Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 8, 2008

A rough meeting

Filed under: not sure how to categorize this — Editor @ 11:08 pm

Tonight’s meeting didn’t go as planned.  I tried to speak about false rumors that have originated from the Committee.  

The first false rumor is that the NEA and Chariho are in “litigation.”  Mrs. Serra said we were in a “lawsuit” at a previous meeting.  Bob Petit wrote a letter in the Sun and ProJo saying that there was a “case” and we were in “litigation.”  It is flatly wrong.  But Chariho continues to hide the information in an executive session calling it “potential litigation.”  It is so misleading that it fooled two of our own Committee members.  And they have access to all the “confidential” information.

Mary Botelle wrote an incredible letter that butchered the Chariho solicitor for not recognizing simple law in regards to who and what the NEA compliant could be about (will post soon).  This is the same solicitor that Mrs. Botelle and former Charlestown Council president Deb Carney corrected after he stumbled through three versions of the Chariho Act (we still do not have an updated, current and approved version).   This is the same solicitor who Mr. Ricci suggested we hire.

The second rumor is that I got in a fight with my child’s teacher and was trying to get her fired.  All of which resulted in us removing our child from the District.  It is true that we withdrew our daughter.  However, the teacher could not have been aware of the accumulated issues that forced our decision.  She didn’t seem to understand the serious nature of what she said either. 

She saw nothing wrong with telling me that they report false scores and she made other statements including one that was most disturbing to me personally.  The reaction of the administration was the last straw.

The false rumor came about because Chairman Bill Day duscussed the issue with vice chairman Andy Polouski in public, after I asked Mr. Day to keep it private.  Mr. Day knew the real reason but admitted to spreading the gossip that there was a “tiff.”  I don’t know the full details of their conversation, and gosip does tend to get exagurated over time (maybe that’s why the Bible calls it a sin), but I am not trying to get the teacher fired and nothing was said to her then or at any other time, so there is no way any “tiff” or “fight” could have been reported from the teacher. 

It is an emotional issue and I had difficulty expressing myself correctly, and completely.  There is much more that I wanted to say.  Admittedly, I didn’t want to discuss what the teacher’s opinion of my child was, but Mr. Day started a false rumor and it had to be addressed. 

I need some time to collect my thoughts.  I apologize for my demeanor but I think Mrs. Serra crossed the line when she talked about my family months ago, and Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski have done far worse.  I’m sorry my emotions didn’t allow me to say everything that needs to be said, objectively.

One observer said that Kathy Perry, the Special Education Director, was seen smirking with a look that seemed to say, ‘good, we are getting to him.’

“Education” is far more than reading, math, etc…  It teaches life lessons and morals.  Mrs. Perry is one of many examples of lessons I will not allow them to teach to my child. 


The final point I made was in reaction to Mr. Petit’s letter in the Westerly Sun when he said that I missed too many meetings and then he referenced the stipend we are paid.  I know I wasn’t clear – so here is what I tried to say on that point.

Clearly, most of the board prefers that I come to as few meetings as possible.  Indeed, Mr. Polouski said he wished I would leave the district.  Mr. Petit was probably trying to say the taxpayers aren’t getting their moneys worth.  So here is my pledge:

Anyone who will start a 501 c 4 that advocates for FULL PARENTAL CHOICE in education – I will put that stipend into a matching fund grant for that mission, inclusive of a portion in seed money for a specific project (details can follow).  I am guaranteed $6000 till the end of this term, and another $8000 for each subsequent term.  I will do it as long as it takes.  I bet there are other Committee members in other districts that would do the same.

I have spoken with the director of the Rose and Milton Friedman Foundation, Rob Enrow, and the organization is willing to speak with us in that effort.  I too would gladly share the information I have found on this subject and what resources I may have available.  I would very much like to have an agenda item on the Hopkinton Town Council to begin the discussion of this option. 

In closing, I have to say I hate what happened tonight.  I hate having to defend my family in public (Bob Walsh, director of the NEA pulled this sh** too).  I hate having to always be the one who must prove the point when others go unchecked.  This is why these committees end up with all “like minded” people.   Real reform is run out of town by self-selection.  Nobody likes being under fire.  But they will learn that I will not quit and I will get stronger.  And now I’m getting angry.

Now that I’ve said it sucks – it could be better with more help.  Seats will be available at the November election (must apply by June).  Until we get school choice, we have to operate in the system we have.  We can make a difference.  I don’t want to shift power on the Committee, I want to remove that power and place it in the hands of the parent. 


PS. The new bond vote will go forward without Hopkinton’s blessing.   

PSS.  The NEA has unceremoniously dropped the “complaint.”  The letter from the NEA was not in our packet when delivered and not on the public notice.  It was slipped into our update packet when we arrived at the meeting.  7 months of your tax dollars at work – and Mr. Petit and Mr. Ricci blame me for this cost.