Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 31, 2009

Time to take a stand…

Filed under: Budget,Tax — Editor @ 4:56 pm



  1. Richmond voters are idiots.

    “This was test. This was only a test. In the event that Richmond voters are really idiots, please post your comments below.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 1, 2009 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  2. 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


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


    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 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

    Comment by Bob Petit — April 6, 2009 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  3. Nice to have Booby back, even if only to post propaganda. He gets off to a poor start as he makes the bogus claim that the Hopkinton Town Council “almost cut the senior program”. This is a boldfaced lie. The Town Council looked at a budget item and saw something terribly amiss. As calculated, we were spending over $15 per lunch the way the senior lunch program is currently operated. Rather than taking Booby’s approach and saying “for the seniors” no matter what the cost, the Town Council responsibly looked to improve efficiencies when they recognized an unnecessarily high expense.

    No doubt the Town Council could do a better job reducing our municipal tax burden. With the police department consuming around 40% of municipal spending, this would be the first place to look for reductions. Not surprisingly, Booby doesn’t even mention the police budget. I suspect he has a justifiable reluctance to take on the police…very courageous.

    Booby next tries to justify Chariho’s annual theft of over $2,000,000 from the pockets of struggling families. Prior to the Hope Valley School project, can anyone name one emergency project where the expense exceeded $300,000? I’m betting you can’t because Mrs. Capalbo asked the same question at a School Committee meeting and not one member, not even the old timers, could name one emergency event of this magnitude. So Booby would take an extra $2,000,000 every year because once every 50 years we have an emergency which costs us $1,000,000…brilliant.

    Even Booby, probably too dumb to realize it, admits this School Committee is increasing spending far more than the 1% they’ve propagandized in the local media. Applying $1,500,000 of surplus to offset the budget means they are spending $1,500,000 more than can be determined solely from reviewing the budget. Additionally, the Building Committee, Healthcare, and Special Education are not “emergency” expenses. These are items which should be included in the normal operating budget. Not including them is part of the ongoing Chariho game.

    I fully expect the budget to pass. Booby and his fellow Chariho sycophants win every battle using the tried and true “for the children” mantra. If they don’t prevail the first time, they just do it again. I don’t see why things will be different this time. Regardless, he and the School Committee majority may be able to fool most of the people, but they don’t fool me. Idiots.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 6, 2009 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

  4. 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.

    Below is 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 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  5. Comments from the Richmond Blog website:

    A resounding NO!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 7, 2009 @ 1:24 am | Reply

  6. Yeah, all three of us!

    We’ll see how it goes…

    Comment by david — April 7, 2009 @ 6:52 am | Reply

  7. Hi All,
    Not much choice for me. Can’t afford to keep agreeing to give Chariho bigger increases than I earn. Between the bonds and the budgets I don’t know how everyone else is able to do it? The problem isn’t just at Chariho but all the government spending is killing us. It will get worse. I’ve voting no.

    Comment by Jim L. — April 7, 2009 @ 7:59 am | Reply

  8. I voted NO!

    Comment by Dorothy — April 7, 2009 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  9. David, I thought that after I posted it, as well. I do think that there are people that read but don’t comment.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 7, 2009 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  10. Dorothy’s right, I got about 20 emails saying they would vote NO, people who are willing to take a public stand are the very tip of the iceberg.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — April 7, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  11. I imagine the school is pretty aggressive in getting their employees, families, and friends to vote. We know they do a great job of getting their sycophants on the School Committee. Considering Chariho is probably the area’s largest employer, low voter turnout would seem to be heavily in favor of the status quo.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 7, 2009 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  12. John Dipetro at WPRO is unable to get a hold of Mr. Felkner. I guess he wants to discuss the Tea Party.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 14, 2009 @ 8:50 am | Reply

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