Chariho School Parents’ Forum

July 31, 2008

Gearing up for Campus 2010 (part deux)

Filed under: bond,Maintenance — Editor @ 3:42 pm

From the Chariho August email sent by Mr. Ricci:

Focus on Campus 2010

     This past spring, the Chariho School Committee, in a 10-1 vote, approved the submission of legislation authorizing a second vote on the Campus 2010 project.  As a result, votes will be held on November 4th, this time as three separate projects.
     Why?  Quite simply, the needs have not gone away and cannot be solved through the annual operating budget.   The District continues to spend nearly $300,000 per year on lease payments for temporary portable classrooms.  And, there is little disagreement that the High School infrastructure needs significant upgrades and that our high school students need additional learning space.  Related detail can be found in the comprehensive accrediting report from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges at http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/building_comm/default.htm.
     Become informed!  Visit the Chariho web site at the Building Committee link for more information

I would disagree.  What is should read is, “the needs have not gone away and even though we spend over $14,000 per student (among the highest in the nation), we are unable to manage our finances well enough to keep our building from falling apart.  Yes, I remember the “non-emergency” roof that fell in the classroom.  And yes, enrollment is dropping, but we have so many non-essential services (with union employees) that we are running out of room.”

I would also ask, if spending $300,000 on leases is a bad deal, why did we do it in the first place?  Mr. Day, Mr. Polouski, and Mr. Ricci were all around then, ask them.  Oh yea, because it would take a vote to approve the creation of RYSE if they did that.  So, they were willing to saddle us with a lease payment because they didn’t want to ask for approval to create a new school.

Curiously, earlier in the email he also said this –

Keep your eye on the District website.  We’ll be updating the site with pictures from the many construction projects occurring all over the District.  I promise that our High School students will be quite impressed (and proud) when they return.

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May 8, 2007

Charges filed against EOC

Filed under: Chariho,Hopkinton,Maintenance — Editor @ 1:20 pm

As reported in the Sun –

Hopkinton School Panel draws challenge over Open Meeting Law

 By Chris Keegan
The Sun Staff

HOPKINTON – A member of the Chariho Regional School Committee is charging that the town’s Educational Options Study Committee has violated the Rhode Island’s Open Meetings Act.

In a complaint mailed to the Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch on Tuesday, School Committee member Andrew J. McQuaide of Charlestown asked the state agency to review whether the advisory committee has failed to advertise its meetings and file recorded minutes in accor­dance with state law.

 The committee, which was formed last April, is currently comprised of two members — former Town Councilor Georgia Ure and Dorothy Gardiner. Intended as a five­member board, the group does not have an official charge — though it was created to explore whether Hopkinton should stay in the school dis­trict, or partially withdraw partially its students and return them to the local level.

 

“The Educational Options Study Committee provides the Hopkinton Town Council with reports and recommendations at every town council meet­ing,” wrote McQuaide, who is a freshman at the University of Rhode Island. “Minutes of the Hopkinton Town Council meeting clearly suggest that the (committee) meets regular­ly. However, these meetings have not been posted and advertised in accordance with the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act…” “Currently, the Hopkinton Educational Options Study Committee is comprised of only two members,” he added. “The minutes of the Hopkinton Town Council meeting(s) indi­cate that their primary con­cern and focus surrounds the physical condition of the 1904 elementary school building that is currently not utilized as a school. The minutes that I have obtained indicate that the sole two members have met with professional guests just to discuss the condition of the vacant elementary school.” McQuaide pointed to the committee’s tour of the origi­nal Ashaway Schoolhouse with Hopkinton Town Manager William DiLibero, builder Ronald Kennedy, Chariho Assistant Superintendent Philip Thornton and others on Oct. 20. Recorded minutes of the meeting were later submit­ted to the town as evidence that the district had allegedly neglected the town-owned building — which was unheat­ed at the time due to a gas leak.

 School and town officials are currently involved in closed­door talks to determine whether the school district should continue maintaining the 1904 building — which it stopped using last June due to costly state and federal build­ing requirements. The cam­pus’ 1967 addition currently houses kindergarten through grade four students.

Hopkinton Town Council President Vincenzo Cordone said McQuaide’s complaint broaches a “gray area” because the study committee does not have enough members to con­duct a meeting. A quorum of three is needed to discuss any official business.

 “Technically, it (the commit­tee) is inactive because they don’t have a quorum,” Cordone said. “But if you don’t have a quorum, does it violate the Open Meetings Act? It’s up to the attorney general’s office to determine whether the com­plaint is valid or not.”

