The following is an open letter to Barry Ricci, superintendent of the Chariho Regional School District:
I must decline your invitation to a private meeting at your office. I will not debate the fate of our wonderful, award winning Hopkinton Elementary Schools in secret.
As a long time union member and officer in the federal government, I recognize this shameful tactic and know better than to meet with those who use it.
Where I come from civil servants such as yourself are prohibited from involvement in politics, yet it is clear to many that your empire building is the cause of all the current political turmoil presently in the Chariho towns.
Your plan to shuffle very young children between the district’s elementary schools is DOA!
As long as there is not an equalized tax district for all Chariho schools, you will never “get our towns together.”
The nasty, overheated political atmosphere you have created this year will take a long time to cool.
It is high time you recognized that Hopkinton families, many struggling to make ends meet, pay nearly twice as much in taxes per household as Charlestown for their schools. Hopkinton parents cherish their village schools and want their very young children to be in those award winning village schools close to where they live. So any effort that threatens their children with long bus rides out of our villages and away from those higher rated schools is seen as criminal.
Packing Hopkinton schools with out-of-town kids that disrupt student-teacher ratios is also totally unacceptable. The recent transfer of one of our two award-winning Hope Valley first-grade teachers to Richmond for its fifth first-grade class leaving only one teacher for the remaining 26 first-graders in Hope Valley School was totally your fault. This sort of manufactured crisis that harms our Hope Valley children is reprehensible and must stop.
If Richmond needs more classrooms, you must solve the problem in Richmond. The only one making it a district-wide crisis is you!