Chariho School Parents’ Forum

February 6, 2009

Gorham’s reply memo

I see my last two uploads didn’t take – here is Nick Gorham’s reply memo sent to the court on Wednesday.  I have also provided a new link on the post below for the court’s order.

February 4 Reply Memo



  1. With all that is going on state wide and what was at some point going to show the financil melt down of the municipalities due to school budgets has finanially hit.

    As we have learned from the past, if we don’t LEARN FROM IT, it will usually cycle around again.

    As part of this is a People’s Forum article noted in the Westerly Sun dated Januaary 16, 1992. I would also note that some blogger in the last two weeks had mentioned that Hopkinton should have a Taxpayer group if they didn’t like the way things were going (a paraphrase).

    Hopefully this covers a lot of ground for a lot of people all the way around and bloggers can chime in to their knowledge of what was then, what is now and what is different.

    Finally the Article.


    Comment by James Hirst — February 7, 2009 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

  2. Regarding the above entry:

    I didn’t finish the article or People’s Forum entry by Mr. Norman Brunelle, Hope Valley, R.I. who was noted at his letter to the editor in The local paper (THE SUN) as the chairman of the Hopkinton Tax Payers Committee. I mention this only as it was mentioned recently by someone who felt that Hopkinton should have one/a taxpayer’s committee.(This committee was in the early 90’s and I will stand corrected if any other bloggers have other information)

    Under the Title of Chariho School Committee has lost all credibility
    dated January 2, 1992

    Kafkaesque:adj, of, charisic of , or like the writiings of Kafka;
    specif., surreal, nightmarish, confusingly complex, etc.

    Need one look further for an adjective to describe the budgetary dilemma at Chariho?

    With the recent announcement of a pending $27 million dollar 92-92 budget wich includes 15 new teachers, benefits of $4.6 million and so forth-tax payers cringe.

    The present contract signed November 1990 is the source of this nightmare. When things got a little sticky, 14 months ago, the school committee did what came naturally; it gave—gave raises, class size and benefits.

    The committee had kept negotiations secret and then voted 5-4 for the giveaway. To further exacerbate a bad situation, it kept Article X, class size, under wraps until March 1, 1991.

    Aloof, disassociated, divorced from its constituents, the committee, by one vote, yoked us to this crushing burden.

    On Dec, 19 1991, the Deparment of Education’s Fact Finding Committee was told by “Chariho District Officials” that its 1990-91 accumulated surplus was $1.7 million. The Fact Finding Committee’s work was thereby concluded. It recommends $809,000 be returned to the budget. This will probably result in the fifth District Financial Meeting with a possible lawsuit against taxpayers.

    However, it would seem that the Chariho School Committee has some explaining to do to their taxpayers. From whence comes this $1.7 million? If they had known of this surplus by July 16, how come they cut the sports program and kindergarten aids?

    By further projection, we must ask whether the committee is withholding vital information from the Chariho Finance Board.
    All Chariho voters should read Henry Oppenheimers report to the Richmond Town Council in The Sun, Dec 24, 1991. Given the circumstances, the board has done a remarkable job. Had it been given the true fiscal data early on, we probably could have avoided one or two district financial meetings.

    The Finance Board has called for an ad hoc committee to renegotiate wages, benefits and class size. It should be able to make recommendations prioer to the March District Financial Meeting.

    Our three councils should give their unequivocal endorsements to the ad hoc committee. They must recognize that our teachers have to take cuts in wages and benefits so that the true tax rates can be lowered-regardlesss of what revaluation discloses. This is going to be a long recession.

    (Blogger note, can you see the Verizon guy ‘Can you here me NOW), or is this BACK to THE FUTURE!)

    However, knowing of the intransigence of Chariho NEA and of the School Committee’s penchant for playing politics, we should not put much faith in the creation of an ad hoc committee.

    The Chariho School Committee is very willing to sue taxpayers for its $809,000. Now, if the ad hoc committee cannot reduce the 92-93 budget proposal,, as Mr. Oppenheimer suggests, then the school committee must be ready to sue Chariho NEA and get them into renegotiations.

    We must pack the upcoming budget hearings, and we must raise hell. After all, it is our homes at stake. Rule of thumb indicates 15 to 30 percent increases in taxes in Richmond and Hopkinton from this 92-93 budget proposal.

