Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 29, 2009

A little something different

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 10:24 pm

I normally keep this blog non-partisan. With Republicans like Bill Day, Andy Polouski, and Andy McQuade on one side and Democrats like Deborah Carney and Georgia Ure, my Midwestern understanding of political parties stands on its head.  So, this isn’t partisan, it’s just fun to look back over the years and see how things change. Wait, I mean days.  Just 100 of them.  h/t ATR


“What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.”


            — On Feb. 9, President Obama characterizes a stimulus bill that contains over 9,000 earmarks as not containing “a single earmark”



“As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t — not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.” 


— On February 24, Obama makes his first address to a joint session of Congress and claims he does not believe in “bigger government”.  Two days later he releases his budget outline which dramatically increases the scope of the federal government.



I want to underscore that one of the mistakes governments have made over time in dealing with economic crises is putting the brakes on too quickly or in ways that hurt growth just as it’s starting to take hold.  We just want to be careful not to do that.”


— On March 12, testifyingbefore the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admits that tax hikes “hurt growth” — while ducking questions as to whether Obama’s planned tax hikes would go into effect in 2011 regardless of the condition of the economy



I don’t know if the President is aware of the events.”


— Robert Gibbs on April 14, in response to a question about the nationwide “tax day tea parties” attended by at least 578,000 people in hundreds of cities nationwide.



I’m not making jokes about it.  I’m being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money.  It is where I’m from.  It is where I grew up.  And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.”


— Robert Gibbs on April 20, attempting to defendthe paltry sum of proposed budget cuts by Obama:  $100 million, which is less than 0.003% of Obama’s FY 2010 budget and less than one day of interest on the “stimulus” bill



April 28, 2009

Chariho teachers’ salary on fast track

Filed under: Chariho,Charlestown,contract negotiations — Editor @ 7:30 pm

h/t CP and Tom himself for sending me this.

Dear Editor,


The recent abysmally low voter turnout for the Chariho budget shouldn’t surprise anyone. Ever since the regional “town hall” meeting to approve Chariho budgets was eliminated, voter participation has been minimal. Nor should it surprise anyone that the proposed budget was defeated. The Chariho School Committee has for years failed to control school expenses. Finally voters are waking up and pushing back. Most people in our communities want and support good education but they also want and need prudent and responsible budgets. 




This out of control spending starts with teacher salaries and benefits that make up the largest portion of the Chariho expense. Look at the chart above—it’s simple, an individual who was just out of college in 1999 with a teaching degree and hired by Chariho would earn $23,806 for the 1999-2000 school year. If that individual is still teaching at Chariho this year, only 9 school years later, without any further education, their salary would have soared to $70,892—a whopping THREE FOLD increase; absolutely extraordinary in a period of relatively low inflation! That’s just below an average 13% increase per year! How many taxpayers in our three towns can say that they have enjoyed pay increases of that magnitude?


The above speaks only to salary. There’s not enough room here to get into the details of Chariho teachers’ health insurance, vacation time, holidays, and pensions provisions that make their entire compensation package even more lucrative. This School Committee and its predecessors have had countless opportunities to reign in these costs but they have repeatedly acquiesced to union demands.


The School Committee will often say in response to requests to reduce the budget that their “hands are tied” by contract agreements.  Who’s fooling who? Those contracts were negotiated and approved by the School Committee. The next teachers’ contract is being negotiated right now – Now is when the Chariho School Committee must act and gain real cost reductions, to both salary and benefits, for the new budget.  


Let’s hope that the School Committee has gotten the message the voters sent last Tuesday. In this difficult economy the public wants the School Committee to aggressively address school spending. The School Committee needs to have meaningful reductions to the budget –and please don’t try to play the standard game of deleting field trips, sports, and advanced study programs etc. as the first response to that request.  Otherwise, the public will have no other recourse but to give a meaningful NO to the next budget.


