Chariho School Parents’ Forum

January 9, 2009

Budget meeting recap

Filed under: Budget — Editor @ 8:22 pm

h/t to Gene for providing a recap of the budget meeting. 


1. Capital Project Approval: Voted to transfer money to fund: Hope Valley Chimney, Richmond water tank, & Ashaway roof. Minor discussion on Richmond water tank, concensus was hoping for the water main extension before 2010 deadline was not prudent.

2. HV Brickwor: Notice that at the next meeting $300M will be requested for HV brickwork. It was noted that with the $200M in next year’s budget, total is now up to $1.50MM.

3. Campus Mowing: Discussion on whether to continue with contracted services or bring back in-house. Decided to keep contracted, consensus was that while their might be a savings to do in-house their were a lot of unknowns that could end up costing more.

4. Backhoe: Heavy debate on merits of buying an expensive piece of equipment. Justification is that existing equipment is old and needs replacement, it used used for a variety of jobs: snow removal, trenching, variety of grounds maintenance tasks, unloading of supplies (with forks), etc. Point of contention was mostly the cost, $54M seems too much, need a smaller one, asked for more information to defend the upgrade.

*** IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION … The current tractor is a Kubota, so people kept using “Kubota” instead of “Backhoe” or “Tractor”, Tom came in during that discussion and let it be known what he thought of the district buying a top of the line industrial tractor. Mr. McQuaide, while looking at Tom Buck & I, was eager to make clear that the blog should reflect that he is not in support of buying a top-of-the-line Kubota.

5. Asst. AD Role: SC wanted to understand the purpose of the role. AD explained that it is mostly to manage sporting events, a responsible adminsistrator is required to be there. Consensus was not to remove.

6. Athletic Trainer: The role is part time, budgeted at $20M. Two responsibilities: educate coaches and students in area of expertise (SC asked for clarification as to what this is) and determination of fitness to return to game after injury. Some thought that coaches should be able to perform the fitness to play function or the ambulance personnel (football only). Others thought the this was asking people to operate outside of their “scope of practice”. Unclear whether having the role would reduce liability, would the AT be practing under their own insurance? More discussion at next meeting.

7. Principal HV/Ashaway: There will be a vacancy at the end of the year. Richmond has ~465 students, Ashaway/HV combined ~470 students. Concept is to have one principal for both schools was put on the table to think about for next meeting. Salary of a principal is $107M.

8. Budget Crisis: Ricci discussion what he had heard during the Sup’t meeting earlier in the day. Item that got the most attention was the section that any union that encourages their members to strike would lose the right to represent and collect dues in the state for 3 years. Mr. Polouski demanded that the Govenor appear before the SC to explain himself and allow Mr. Polouski to tell him why he is wrong.


Ricci had a list of specifics that had been presented by the governor, interesting ones were:

1. Eliminate requirement that school nurses be certified teachers 2. Prohibit “work to rule” by teachers 3. Loss of two days pay for each day on strike 4. Unions who recommend strikes can’t represent or collect dues for 3 yrs.

5. Budget caps would apply to court decisions involving Carulo suits, courts can’t override caps.

Impact to budget of Gov’s proposal was not discussed in detail, mostly all absorbing Ricci’s list. Ricci did point out the monitor item.

If I remember right, the AD is a 3/5 time teacher and the AAD is a full time teacher with a $3500 stipend. My biggest take away from the conversation (including Athletic Trainer, mowing the fields to tight specs, coach stipends, etc.) is that the Athletic costs add up.

The public was Tom Buck, a woman whose name I didn’t catch and I. Tom & I were allowed to speak every time we asked, 3-4 times each.

Bill & George were not at the meeting, Bill’s out of town.





    The link above is a Rag article on Stonington school’s budget. The superintendent there uses the word spending. His proposal is for an increase of 2.59%…which in a period of deflation is still ridiculous, but at least at the surface he seems to be attempting to seriously reduce spending.

    I guess we’re all going to have to lose our jobs before these government hacks begin to realize we can’t spend more…we have to spend less. Maybe when we’re all unemployed and have our homes foreclosed they’ll start to get it? Probably not.

    Comment by Curious Resident — January 10, 2009 @ 2:34 am | Reply

  2. Hi!
    Budgets are interesting. Spending while budgets can be reduced from the previous years, in school budgets because of “maintenance of effort” principle, you need a decrease in school enrollment or non recurring expenses which are not included in the theory of school budgets.
    The immediate questions are thus:
    1.If there is a decrease in student enrollment, how does that impact the school budget’s “maintenance of effort” requirements?
    2. What non recurring expenses have been in recent school budgets, and after the task budgeted for is completed, has that amount taken out from future school budgets?
    3. Since school budgets are labor intensive, how many lay off notices will be sent out in March, which I believe the month they have to be sent out, to give the school committee flexibility on staff levels?
    $. Will there be a deliberate attempt to have an outside management study on school operations in the next budget by including that item?
    Scott Bill Hirst

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — January 10, 2009 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  3. Question for those who have been around this for a while …

    Doesn’t the cost boil down to staffing and the collective bargaining contracts?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — January 10, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  4. Yep…pretty much. People debate tractors and other things, but the items Chariho play games with are employees and their contracts.

    Who wants to put people on unemployment? Not even me, but government employees are paid with other people’s money, so if we get rid of unneeded employees, then the people doing the work and earning the money kind of get a raise as taxes decline. Instead of feeling bad about eliminating positions, we should feel good that those doing the work are getting to keep more of their money.

    I recently heard that property taxes are often the culprit when people lose their homes to forecloure…maybe because there are more people who know teachers and school employees we feel empathy for them and not for the foreclosed homeowner? Anyway, Chariho has way too many employees and gives them way too much compensation. To make it worse, they don’t even do a good job educating our children. I’m tired of having to worry about living in Hopkinton and I know I’m not alone. Give us a break for once.

    Comment by Curious Resident — January 11, 2009 @ 12:53 am | Reply

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