Letter: There are historical problems with the Chariho setup | Letters to the editor

The letter from Mr. Kenneth M. Robbins of Charlestown dated Friday, May 17 (“The failure of the Chariho school bond is a sad outcome”) is an interesting letter.

Before I respond, I would like to thank Tyler Champlin, Polly Hopkins and Larry Phelps, Hopkinton representatives on the Chariho School Committee, for opposing the school band. It’s hard to be in the minority on the School Committee, but they need to be recognized.

School Committee President Catherine Giusti, also from Hopkinton, supported the band. That is Mrs Giusti’s point. I am even more disappointed that she has not put an external management study on the school on the school committee agenda. I realize that Mr. Phelps has asked for it to be placed on the agenda. Hopkinton significantly rejected the school bond earlier this month.

Mr. Robbins needs to look and think more at the numbers, but also at the historical issues, the way Chariho is set up. Charlestown comes to the table with one of the lowest property tax rates in Rhode Island. Charlestown’s tax base still appears to be larger than Hopkinton and Richmond combined. Without a doubt, a vote in Charlestown is almost always a yes vote on something Chariho. If the tables had been turned with either of the other two towns, especially Hopkinton, the vote totals in Charlestown would be different. The deal is that all low-tax cities in Rhode Island have oceanfront property. Only Charlestown of the three Chariho towns meets that criterion.

The question of money is always an important consideration with Chariho. Whether Charlestown secedes from the district is not “earth-shattering.” All regional school districts in Rhode Island are two towns except Chariho. What is not mentioned in Mr. Robbins’ letter is the 2017 “Jacobs Report” on school conditions and the Chariho School District’s apparent failure to address school conditions at the time. Then we have the Chariho Act, which obliges the school district in Chariho to maintain the primary schools. What do you say, Mr. Robbins, to that failure?

Furthermore, Mr. Robbins, what do you say about the “MGT study” from many years ago conducted by outside consultants on how the school district is designed and financed? I know that the equated tax rate proposed in that study was quite controversial. But say what you want, but outsiders with some credentials issued it!

In closing, those interested in contacting me can use [email protected] and 401-378-0914.

Scott Bill Hirst


The writer is vice president of the Hopkinton City Council.