Thomas Frost   



And before the inevitable flood of emails come, as are always sent when I post anything from or about RISC, let me answer the most common questions.  RISC is a group run by several south county residents, mostly intelligent well meaning retired CEO’s. Yes Tom is on the board of RISC. Yes I used to be. No I am not now – they asked me to leave.  No, RISC and OSPRI are not affiliated. Yes we agree on some things (tax issues). No we don’t agree on everything (LNG development). Yes, they have expressed displeasure with the current performance of our education system. No, they have not (as far as I know) taken a position on school choice. Yes RISC started a transparency project 6 months after OSPRI went online, No I don’t know why they duplicate efforts. Yes I was involved in discussions with them about creating a transparency project before I created OSPRI. No, obviously, things didn’t work out. Yes I had started the concept on this website before that. Do they feel they have an intellectual property right to the idea? you will have to ask them but I have been told no.

Yes I have asked them why they are duplicating efforts.  No, they don’t believe it is a waste of money (we provide budgets, payrolls, contracts, and the check register – they provide budgets, payrolls, contracts and fiscal statements).  No they don’t do RI Votes. Yes RISC has advocated against the Westerly Bond. No they have not advocated against the Chariho bond. Yes they used to be called the RI Shoreline Coalition – but now the State Wide Coalition. Yes most of their donors used to come from Charlestown and Watch Hill but the situation may have changed since they went state wide. Do OSPRI and RISC “get along? I would like to but they are actively working to hurt OSPRI (e.g. once attacked ospri by saying we had a political agenda and inferred that our data would be tainted) and I have received information where a RISC official said they will never promote anything OSPRI does (have you ever seen an OSPRI OpEd in the RISC daily news recap?) and they cut the OSPRI logo off the Tea Party flyer before handing it out. Yes I am as perplexed as you. I think that will answer most questions I normally receive.  I have exhausted all efforts in resolving the issue and don’t feel like answering the emails anymore.  So they are all answered here.

All that being said, I think Tom did a good job on this and agree. That’s why I continue to promote good policy regardless of who develops it.

April 26, 2009


Filed under: Hopkinton,Tax — Editor @ 4:29 pm

Does it strike anyone else as odd that we (Hopkinton) will be voting on a $2million dollar bond to purchase land so as to restrict housing developments because they attract young families that have expensive public school students – but then we will also be spending $98,000 to develop “affordable housing” because there is a “shortage” of such houses (that presumably attract families with expensive public school students)?

Look for something in the Sun and Times from me on this issue coming soon.

Chariho labor costs

Filed under: contract negotiations — Editor @ 4:25 pm

Tom Frost recently had a piece in the Westerly Sun about the costs of teacher contracts – if someone has it, please send and I will post it.  But Dorthy did post this letter from Thurman Silks that’s a good read on the same (relatively) subject.


Reporter Victoria Goff should be congratulated for her April 22 Sun front-page story about raises for Char¬iho administrators. It’s a wonder that she was able to keep track of all the stuff that goes into making sure our school administrators get enough money for food and shelter and perhaps a little more.

Or, more precisely, to be sure that administrators get a salary “comprised of the salary of a top tier teacher [$70,892 in 08/09] plus stipends given to de¬partment heads and teach¬ers with advanced degrees.” That sum is then multi¬plied by an “index” con¬nected to the regional av¬erage salary of comparable positions, according to Su¬perintendent Ricci. And, if you’ve been at Charihoa while, there’s another $500 for five years or $1,200 for ten.

The point to all this was explained at a previous school committee meeting. When the question was raised, the answer, as I un¬derstood it, was that they wanted to ensure that the administrators’ salaries were not exceeded by teach¬ers’ salaries. With all due respect, it is not obvious to me, and perhaps others, that administrators are worth more than teachers. There’s plenty more; there’s an intriguing unan¬swered question about the actual amount of money involved. That’s because the administrators’ salaries are tied to the salary of teachers in the top pay tier, and what that will be for 2009-10 won’t be known until settled by the current negotiations between the teachers’ union and the school committee.

Which may lead one to think that this is a strange way to set a budget. It’s been agreed that the raise will be 2.8 percent of some number, according to the headline, but nobody knows what that number is. Or if they do, they aren’t talking. And to those skeptics who question the accuracy of stories from Chariho, I would point out that they contain within them the ir¬refutable evidence of truth. Nobody, not even the most skilled fiction writer, could make up what goes on at Chariho.

