Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 30, 2009

Chariho budget info

Filed under: Budget,Chariho — Editor @ 8:55 pm

Sylvia Thompson asked me to post this budget info – its very informative. I can’t help but wonder if having actual expenses when they develop the budget could have avoided some of these multi-million dollar discrepancies.  But that would assume it wasn’t intentional.

Undesignated fund balance info

Taxing for more than they need

[UPDATE]

There was an error on the Hopkinton State Aid page – corrected page HERE

Advertisements

80 Comments »

  1. This isn’t difficult. I’ve said it over and over again. Chariho runs huge surpluses in anticipation of the long term effect on budget caps. They can’t stop taking a ridiculous surplus because they know they will have a much harder time getting it back if they give it up.

    The annual surplus and accumulating surplus give them the means to reward administrators and maintain unnecessary employees. This is all about spending flexibility.

    We are easily diverted. Chariho’s administration and School Committee plays budget games….always have, and will continue to do it. Why shouldn’t they? They get bonds passed even if it takes a couple of tries. Budgets are a virtual lock once they get Richmond’s morons wound up.

    Mrs. Thompson has done a great job putting together all this data. I don’t doubt one bit of it…in fact, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. If we knew about the manipulation and deal-making that goes on behind the scenes we’d probably vomit.

    For all our hand wringing…Hopkinton can only get around 50% of our voters to demand Chariho change its ways. Richmond and Charlestown voters have overwhelming majorities who could care less or fall for the “for the children” propaganda.

    Good luck to Mrs. Thompson. I admire her persistence, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope that this time it will turn out any differently. Tri-town voters don’t have the stomach or the brains to hold Chariho accountable.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 30, 2009 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  2. Another classy move by Richmond…prior to the bond revote, Hopkinton had asked for a change in the timing for payments to Chariho. At the time, Richmond leaders said they wouldn’t support a change in the payment schedule because Hopkinton was not supporting the bond. Well, here we are now, Hopkinton foolishly capitulated on the bond, and guess who says they are not interested in changing the payment schedule? Yep…you got it…Richmond Town Council…as reported by Gene at the most recent School Committee meeting.

    I don’t know the deal with the payment situation. I presume Hopkinton is forced to do some short term financial manipulation while they wait for tax revenue to come in, but Richmond has no desire to accomodate Hopkinton now they got their bond.

    The School Committee members didn’t raise any major objections, except for Fat Andy who said the payment schedule was enshrined in the Chariho Act and therefore a change in the schedule without a change in the Chariho Act would be “illegal”. Mr. Ricci stated the only adverse impact would be a small loss of interest income. Apparently with millions in surplus a few thousands dollars in interest earned from our money isn’t a big deal.

    Anyway, the School Committee said they won’t even consider the issue unless all three towns ask for the change in timing. Here’s where Hopkinton leaders could make it interesting if they have the chutzpah. After Fat Andy’s blustered on about illegalities, someone pointed out that all three towns are currently paying on a schedule which deviates from the Chariho Act. Fat Andy piped down after finding this out…I guess he doesn’t mind being a criminal after all?

    I think Hopkinton should consider demanding that all three towns go back to the original payment schedule per the Chariho Act. While this might hurt Hopkinton finances in the short term, it might also make Richmond and Charlestown play nice and eventually give Hopkinton the payment schedule that works best for our financial situation.

    I don’t know enough about the whole thing to say conclusively this would work. If anyone understands the details about this I’d like to know your thoughts? Would reversion back to the original payment schedule harm Richmond enough to make them act honorably?

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 30, 2009 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  3. Well, I probably should have said more to fully explain what the RTC said, but after waiting there several minutes I wanted to be brief.

    RTC said that Hopkinton should consider moving their tax payment dates up six weeks, seems like an easier solution than getting the Chariho Act changed. With that said, they don’t oppose the move, but they don’t plan to put a lot of energy into it, either way.

    I apologize if my statements, led anyone to think differently.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 31, 2009 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  4. You’ve got it right, Gene. That’s exacty the position of the RTC as I understand it. Taxes for the first quarter are due on the September 7th in both Richmond and Charlestown. Also, Richmond and Charlestown carry a better fund balance to cover the first three months without collecting taxes. Now Hopkinton wants the other two towns to capitulate because they have chosen to do things diffrently? Up to their TC to modify their ways to more closely conform to the other two towns.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 7:09 am | Reply

  5. Good work by Mrs. Thompson. Nice to see that at least someone could read through the mess that’s called the Chariho Budget. She’s shown exactly what my gut has been telling me about this budget, it’s not a good one. At substantial amount of money can be cut from the budget and still no one would feel a pinch because of the cut. My plan along with other voters in my family is to vote “No” on this budget. I hope most of the voters in the other towns also vote “No”.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 7:18 am | Reply

  6. Unless misinformation was given at the School Committee meeting…not an unusual occurence), the payment schedule already deviates from the Chariho Act. So what is Richmond talking about when it says it would be easier to change on the taxing side rather than the payment side? Obviously changing the payment schedule does not require a change in the Chariho Act.

    Is there any downside to Richmond if they go along with Hopkinton’s request? The impression I get is Chariho will lose a little in interest as they will have less unspent money lying around? This inidcates to me that for those towns who’ve already collected the money, they would keep the money longer. Is this a problem for Richmond?

    As I suggested earlier, I hope Hopkinton Town Council explores their options in regard to forcing all three towns back on the agreed upon payment schedule identified in the Chariho Act. At least Hopkinton has the system set-up to dealing with paying Chariho before taxes come in. Maybe once Richmond gets a taste of it they’ll decide it’s worth their time to expend the energy to write a letter to the School Committee.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 31, 2009 @ 8:39 am | Reply

  7. It is my understanding that the payment schedule as it currently is was provided for by law with a sunset clause in it which expired a few years ago. We, the voters, were asked to make it permanent and it was defeated(not sure which towns approved and which didn’t). All parties (CSC and town councils) have agreed at one time to continue with the same payment schedule for now. So there’s the story in a nutshell as I undertand it. As for Hopkinton having “he system set-up to dealing with paying Charih before taxes come in”, I rather doubt that statement since they are the ones who sought out a tax anticipation loan for the current fiscal year. Richmond and I believe Charlestown are the ones who don’t have to get the tax anticipaion loans to be able to pay their bills prior to the first quarter tax receipts. Gee, isn’t it great to think that your town is so perfect when in reality, none of the towns are perfect.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  8. FYI: This is the wording that I found contained in the Chariho Act in Section 15-9 (bottom of page 17 in the Chariho act).

    (9) The treasurer of each member town shall forward monthly to the regional school district
    treasurer the proportioned operating and construction costs for that fiscal year.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  9. CR, Your time and energy would be better used fighting for something that isn’t already in your control to fix. Move your tax payment date and let’s figure out how to get a Chariho Budget Cmte, appt by TCs, to do the budgets AND require TC approval of collective bargained contracts.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 31, 2009 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  10. Gene,
    I sense that you’re feeling a bit of the frustrations trying to work with the good folks from Hopkinton. Not to be unexpected from them, it’s been a long time that it’s their way or not at all. No one can do things as perfectly as the folks from Hopkinton, they have all the perfect answers to every one elses problems but no answers for their on problems. Oh wait, they’re perfect, they have no problems. I guesss having had to consectutive years of double digit tax increase, a below acceptable standard for a fund balance aren’t problems. When people from the 3 towns can actally sit down and talk, not fight, then and only then will anything get done.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  11. So in essence, Chari has an upper deck on the titanic and Ho’s is a little lower…..great. You must be happy your feet will get wet a little later. Maybe I shouldn’t tell ya, but the boat is sinking.

