Chariho School Parents’ Forum

June 11, 2007

Chariho solicitor supports legality of RYSE

Filed under: RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 6:43 pm

In response to a request I made a few weeks ago, the Chariho solicitor, John Earle, gave his opinion on the creation of RYSE and the Chariho Act (read this letter for details).  In short- it is Mr. Earle’s opinion that since the school is required to provide education, creating the RYSE program is not outside the “scope of the function” of the school. 

There was no mention of the fact that RYSE now supplies “24 hour a day/ 7 days a week” “mental health services.”  Not only do we treat students, we also provide treatment for the family as this is part of our new treatment model (Kathy Perry also noted that these additional services for family members has resulted in more Medicaid reimbursement than we received when we sent the kids out to places like South Shore).  As a matter of fact, according to PC Inc, we now supply diabetes treatments.  But according to this legal opinion, all this is under the authority of Chariho to supply “educational needs.”

 Here is the letter.

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June 7, 2007

RYSE expenditures according to 1) Chariho &, 2) In$ight

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 11:01 pm

The first page is the RYSE expenditures per Kathy Perry.  I would hope we have a better method of record keeping than a single page but this is all that was provided when I asked for documentation that RYSE was saving us money.

Not included on this sheet are the overlapping costs such as the nurse and the administration duties performed by the Chariho administration (payroll, etc..). 

Note the “in tuition” fee listed on the bottom.  When asked, Perry said this was the calculated per pupil expense, not including transportation.  Also notice that there are no insurance reimbursements noted in the revenues.  As we learned when Elaine Morgan tried to speak to the board, her child was utilizing services paid for by her insurance.  But when she was “forced” to enroll her child at RYSE, the taxpayers picked up the bill.

The second page is also from Perry and is her estimate of what it would have cost to send the RYSE students to other schools.   According to an email from Perry, students have also been sent to Riverview, Briggs, Valley Community, Spurwink, St. Mary’s, Devereaux and Thames Valley.  I’m not sure why she only used Bradley, Forwardview and South Shore for this comparison.

The final page is the In$ight report.  The per pupil fee is larger than Perry reports.  This is most likely because it includes the overlapping costs that Perry omitted from her report.  No other explanation was given and Supt. Ricci said the In$ight numbers “may or may not be accurate.”

 

ryse-expenditures-2.jpg

PC Outcomes

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 10:58 pm

Here is the Outcome Data supplied by PC Inc. 

One point I couldn’t help but notice was that on the original bid, PC Inc said they would use the following performance measures – satisfaction surveys, track time spent in the program and results after students went back into the regular programs.  However, we were told that 95% of surveys were positive so they stopped taking them (they also didn’t have them to supply to me) and according to Kathy Perry, reintegrating the children back into the regular schools is not a specific goal and not tracked.  Furthermore, they do not track how long the kids are in the program since reintegration is not a goal.  According to Perry, no kids left RYSE unless DCYF of family court ordered the change (see outcome data).  As we learned from Elaine Morgan, parent choice is not part of the equation either.

Note on page 2, it says there have been no physical altercations.  Keep this in mind for the future.

MST Licensee Agreement

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 10:55 pm

Here is the Licensee Agreement for Provider Agencies. 

Note on page 3, “Licensee agrees to comply with all of the policies and procedures in the MST Manuals… in using the MST System for the treatment of clients.” 

As acknowledged in previous info, the MST program is designed for “serious juvenile offenders.”  PC Inc had to alter the treatment model for the school. 

So if it isn’t MST anymore, the licensee agreement would seem to say that this is a violation (unless of course you are not using MST.  And if that’s the case, then the research supporting MST (and the “primary” reason Kathy Perry selected the $420k bid over the $276k bid) doesn’t apply.  So then, why did we pay nearly twice as more for this program as was offered by South Shore, a company already in our district?

PC Inc Scientific and Conceptual Rationale for Clinical Services

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 10:53 pm

Here is the Scientific and Conceptual Rationale for Clinical Services paper submitted by PC Inc.  

Of notable interest is the opening line.  The treatment model is “unique” and “nothing similar has been tried in the US.” 

We went with the MST program because it supplied “research” supporting the program (remember, this was the “primary” reason Chariho signed a $420k contract rather than a $276k contract).   Of course, like the 5th and 6th grade configuration debate, research is subjective.  South Shore provided research supporting their program (see SSMH bid), but the Chariho Administration decided that the PC sited research was better.  Even if it was – does it matter?