Maybe that’s why the ad¬ministrators are so numer¬ous and well rewarded. It’s not easy work fending off reality.

Thurman Silks Hopkinton

April 15, 2009

more coverage

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 11:28 pm

pics and more over at

Projo video of the event

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 10:10 pm

See a video snipets here – someone just emailed it to me. enjoy

Tea Party today 3:00 at the State House

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 11:59 am

If you have not heard about the Tea Party by now, you haven’t been watching TV (Fox, MSNBC, all locals), listening to the radio (all stations), or reading the papers (too many to list).  In the last week alone, the organizers have been in the media on average twice a day. The weather is magnificent – a perfect day for a revolution.  I hope you can make it –

below is the press release with a list of speakers.  Please note to what extent this is a non-partisan event. NO politicians – although I know they asked Senator sitting politician at the State House who has signed the tax pledge (says you won’t raise taxes) – and he is a Democrat.  Also note that both John DePetro and Helen Glover are speaking (competitors in the 6 to 10 radio time slot) and both stations will be running feeds.  This really is an awakening.  OSPRI is honored to be its sponsor.



The Providence Tax Day Tea Party announces its list of speakers for the big day. Twenty people from all walks of life will tell you why they have had enough.
“The most frequent question I am asked is, ‘what’s this all about?,” said Colleen Conley, coordinator for the Tea Party. “This event is all about people saying, “we have had enough”.”
The RI Tea Party website sites “Reduce Spending and Cut Taxes” as its message but that can mean many things to many people.
“This event is about the teacher who sees mediocrity rewarded the same as excellence and he has had enough,” said Conley. “This event is about the business man who has seen taxes that caused him to lay off employees and he has had enough. This event is about a carpenter that works hard to support his family and pay his mortgage but he doesn’t want to be taxed to pay for someone else’s mortgage. He has had enough. All of our speakers will tell their story why they have had enough.”
Pasted below is the list of speakers with a tentative agenda and times.
“We are honored to have all of them,” said Conley. “This could very well be the most diverse group of speakers ever to be at one event. Please come join us and hear every one of their stories.”


Helen Glover – is a radio talk show host on WHJJ who fights the good fight every day. Her dedication is a clear indication that she has had enough. Helen will be the Masters of Ceremony for the event.


Colleen Conley – is a wife, mother and business person who was so outraged about runaway spending and taxation that she decided to hold a rally in Rhode Island. She, obviously, has had enough.


Introduce the crew.  Marina, Kristen, Nan, Cheryl, Rachel, Ron and Bill.  We have all had enough.


We would like to take a moment of silence for our troops and to have an inner reflection as you so choose.


Pledge of Allegiance. 


Back to Helen – MC


Bill Felkner – has been a school committee member fighting for school choice, a town councilor fighting for low taxes and is the president of the Rhode Island Association of Scholars and the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, the primary sponsor of this event. Being that involved, clearly Bill has had enough.


John DePetro – is a radio talk show host on WPRO and rails against the special interest groups on a daily basis. Even though those groups have formally organized against him, he continues to yell, “I have had enough.”


Walter Muzzy – is a descendant of one of the eight militia men killed during the battle of Lexington on April 19th, 1775 and will be reciting the inscription of the shot heard around the world – because he has had enough of a lack of respect for what our founding fathers died for.


Father Giacomo Capoverdi- is a priest and former assistant to the State Legislature and two Providence Mayors who has watched government grow as it takes the place of family, faith and friends.  He has had enough.


Jason Matera- is a former Roger William University student who now works with the Young Americans Foundation and has had enough of the statist movement that is influencing academia.


Brian Buongiovanni – is just a regular guy, he works in a print shop and lives a regular life. As a matter of fact Brian is the “Regular Guy” who writes for Motif magazine and you can read his columns weekly as he rants that he too has had enough.