    Comment by RS — March 31, 2009 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  12. RS, you hit the nail on the head, we shouldn’t be worrying about small issues. Let’s get TC budget control somehow! Then we can save the ship!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 31, 2009 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  13. Gene,
    Since you’ve pretty much admitted your prior naivety about issues in the area what you fail to realize is that because of the constant grinding at smaller issues from a certain faction in the area the bigger issues fail to get resolved. It only that faction could learn to pick their battles and properly work resolve to resolve the major issues. As I said before, not until citizens of the three towns come to the table to work, not argue and fight, on these issues will anything at all be resolved. No one can come to resolve the issues with any parochial thoughts in mind about how their town does things better than any of the other towns. All of the issues have to resolved to the good of all the citizens, not just a third of them.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  14. Yup, picked up on that nuance. It’s ironic that they are part of the problem they proport to fight against. Several people told me that’s why they gave up on cspf.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 31, 2009 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  15. First of all, the issue with the town is more than just an adjustment to the payment schedule. The reason for the request is that the state pays the state aid in October. How is moving the date back going to help? Either way, the town would still have to get a temporary note. (I’m sure the town councilor’s can’t just change their fund balance anytime they feel the need.)

    All that aside, what we have is the Chariho school district receiving interest income on money that is technically already Hopkinton’s. They are receiving it based on our share. So, what is the big deal in allowing Hopkinton to have this flexibility. If it is a problem, then allow the 3 towns to do it.

    Additionally, what happens to the interest income that the district receives?

    Shouldn’t the money be paid to the district as it is needed? Or, should it be paid on the same schedule as the state’s payment schedule?

    Changing the dates is not that simple. As a homeowner and having a mortgage, many like us pay escrow for our taxes. Each bank would have to adjust their dates to make sure that the money held in escrow is paid to the town in a timely fashion. The town or the homeowner will have to arrange the change. Additionally and initially, the property tax owner would have to come up with the money at least 2 weeks earlier, and for some people, this is not an easy situation when the economy is struggling and they are already having trouble making ends meet. (ie… Some people are already living paycheck to paycheck.)

    It is a travesty that the district is earning interest and we are paying it, don’t you think?

    It is sad that our neighbors from Richmond and Charlestown could not agree to this simple request. What harm would it cause?

    Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2009 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  16. Lois,
    Probably not much harm but when small issues get mixed in with much larger issues nothing gets done at all. Isn’t it about time we began to act as a true district, put the differences aside and come to the table to talk and discuss the issues, without fighting and with having parochial agendas for “just our town”? Not the councilors but the regular citizens. Every town wants a little something, ever hear of compromises? Wouldn’t it be great to put the issues on the table, discuss them with open minds and end this darn nonsense that has been going on since 1958? I’m sick of hearing that Richmond is this or that for some people, I’ll grant you that Richmond isn’t perfect, but then again neither is Hopkinton or Charlestown or the school district. It’s time to end the sickening madness that comes out and this blog really does show the problems that we have in this area.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 31, 2009 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  17. CP characterized my interest incorrectly (big surprise). I frankly admitted I don’t know anything about this issue other than Hopkinton made a request for a change, and Richmond leaders implied they would agree if, and when, Hopkinton voters approved the bond. The bond is approved, and now Richmond isn’t interested. I didn’t learn anything more about Richmond’s leadership than I already knew. Since it doesn’t sound like a change would harm Richmond, and might even give them a little interest income rather than Chariho, then I can only imagine their obstructionism is based on pettiness (again, big surprise).

    As Mrs. Buck describes, this isn’t easily fixed by on Hopkinton’s end. Since even the School Committee didn’t seem to care about the change, then it sure seems like it is easily done on the Chariho side. Again, I don’t know if this is a big deal or not, but since everyone seems to think it is small potatoes, why would Richmond refuse to offer their support? If we can’t even get along on such a trivial matters with little effort required, I don’t think we have a chance in hell on the big stuff. I’m sure Chariho revels in this kind of nonsense.

    As for my comment about Hopkinton having the system in place, this was not a statement of Hopkinton’s perfection, but rather an observation that Hopkinton has already taken the steps of overcoming the mistiming of tax collection and Chariho payment by tax anticipation loans or whatever other remedy they use. My suggestion was to insist all three towns go back to the Chariho Act schedule which might force Richmond and Charlestown to take similar steps…and then maybe they’ll cooperate with Hopkinton’s request when they have their own self interest.

    Richmond, and Richmond bloggers here, need to distinguish between politics and people. You may think your throwing Hopkinton leadership under the bus, but really it is our people who pay the price. It may sound cliche to ask our neigboring towns to be neighborly, but it might not be a bad idea.

    Yes, we disagree quite often with Richmond over Chariho issues. I personally think Richmond voters are idiots for acquiescing to every Chariho spending demand, but I’m just one person and even if you add in the Hopkinton politicians you don’t like, it is still a small collection of people. Is the bitterness that deep that Richmond leaders detest and want to financially burden innocent Hopkinton citizens? The majority of whom eventually capitulated to Richmond’s bond demands.

    As for giving up on CSPF, I’m not sure what this means? Unless Mr. Felkner is screening posts, and he says he doesn’t, this is an open forum. This is transparency at work. The only regular posters I recall disappearing are Mr. Petit and Mrs. Capalbo. Mr. Petit had to leave because he was regularly caught lying and couldn’t take the heat. Maybe Mrs. Capalbo checked out because she didn’t like the banter, but I don’t know one way or the other. The only Richmond person who has participated here regularly is CP. He’s annoying and wrong quite often, but he puts up a fight and is still here.

    I think the biggest problem with this site is politicians don’t like to have their words come back to haunt them so they stay away in fear. As I said, Mr. Petit lied many times, and I threw his own words and promises back at him quoting directly from what he had written here and at Hopkinton RI Speak (now defunct and inaccessible). I could understand politicians being wary to post here, but that is only if they are afraid of what they might say. Mr. Felkner has no problems because he says what he means and means what he says. Unfortunately, this is a rarity in politics.

    I come here for honesty. We’re not always pleasant, but people here do say what they think…no games. Those who can’t handle honesty or don’t want to jeopardize their glorious political aspirations can stay away. That’s their loss.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 31, 2009 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  18. Where to start …

    1. David, CP, and I are Richmond, I believe we are all generally in the same place on most of these issues as CR, RS, etc.

    2. My understanding of Hopkinton’s request is a letter that says, let’s change the date, but no info … Lois’ info is the most I’ve heard of. This was discussed at the last Tri-town meeting, anyone know how that went? If the date doesn’t help, then why is this not a problem for Ch and Ri? I didn’t hear opposition from RTC, more like … why do you want to do this?

    3. The interest issue is a wash. Chariho counts interest income as revenue, so if you remove the interest, then the town contribution number goes up by the same amount.

    4. My escrow problems are that taxes keep going up, maybe we can focus on the size of the budget.

    5. If you want to push Richmond people farther away, keep throwing stones. Not very neighborly. You don’t get to pee on us then flip the page and ask for help.

    6. I fail to realize what magic the Wood River holds to withhold knowledge from us on the Eastern side.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — March 31, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  19. CP,
    During the omnibus meeting in January, the councilors from Richmond and Charlestown told Hopkinton to send them a letter in regards to the payment schedule. To the best of Tom’s recollection, they didn’t seem to reject the idea at that time.

    With attendance being down at SC meetings, I do not see involvement improving.

    Mrs. Eaves is in a remarkable position. She can heal the wounds from the last 2+ years with her openness, transparency, availability to the public, and especially respect that she has demonstrated. I find her a breath of fresh air, and I hope that she can reach out to the tritown voters, taxpayers, and parents to make the public welcome again.

