Charlestown person is paying, but they are fooled into paying for it because they are only looking at the compartive cost and not what they are getting for their money. Chariho is a lemon and we are the ones being squeezed.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  45. I returned from my trip this weekend and opened the Friday Projo to find Chariho’s problems may be solved. We must act quickly before this person is snapped up by another school system. The Narragansett School finance chief is available…….maybe he can solve our problems….at least the fiscal ones.

    Pathetic…..and I’ve been told by some there is no corruption in RI schools.

    http://www.projo.com/ri/narragansett/content/NARRAGANSETT_FINANCE_DIRECTOR_AR_11-14-08_64C_v85.3abbe13.html#slcgm_comments_anchor

    Comment by RS — November 17, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  46. Gene,
    The three town councils don’t have much involvement because of the way the state structures school districts. Although the school committees are elected at the local level, school districts are considered extensions of the state government and are governed by state law, not local laws or ordinances. The town councils can only try to influence some decisions that affect the taxpayers of the towns they govern.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 17, 2008 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  47. I doubt most taxpayers understand how it all works … they probably expect that the TCs have a lot more oversight control than they do. It seems to me that SBs have too much unchecked power.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 17, 2008 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  48. Chariho is already in crisis Gene. What do we call it when a school provides severely inadequate education? What do we call it when a school single handedly is responsible for the 3rd highest tax rate in Rhode Island? The crisis has been here for years. Hopkinton needs to find creative solutions to end the existing crisis.

    As for the School Committee’s biases, off the top of my head I know Mr. Day’s wife and son work for Chariho. I also believe Mr. Day is involved in a company that does business with Chariho. Ms. Eaves is said to be in school to become a teacher and thus a union member. She would obviously benefit from any contracts since the union leverages one contract against the other. Mr. Polouski was a Chariho teacher for decades. Mr. Felkner’s wife is a teacher in Rhode Island…although not Chariho. I doubt anyone would accuse him of putting the employees before the children.

    Bottom line, none of this is secret, yet voters routinely vote for connected candidates. Many times they have no real choice since few people run. We have no one to blame but ourselves. I’d like to think I’d be above putting my personal interests before the education of children, but could I really do it? It’s clear to me that children are a secondary consideration to many on the School Committee.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  49. Oh, and let’s not forget, Mr. Polouski was thrown off the last negotiating committee for sharing information with the union. So while the taxpayers are not allowed to know anything about contracts and negotiations, School Committee members are not so secretive with the teachers and the administration. Most of the worst decisions are made behind the protectiveness of closed meetings and sealed minutes. What we see is the best the School Committee has to offer. How pathetic is that?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  50. Gene,
    It’s not so much that they are unchecked, the root of the problem is that too many of the taxpayers/voters do not get involved. When towns struggle to get quorums for budget hearings, financial meetings, etc., you know there’s too much voter apathy.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 17, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  51. Except when it comes to voting for a bond…then they are all geniuses and there is no apathy. They come out in droves to spend money on something they don’t little about. Kind of goes like this – don’t pay attention…pay less attention….pay even less attention….more money to Chariho? What a great idea. It’s for the children donja know?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  52. What I meant by crisis, is a situation where the administration’s situation would be in “crisis”. Just because the educational system is not serving the children doesn’t mean the administration feels any motivation to change. I am shocked at the apparent attitude of refusing to provide info and respond to it’s constituents.

    I would argue that there’s a difference between “known” to people that pay attention and “known” to the average voter. I doubt Mr. Day or Mr. Petit generate campaign literature bragging about of family relationships in the district. As a voter, I would be generally disinclined to vote for someone with close ties to employees of the district.

    I think we can be hard on the voters … it is not so crazy to think the bond was the right thing for the kids, maybe with a different super’t, it would be. People are busy, they have lives, and the spin can be complicated to see through if you’re not spending a lot of time watching the issue. Yes, this means that a motivated group can influence a vote. As was reported elsewhere, there were lots of people giving out pro-bond literatature but non giving out anti-bond literature. So where were the anti-bond people? You have to get your message out. It’s not like it would have needed too many people to change their vote in Hopkinton to kill the bond.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 17, 2008 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  53. Dangerous game for any parent who makes themselves known when their child(ren) depend on Chariho to educate them. It only takes one angry teacher to set back a child for years. Other than Mr. Felkner, who ended up putting his children in private school, most of the public opponents of Chariho’s irresponsibility and failures to not have children in the system.

    Maybe I should give voters more slack, but it seems to me that when your tax rate is the 3rd highest in the state, you might want to pay attention before approving spending millions more? I’m actually okay with Hopkinton. I think there was a few ignorant voters, but the vote here came down to non-taxpayers who could care less about spending joined by voters affiliated with Chariho. I suspect the no voters were those of us paying the freight and not reaping any financial benefits from Chariho’s spending.