Justin Katz – is a carpenter who has watched the average working class family fall farther and farther behind. He created an online avenue to influence change called Anchorrising and he travels the state blogging live at town council and school committee meeting so the citizens can become more involved. He has really had enough.


Ellen Kenner – is a clinical psychologist in private practice, and host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show, The Rational Basis of Happiness. She will read a piece from Ayn Rand because she has had enough.


Jeff Deckman – is a business man and consultant who has watched businesses leave Rhode Island faster than our pension dollars. He has had enough.


Bob Cushman – is a business man and has been involved in municipal politics and has had enough of runaway healthcare costs and irresponsible government.


Edward Hathaway – is a teacher who has watched from the inside how throwing more money at education hasn’t gotten the job done – he has had enough.


Jim Beale – is a retired CEO who runs the Rhode Island State Wide coalition that lobbies the State House because they have had enough of our politicians not listening to us.


Brian Bishop – is a property owner in Providence who deals with the onerous regulations present in the state. He has had more than enough.


Stefan Tabak – is a Mechanical Engineer and has worked in defense as a civil servant for 22 years. He is a regional coordinator for because he has had enough of our tax structure.


Bob Healey – is a lawyer and businessman who could have saved the state $4mm if he won his race for Lt. Governor because on his first day on the job he would have abolished the office. He has had enough of wasteful spending.


Chuck Barton – is a businessman who leads Operation Clean Government, a group of individuals that keep an eye on corruption in Rhode Island and they have all had enough.


Jon Scott – used to work with group home kids in Providence and has seen how the statist government nanny state has destroyed our culture.  He has had enough.


Ambassador J. William Middendorf- has served a number of presidential administrations in high-level positions, including Secretary of the Navy and Ambassador to the European Communities, the Organization of American States, and the Netherlands. He has a unique view of both America and the world and he too has had enough (and has for a long time!).


Close with the crew (Colleen, Marina, Nan, Cheryl, Rachel, Ron and Bill) and speak about where we go from here. The “Tea Party” will live on – we must make sure they hear our voice and that they respond.

WHAT: Providence Tax Day Tea Party

WHEN: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 from 3:00 to 6:00pm

WHERE:Rhode Island State House (City Side steps across from the Providence Place Mall)

Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Food Drive
Parking Available at the Providence Place Mall garage.

April 14, 2009

Tonight’s school committee budget workshop

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 6:54 pm

Georgia Ure will be at her first school committee meeting tonight. I deeply regret that I can’t make it – am still working hard on last minute prep for the RI Tax Day Tea Party (particularly, I’m still doing the research for the Ambassador’s speech).

But I would urge anyone who can make it to please attend.

Budget Voting research from Lois

Filed under: Budget — Editor @ 6:49 pm
    Yes No %Yes %No Total Votes      
Charlestown   296 77 79% 21% 373      
Richmond   218 81 73% 27% 299      
Hopkinton   186 228 45% 55% 414      
Charlestown   224 142 61% 39% 366  
Richmond   142 125 53% 47% 267  
Hopkinton   160 260 38% 62% 420  
  %Incr/Decr. in Voters %Incr in No votes    
Charlestown -2% 18%    
Richmond -11% 20%    
Hopkinton 1% 7%



It is important to notice the change in voter opinion within the towns of Charlestown and Richmond,  
which varies more dramatically than Hopkinton, which appears to be consistent from year to year.  
note an 11 % drop in the number of Richmond voters.  Charlestown and Hopkinton’s attendance  
figures were consistent year to year.    
It is interesting to note that Charlestown’s consistency in voter turnout is not reflected in their support  
of the budget.  Their ‘No’ votes increased by 18%, which is probably more dramatic than Richmond  
as one could argue that Richmond’s % increase in ‘No’ votes is related in part to its decrease in  

April 13, 2009

Clouds with silver liningS

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 8:10 pm

I capitalize the “S” for emphasis on the plural.

When I reported the Court order I mentioned that the can of worms apparently opened by the decision could be a silver lining with implications to several at the State House (see previous post). Well, there is another silver, or perhaps gold, lining for this cloud…


(building suspence)


Need I say more?

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