    CR,
    Your letter was written with great thought. I do disagree with the idiot name, as everybody has a right to disagree. I would say that if someone voted for or against the bond because someone told them to or because it is for the children without deeply studying the issue, then the proper synonym would be “ignorant.” I can say this because it wasn’t that many years ago that I fit within that category of voter. I have tried to educate myself on the issues, mulled over things, and hopefully came to the proper conclusion. To some, I may be the idiot. (More semantics.) What I can say is that I am now a much more informed idiot. Let’s hope with the changes that the Washington DC “idiots” are making, we won’t lose that right!

    Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2009 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  20. I think Gene is right for the most part. We do have a lot of issues that we can agree on.

    I’m not sure the interest issue is a wash because I do not know where the interest is applied. Personally, I have always felt that the money in the form of interest income, surpluses, should remain within the towns’ coffers, until due, for them to handle it as they deem necessary, simply because they have a greater say-so, with no debate from the other towns. CP wanted the TC’s and finance departments to have greater control. This is one of those things they should control.

    Unfortunately, CP is right regarding the fact that the problems go back 50 years.

    I spoke to a lady tonight that was in Hopkinton schools during the time when the regionalization discussion was going on. There was great contention then. Many in Hopkinton were having issues regarding representation and the amount being funded by the 3 towns. I’m unsure about the accuracy as this is hear-say, but she told me that Hopkinton’s share was 2/3rds and we only had 1/3rd representation. I have heard from others that our share at the time was more than 50% in funding the construction of the high school. (Don’t be so hard on Hopkinton. The funding of the schools has been a tax burden from the very beginning.)

    Furthermore, she told me that there was great pressure placed on Hopkinton to get on board with the plan. The issue almost went to the courts, but frustration ended that plight.

    I would certainly like to have greater information regarding the events prior to 1958. Perhaps, Mr. James Hirst has further information regarding the time, as he has provided information in the past. I would hope we could learn from the past, so the community can heal and move on.

    Gene, I am saddened that people don’t visit anymore. But, they do need to toughen their skin a bit because the issues will never resolve themselves if we ignore them or walk away.

    This is a medium that can be constructive, and it has on some issues (ie… the Math curriculum, links to information, transparency) I am still holding out that it could have a positive effect on our schools, for our children, and for all the residents of the 3 towns.

    Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2009 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  21. Gene,

    1. You do seem to have it right on Chariho. David comes and goes, and CP is very inconsistent so I truly am not sure where he stands on anything.

    2. I know even less than you about the whole issue, but I do recall Richmond leaders addressing the issue before the revote. They indicated they would support Hopkinton schedule request if Hopkinton passed the bond. I guess the reason Richmond should accomodate Hopkinton’s request is because it doesn’t hurt them and I assume it helps Hopkinton. Is more needed than that?

    3. Theoretically, the interest issue is a wash, except Chariho carries a huge surplus and we certainly can keep a little bit more of our money in the taxpayers’ pockets without impacting Chariho’s spending a whit. In fact, we could keep $2,000,000 in taxpayers’ pockets and Chariho would not have to cut spending one cent.

    4. If Hopkinton’s request is reasonable and causes no harm as presumed, this will hardly distract from efforts to reign in spending.

    5. Other than myself and maybe RS, I’ve never heard anyone from Hopkinton throwing stones at Richmond. If one anonymous and another semi-anonymous blogger are enough to keep Richmond from acting neighborly, then idiots is one of the nicer things that can be said of them. Has any Hopkinton leaders peed on Richmond’s leg?

    6. I’m still waiting for a plausible explanation of why Richmond voters never, never have rejected a Chariho spending proposal. I figure it’s because Richmond is loaded with idiots, but a magical river could be the answer too.

    Mrs. Buck,

    Ms. Eaves hasn’t shown me anything yet. Negotiations remain in secret. She wrote a letter to The Rag which was full of BS. Please share with me what has changed since she’s become chairperson? Yes, her disposition is a step up from Billy-boob, but Hitler would have been a step up. Where is the new transparency? I must have missed it?

    As for my name calling, I’ve explained the logic before. I greatly admire your posts as they are thoughtful, kind, intelligent, and positive. They also do nothing to generate interest except for those few people who like to immerse themselves in policy…like me.

    For the average Joe or Jane, they crave something more controversial and exciting. They are looking for the blog equilavent of People magazine. While this blog doesn’t get much participation, Mr. Felkner tells us it gets lots of readers. The policy wonks and thinkers do participate, the readers don’t, because they have nothing to say about policy, they like the controversy. They want to know what is being said about them.

    You think Booby Petit, Baby Andy, and many others don’t read here? Of course they do. They want to know what is being said about them. They don’t dare participate because they have nothing honest to contribute and they know we are right. They don’t fight because they can’t fight. They can only protect and enrich their friends and relatives and nothing we talk about here helps them in that effort.

    I’ve been blogging for quite some time. Inevitably the most popular blogs stir up strong emotions…think Huffington Post. Like it or not, animus and emotional rhetoric is part of the mix if you want your opinions to be heard. I relish my anonymity because it allows me to say things I would rarely say in public. I enjoy hyberbole, and I am amused by the reaction to it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 31, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  22. Ref #17:
    The only Richmond person who has participated here regularly is CP. He’s annoying and wrong quite often, but he puts up a fight and is still here.

    Wrong in the posters opinion maybe. Besides, it’s great fun to twist CR’s knickers and see him get all flamed up. Now who’s the idiot for falling for it every time?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 4:50 am | Reply

  23. Well as long you’re having fun, that’s all that really matters 🙂

    “Falling for “it”? What is the “it”?

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 7:02 am | Reply

  24. CR … You’re the one doing the majority of the damage. Being rude and miserable is not constructive and does not add positively to stirring the pot.

    You get meaner and meaner then CP or I stick a fork in you, after which you flap around like a fish on land, then you are relatively effective for a while on the issues, slow down on the worthless name calling, etc.

    That’s why CP said “you fell for it”

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  25. RE: Payment Dates … Could someone lay out the financial particulars for why Hopkinton needs this. I understand the concept of holding money until Chariho needs it. I’d like to understand why CH and RI don’t need the change but HO does.

    Don’t forget there’s 3 new members on RTC so don’t expect a long memory.

    There are several people that have access to RTC, go to TC meetings, etc. With info and a story, support will happen.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  26. Fell for what? What is “it”? Is “it” a desire to have me call names? I’m totally missing out on the whole “it” thing.

    Are you saying by being “mean” I damage the relationship between Hopkinton and Richmond? I can’t believe this is possible? How can an anonymous blogger possibly cause “damage” to anything? Is everyone an idiot?

    Did you read anything I wrote Gene? I call a name and I get a response. Mr. Felkner posts something on a controversial Chariho topic and he gets hundreds of hits. It’s all the same People magazine crap. We can kibitz all day among ourselves, and no one will notice, no one will enter a voting booth with any more awareness of the issues. But call someone an idiot or post something controversial, and they show up like cockroaches to a salad bar.

    Sad as it may be, Chariho gets away with failing our children and failing taxpayers because very few people pay any attention. If calling Richmond voters idiots wakes up even one of them, then it’s a far cry better than a history of idiocy. Neither Mr. Felkner nor Mrs. Buck should be offensive to anyone, and if my being offensive gets people to read what these two have to say, then I’m happy. Let’s not pretend everything was hunky-dory until an anonymous blogger came along and started calling Richmond voters idiots. No, Richmond has been acting like idiots far longer than I’ve been calling them idiots.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  27. CR,
    My comment was that she can. She can be a leader, unlike the previous leadership, that can make the school committee more open and transparent.

    I can tell you that the public is able to speak more freely at the meetings. This was not possible with the prior leadership.

    She has expressed her desire to work with Hopkinton, and has been very apologetic for any mistakes she has made. This is something I respect in a person. This demonstrates to me her willingness to learn and to improve herself. Most people are unwilling or unable to acknowledge their weaknesses, and many are unwilling to make the necessary changes.

    Having had the opportunity to speak with her on a few occasions, she has impressed me. I think people need to give her a chance.