Neither Ure nor Gardiner could not be reached for com­ment this morning.

 In related news, McQuaide has asked Hopkinton’s Town Council to look into whether Roofing Unlimited Inc. violat­ed federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations last week, when a foreman granted Gardiner and a representative of The Sun access to the 1967 school roof via an aerial lift. The company was recently hired to repair gutters on the 1904 building.

Federal regulations require construction site employees in a lift basket to wear a harness while working.

 

Roofing Unlimited Inc. owner Richard A. Doyon – who deemed the 1967 school roof’s condition to be in need of emer­gency repairs – did not return a phone message left at his Hope Valley business.

 ckeegan@thewesterlysun.com

April 13, 2007

Leak follow-up

Filed under: Hopkinton,Maintenance — Editor @ 2:24 pm

Water emergency ■ Students moved from two classrooms at Ashaway School. By Chris Keegan

The Sun Staff

 

ASHAWAY – School officials evacuated two second- grade class­rooms at the Ashaway Elementary School on Thursday, after heavy afternoon rain found its way though leaks in the Hillside Avenue facili­ty’s roof.

 Ashaway School Principal Linda Perra said 35 students were moved into the school gymnasium after water began streaming through the ceiling, along a wall and into a classroom in the school’s first-floor wing. It would later spread to other parts of building causing large standing pud­dles in both second grade classrooms. 

Following dismissal, school officials assessed the damage: numerous ceiling tiles were removed to allow water to drip from metal roof reinforcements into garbage cans. Up on the roof, a maintenance employee used a water pump and snow shovel to move several inches of rain off the rooftop ­which is flat and cov­ered with stones.

 Chariho’s Assistant Director of Buildings and Grounds Dan Cook said the leak was likely caused by a small, local­ized hole. Maintenance workers would stay through the night to ensure that water did not spread into the rest of the building, he said. “Today qualifies as an emergency situation,” Cook said. “It’s the first time we’ve had a leak of this magnitude in the building.” 

School Committee Chairman William G. Day of Richmond later pledged that the district would do “whatev­er necessary” to address the conditions. Second-grade stu­dents would likely attend classes today in the school library and art classroom as part of a pre-established contingency plan.

 

The water emergency comes one day after independent con­tractor Richard A. Doyon told The Sun that rips in the roof’s rubber membrane had compro­mised the integrity of the roof. Doyon’s company was recently hired by the town of Hopkinton to repair gutters at the school campus’s vacant 1904 building.

 

A foreman working on the vacant schoolhouse also said that the membrane on the campus’ 1967 addition had been incorrectly adhered to a metal strip that runs along the perimeter of the entire facility ­creating what Doyon viewed to be an “emergency situation.”

 Chariho Superintendent Barry J. Ricci said earlier this week that he did not consider the roof’s condition to be an emergency, though the district would continue garnering bids from three local contractors to fix any roof problems in accor­dance with district policy.

Recent water leaks at the school caused about $900 worth of damage to books on a shelf, though the items have been replaced, he acknowl­edged.

 

“Clearly, yesterday’s event was far more significant than it has been in the past,” Ricci said. “It (the leak) was proba­bly attributed to the severity of the storm. We have a roofer there this morning to look at it and assess the needs. We will make a decision this morning on how to go forward.”

 Ricci – who has been superin­tendent since July 2005 – said he is unaware of any leaks at the Hillside Avenue facility within the last year. “I’m not recalling any, but I’m not say­ing anyone hasn’t told me about a leak,” he said. Chariho Finance and Administration Director Brian Stanley confirmed this morn­ing that school administrators authorized $4,975 in emer­gency roof repairs in February 2006 to address conditions at the Ashaway School.

The repairs – which were completed during a time of excessive rains and high winds – were made after Director of Buildings and Grounds Dan Cartier determined that the work needed to be done “right then and there,” he said. According to Stanley, two other district elementary school roofs were also repaired under the auspices of emer­gency conditions at the Hope Valley Elementary School on Thelma Drive, and Charlestown Elementary School on Carolina Back Road.

But Chariho School Committee member George Abbott – who represents the town of Hopkinton – said he does not recall any of the emer­gency repairs made to any of the schools named by Stanley. “I don’t recall that specifical­ly,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of that.” Abbott – who visited the Ashaway School on Thursday to confirm Doyon’s assessment that the facility would leak “big time” during the next rain­storm – said he considers the roof’s condition to be an emer­gency situation.

