Chariho School Parents’ Forum

January 31, 2009

From our friends at RISC

Filed under: contract negotiations — Editor @ 4:41 pm





The battle between the East Providence School Committee and local taxpayers and the teachers’ union remains unresolved! Your previous petition signatures and letters to media outlets were most helpful. The petition was formally delivered to the Court of Judge Pfeiffer, who left in place the decision of the East Providence School Committee to roll back teacher salaries and require a 20% healthcare co-pay.

  For jurisdictional reasons, the ‘unfair labor practice’ case is still pending before the Labor Relations Board, and the teachers’ union is appealing Judge Pfeiffer’s decision. This week, Judge Francis X. Flaherty will hear the appeal and hand down a decision by February 5. This means we have only a few days to petition the court again.

Please be certain that your spouse, neighbors, friends and relatives sign this petition, so that the Court understands how many people oppose the continued deficit spending of school districts to satisfy the voracious demands of the NEA.

Thank you for your continued concern and involvement!


Offer to help those without computers to sign and pass this email along to your taxpayer friends and neighbors!





  1. Done, and I joined this group a few weeks ago. Got me to thinking, I wonder if Hopkinton is ready for a taxpayers association.

    Comment by RS — January 31, 2009 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  2. Whoever you are RS, that train left a long time ago, about 20 years roughly.

    Maybe the well thought of researcher by BF has a just of when that happened.

    If I remember or heard as I moved into a tri town it was well organzied and had great membership, maybe someone out their has more.

    Comment by Sandy — January 31, 2009 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

  3. So I guess you are saying once upon a time there was an association ?

    Comment by RS — January 31, 2009 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

  4. RISC is NOT for the betterment of the area…just for their own pockets. A bunch of part time, out of town yuppies, that want to control what the rest of the year round residents should do. Go ask Staley how many months of the year he actually spends in his mcmansion along the water in shelter harbor. Does anyone, ANYONE, with a brain really think that this group, comprised of mostly shelter harbor rich folks, really gives a flying crap about Hopkinton?? Really?? If they care so much about you and doing the right thing, where were they when Hopkinton has been repeatedly getting shafted? Oh, I forgot, shelter harbor isnt a part of Hopkinton so the part timers could care less. What a joke. If Hopkinton wants their own taxpayer assoc., it should create one. It shouldnt depend on these millionaires for guidance.

    Comment by yep — February 1, 2009 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  5. OK, I can’t argue a point I do not know the answer for, but I can ask where is the organization for the “year round residents” ?? Where are the “year round residents” who are seeking fiscal responsibility ??

    True they might not care about Hopkinton, but if they care about fiscal responsibility, then those with like minded beliefs would also benefit from any fiscally responsible changes they promote.

    I’m not sure what “repeatedly getting shafted” means, your viewpoint changes the meaning of “shafted”. I need further explanation and information.

    In regards to where were they when…..
    Your statement remind me of an Elanor Roosevelt quote:

    “It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself”

    Comment by RS — February 1, 2009 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  6. “yep”,
    I can’t speak to that issue and I will admit I disagree with RISC’s stance on LNG and other bay development, but I agree with them on this and signed the petition (although, citizen influence on the judiciary is something I’m not quite content with)

    Comment by Bill Felkner — February 1, 2009 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

  7. I doubt a petition has any affect on the courts decision where the judges are not elected. I view signing the petition as a public showing to those who feel they are “owed” something from the taxpayers. Sort of a shot across the bow if you will, albeit with a cap gun.

    Comment by RS — February 1, 2009 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  8. I do agree with Yep to a point. RISC did hipocracy when they vocally opposed the Westerly School bond which would have increased taxes for their members from Westerly, while tacitly supporting the Chariho bond which benefitted their affluent Charlestown members. Either they are for or against the failure of local schools and the undo financial burden on taxpayers. RISC’s decision to act based on the self interests of their membership calls their integrity into question.

    That said, all fiscally responsible citizens should support the efforts of the East Providence School Committee. If RISC is willing to lead the effort, then I see no problem selectively supporting them on this specific issue.