    I disagree regarding the kind of controversy you suggest is effective. I visit some of the conservative blogs and most people seem annoyed by the rudeness of some of the other bloggers. It appears to me that there are those that want to discuss the issues and those that want to rile up those that want to discuss the issues. Sounds like a bunch of bullies to me. I guess that is entertainment for some.

    I have respected many of your past comments, as you have done some substantial research to back up your arguments. That is the CR that I respect.

    I think people come here to educate themselves, to have their voices heard, and to hopefully make a difference.

    I really don’t think that Mr. Felkner’s intention was to create a blog that is hateful. I think his intention was to get the information out to the public so that they could make informed decisions. The word “transparency” comes to mind. But, that is up to Mr. Felkner to verify.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  28. Everyone’s got to remember that most of the pepople in our towns have busy lives and trust elected officials to do their job. It is what it is. We have to talk to our friends and neighbors to provide info.

    About attendance at CSC meetings, I’m the only non-district employee regular, love to have company.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  29. The problem is that it wasn’t hunky-dory before the blog. I had hoped that this blog would have helped with the problems. The name calling existed long before CR got involved. I remember people calling people from Hopkinton “illiterate woodchoppers.” This was not something that originated up north. This was a local slur. The banter between towns has been going on for years.

    That being said, people can put an end to it or we can continue down the same path for another 20 years or so.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  30. True, Gene. But, what people need to remember is that the councilors are part-time. They have full-time jobs and families outside of the council. I think that qualifies as a busy life, too.

    I do not say this to put down your comment. I say this to remind people that even a couple hours a week or so is better than nothing. And everyone is capable of finding a little time in their busy lives to benefit their community and their schools.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  31. CR … I know Bill Felkner, you are no Bill Felkner!

    It is possible to raise controversial issues and stir debate without mindless name calling.

    You are not going to get Richmond support by calling us idiots, only an idiot would think that.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  32. Lois,

    A couple of hrs/wk for one’s community can happen in a variety of ways. People do a wide variety of volunteering.

    The goal of a blog, such as this one, is to help people get some info in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, this blog can be frequently uninviting due to the tone.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  33. Ref #31: I couldn’t have said it any better, Gene. I’ve to get that point across but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  34. Opps.. that should be “Gene, I’ve tried to get…….”

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  35. Ref #20, in particular this section of it:

    I spoke to a lady tonight that was in Hopkinton schools during the time when the regionalization discussion was going on. There was great contention then. Many in Hopkinton were having issues regarding representation and the amount being funded by the 3 towns. I’m unsure about the accuracy as this is hear-say, but she told me that Hopkinton’s share was 2/3rds and we only had 1/3rd representation. I have heard from others that our share at the time was more than 50% in funding the construction of the high school. (Don’t be so hard on Hopkinton. The funding of the schools has been a tax burden from the very beginning.)

    Lois,
    It is my understanding that Hopkinton had a much higher percentage of the students as compared to any of the other two towns at the time. Also, representation on the CSC is based on total population of a town. Richmond at one time asked that all towns have 4 members, this fell on deaf ears. I believe Richmond has also suggested that it be 3 members from each town, reducing Charlestown’s and Hopkinton’s representation by one. Richmond pays more to Chariho than what Charlestown does. Richmond has a higher percentage of the students than what Charlestown does but, using the thought process of the woman that you spoke with, shouldn’t Richmond then have 4 members on the school committee instead of Charlestown having 4? It just doesn’t work that way. The rule of law is supposedly “one man, one vote”, it’s total population in the towns that matter, not the school population, when it comes to representation.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  36. That’s fine CP, but the question is why was the representation not the same? Why would Hopkinton agree to such a disparity? She told me that the banter going back and forth was quite vicious. Again, this is hearsay.

    And as far as Richmond’s representation, it is way off. If anything, it should be Cha (3) Ri (4) and Ho (4). Not that that is perfect either. This is something that needs to be addressed. I would assume through the Chariho Act Revision committee and the voters. Yes/No?

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  37. Hmmm … Not sure with the way things are that it really matters. I agree most often with Ms. Carney and Mr. Vecchio, neither of Richmond.

    As long as a handful of write-in votes gets one elected, we get what we deserve. The structure has to change:

    1. Move budget authority somewhere else.

    2. Change to appt CSC

    3. Fewer members, 5?

    4. Regional election, not by town (with fewer members)

    5. One from each town and two elect at large?

    Something else is needed.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 9:17 am | Reply

  38. Gene,
    Good ideas except for one catch, at large voting could greatly throw off the representation of any one of the member towns. Granted it it was a 5 member school board it could be 2-2-1.. worse scenario would be 3-1-1, that could potentially sway everything to one side. From what I also understand, it is supposed to be, based on a court ruling (I forget where), one man, one vote, in other words, proportional representation. A good one to speak to on this is either Henry Oppenheimer or W. Michael Sullivan (former Town Councilor, member of the Chariho Withdrawal Committe serving with Deb Carney, currently head of DEM), both are well versed in many aspects of Chariho and how much of it came to be the way it is.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  39. I agree my tone is not effective in swaying anyone into seeing things my way. Good thing that is not my objective. My objective is to state my opinion honestly, and drive traffic with my hyberbole. You can deny it works, but you’re kidding yourselves.

    A perfect example is a blog started by someone in Richmond to deal with Richmond issues. I check in now and then, but it is basically dead. Although the website master didn’t strike me as an intellectual, he/she did strike me as someone trying to get people involved and open to debate. What happened on the website? For the most part nobody participated. The one topic which finally drew some attention was a controversy over the Town Clerk race. There was name calling and charges back and forth, and sure enough, for this one brief moment, the blog actually had activity. Once the controversy was over and the webmaster moved on to more cerebral policy topics, nobody cared.

    Contrast this with Hopkinton RI Speaks which was much more spirited and emotional…the result, a very high volume blog. Eventually the Cox cameraman threatened to sue and the webmaster shut the place down. Even now there is a blog run by a Hopkinton person. He’s a complete moron and makes me look like Mother Teresa, but he is very hyberbolic and gets some people to comment on his assinine posts.

    As Gene notes, I am no Mr. Felkner, and since Mr. Felkner leads this blog by his choice of posts, and does so far more diplomatically than me, who is dumb enough to attribute anything I say to the entire town of Hopkinton?

    In fact, this thread is yet one more example of the point I’m trying to make. Mr. Felkner posts about the East Providence school systems battle with the union and nobody has anything to say. He posts about a Rhode Island Tea Party…a big deal all around the country…and again nobody has anything to say, yet when I call Richmond idiots, a few people chime in and I guarantee you it generates more traffic as the idiots come here to see what is being said about them.

    Like it or not, excitement sells…negativity is attacked, but it works. I’d much prefer to see the electorate engaged and paying attention based solely on the importance of the topics being discussed. I’d even change my pseudonym and participate politely, but it doesn’t work that way, and all the denials in the world doesn’t change the facts. Now the rest of you keep posting well reasoned and coherent policy discussions, and I’ll take care of the rest (with help from CP). Maybe someone will actually read what you have to say.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  40. Hi!
    While it is boastful for me to do so, the history of Chariho, I think I am better than most including Dr. oppenheimer and Dr. Sullivan. People like Georgia Ure, Mary Botelle, Thurm Silks, and whether you like it or not Andy Polouski, and a number of others have some background of decades of Chariho politics than both these two Richmond personalities. That is not to take away their contributions.
    Each town had three members until a few decades back. While I do not endorse the concept of an appointive school committee locally, it does have a point or two:
    1. Since the Chariho town councils are not allowed control over the bottom line of school budgets, they would have better indirect control over the budget, by who they appointed to the school committee.
    2.Since the elections of school committee really draws little interest or at least minimal interest, it may be prefereable to appoint them. Another plus is that those in government jobs that restrict political activity in a partisan election, could serve.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 1, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  41. Scott,
    I mentioned Henry Oppenheimer and W. Micheal Sullivan since Gene has already heard from the poison pens of Hopkinton. It’s time to hear th prospective of others, not just the one side.
    As I see it, one of the problems for running for CSC is the length of the term. Four years of CSC meetings can sure put a drain on someone who attends most if not all of the meetings. Also, it’s tough enough to know where you’ll be in two years, never mind fours years.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 1, 2009 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  42. RE: #39

    CR,

    1. You may drive some traffic, although not sure any of it is effective. Still believe you can stir the pot without using names.