Repairs should be made immediately, he said. “It was pretty bad,” Abbott said of the affected classrooms. “It (water) was coming down the walls like a little waterfall, in one room in particular. You can’t just let that go without repairs. I think there’s another storm coming on Sunday.”

Thank God for today’s sunshine

Filed under: Chariho,Maintenance — Editor @ 10:06 am

Up on the leaky roof – Contractor: School roof critical By Chris Keegan The Sun Staff

ASHAWAY – An independent contractor hired to repair gutters at the original Ashaway School has determined that the roof of the school’s 1967 addition needs to be repaired immediately.

 Or worse, replaced. 

But Chariho Superintendent Barry J. Ricci is disagreeing with the Roofing Unlimited Inc. owner Richard A. Doyon’s assessment that the leaking roof is an “emer­gency situation” – and will pro­ceed with the repairs in accor­dance with a district policy that requires three companies to bid on the patch work.

 

On Wednesday morning, a fore­man with Doyon’s company showed The Sun and Hopkinton’s Educational Options Study Committee member Dorothy Gardiner several rips in the roof’s upper layer – which is comprised of a rubber membrane. The mate­rial was incorrectly adhered to a metal strip that runs along the perimeter of the building – which appears to be warped in some places due to stress, he said.

 

“My feeling is that it’s not nec­essary to go out to bid,” said Doyon, noting that several ceiling tiles in a classroom had already been removed due to water damage. “The integrity of the roof is gone.” Asked by Gardiner if he considers the leak to be an immediate safety concern, Doyon said: “If water is coming in, what would you call it? An emergency.”Though she approved a review of the roof’s condition, Ashaway School Principal Linda Perra declined comment through a school clerk this morning.

 Ricci, however, acknowledged that the roof is leaking and that water has spread to three classrooms inside the Hillside Avenue school. In accordance with district policy, school officials are currently garner­ing three bids from compa­nies to repair the leak, he said.

Doyon’s company – which is based in Hope Valley – is one of the contractors that submitted a bid to complete the roof work.

 

“There’s a difference in opinion about whether this is an emergency or not,” Ricci said. “It is not an emergency. But we do acknowledge there is a roof leak, which I became aware of at the end of last week.

 

We’re getting three quotes in accordance with policy.”

 

“I think that sometimes the media gets used by cer­tain people who paint the district in a poor light,” Ricci added. “To imply this problem is being ignored is totally untrue.” Ricci could not confirm when roof work on the 1967 addition was last done.

 

Members of the Educational Options Study Committee have recently criticized the district for a perceived lack of upkeep at the original Ashaway Schoolhouse – known by most as the “1904 building” for the year it opened.

 

Both Gardiner and Hope Valley business owner Georgia Ure – who serve on the committee – have chided school administrators for allegedly removing furni­ture from the building when the school’s fifth graders were moved to Chariho Middle School in Richmond last fall.

 

The school district stopped using the 1904 building in June due to state fire code and federal American With Disabilities Act requirements – but con­tinues to use a separate addition that was built in 1967.

 

The town is currently in negotiations with the regional school district over the Ashaway campus’ $1 annual lease. At issue is whether the district should continue maintaining the 1904 building in accordance with the contract – which technically covers both town-owned buildings on the school campus.

 

Hopkinton Town Manager William DiLibero confirmed Wednesday that the town has hired Doyon’s company to repair gutters and down­spouts on the 1904 building – which have been cited as being “ineffective” by Gardiner and Ure.

 

The Sun learned of Doyon’s assessment after a member of the Educational Options Study Committee contacted a news editor.

 

In related news, school officials at the Richmond Elementary School recently faced similar roof problems at the Kingstown Road schoolhouse. Within the last few weeks, a leak in one of the classrooms caused a damaged ceiling tile to col­lapse – causing water dam­age to the floor beneath it, Ricci said.

 

“There was significant leakage,” he said. “They had to move kids out of room to get the repairs done. Now we’re waiting for a rain­storm to determine whether the repairs were successful.” A 100-percent chance of rain today will likely resolve the matter.

 

Town officials in Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond have long called for improvements to district elementary schools ­though voters in Charlestown and Hopkinton rejected plans for $99.8 mil­lion worth of district-wide facilities improvements in 2005.

 Last year, tri-town voters approved a $123,560 budget warrant item for roof repairs at the Chariho Middle School in order to fix leaks and resulting water damage at the Switch Road facility. Voters approved $148,000 for the first phase of the repair work in 2005.

[update] Yesterday, two classrooms in Ashaway had to be evacuated due to leaks.  Richmond also had a leak.