Because MST is designed to be a 4-month program for “serious juvenile offenders” we had to change the program for the Chariho population.   So if we changed the program, and the research used to support MST doesn’t apply to our population, why insist that it was the “research” that sold us on the program?

Not to mention the fact that we now continue with the only MST certified program, even though we don’t use MST, and deny all other bids because they are not MST certified.   Confused?

 

PC Inc Original Proposal

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 10:44 pm

 There is no date on this document (there was no date on the “Scientific and Conceptual Rationale” sheet either), but the words “original document” was written on the top of the first page. 

Note on page 2 how it is again acknowledged that MST has not been used in schools before.  Again, I ask, if the research for MST does not apply to our population, why use that research as the “primary” criteria for selecting a $420k contract rather than a $276k contract?

May 28, 2007

Westerly Sun reports on May 22 meeting

Filed under: RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 7:49 pm

Legality of RYSE program questioned By Brian Quinlan

The Sun Staff

WOOD RIVER JUNC­TION – Chariho Superintendent Barry Ricci has asked the school’s attor­ney for a legal opinion regarding whether the Reaching Youth through Support and Education Program (RYSE) exists in violation of the Chariho Act. School Committee mem­ber William Felkner said he asked Ricci to get a legal opinion on the matter and wants to know whether the RYSE Program – which offers both educational and clinical services to students with mental health needs – is “ an extension of the school” and should have required voter approval.

He pointed to Section 9 (6) of the Chariho Act, which says the district can not “build a building, purchase land or extend the scope of the functions of the school without voter approval.”

 Along with the district’s $26 million building plan, administrators have pro­posed building a 12,000­square- foot building to house the RYSE School. Felkner has also questioned whether the proposed build­ing would also be in viola­tion of the Chariho Act.

Ricci said he hopes to hear back from the school’s attorney within the next week, but defended the merits of the program dur­ing an interview. Administrators, he said, have a responsibility to stay flexible to meet the changing needs of the student body.

“ Our responsibility under federal law is to educate all kids,” Ricci said. “ Whether we send them out of district and pay their tuition or educate students in dis­trict, we still have to edu­cate students. If we offer the services here and can do a superior job, of course we would keep them ( in dis­trict).”

According to data regard­ing the RYSE program pro­vided by Ricci, some 69 stu­dents have been enrolled in the RYSE Program over the last four years, with 21 eventually being moved out of district to get education­al and mental health serv­ices. Further, the data states that the RYSE School has been deemed a high performing school and a Regents Commended School by the Rhode Island Department of Education, and that only five of the 69 students who were enrolled dropped out prior to gradu­ation.

Also, Ricci said that “ a majority” of the parents he speaks with are “ very pleased” with the program.

 “ We have no more com­plaints from this school than we have for any other,” he said.

Felkner said Ricci’s state­ment that the school must stay flexible “may be right.” He added that he is “ not an expert” on the matter.   “ That’s why I’m asking for this opinion,” he said.

Felkner also questioned why a parent of a RYSE student wasn’t allowed to speak at Tuesday night’s Chariho School Committee meeting. During the meet­ing, school committee mem­bers approved a contract for the clinical services provid­ed at the RYSE Program by M i d d l e t o w n – b a s e d Psychological Centers. Ricci said the company has provided clinical services at RYSE for the four years it has been operating and that he is “ very pleased” with the services.

The woman, Felkner said, had a child who was receiving day services at Bradley Hospital and was also receiving mental health services from South Shore Mental Health Center. He said the parent told him her child was “ forced” to move to the RYSE Program to receive clinical and day services. A short time later, the woman’s child had a “ breakdown,” Felkner said.

“ My main concern is just that she wasn’t allowed to speak,” he said.

Ricci, however, said the woman was stopped from speaking because what she was saying didn’t pertain to the agenda item.

“ The conversation was about an agenda item that was related to a renewal of a contract,” Ricci said. “ The conversation with the par­ent was not about that and the chair stopped her from speaking.”

 bquinlan@thewesterly­sun.com

 In other posts, I had reported that the parent was not allowed to speak because Kathy Perry disagreed with her.  What Supt. Ricci says is true (that the parent was stopped because her testimony was not relevant to the agenda item), but when Day said that her testimony would not be allowed, I pointed out that we are voting to sign a contract that will purchase services for the RYSE program, and this parent was going to speak about the quality of those services.  So it seems to me that her testimony is relevant.

So then Day said that Perry did not agree with the parents, so their was a “discrepancy” and she would not be allowed to contiue.  Then I pointed out that if speaking against the services was not allowed, then speaking fondly of the services should not be allowed either (since the same discrepancy exists). 