    2. HA, got you here, the webmeister has evaporated, their email doesn’t even work anymore. But I am the poster of the “cerebral” blogs, never heard you use my name and cerebral in the same sentence. I will continue to remind you of this. There’s ~60 hits/day after I post something, have to start somewhere.

    3. What were people saying that caused the Cox guy to threaten to sue???

    4. I’d like to see the hit volume, CP & I comment on most anything. Not sure why anyone would care enough to read an on-line fight between us, but been wrong before.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 1, 2009 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  43. Mr. Felkner stirs the pot by making the Chariho status quo defenders anxious. I stir it by making people angry.

    I used to provide a lot more research and a lot less insults, but people either didn’t understand what they were reading or didn’t care. I got tired of banging my head against the wall. Maybe I complicate things too much and write poorly? Everybody seems to understand “idiot” so it is much more effective in attracting attention.

    One way or the other, I’m just an anonymous blogger, so if anybody in Richmond, or any place else, is treating Hopkinton badly because they don’t like what I say, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about it? Seems pretty idiotic to me. Besides, I’m no more offensive than Billy-boob, and I’ve never heard any Richmond leaders take him to task for his behavior. Since Billy-boob’s behaviors and decisions have harmed actual people, including children…and more than their feelings…it would make sense to direct anger at a person like that rather than an anonymous blogger with no power over anything.

    I already knew you were a good thinker. I suspect you have been getting to know the Richmond politicians a lot better so the insults I hurl at them are effecting you more personally. This is understandable, and I’d probably like them too if I knew them. I prefer not knowing because I think it enables me to judge their idiocy (I threw that in there for you) more objectively. While I have little respect for CP’s opinions, I find them very confusing and inconsistent, I consider you the Mrs. Buck of Richmond (high praise).

    The Cox guy was involved as a defendent in some legal issues. Another poster was also involved on the other side. They went back and forth. The Cox guy ended up threatening to sue the web operator for allowing allegations to be made on the blog. Soon after the website disappeared.

    Mr. Felkner has published charts of his blog traffic from time-to-time. I think at the height of the bond debate he was receving several hundreds hits a day. I think his typical volume is a hundred or so. I don’t know why anyone would want to read verbal jousting (although I enjoy being a part of the joust), but I’ve seen it time and again on this site and many others. I turn away from accidents too, but many other people can’t wait to see an accident. Just the nature of people I guess…and the people who like this type of stuff are probably the same people who don’t go to great lengths to learn about Chariho…so if entertaining them is what is required to wake them up, so be it. I might be a modern day gladiator 😉

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  44. “the poison pens of Hopkinton” Am I included in this category? 🙂

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  45. It is “curious” how our Richmond contributors imply there is a plethora of Hopkinton people running around insulting Richmond people. Sure, I don’t hesitate to call an idiot an idiot, but I don’t recall anyone else going after Richmond as a whole. RS calls out specific people, but I don’t think he’s as generic as me in his criticisms?

    Since I’m pretty prolific, mabye they think I am actually an agglomeration of dozens of Hopkinton people?

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  46. Gene & CP,
    Term limits…..yes!
    Term time……. 2 years instead of 4…..yes!
    Committee members per town… needs to be different… Discussed this today with someone and she agreed that the current setup is off. We discussed different scenarios, and we still could not agree entirely. Point is that most believe the current size of the SC is too big. It can’t be too small either because of quorum issues. If it was smaller, perhaps the best candidate would emerge. As it currently is, there is no debate. When choosing representation, there needs to be competition and debate.
    Taxing district…NO! We would lose what little control we have now. (This came up in the discussion, too! This is something that I have since changed my mind on. Just a little bit more informed I guess.)

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2009 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  47. CR, that’s fine with me, I have little respect for you or your opinions as well. I find that the more you use the “idiot” word, the more you make unfounded allegations, the more you lose credibility and respect.

    Lois, you’re not one of the poison pens at all, you’re the most respectful blogger from Hopkinton and always give well thought out positions. Even though I don’t always agree you I can respect your position and am always willing to discuss them openly with you.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 4:28 am | Reply

  48. Does anyone else hear “How Great Thou Art” being sung in the background when CR posts lately?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 5:01 am | Reply

  49. I prefer “Faith of our Fathers”.

    No answer on who all the other “poison pens” are who generically attack Richmond?

    Maybe I think I’m great because you guys imply I have such great influence over Richmond politicians? A few “idiot” comments out of me and the entire Richmond/Hopkinton relationship is damaged. Who would have thunk it?

    Now if I can only figure out how to use my poison pen to get Richmond leaders and voters to be as disgusted with Chariho for failing to educate children at a very high costs as they are disgusted at Hopkinton because an anonymous blogger calls them idiots. How about a litle “Amazing Grace” Richmond?

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 2, 2009 @ 7:10 am | Reply

  50. Lois, You’re great, I like to read your comments. Also have met and respect Tom, Barbara, and Bill. Briefly met Scott, he makes good comments here.

    CR, you’re the bad egg, the most prolific poster here. I have turned a few people to this blog, and they all quickly were turned off by you, they didn’t appreciate the tone. Sorry, facts are what they are. You need to find a way to create drama without cheap name calling tactics. Why be lumped with Bill Day? Ask Tom how he liked Bill’s tirade at the budget workshop. Upshot is I don’t recommend this blog any more and don’t check as often either.

    I have nothing more to say on this issue.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 2, 2009 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  51. I mainly come here just to get CR all knicked twisted and inflammed.

    Also, I love to hear “How Great Thou Art” when he posts and “It’s All About Me” when SBH posts. Goodness gracious, what would we do without the ‘Notable Resident’ SBH (or so it says on Wikipedia)?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  52. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopkinton,_RI

    Notable residents
    Scott Bill Hirst, Hopkinton Town Council Legend
    John Wilbur, Quaker minister
    Prudence Crandall, taught first desegregated classroom in USA
    Billy Gilman, youngest country western star

    LEGEND? Only in his own mind!

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 8:43 am | Reply

  53. That’s unfortunate Gene, but based on the pariticpation on the various local blogs, I can’t believe this blog would be humming along if not for my “meanness”. I actually checked out of blogging for several months a year or so ago. Others can speak to how much activity occurred in my absence.

    Tell you what, you get 10 posters on here regularly discussing Chariho issue (3 or 4 posts a week for a total of 40 – 50…should be easy with 10 of you) and I’ll shut down my mean machine. You can even tell these “turned off” people about our deal as incentive to get them to participate. There has to be 10 people out there who would love to see me go away. Just keep in mind, if you reach this objective, the blog has to maintain this level of activity or I’ll be reincarnated.

    The question continues to be unanswered, but who else besides me has generically treated Richmond people badly? If only me, then are we to believe that the bad blood causing Richmond to issue votes of confidence in Mr. Ricci; and to deny Hopkinton support for a payment schedule; is all based on one anonymous blogger being mean? No wonder I hear “How Great Thou Art”.

