Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 4, 2009

Chariho Budget meeting

Filed under: Budget — Editor @ 12:15 am

Each town brought about 40 residents to the Middle School auditorium to discuss the Chariho budget. 

Hopkinton asked a few questions, as did someone from Charlestown, but not much else.  It was only approx 1 hour.

Charlestown asked for a reduction of $250,000.

Tom Buck explained how using surplus to pay for operating expenses was a bad idea and one we will have to pay for eventually (because we will have to cover the $ when the surplus is gone and it hides the fact that the budget really went up 4%).  He suggested using surplus for capital improvement (one time costs).

Sylvia Thompson asked for a couple of specific reductions and reiterated that Chariho always ends up with a substantial surplus – budget continue to rise while we are now at 1993 enrolment levels (last year we were at 1996  levels). 

Barbara Capalbo queried on the expected revenues – pinning them down that they are assuming level funding from the state.

I asked if the state gives us less than level funding, would they be willing to work with us to fill that gap. Ricci said the SC was always willing to work with the towns.

The Richmond Town Council was noticeably absent from this evening’s budget meeting.  Anyone have any idea why?

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16 Comments »

  1. APATHY.

    …and oh yeh, violating a neighboring towns civil rights wasn’t on the agenda.

    Comment by RS — March 4, 2009 @ 1:00 am | Reply

  2. Richmond TC meets every other Tues opposite the CSC, tonight was their regularly scheduled meeting.

    Better question was why did the CSC schedule the budget meeting to conflict with a known tri-town TC night?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 4, 2009 @ 1:11 am | Reply

  3. Guess I should have cleaned the snow off my shoe before I inserted it in my mouth, its awfully cold.

    Comment by RS — March 4, 2009 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  4. LOL … Priceless!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 4, 2009 @ 1:28 am | Reply

  5. Mr. Buck is probably right about the 4% increase. Declining enrollment and the economy in shambles, yet Chariho still has no problem gouging taxpayers. There’s a reason why Chariho never owns up to what they spend. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to hide surpluses and they’d have to admit when they increase spending. The same game played over and over again year after year.

    In a way I don’t blame them. They get away with it. A couple of people might try to expose the games, but politically there’s little risk, and they can always count on Richmond politicians to provide cover. Chariho is the gift that keeps on giving to those who play along.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 4, 2009 @ 2:19 am | Reply

  6. Normally the RTC reschedules their March meeting to either Monday or Wednesday night when it conflicts with a Chariho meeting. Not sure why they didn’t do it this time around. I’m sure Chariho knows of the conflict but remains steadfast in scheduling them. I would not use the term apathetic as I’ve usually seen them at budget hearings and district financial town meetings.

    The call for only $250,000 being struck from the budget certainly isn’t enough. I look around at other school districts seeking union concessions and wonder why Chariho does not appear to be doing likewise. I see not only our three towns trying to figure out ways to reduce their budgets not only in the current fiscal year but for the upcoming fiscal year but yet Chariho wants a roughly 4% increase. I’ve only seen one committee member really trying hard to reduce the budget but is stonewalled with every suggestion. I’m voting “No” on this budget.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 4, 2009 @ 5:36 am | Reply

  7. I believe that the school committee is using the contract currently in negotition to keep this year’s budget under control. Most towns with huge problems are saddled with big contractual raises next year, and it’s clear from the draft budget that ain’t the case here.

    Also the declining enrollment is hitting the teacher ranks to a degree, there’s a (small) net decrease in teaching FTE’s.

    For some reason there’s a decreased pension contribution (based on yearold data, will certainly be reversed and then some next year) and a big decrese in health based on low claims, I guess.

    Looks like they get a pass this year, unless state aid gets cut by a hugeamount. Depending on the NEA contract, thoguh, next year might be really bad.

    Comment by david — March 4, 2009 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  8. David,
    Can you provide some documentation for those? We have looked at the actual payrolls and haven’t seen reductions – nor have we seen any proposals from the contracts. But happy to see what you can supply. thx

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 4, 2009 @ 9:11 am | Reply

  9. Speaking of items which can put a “dent” in the budget, I managed to plow 3 driveways this past week and never hit anything…..how did Chariho make out?

    Comment by RS — March 4, 2009 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  10. Intersting article…..I think it was written about RI.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/01/pensions-bankruptcy-government-opinions-columnists_california_print.html

    Comment by RS — March 4, 2009 @ 11:18 am | Reply

  11. This one paints a good picture of Rhode Island, mostly accurate about its downfalls:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/us/01rhode.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=smallest%20state%20grapples&st=cse

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 4, 2009 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  12. I’m afraid by the time people figure out its time to turn the switch on, there won’t be any power to light the bulb. A year ago we had these same conversations, and nothing has been done yet, except the blame game. If there was only someone who had the desire to live in RI who wanted to buy my house. Maybe I could sell it to the town for open space.

    Of course we all know it’s Carcieri’s fault….

    Comment by RS — March 4, 2009 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  13. Sorry, I have no hard evidence to back up my guesses. What I know is from looking at the numbers and from asking questions of Barry Ricci.

    Without giving anything away, he acknolwedged that there were assumptions about the new contract in the budget numbers, which I figure must mean zero overall raise, since net decrease of 3.2 fte for the 09-10 budget mentioned in the budget powerpoint would be a small effect at best.

    He also told me that the pension contrbution is a number we get from the state, and that this is the second year with reduced health premiums based on low claims via self-insurance (I guess).

    Comment by david — March 4, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  14. I certainly see nothing from the school committee suggesting they’re interested in any significant change. If they sign a contract with large backloaded raises and no effective change then we’re really going to be screwed next year, because I don’t think the overall financial picture will be any better in a year.

    Comment by david — March 4, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  15. If they really get anywhere near a 0% raise for all the teachers I will be shocked. I’ll be the first to write the paper with congrats. But half of them get over 10% and I just don’t see them letting it drop that far. As for employment numbers, 3.2 is better than nothing.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — March 4, 2009 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

  16. I have no expectation that the school committee is willing to take on the “step system”, which provides most of that 10% for the teachers in the early parts of their career. I expect to see a continued step system (although I’d love ot see it go away) with zero overall raise for next year. Who knows after that…

    Comment by david — March 5, 2009 @ 8:18 am | Reply


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