    Perhaps a citizen’s petition has no affect on judges, but I am of the opinion that many judges decide cases based on their political ideology rather than the law. Maybe its worth delivering the message that many of us are tired of government schools’ inability to teach our children and at a cost out of whack with reality.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 1, 2009 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  9. I do not know the circumstances of the Westerly School Bond, but I do know my polling place in Hopkinton had a pro-bond representative, and nobody from the other side. Is it not possible the only people RISC heard from on the issue were the pro-bond folks ?

    My work on Smith Hill has taught me one thing, you will never have 100% agreement on all issues with your staunchest ally, and many times you can convince your biggest opponent you have the correct view. When either of these people don’t agree with you, this is not the time to cast them away. Respect must always be shown, and RISC has earned my respect with the stance on the EPSC situation.

    We all have our battles we choose to fight, and we will all fight them in our preferred way. I for one am glad to have the opportunity to voice my opinion and sign my name to a petition voicing concern over the situation EP finds themselves in.

    Maybe I don’t have a brain……..

    Comment by RS — February 1, 2009 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  10. As I said, I appreciate RISC’s support for the East Providence School Committee. I do know a little bit about the Westerly bond, and RISC took the right position in opposing it. I believe they chose to support the Chariho bond. I did a bit of research on their membership. It is heavily concentrated in Westerly and Charlestown.

    I concur it is rare to agree 100% with any person or organization, but based on the little I know about RISC, I’m not prepared to say they are an ally of the community.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 1, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  11. It’s hard to fault the group for its Westerly/Charlestown leanings if thats where it garners most of its support. If Hopkinton wants equal or better representation for tax advocacy, then we need to get organized and help ourselves.
    When I make contact with a Hopkinton based group making an effort to show support for issues like the EPSC, then I too will support them.

    The only 2 groups I currently know of working toward fiscal restraint in the EP situation are the East Providence Taxpyers Association and RISC. I have been in contact with both these groups and support their efforts. Like I said, I have never been in 100% agreement on all issues with any political action group I support financially.

    Comment by RS — February 1, 2009 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  12. Sure, for some people the natural inclination is to put your own interests before that of the community. We have School Committess, unions, and administrators doing just that. I prefer those like Mr. Felkner who fight for what is right even if it isn’t beneficial to them. His advocacy for a school choice system which does not include those families currently paying for private school is case in point. Would RISC fight for school choice if it didn’t personally benefit their membership? I have to wonder.

    I don’t fault anyone for supporting RISC. They probably fall on the right side on many issues. Of course, there is no reason to hide the fact they took conflicting positions based on the location of their membership. Like I said, I am only aware of this particular hypocrisy. Something for people to consider, but by all means we should support their advocacy in the East Providence school situation and any other issues where they are on the right side.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 2, 2009 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  13. They may have had other reasons for opposing one bond while tacitly supporting another, but without a believable explanation, I can’t help but think they made the decision based on personal benefit rather than an adherence to a logical and consistent stance on education spending.

    I’m fine with a group fighting for out-of-state property owners. They pay taxes, probably more than most, so they should have a voice, but it is not an attack to note the group dynamic and to recognize their advocacy may not always gibe with the interests of the common taxpayer. Good luck to them and all of Rhode Island on the East Providence issue. We need relieve and our children need a better education. East Providence may be the place where it all begins (or not).

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 2, 2009 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  14. So CR, if you were a resident of Charlestown, you would be pushing for tax equalization ?

    Comment by RS — February 2, 2009 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  15. Hi!
    Hopkinton did have an active taxpayers group in the past like Ross Beil, Norm Brunelle, Nathan Kaye, and Bob Stewart, all now deceased, they were all part of it; and if they were not formally so,which I think they were, they were all part of the budget hawks in town.
    A real word to the wise, Hopkinton has a number of town boards and commission vacant. This includes a Finance Board, which is dormant. An advertisement has just gone out, already published in The Westerly Sun, last Thursday.You may have seen my letter, in the last issue of The Chariho Times , but I don’t believe letters can be read online. This letter was published in that paper last Thursday.It is relatively easy to get an appointment in town, depending on the board or commission.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — February 2, 2009 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  16. I’m as selfish and greedy as the next guy. I’d fight tax equilization tooth and nail if I lived in Charlestown. I’d say that Hopkinton made a mutually beneficial agreement 50 years ago, and they are now forced to live with it even if it was no longer mutually beneficial. I’d be wrong, but for a couple of thousand dollars a year out of my pocket I’d likely be against tax equity.