    This isn’t about me or my “mean” rhetoric. Yes, it is a nice diversion to blame Richmond’s acceptance of Chariho failures on this blog or on me, but Richmond was issuing votes of confidence and approving every Chariho spending meausure long before I entered the picture. Many long time Hopkintonians tell me they fought pretty much the same Chariho battles as we are facing now, with pretty much the same results of the status quo remaining. Maybe it’s about time somebody got a little mean.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 2, 2009 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  54. CR,
    That’s the thing, it’s constantly a battle.. Hopkinton Vs. Richmond/Charleston… Stop the battling and talk. I give much credit the like of Gene and Lois for reaching out, talking to others instead of sitting behind the screen and throwing out mean-spirited wild accusations!

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  55. Hi!
    While I am voting against the Chariho budget Tuesday, the Chariho Times http://www.charihotimes.com came out today in regards to voting no. I went to Chariho yesterday and allowed them to copy some Chariho related photos I took. While I do not necessarily agree with everything they do, let’s realize there are some positives at Chariho.
    The problem is that an understanding of local history goes far in understanding local politics whether it is me or anyone else. That’s not to say all should not be involved, but living here through a number of years gives you a perspective on things. I am not suggesting newer residents have nothing to offer.
    Regards,
    Scott
    Chaiho’71

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 2, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  56. No argument about Lois and Gene. Both of whom conduct themselves with class.

    Unfortunately, many before them have talked with dignity and class and the end result has been the progressive deteriotation of educational standards along with skyrocketing costs. Mr. James Hirst has researched much of the history of the towns’ efforts to move Chariho in the right direction…many of the past problems he’s brought to light are eerily familar.

    Mr. Silks has described some of the “talking” which has occurred in Chariho’s history. I’m very confident he never publically called anyone an idiot. Yet here we are decades later rehashing the same issues of Chariho incompetence. The only difference is that thousands of more children have suffered because things have gotten worse rather than better and millions and millions of dollars have been wasted.

    I’m not sure what is meant by battles between the towns. What battles? What “poison pens”? At least when I call people idiot I attribute an action to their idiotic decisions and behaviors.

    Chariho looks to the past and they know they can wait us out just like they did with preceding generations of parents. This strategy has served them well and children poorly while people “talked”.

    I’m tired of talking accomplishing nothing. Talking while children’s futures are jeopardized is “idiotic”. The country just elected a socialist on the promise of hope and change. If voters are willing to take such extreme measures on national issues, then why do we keep letting Chariho play the same games year after year after year? Where’s the extreme action on Chariho? Calling people idiots is mild compared to the outraged emotion each and every one of us should feel towards Chariho.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 2, 2009 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  57. On a positive note, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with about 20 people the last two days and it the vote was unanimous against the referendum. Many have kids in the district, people are from all three towns, majority didn’t know the facts, they are now prepared to vote.

    Please talk to as many people you can over the next several days. The referendum needs to go down badly for the CSC to realize the level of discontent in our towns.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 2, 2009 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  58. Rejecting the budget and holding to it as they force us to revote over and over again is even a better strategy that calling people names. I think we should look forward to and encourage a Caroulo audit.

    Lots of people think the budget will go down. I’m keeping my finger crossed.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 2, 2009 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  59. Between my wife and I, we’ve yet to talk to anyone in the towns that is voting for the budget. Everyone that we’ve talked to is against it and it’s been fairly unanimous that it’s because people are realizing that this school committee just doesn’t get it that we’re all fed up with them.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 2, 2009 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  60. CR’s right about school performance, as much as parents, etc,, are important. To have one of highest funding in the nation, but low results is undefensible.

    I hoping the new commissioner of education, from DC, is similar minded to Chancellor Rhee.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 3, 2009 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  61. There are some articles on the state budget in the ProJo today. One talked about the funding needs for hospitals, nursing homes, and disabled services. These are the kind of services that compete for funding with the schools. These are all very difficult choices, but choices they are.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 3, 2009 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  62. From everything I’ve read about Ms. Rhee, she’s been excellent. Now with the President and both houses of congress in the unions’ back pocket, the limited school choice program in D.C. is going way. Ms. Rhee was a big supporter. Not sure if her colleague coming to lead Rhode Island is a fan of school choice. Of course here the unions have always owned the politicians, so the likelihood of statewide school choice is slim to none. Good luck to her, she couldn’t be worse than McFalters.

    I’m disappointed the Rhode Island legislature didn’t completely wipeout funding to the towns. Funding is not the issue…spending is the issue. The problem is the state is going to keep spending an ever increasing amount of our money, and towns will do their best to maintain spending which means property taxes will have to rise dramatically.

    Since most local money is burned up by the school, this should put additiona pressure on voters to actually hold Chariho accountable for once. Idiotically, ignoring Governor Carcieri’s request, I understand our legislators will be reducing how much they send back to us while also demanding (via mandates) that we continue spending at absurd levels.

    Chariho has done a great job through the years of hiding the true costs of mandates. I’d like to see an impact analysis of rejecting our money coming back from the state which should also allow us to reject the mandates. Off the top of my head I’d favor the elimation of bus monitors, Guidance Counselors for any grade lower than 8th (and only one for 8th), every social worker, all but one psychologist (who would only make outside referrals), and Teacher’s Assistants. There are many, many more employees who could be axed with little impact on students, but this is a good starting point.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 3, 2009 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  63. From conversations with many locals, their is a lot of support for bus monitors and counselors. Problem is that people aren’t given the real picture with real choices … For instance there’s enough money for sports or monitors, AP classes or social workers, probably bad examples, but you get the idea.

    Faced with real decisions, I think people won’t be too far apart. Problem is that the admin gives fase choices, like eliminating K-8 field trips.

    Generally, I favor outsourcing, organizations need to focus on their core goal. The counselor services should be contracted with organizations like South Shore, or similar. For instance, the tritown task force provide substance abuse services for very little cost. I support funding for them (one of the very few areas I don’t agree with Vecchio and Carney).

    Problem with the counselor services is that I do believe they are needed, but don’t believe it should fall in the pervue of the school district.

    As well, I don’t doubt the teacher’s aides, dean’s, and guidance counselors may well be worthwhile, BUT the cost is a real problem.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 3, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  64. I love bus monitors. I’d like a permanent monitor placed in my home to make sure nothing bad ever befalls my child. I can think of lots of jobs which are worthwhile, but it doesn’t mean we should have them or we should make everybody pay for them. My child has never gotten on or off a bus without an unpaid adult there to make sure it goes smoothly. That’s our responsibility as parents and we should pay for it if we are raising children needing 24/7 supervision.

    This illogic is why I hope the state wipes out funding entirely. Too many people don’t understand that these incremental costs add up and it is how we get ourselves in such bad economic situations. It’s like going to the mall and wanting everything. Great in concept, but when you have to open up your wallet to pay, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a great idea. This analogy loses power when we go to the mall with other people’s money.

    I know I’m extreme, but I don’t support Chariho paying for anything that is not directly education related. No doubt some children need psychological help, and I hope their parents get it for them. Where do we draw the line? How about me…maybe if the rest of you paid I could end my mean streak with years of intense counseling paid for by the rest of you.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 3, 2009 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  65. CR, I agree with you. People who advocate for budget cuts are perceived by some as “not supporting the kids”, which is far from the truth. Reality is that expenitures need balance with ability to pay. Pretty simple concept. It doesn’t help when the Chariho admin gives false choices. Vecchio and Carney were attacked one day for coming up with specific cuts as “the supt knows best”, then attacked the next time for not coming up with specific cuts … Quite a pathetic situation.

    Vecchio said it best, “everything can’t be a sacred cow”.

    I really believe the counselor services are important, the parents might be part of the problem, very difficult situation. But, I’d rather see the services funded through DCYF, not the schools.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 3, 2009 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  66. The problems are compounded because most voters can afford the increases. $80 per year for a bond? No problem…who can’t afford $80 more per year? So the bond passes and each town loses a couple of families who have reached the breaking point. Few notice and these people driven from their community are soon replaced with new homeowners with greater tolerance for government spending.

