Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 19, 2008

From this morning’s ProJo

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 1:34 pm

School board member escorted from council

RICHMOND — Bill Felkner, a member of the Chariho School Committee who was elected to the Hopkinton Town Council, was escorted from the school board meeting last night after a vote that he be removed.

A lawyer for the School Committee, Jon M. Anderson, said Felkner stopped being a committee member when he took the oath of office for the Hopkinton Town Council on Monday night. He said a courtroom, not the Chariho School Committee’s first meeting, was the proper place to decide the dispute.

William Day, in his last few minutes as chairman before Holly Eaves, of Charlestown, was elected to succeed him, polled the other members of the board about whether Felkner should be removed. A majority voted yes.

Richmond police Officer Dan Kelley, who was standing by, was asked to escort Felkner out.

Felkner asked if he could sit in the audience, which included Town Council members from all three Chariho towns, but the officer told him he had to leave the building.

— Donita Naylor

[UPDATE] a couple of items that have come to mind. 
1) how did they vote to appoint Holly Eaves as chair?  When was that vote taken?  Was Hopkinton allowed equal representation for that decision? Was this a OMA violation?
2) When Jon Anderson cites the Chariho Act as showing that I can NOT hold two seats.  He said that it specifically disallowed dual seats by naming building committee and another seat (will have to look at tape to find).  However, since it specifies those seats, it does not specify other seats and thus they are assumed to be allowed.



  1. I would agree, if a law doesn’t disallow it then it is presumed to be legal. This is the way laws re written. I would supsect many will disagree because it doesn’t fit “their plan”.

    Comment by RS — November 19, 2008 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  2. The Rag has an article on their website. They do report there were ongoing discussions ealier than the advertised time of the meeting. I don’t think they acknowledged the illegality of a committee conducting business outside of the adverised times.

    They also make it sound like Mr. Day polled other members, but it was his decision to have the police forcibly remove Mr. Felkner. They don’t address the source of Mr. Day’s power to dictate action to the police. Shouldn’t the police require some sort of legal basis before denying a citizen access to a public meeting? Could Mr. Felkner have ordered the police to remove Mr. Day? Lots of questions…very few answers.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  3. Note to Hopkinton Town Council…school choice makes all this nonsense go away. Once families have a chance to choose, then the people who are happy with Chariho can leave their children there, and families looking to improve the academic outcomes for their children can choose alternative schools. Please act quickly…my time is running out. Approve school choice and we won’t need Mr. Felkner protecting our children…you’ll give us the ability to do it ourselves.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  4. CR,how does school choice make this nonsense go away? There will be people who care about the education of their children but even with school choice won’t be able to make up the difference for the tuition or the few schools around won’t have space for their child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against school choice, but I don’t see how it makes ALL this nonsense go away for everyone.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 19, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  5. When school choice is allowed schools follow. You have to understand the nature of free markets, but it happens every time. As for tuition, you can get your K – 8 child a great parochial school education for around $5,000. This is far less than Hopkinton currently pays to Chariho for an inferior education.

    Another factor in play will be Chariho’s response to competition. If they want the business they wil change their focus from employees to children. School choice makes families the customer and Chariho will have to satisfy families or face the consequences. Since this has been Mr. Felkner’s mission, people like him won’t be needed…it will happen naturally.

    Hopkinton has one advantage which will make school choice work much more quickly than many other places. We have the 1904 building which we could lease or sell to anyone wishing to form a school. It needs work, but I’m sure it could be turned around in a year or less. Imagine having the ability to open up a school with a capacity to handle 700 to 800 students for only a million or two…what a great a deal.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  6. NOW, let’s see if our Town Council supports Bill!

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 19, 2008 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  7. Dorothy,
    Where will we be able to view the video?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 19, 2008 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  8. CharihoParent,

    Please contact Sylvia thompson, she had the camera and used it most of the time. I only used her camera for a bit in the back of the room, as her battery went dead, and she needed to continue to record. She asked that I hold the camera for her, and I did.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 19, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  9. I wrote to Mr. Kennedy regarding this situation, and here is the reponse:

    Hi Mrs. Gardiner,

    I have been told that Bill Felkner asked for a legal opinion as to whether he could continue to serve in both capacities. Based on the town charter language, he was told that it does not preclude him from holding the two positions, since the Town Council position is covered as an elective office under the Hopkinton Town Charter, while the School Committee position is a separate entity under the Chariho Regional School District. I am not an attorney, so I would not be able to advise as to the legality of this, however the District is a separate legal entity from the Town, and thus the legality of this may ultimately have to be decided by the courts.

    Have a good one and stay warm!

    Brian Patrick Kennedy
    State Representative-District 38

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 19, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  10. Mrs Thompson,
    Where will be able to view the video of last night’s debacle that the Bill Day and his merry band of cohorts laid upon us?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 19, 2008 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  11. I have the disc (thx Sylvia), but it is in DVD format (VOB). I am reading up on converting the format to AVI, MGP, or something I can work with. Then I will need to edit with a movie maker program because the 1 hr tape will need to be cut to 10 min lengths for posting on youtube. I will start posting as soon as I figure it out. Expect something up later tonight

    Comment by Bill Felkner — November 19, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  12. BF,
    I don’t know if you’ve found anything yet. This one seems to convert to most any format that you may want.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 19, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

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