    Charlestown voters had a no-brainer. They individually pay so little for Chariho it would have cost them a lot more if they actually made good on their ongoing threat to withdraw.

    The real puzzle is Richmond? I’ve long thought Richmond has a very high percentage of government employees who are sympathetic to any government spending. It’s been said, and never disputed, that Richmond voters have never rejected any spending at Chariho in 50 years. Not one bond. Not one budget. Nothing.

    Are they disengaged? Stupid? Or just love government so much they are even willing to sacrifice their children at the altar of government spending?

    I don’t know, but passing the bond sealed the fate of another generation of children unless Hopkinton leaders make the responsible decision to pursue creative solutions. Just sitting around pretending we’re going to “hold their feet to the fire” isn’t going to help one child.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  54. “So where were the anti-bond people?”

    Most probably working to pay our already high taxes.

    Comment by RS — November 17, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  55. CP, I think you have hit on something very important. Bureaucracies have a tendency to grow. Mostly because they are not under profit/loss pressures and tend to allocate people more freely than do normal businesses. In a private company, people wear many hats.

    So if people don’t get involved, as I think you accurately point out they do not, the inertia of the government just grows and grows – unchecked.

    That is why we now have 1 employee for every 7 students. We have courier, 4 deans of students, on and on. We have student enrolment of 1999 but try to guess how many more employees we have than we did in 1999.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 17, 2008 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  56. “Guess how many employees” sums it up. With Chariho’s propensity to hide information, guessing is all we have left. It’s our money they spend so freely. We shouldn’t have to guess.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 17, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  57. BF,
    You’re quite correct, in economic hard time like we have now, private companies cut staff because of profit/loss pressures. I am seeing this at the company that I work for. All levels of the government need to also cut back, especially when the state is still facing a huge budget deficit.

    I have no idea how many more employees the school district has now as compared to 1999. I could never understand why the school district needs 4 deans of students or why it needs a principal at every elementary school. How many vice-principals do we have at the elementary schools, at the middle school and at the high school? Granted I graduated from a Catholic high school that was just a bit smaller in student population than the Chariho High School but the school did very well with 1 principal, 1 vice-principal and 1 dean of students and 3 guidance counselors.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 17, 2008 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  58. Well, I have a few friends over here in Richmond who I would consider very knowledgable political people, but none of us had paid any particular attention to the Chariho issues … it’s embarassing, I should have known better. After thinking about it a bit, this is an issue that you really have to dig for to get a sense that there is a flip side to the subject. My research of the TC members from people who I value there opinions was good and they all supported the bonds. So that do diligence was about as good as buying those derivate mortgage securities 😦

    So I’m going to start going to these SC meetings and forming an opinion, which I will share with others, we’ll see how it goes.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 17, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  59. Your friends must be politically knowledgable on national issues? Chariho consumes around 80% of Hopkinton’s local taxes and I assume it is similar in Richmond. Not sure how someone could be knowledgable about Richmond politics without knowing about the many problems at Chariho.

    I know little about Richmond politics other than the fools issued a vote of confidence for Mr. Ricci. That tells me more than I want to know. There was one Richmond leader who expressed an interest in learning more about Chariho. He posted here a couple of times with some good questions and acknowledgement that he wasn’t aware of many of the issues. I think he ended up leaving Richmond’s Town Council because of work commitments. Figures the one Richmond politician who actually seemed willing to at least explore taking action is the one who left.

    Have fun at the School Committee meetings. I used to watch them on cable before they went away. You won’t be able to fast forward when you’re there in person…bring a pillow.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  60. You are right, we are knowlegable on federal and state issues, not so much for town and school, that’s changing.

    The person you’re thinking of is Doug Tuthill, I’ve met him, very smart guy, he just happens to have a job that can require a lot of international travel.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 19, 2008 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  61. Yes, it was Mr. Tuthill. I was my usual arrogant and demeaning self. Mr. Tuthill initially took offense, but then began to see we were bringing up valid points as Chariho was failing miserably in its mission to educate our children. Even though he was a Town Council member, Mr. Tuthill had the personal integrity to admit he was unaware of the many problems with Chariho’s management. I bet he wouldn’t have supported a vote of confidence for Mr. Ricci had he known what he eventually discovered. I wish Mr. Tuthill well…too bad he had to exit Richmond’s political scene.

    I have much interest in national politics too, but it is here on the local level where even a solitary voice stands a chance of making a difference. We need good thinkers. We need leaders willing to acknowledge mistakes and change when the status quo is failiing. I do hope you and your friends become more active locally. Most of all, I hope you end up on the side of truth.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 11:38 am | Reply


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