    The frame work of this Kafkaesque tradgedy is an obsolescent 19th century structure plastered all over with band-aid laws. nless we voters take drastic action, our legislators woun’t change it.

    We will have to vote a big cut in the proposed 92-93 budge. Since we cannot get the true fiscal facts from the School Committee (Blogger note in 2009 is it me or is this missing the facts same problem as 17 years ago if not longer, time for a Caroulo Moment).then we must force them back to the Department of Educatiion’s Fact Finding Committe early on in 1992. The FactFinding Committee is the Chariho Committee’s IRS.

    This is a nighmare. Kafka would be right at home in it. How would he have been depicted the total loss in credibility of the Chariho School Committee.

    January 16, 1992
    Norman Brunelle
    Hope valley, R.I.
    (The writer is chairman of the Hopkinton Taxpayers Committee.)


    I would like thank all Bloggers for their insight and Mr. William Felkner for this platform for not only tri town voters but about OPEN GOVERNMENT AND TRANSPARENCY in all forms of Government.

    Be Well Tri Town Voters!

    Comment by James Hirst — February 7, 2009 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

  3. Hi!
    Mr. Brunelle and I served on the Hopkinton Town Council together. He is deceased. I got two letters for publication at The Sun with one of them circulated to a number of press contacts for publication. One is really specific to the Felkner situation and the Richmond Town Council just for The Sun, and other which is quite long for numerous papers throughout Rhode Island including The Sun.
    Bob Scattergood handles Letters to The Editor for The Sun BTW, contact him at ,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — February 9, 2009 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  4. Hi again,
    The Chariho Regional School District is not the only “regional or multi-town” government entity in Chariho region, but we have fire districts as well, that go over municipal boundaries. The tax rates for fire purposes are in fact equalized, and the constituency is all the same, and town borders mean nothing in election of officers and no town has veto power.
    My brother brings much to this blog. I hope he shares some of it to the general press such as The Sun and Chariho Times in “Letters to The Editor”.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — February 9, 2009 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  5. Mr. Hirst since the newspapers don’t do any digging into their own articles for ‘investigative’ or ‘historical reporting, hopefully they will use this site to get information on why Chariho was or what it is today. For good or bad. All Chariho isn’t bad and I know you agree. There are many problems that have gone unresolved over a 50 year period which makes the factions that stand before us and its committee people and council members.

    It is hopefully that articles or information can be provided on this site regarding links to changes regarding the Chariho Act and other issues like Charlestown insistance to leave the district over the many years yet never did.

    Mr. Felkner can’t do it all. I do appreciate his and yours and the many other committed people in the tri towns who have committed themselves to public service for the good of their communities and the young people of the Chariho. Mr. Oppenheimer of Richmond and many others have been at it for a long time (like yourself) and are to be commended, politics aside and I’m sure you agree at some level.

    Be well tri town voters.

    Comment by James Hirst — February 9, 2009 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  6. Scott,
    I believe that your comparison of fire districts and the school committe is a bit off the mark. On the school committee there are other members from other communities that serve on that committee, people who had no say in their election while people elected as officers for the fire district do not come from out of the fire district. In that case, why would one town want to have veto power? I understand and, depending how it might be structured, am willing to go along with a unified taxing district. I’ve been told that in some parts of the country you get a municipal tax bill and also a school district tax bill. That being said, I would then expect that any vote would be a simple majority vote since the school district is regardless of town lines for taxing, then it should also be regardless of town lines for votes.

    Comment by CharihoParent — February 9, 2009 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  7. I would agree with CharihoParent about a unified district with no town veto, but this would only work if students were co-mingled in Elementary Schools. As we’ve seen with the Ashaway’s 1904 building, when two towns don’t have a vested interest in the infrastructure of the other town, they have no problem allowing the infrastructure to fall into disrepair. I believe Richmond experienced a similar parochial bias as it pertains to the water situation at Richmond Elementary.

    There are likely other problems with eliminating town vetoes, but infrastructure has already proven we currently don’t vote as a district but as individual towns. Besides, with the passage of the bonds, Charlestown now has absolutely no incentive to support a fair and equitable tax scheme. Talk of tax equity is all a pipe dream.

    Comment by Curious Resident — February 10, 2009 @ 12:25 am | Reply

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