Many of you have seen the tape, please tell me what you saw.  It is entirely possible that I am remembering it wrong.

questions answered

Filed under: RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 7:32 pm

Here are some questions that were posted from commenters.  Supt. Ricci answered and I’ve put in what I know in bold.

What is the assistant superintendent’s role/job description?

The Assistant Superintendent is mainly responsible for curriculum, professional development, and grant development.  Additional responsibilities include home instruction, 504 plans, summer school, etc.

Why do we not empower the teachers to decide on the curriculum?

Teachers are part of every curriculum decision.  They are invited to assist in the writing of curriculum and in the selection of materials.

The teaching of math has clearly changed over the years.  Those of us old enough to remember how the old math was taught (repetitive and rote) do not understand the, to us, cart before the horse abstract ways of today’s math. 

As Supt. Ricci said, the decision to use this new math was made by the Asst. Supt. and teachers.  They must feel this new way is most effective. 

I do know of some teachers in another district (I think they use everyday math) and they just ignore the guidelines and teach math the old way.   This is good an bad.  It, at least according to the teacher, is better for the students, but when we look at the school and see good performance, we credit the “everyday math” curriculum, when it really is the “old math.”  What we need are speak out if they really thought the new math was insufficient. 

Where are we with the Math curriculum?

Phil has conducted two days of “reviews” of curriculum options.  He has one additional day scheduled.  He is also reviewing our written curriculum to be sure that it aligns with high-performing states.

What involvement did the teachers have in TERC’s inception?

Ricci can’t speak to this as it occurred before his arrival in Chariho.  Mine too, unfortunately.

What kind of grants have we gotten in the last 3 years?  Listed by year.

I’m still putting this together

What were the amounts of these grants?  

same

How much did we have to contribute to receive these grants?

Usually, there is no contribution.  Sometimes, an in-kind or small monetary contribution is necessary.  Each grant that the school committee approves includes a budget.

The difficult question is what is the residual costs.  Like the solar panels, it has maintenance, but it is minimal.  But the light bulbs for overhead projectors (which may or may not have been started with a grant) are $500.

Have any of the grants been for the elementary schools?

I (Ricci) don’t recall any recent grants for elementary schools.

What can be done to make the line items reflect the cost of each school?   (ie…Vo-Tech, HS, MS, RYSE, and the individual elementary schools)

Brian would be better able to answer this.  The account numbers in your budget are coded by school; we have to follow a state accounting system.  The state is in the process of developing a new chart of accounts which will further detail expenditures.

What additional roofing needs to be done to the 1967 building?

Repairs on the 1967 roof have been completed.  Last week, the flashing was repaired.
What’s going on with the 1904 building?

Negotiations with the town council, not public information yet.

Can the curriculum for sex-ed be published for parents to see?

All of our curricula are on our web site.  Sex education is part of the health curriculum.

Tomorrow night I will post the RYSE performance measures, the proposal and 2006 revenues and expenditures sheet.

May 24, 2007

Analysis – RYSE

Filed under: page updates,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 11:52 pm

 

I’ve decided to devote a permanent page to the RYSE program, obviously as a reaction to the information  and misinformation presented at the May 22nd meeting.  As Bill Day said, there were a lot of “discrepancies.” 

At this meeting, the board approved a contract for mental health services for the RYSE School.  We did not send this contract out for bid. 

Elaine Morgan, parent of a RYSE student, tried to testify on the services we were voting to purchase.  Bill Day, chair of the school board, ended the conversation after she told us that RYSE “forced” her to drop the clinical service from South Shore (funded by United Health Insurance) and utilize the services at RYSE (funded by the taxpayers). 

The reason she was denied the right to speak, according to Mr. Day, was because the Director of Special Education, Kathy Perry, disagreed with her testimony.  Thus the “discrepancies.”

The purpose of this website has always been to increase transparency and community involvement.  I will provide you with the same information that I have (with scans of related documents) and you can evaluate these discrepancies for yourself.  Hopefully, you will be encouraged to get involved. 

For more details, Chariho has written minutes of the meeting and a video tape.  They are both open to the public.  But please don’t expect them to make copies of the tape (we didn’t budget for this).   Maybe watch it there or obtain a copy from Cox.  Chariho should be able to provide the contact person.

