Chariho School Parents’ Forum

October 10, 2008

Presentation at HTC

Filed under: HTC — Editor @ 12:29 pm

Sylvia Thompson gave a presentation at the last HTC meeting – the town will post the entire power point presentation on the website soon but here is what we have so far.

To: Hopkinton Town Council

 

October 5, 2008

 

 

I hope the enclosed spurs discussion and increased interest in the Chariho Regional School District budget.

 

 Specifically targeted within this report is a review of student enrollments, past budgets, tax rates, state aid to education and the method used to acquire revenues to offset school expenditures. I have also provided data that speaks to the financial impact that the current funding methodology has had upon the residents of the Town of Hopkinton.

 

Recently, the Town of Charlestownreleased the June 26, 2008 First Report of the Ad Hoc Withdrawal Update Committee. This report along with the October 2002 Chariho Expansion Exit Committee and the 1999 Chariho Facilities and Financial Study by MGT of America detail the school district history, financial dilemmas, taxing inequalities, and offer real solutions.

 

Since the passage of the Middle School Bond and the K to12 regional district, every single school bond has failed. While these failures have occurred for a variety of reasons, I do not believe any future school bond will pass until the way in which we tax to raise school revenue is fair to every taxpayer.

 

Charlestown may or may not build its own school system. They have the right to choose. 

 

I ask the people of Charlestownto consider that Hopkinton residents must also make a choice. One based upon what is in their best interest and their children’s best interest. They get to choose.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

Sylvia K. Thompson

Hopkinton Town Councilor

 

 

 

Contents:

 

District problems, local financial issues

 

Local Education Budgets and State Aid to Education

 

                                                            Exhibits

 

            1A Hopkinton education budgets & state aid

 

            1B Richmond education budgets & state aid

 

            1C Charlestown education budgets & state aid

 

1D Tri Town budget vs. enrollment

 

 2 Chariho general fund budget vs. actual expenditures

 

2A Chariho general fund budget vs. actual expenditures line graph

 

3 Chariho budgeted revenue vs. actual revenue

 

4 Tri Town budget increase vs. surplus

 

4A Over-estimated expense & under-estimated revenue

 

5 Ti Town contributions after state aid

 

6 Financial impact of a 10 year phased in district wide school property tax

 

7. Chariho District parcels by total assess value 5 categories

 

8. Chariho District parcels by total assess value 3 categories

 

 

Attachments

 

 

RIPEC 1995 Report Table 5 P 11 Municipal and Educations Levis

 

Table 9 from the FY2006 RI Estimated Property Tax Burdens Median Priced Homes

 

RI Dept of Administration Assessment and Full Values with tax rates required to finance municipal budgets for FY 06

 

2007 Hopkinton, Richmond & Charlestown Tax Roll

 

CEEC Executive Summary

 

CEEC Binder 3 Section C pages 15 to 18

 

MGT of America Chapter 6

 

Chariho Summary Budget document

 

Chariho Surplus Deficit Report for June 30, 2008

 

Chariho Year End 2003 audit pp.3, 4, 6, 7, & 36

 

Chariho Year End 2007 audit pp. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section I

 

Please consider the following:

 

        Rhode Island has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Michigan has slightly more.

 

        Rhode Islandalso shares another sad fact with Michigan, our poverty rate increased from 2006 to 2007.

 

        Locally, Hopkinton residents are suffering with company closings, loss of employment, and rising costs all leading to an increasing inability to meet daily expenses and pay property taxes.

 

        Many problems are outside of the ability of a Town Council or School Committee to resolve. However, there are specific actions local officials may undertake to reduce the financial burden placed upon our neighbors.

 

        Exhibit 1A through 1C highlight the ever-decreasing State Aid to Education for each of the towns.

 

        As a matter of fact, in 1990 Hopkinton’s State Aid paid for 54% of the Chariho School bill. The aid today now only pays 34% forcing property taxes to increase to fill the void.

 

What can we do?

 

Rhode Island’s population has been decreasing. This has effected student enrollments.

 

Exhibit 1D depicts the tri town school district budget compared to enrollments. According to Chariho’s own statistics, student enrollment has declined to a level below 1997.

 

This is not just a Chariho decline. The Westerly Schoolsystem has lost almost twice as many students as Chariho.

 

        We must encourage our school committee to reexamine spending in light of this trend.

 

        Exhibits 2, 2A, & 3 indicate a return to a trend of school budget under-estimating revenues and over-estimating expenses.

 

In the last 3 budgets (FY 06, 07, & 08) the combined budget increases, recommended the School Committee, totaled over $5.43 million. Yet, the combined 3 year total surplus was over $7.97 million.

 

Therefore, NO INCREASE WAS NECESSARY in the last 3 budgets. No taxation was necessary. If the School Committee had flat lined these budgets, they still would have had a 2 million surplus. Exhibit 4 documents this issue.

 

We must request the School Committee review these trends, understand which accounts caused this and budget accordingly. The taxpayers need relief.

 

In1995, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, (RIPEC) reported Hopkinton ranked # 1 in the state for having the largest % of its budget pay for education (78% education vs. 22% town, RIPEC document attached).

 

By 2007 this portion had not changed much, education accounted for 78.2% of the budget with 21.8% for the municipal side.

 

Charlestown’s ratio in 1995 was 64.45% education to 35.55% town. By 2007 the ratio had improved with less attributed to education and became 60% with 40% for the town.

 

 In 2006, the Rhode Island Department of Municipal Affair’s data, (excluding fire district taxes), demonstrated Hopkinton had the 4th highest property tax burden. Charlestown had the 4th lowest.

 

        This all leads to a fundamental argument between Charlestown residents and those residents who do not live in Charlestown but reside within the Chariho School District (or Richmondor Hopkinton).

 

        Are 3 different school taxes for 3 separate towns fair to the taxpayer? Fair to the towns

 

        Exhibit 5 shows how Charlestown, as a Town, pays more to the Chariho School, after state aid is applied.

 

        Exhibit 6 shows a $300,000 assessed home in 2007 would pay $1,353 for the school portion of the Charlestownbill. However, the $300,000 home, if located in Hopkinton, would pay $3,330 or $1,977 more. Or if the home’s address were Richmond, they would pay $3,471 or $2,118 more.

 

        This is the reason many Hopkinton residents have proclaimed, no more.

 

        What can we do? Exhibit 6 provides an example of how a 10-year phased in tax rate would impact district wide residents. Any claims that this would bankrupt Charlestown or force the elderly from their homes is not true.

 

        There are methods beyond a phased rate to “soften” any tax increase, such as a homestead exemption. This exemption lowers taxes for only residential owner occupied properties.

 

        Exhibit 7 & 8 shows the tri-town Chariho District with parcels by total assessed value. This provides an opportunity to see where the higher assessed parcels are located.

 

Exhibit 6 provides a general overview of the dollar effect or change in your tax bill, from the implementation of a single district wide school tax.

 

Also attached is Chapter 6 from the 1999 Chariho Facilities and Financial Study by MGT of America and Section IV. Chariho as a Taxing District, from the Chariho Exit & Expansion Committee, p 15-18.

 

I hope the exhibits contained within speak volumes and do generate more interest in resolving our local disputes within the Chariho School System.

 

 

 

 

                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

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