    What I wouldn’t do though is support tax equilization in Westerly while opposing it in Hopkinton. I’m willing to be wrong, but I avoid being hypocritical as much as I can.

    The other difference between RISC and me is I think I would understand and probably even support opposition to a Chariho bond. While I would want to keep my tax advantage, I would recognize Hopkinton’s tax liability is over the top, and I would respect those paying significantly higher taxes for the same service.

    Charlestown and RISC don’t stop at maintaining the tax structure, they also insist we pay even more vis a vis the bond and annual budgets. They know Chariho spending costs us almost three times as much as them, and they don’t care. I would care about Hopkinton and Richmond families at least to that extent.

    Chariho costs too much and delivers too little. Whether I live in Hopkinton or Charlestown, that fact remains true.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 2, 2009 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  17. I do understand your point on the hypocrisy, but in all things political, they will never be equal….except in utopia. It sucks, shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Even some of the original 13 colonies were “coerced” if that is the proper word into accepting things they didn’t agree with. Once again politics.
    I have found myself working on legistlation I was adamantly opposed to. Reason being, it was going to pass regardless of my opposition. So there comes a point when I decided I must try to influence the bill to my advantage and accept it will become law.

    I do not like the willy nilly politics of RISC anymore than the next guy, but I feel there is an opportunity to try and effectuate some change in RI given the current economic conditions and taxpayer sentiment, a sort of perfect storm if you will. So I jump on whatever train is going in that direction and at the moment, RISC seems to be my ride of choice. Once this battle winds down, I may very well find they are of no use to me as a resident of Hopkinton.

    I don’t think my current support of them will have any negative affect on Hopkinton or its taxpayers, but the upside potential is certainly there. The worst case scenario is nothing changes and I’m out a few bucks. That I can live with for the opportunity to try and move forward. Who knows, maybe this discussion will spawn a new generation of Hopkinton Taxpayers for Repsonsibility.

    Comment by RS — February 2, 2009 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  18. I’m with you RS. I’m not against political expediency. I noted RISC’s hypocrisy on the bonds and nothing else. I don’t know enough about them to say they aren’t worthy of support. I do have a very favorable opinion of Mr. Felkner’s organization, OSPRI, and would choose to donate my financial resources to OSPRI if I ever have money to give. Perhaps if the economy improves and taxes don’t continue to impoverish my family, I’ll have to make a decision.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 2, 2009 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

  19. I agree and support Mr. Felkner with a large dose of spirit and a pittance of money. Like you I wish more donations could be made, but life gets in the way of our desires sometimes.

    Comment by RS — February 2, 2009 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

  20. We’ll find out if the Supreme Court is for sale like so many others/the legistlature. Hold your breathe, if their not what their are proposed to be the taxpayers will win. If not the next wave of taxpayers are going out the door. Maybe that is what the toll are proposed at Exit 1 and 93 and Pawtucket,Mass Exit. The last kick in the ass to get out.

    We have our chariho share that will flush others for their higher ground. The ones that seal their deal at our tri town expenses.

    Comment by Sandy — February 3, 2009 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  21. Even if the cuts are instituted, there will still be an exodus, the gov’t workers heading to places with cheaper costs of living with their pensions in tow. I will join them someday, because RI will not get 1 cent of my retirement income.

    Comment by RS — February 3, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  22. There are many bills introduced which relate to education.

    I do not personally have time to deal with each bill, but if someone wants to volunteer to research the bill and offer an opinion as to if they will benefit the taxpayers of Hopkinton and our children, I will be more than happy to testify on the bill and speak with the sponsors on Smith Hill.

    I cannot take on these educational bills myself, I have too many other bills I have to research and work on besides these.

    Any volunteers ? You can rest assured if the bill benefits the unions in any way they will have paid lobbyist working on their behalf. I am willing to do the leg work at the State House, I just do not have the time to wade through every bill and judge it for its affect on the taxpayer or our children.

    Comment by RS — February 4, 2009 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  23. The following are the bills I have identified so far:

    These are all house bills, but the senate bill will be worded the same.


    The text of the bill can be obtained at the following link, just type in the bill number in the box labeled Bills: (the letter H or S not needed).

    Comment by RS — February 4, 2009 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

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