Lets step back and  review how we got to this point.  Here is a brief outline and history of the RYSE program and the no-bid contract the board approved –

BRIEF HISTORY

In 2003, Chariho developed the RYSE School.  Before RYSE was developed, students who needed professional services were sent to various service providers in the community. 

According to documentation provided, these service providers were Bradley (South Kingstown & East Providence), South Shore Mental Health (Charlestown) and Forwardview (North Kingstown).

Some students were given a variety of services by a collaboration of agencies.  As an example, a student could go to Bradley for “day program” services (funded by school budget, ie. taxpayers) and at the same time receive clinical and/or evaluation services from South Shore Mental Health (insurance funded) and also get diabetes treatment at the local hospital (insurance funded).

RYSE was developed to provide all of the services “in-house.”  We still integrate in the community but the services are provided by RYSE staff.

I would assume there are some services we don’t supply yet but we have recently added the “Autism Spectrum Disorder” program, and the ”Elementary At-Risk” program.  We also now provide diabetes treatments. 

I have been open about my concerns over the RYSE School.  RYSE is advertised as providing “twenty four hour a day/seven day a week mental health services” for students “from other districts” with “serious mental and emotional health issues.”  

My concerns include:
1) I don’t think we should get into the “mental health services” business.
2) If we are in it, are we doing it efficiently and effectively?
3) the treatment model we use (MST) is designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders.”   We are the only school in RI that has a program designed for this population.  If DCYF wanted to relocate a group home, our district and community would be a likely location.  Furthermore, Chariho policy allows “out of districtplacements into RYSE with board approval. 

In 2003 the board approved the development of the RYSE School (note – there is some debate as to whether the development of this program without voter approval was a violation of the Chariho Act).  

But Chariho did it and now they needed to find someone to provide all of these services (all the services previously provided by the above list of community providers) and advertised for these services with this Request for Proposals (RFP). 

We received 2 bids :

South Shore Mental Health Center, Charlestown-RI, bid $276,000 and uses the community based model.   This model utilizes a collaboration of services in the community and is designed for a variety of populations.

Psychological Centers, Inc., (PC does not have a website) bid $420,000 and uses the multisystemic (MST) model.  This model provides “in-house” all  inclusive services and the program was designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders.”  

Here are what I see as the major differences between the two service providers.

Psychological Centers Inc. (PC),
1)     has been in business since 2000,
2)     is located in Middletown (outside of our district)
3)    
is an agency that utilizes a system designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders” 
4)      the treatment model has never been used in a public school before. 
5)      this model does everything “in-house” and subsequently completely funded by taxpayers 
6)      the treatment model research supporting its efficacy is cited in the bid, “the strongest and most consistent support (comes from studies) focused on violent and chronic juvenile offenders.”  I should also preface this by saying that MST Group, LLC., was the developer of the MST model and is also the licensing agency.  They are not a government entity and the certification is not a government (federal or state) certification.

South Shore Mental Health Center (SSMH),
1)      has  been in business since 1964,
2)      is located in Charlestown (in our district)
3)      this treatment model was not designed for a specific population.
4)      we had already done business with SSMH for 7 years
5)      utilized a community collaboration (rather than soup-to-nuts “in-house” services) that allowed insurance to pay for some services.
6)      the treatment model is supported by research cited in the bid.  
  

UPDATE: May 24 

The Chariho school committee voted to accept the $420,000 bid in 2003.

I will explain how we get from there to Tuesday’s $669,000 no-bid contract soon, but the “real world” has been keeping me busy.  In the mean time, here is the 2007 contract the Chariho school committee voted to accept. 

The RYSE School – Psychological Centers Inc., “No-Bid Contract, 2007

more to come…. 

 PS.  There were 8 other board members present at the meeting (Giancarlo Cicchetti and Holly Eaves were not present).  5 voted for the no-bid contract.  I know you visit the website.  Please post your comments or questions below in the “comments” section.

Please post comments on the permanent “page” here.  Not on this “post.”

RYSE – PC Inc., 2007 “No-Bid” Contract

Filed under: RYSE,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 11:45 pm

The contract outlines 3 programs that PC will support and covers the years 2007 to 2010. 
1) “The RYSE Program” – 21-29 students – $467,000 to %505,000
2) “Elementary At-Risk Program” – up to 9 students – $68,000 to $74,000
3) “ASD (autism) Program” – no enrolment numbers provided – $68,000 to $74,000

“Billing”
“Assuming 21-29 students enrolled in RYSE” – $669,000 to $724,000

pc_07_contract_1.jpg

pc_07_contract_2.jpg

pc_07_contract_3.jpg

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