    Eventually communities evolve and the cycle continues as the poorer are replaced with the wealthier. Where do the poorer go? They move closer to or into the cities where housing is less expensive. Smart Grow doesn’t need to be aggressive, just support incremental government growth and through attrition they get the elite society they so desperately desire.

    I can afford to keep living in Hopkinton. As my taxes increase we spend less ourselves. The government gets to make my spending choices for me. Maybe it’s inevitable?

    My view on Chariho and all government spending is it imperils our freedoms and liberties. We are slowly ceding control of our lives to the government. Incrementalism is a dangerous, dangerous device and too many people are happy to support bus monitors and psychologists “for the children” in exchange for giving up their freedoms and liberties. It makes me sick to my stomach as I know the outcome will eventually destroy this country. I’ll be dead and buried when it happens, but it still is not a happy thought that this is the future our generation is leaving for the next generations to come.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 3, 2009 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  67. Hi!
    What is missed in the Richmond desire for more school committee representation, it may not meet legal, constitutional muster. I can’t say for sure, but school committee seats MUST be based on population of towns NOT student population or how much a town spends.
    I will stand corrected if this is not correct.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 3, 2009 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  68. That’s what I’ve said before.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 3, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  69. I don’t think the town members are from matters much at the moment. As I said before, as a Richmond resident, I support Carney (Charlestown) and Vecchio (Hopkinton). I am much more concerned with having a smaller CSC, hopefully with much more competition for the seats. Or appointed, whatever, but anyone who would think that having members win with 7 votes is, to borrow a term from CR, is an idiot.

    I don’t have a problem allocating seats based on population, but lets have a smaller number, 9? The populations of the towns are so close, that all would get three.

    I do have a problem with CSC membership is based on general population but cost is based on student population … shouldn’t both be aligned? We’re talking about how money is spent. What happens if you have one town with lots of people, but few kids … they could force a very high tax rate on the other towns.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 4, 2009 @ 8:03 am | Reply

  70. NEWS ALERT!!!

    Sources confirm that Richmond kids to crash Hopkinton Easter egg hunt at Crandall Field. This breaking story has caught the attention of the Attorney General due to the severe fraud being perpetuated on the taxpayers of Hopkinton. Apparently, they is fear that Richmond residents will “like” Hopkinton and move there, thereby adding “idiot” voting tendencies and ruin the character of Hopkinton. Richmonders can be recognized by their funny “accents”, but are best identified by asking them to vote of something, it is known that Richmonders will vote in a way that will make them look like “idiots”. Fortunately, all Hopkintoners know how to vote and will immediately be able to identify the Richmonders.

    BE AWARE … the Richmond kids may not yet have acquired their “idiot” parents voting tendencies and are very difficult to identify. Rumor has it that kids from Hopkinton and Richmond might actually be friends and like each other. Investigators have discovered that the Wood River Preschool, located in Hopkinton, accepts Richmond kids. Is this a veiled attempt by Richmond to “pass” in Hopkinton society. Reports are that these kids actually like each other and are good friends!

    There are other rumors, for instance that Richmond parents living near the Wood River, think it would be convenient to send their children to the Hope Valley School. This lends strength to the arguement that the Wood River has “magical” qualities.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 4, 2009 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  71. Gene,
    I agree with 9 as being a good number for the CSC. 11 is bit too much. What you said about a town having lots of people but fewer kids is what is happening with amongst the three towns. According to the most recent demographic data available, Charlestown has the highest population (7,859) with Hopkinton being a very close second (7,836). Richmond has significantly fewer than either of the two (7,222) Charlestown has significantly more people over 65 (1,143) than either Richmond (509) or Hopkinton (866). When it comes to school age children, I had to include 19 year olds since the data included that age so the break down goes from age 5 to 19, Charlestown (1,421), Richmond (1,608) and Hopkinton (1686).

    I got this infomation from American Fact Finder.

    http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 4, 2009 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  72. Funny stuff Gene.

    You should be warned that “idiot” is copywrite protected and a fee should be paid to me if you choose to use it again. You may want to use moron, numbskull, dolt, blockhead, bonehead, dimwit, dumbbell, dunce, fool, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, pinhead, simpleton, stupid, or twit in the future to avoid litigation.

    This year it might be easier to identify the families from Richmond. Apparently Hopkinton’s Recreation Director, Mary Sawyer, only purchased twelve chooclate eggs at a cost of $500, but the Richmond kids issued a vote of ocnfidence. Little Baby Oppenheimer was quoted says, “At least there’s enough eggs to satisfy some children. We are completely satisfied with Sawyer’s performance!”

    In related news, Richmond children proposed a $5,000,000 addition to the recreation center so the twelve chocolate eggs could be adquately stored for next years big event. After Hopkinton kids initially rejected the proposal, Sawyer demanded another vote, and spent $4,000,000 distributing flyers advocating approval of the egg storage facility. Slightly more than half of Hopkinton kids, tired of the Richmond kids’ whining, approved the measure the second time around.

    After the results were tallied, a curious Hopkinton resident was heard muttering…”idiots”.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 4, 2009 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  73. By the way, if there are nine Richmond citizens willing to and capable of holding Chariho accoutable, I agree with Gene, and don’t care where they are from. I’d trade Booby Petit for Deb Carney any day of the week.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 4, 2009 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  74. Well, The Westerly Sun is out with yet another “story”. Ms Goff NEVER reviewed what made up the “Revenue” line, and neglects to note that the budget is less the 1%. HAH! what a shell game CHARIHO is playing. Put a little in, and take more out of the surplus, then use the surplus ($2,250,000) to make the budget look a “little” less.
    Here is a letter from Georgia Ure which expresses my frustration also. It is in The Sun tonight.

    Letters to the Editor
    Chariho budget numbers don’t really add up
    It doesn’t add up.
    If you have a budget of $10 and spend $12, how can you come out even? You either go into debt or need to have $2 someplace else to spend. This new math, used by Chariho, de­pends on having our tax dollars hid­den away. Chariho is now raiding the reserve account to make up the dif­ference between what they budget and what they intend to spend. This is not level funding.
    According to the Feb. 6, 2009 budg­et reports on the Chariho Web site, the taxpayers of Hopkinton, Richmond and Charlestown will pay $49,259,067 for the 2009-2010 school year. How­ever, the Chariho budget is $51,930,355. The difference is coming from several million dollars stashed in our fund balance.
    When things don’t add up, you can be sure that we’ll be paying the piper sooner or later.
    This is true with Chariho’s new math. Using money from reserve funds to balance a budget is danger­ous.
    What will happen with the 2010­2011 budget? There could be a double whammy with $3 million needed to re­plenish the reserves and millions more for increased on-going expenses. We’ll also need to pay more taxes to fund the recently approved bond issue. The “windfall” from the federal “stimulus” package appears to be evaporating before it trickles down from the state. We need to do more than pinch pennies to make ends meet.
    The economy is not looking good. Money is tight. State aid is question­able. Why would you approve an in­creased budget that depends on raid­ing the reserve funds when the future is unknown and perhaps even bleak­er than the present? This is the time to cut off the toe and save the foot. Re­duce the Chariho budget for 2009, save the fund balance, and forestall more significant increases in the future.
    In this recession, the Chariho budg­et needs more review and more re­duction. Rethink the new math. Vote “No” and send our officials back to work until the numbers add up and come out even.
    Georgia Ure Wyoming

    Comment by Dorothy — April 6, 2009 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  75. I think The Rag may be participating in the shell game since they changed the language they use from “budget” to “spending proposal”. As Mrs. Ure points out, Chariho doesn’t tell us how much they plan on spending, they only tell us how much they plan on taking from us.

