Hopkinton representative Amanda Blau of the Chariho School Committee has proposed a policy that would allow children in the Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton elementary schools to be moved outside the town in which they reside. Hopkinton Representative Greg Kenney supported this along with the majority except Georgia Ure and George Abbott opposed.
Charlestown, prepare yourself. Some of your elementary students in the southwestern part of town will likely be sent to Ashaway. To the north, they will go to Richmond. Most or all of Richmond bus #12 students and others will go to Hope Valley. Also, if your child starts in grade 1 in one school, you will never know if he/she will end up by the third in another town, due to a policy your committee representative, Ronald Areglado, supports.
But wait, in 1996, 4,300 voters and in 2001, the three towns rejected a question that would allow the school committee the authority to move children from the elementary school in the town where they reside, (known as matriculation) to another town in the district.
But, Chariho and our elected officials promised in 1986 if we regionalized kindergarten through Grade 12, the students would continue to attend the elementary school in the town they reside. And every school committee and superintendent kept that promise, thus following the spirit of the Chariho Act and the consent of the people, until now.
The elected officials supporting this betrayal are dismissing our constitutional right to vote and have our vote count. The Richmond Town Council’s end-run around the voters failed to work. So now Superintendent Barry Ricci must support a policy to do that which the voters have repeatedly rejected.
Does this maneuvering set an example to our youth of honest, ethical behavior?
The Town Council of Hopkinton has requested that the councils of Charlestown and Richmond support a referendum in the 2014 general election that will allow the voters to decide whether to amend the Chariho Act with language that would, with the force of law, authorize or not the school committee to move our children to another town. Your choice, your right, your vote.
Sylvia K. Thompson
The writer is vice-president of the Hopkinton Town Council.