    The Rag’s article quotes Mrs. Eaves as saying actual spending is unavailable due to changes in the budget format. Now maybe she’s oblivious to the capabilities of computer programs, but I doubt it. Chariho could easily produce actual spending figure for last year. It is a simple matter of a couple of hours of data entry. Of course, they never share actual spending figures until well past the point they have any value in informing voters. As we know, most voters don’t pay attention anyway, so they are easily fooled (or maybe that should be willingly fooled).

    I don’t expect this budget to be any different than past budgets. Voters will read The Rag and approve the “1% budget increase” as reasonable. I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but after the bond, it is hard to believe voters have gotten any smarter.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 6, 2009 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  76. I ran for School Committee knowing my primary responsibility was to give the students of Chariho the best education they can get and all the while doing it with a fair and responsible budget to the taxpayers. Chariho taxpayers; the budget that comes before you on Tuesday April 7th is fair and responsible. I read the letter “Chariho needs to tighten the belt” written by Hopkinton Town Councilor, Sylvia Thompson in a recent edition of the Westerly Sun. The first part that caught my eye was “many strive to spend less”, this comes just a few months after the same Town Council approved a part- time position that pays $43,000 dollars (yet they almost cut the senior program that cost about the same because they couldn’t afford it). This comes from a council that still has in their budget travel and conference expenses for just about every department; a town that has in their budget $117,065 for an Information Technology department. A possible place for reductions could be the consideration of hiring a consultant on an “as needed basis” for installs and updates; you will save money on benefits. Better yet, get together and combine this with the other towns in the district. Take a good look at your own budget!
    The second comment made in this letter was about “guaranteed” revenue from the state. There was the threat of a cut to the town in the existing 2008-2009 state budget but it was restored in full. The 2009-2010 governor’s proposed state budget is calling for no decrease to the towns. The Chariho Budget, has a decrease in expense to the town of Hopkinton. Some say it is the first time this has happened, others say it has been a long time. I say either way, we have heard you, the tax payers and have responded. We are putting before you a budget that calls for a decrease in 2 out of 3 towns in our district.
    I think the Chariho School Committee has done its part, now I challenge the Hopkinton Town Council to do theirs. It is easy to point the finger at someone else but after awhile you have to take responsibility for your own actions. Look at how you are spending before you throw stones. We, as policy states; have to put some surplus towards the budget and we do that. Use some of your “surplus” for one time expenses. This will cut down your budget.
    The letter also states that Hopkinton is in the red and says the school needs to use up the surplus. Hopkinton Councilors in the past have stated if the school district needs money we can come to them. “For what”? If you are in the red wouldn’t this mean there is no money? Remember we spent over “ONE MILLION DOLLARS” on Hope Valley School to repair the brick work. I wonder if we had not had the surplus, where would the students be now! Had we not done this work the Hopkinton Building Inspector would have closed the building. And there is still more work to be done.
    The decrease in student enrollment is correct. Now go back and look at what the “FEDERAL” and “STATE” was mandating for programs back in 1993 compared to now. The “No Child Left Behind Act” didn’t go into effect until January 8, 2002 (President Bush signed into Law). WE don’t make the laws, we only follow them. There is a proposal in the house now that says if the state doesn’t monetarily support the mandate then the district doesn’t have to support or continue it. This is where our efforts should be directed. This will alleviate some of the burden.

    As for the $7.738 million in surplus, this is also correct. The only problem is this councilor only paints half of the picture. Here is the break down that has been explained to them time and time again, yet the only thing mentioned is the full amount. This councilor likes to try and prove a point with large numbers. The total left for surplus is $1,921,936.00 out of a nearly 50 million dollar budget. This helps cover things like the Hope Valley School project and other potential emergencies, without the district having to go back to the taxpayers. Check what the Town keeps for a surplus on a $23 million dollar budget. The School keeps “half” of the amount of surplus that the Town does and has a budget double the size. Now I ask who is behaving like “AIG”. Who should tighten their belt? If you want to dig further, ask how the Town of Hopkinton has accumulated such a large surplus. Was it due to over taxation? Was it due to underestimation of the rate of tax collections?

    FY 2008 FUND BALANCE (per financial statements) $7,738,155.00

    Fund Balance Designations
    Reserved for Unexpected Special Education costs $ 75,000.00
    Reserved for Building Committee Expenses $ 3,244.00
    Reserved for Middle School Oil Spill Expenses $ 142,364.00
    Reserved for Health Plan Expenses $1,545,475.00

    Applied to the 2008-2009 Budget
    $1,500,000.00

    TOTAL DESIGNATED FUND BALANCE $3,266,083.00

    UNDESIGNATED FUND BALANCE $4,472,072.00

    Maintained in accordance with Fund Balance Policy $1,921,936.00
    (4% of 2008 expenditures)

    REMAINING UNDESIGNATED FUND BALANCE AT 6/30/08 $2,550,136.00

    Set aside for balance of masonry repairs to Hope Valley School $ 300,000.00

    Amount applied from undesignated Fund Balance to FY2010 budget $2,250,000.00

    Don’t fall for the smoke screen from a few of the same old people. The School Committees budget is responsible. Challenge the Hopkinton Town Council to look in their own back yard, do some cuts in their budget and bring to us a budget with no tax increase. This shouldn’t be that hard for them this year.

    Go to http://www.hopkintonri.org look at the budget and pay special attention to the very top line that says “EDUCATION” FY 2009-2010 and you decide if the Chariho School Committee has done their part. We can’t control what the state pays or how the town sets up their budget. With health care cost going up, oil prices going up, gas prices going up and contractual obligations being met. I ask, how can a decrease in spending of $41,027.00 to the Town of Hopkinton be irresponsible?

    Vote YES on Tuesday April 7, 2009.

    Bob Petit
    Chariho School Committee Vice Chairperson
    Hopkinton

    Comment by Bob Petit — April 6, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

  77. Don’t touch the surplus for operating expenses, and I will gladly toot my horn in support of the CSC.

    It is very easy to point fingers at someone else when the revenues coming into the district are guaranteed. Whereas, besides taxes, the revenues coming into the town for municipal expenses also come from permits, meal taxes, licenses, etc… with a poor economy, these have fallen off dramatically. The CSC has permission to whine when they depend on substantial monies from sources other than taxpayers.

    I urge people to study up on the term “maintenance of effort.” You will find it in the RI General laws within the education section. Keep in mind that the point Mrs. Ure is making in her recent letter to the Westerly Sun is that the Chariho proposed budget is increasing. It is not level funded as they claim.

    Also, with this, the maintenance of effort is increasing. So, down the road, when our magical safety net called the undesignated budget surplus vanishes, we, the taxpayers of the tritowns will have to make up the difference, as we are required by law to meet the maintenance of effort amount within the budget.

    I will post the link for all to read regarding the “maintenance of effort.”

    I will be voting “NO” and I urge you to do so, as well.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 7, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  78. Here is the law:

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-7/16-7-23.HTM

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 7, 2009 @ 1:14 am | Reply

  79. Hi!
    Off the subject but you may be interested:
    Open House of the Ashaway Fire Station, Route#3 in Ashaway. will be on Sunday, May 31ST, from 12 Noon to 4:00 P. M., A rededication of the fire house will be at approximately 1:30 P. M.,. Refreshments will be served throughout the day. The expenses will be borne by BOTH the Ashaway Fire District and Ashaway Volunteer Fire Association. As you may know substantial changes have been made to the building.
    Annual meeting of the Ashaway Fire District, the third Thursday in July starting at 6:30 P. M.,. Qualified voters are any voter who lives in the Ashaway Fire District or a non reident who is a taxpayer in the district.
    Regards,
    Scott
    (Member, Board of Fire Commissioners, Ashaway Fire Disstrict)

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — April 24, 2009 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  80. Scott, not very often you’re on subject and when you are, you hardly ever remain on subject! Board of Fire Commissioners? When was the last time you picked up a hose and fought your way into a burning building, especially on a volunteer basis?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 24, 2009 @ 8:41 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: