Save the taxpayers!

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As seen on our flyer, we have claimed a $1,500 property tax increase...and we think that will be low. Based on public data and historical increases, here are our calculations:

Median House Price in Hopkinton: $423,987

Hopkinton Mill Rate: $14.66/$1000

Median Hopkinton House Tax Bill: $6216

Projected yearly impact of megabond on yearly house payment: $269

Median Hopkinton House Tax Bill in 6 years, based on 3% increase per year (which underestimates both school and town budget increases): $7422

Projected total increase per median house: $7422 - $6216 + $269 = $1475

Assuming 4% increases: $7865 - $6216 + $269 = $1649 

**TAXPAYERS! - THIS IS WHAT IS AHEAD FOR CHARIHO IF THE BOND PASSES.....Cost Overruns, Labor Shortages, Materials Shortages = WE WILL PAY MORE!  

Rogers High School: Estimates are $20 million to $30 million over budget

North Providence

Johnson: Soaring costs haunt Johnston's new school plans Estimated expenses overshoot bond by $50 million


Do our schools need to be demolished and replaced?

The following Facility Index Score (FCI) .. 

needed 65% > to be considered for replacement: 

Charlestown = 32.57% 

Richmond = 37.04% 

Hope Valley = 29.59% ( the lowest score - meaning best condition) 

CALA = 59.07% 

Claiming that tearing down 3 buildings and re-building them costs the same as either renovations or emergency repairs is NOT TRUE - you know it and they know it.


Members of the Chariho School Committee from Richmond and Hopkinton, 

I am urging you to move slowly regarding the construction of three new elementary schools in our District. 

Yesterday, at a school subcommittee meeting, it was stated that building new is more affordable than renovating and a representative from Colliers gave an example of what happened in Johnston, when Johnston's high school renovation went over budget. What that Colliers rep. didn't share is that there were 4 schools being addressed in Johnson and one was the construction of a new elementary school which went **$10.2 million over budget** according to a news article. 

Here's the article. Please read it for yourself.,200822#:~:text=The%20entire%20project%20%E2%80%94%20renovations%20at,interest%20fees%20and%20construction%20costs

Here's a highlight from the article - "The new elementary center is facing a $10,280,832 construction cost overrun; the ECC, $7,255,000; and the High School renovation, $11,411,200. Sawyer said numbers were not available for the Ferri Middle School renovation project. That’s a total of $28,947,032 in additional, unexpected construction costs for just three of four building projects. Add $20 million in additional interest rates, and the $215 project is already nearly $50 million in the hole." 

Are we supposed to accept the premise that building new is supposed to be more affordable than renovating?  In some documentation that the School Dept. made public about the cost of some of the renovations, a document stated that Richmond elementary renovations for bathroom upgrades was going to cost $790,000.  That seems like an excessive number.  I'm not a builder or construction expert, is this a realistic number for this slice of a renovation?

There was also an article about 3 new elementary schools in North Providence being over budget that they had to scrap one of the 3 schools as a result.

Superintendent Picard also said our projects have to be completed in 5 years. This from the article about 1 school in Johnston, “The date that shovels are going to be in the ground is December (2023). So that got pushed back a little bit, but we’re hoping for this December. And I believe we’re still on track for students to be in August of 2026.” 

If Chariho thinks that building 3 new elementary schools with labor shortages, shortages of building materials, is realistically going to be completed on time and on budget in 5 years, that is an overreach.  What happens if the construction of 3 new schools isn't finished on time?  Has anyone asked that question?

Can the taxpayers of Richmond and Hopkinton afford these projects with bond financing at record levels? If we borrow $150 million, how much do we have to pay back with the interest rates being at record levels? What will that bond debt mean for our future property tax payments?  Is anyone on the School Committee asking what a realistic tax increase is going to look like for taxpayers in 5 years, 10 years, with school budgets increasing annually and town budgets increasing annually?  

Will Richmond and Hopkinton be affordable for you and me in the near future? The Superintendent said last month that we have existing bonds that are sunsetting in years ahead. So let's jump in and take on more debt with soaring bond interest rates? Is this fiscally responsible?  

School Committee members, please give the taxpayers the documentation with real examples that building new is going to be more affordable than renovating existing schools. Please ask for information on what other districts have decided and what they are being faced with now. You need more information. We, the people and taxpayers, need more information. 

Also, has the School Committee actually voted on moving forward with constructing 3 new elementary schools?  I don't recall that ever happening.  Have you officially made a decision as a body to move this forward?  Or is that happening tonight with the agenda item for the enabling legislation draft language?  Think about what you are doing - by voting yes for this bond legislation, in essence you are saying that building new and borrowing up to $150 million plus is something you endorse.  Also, did you officially approve as a body decommissioning Hope Valley Elementary School?  I don't recall an official vote on that.  If I missed it please let me know because I don't attend every single meeting but I do try to keep up with the latest information. 

Rushing this Stage II application through to meet a 2/15/25 deadline to achieve a 76% reimbursement rate (or is it 81% reimbursement b/c that number keeps fluctuating) is irresponsible in light of what the tax implications are for the taxpayers. And if we do get a 76% reimbursement rate for new construction - do you realize what losing the extra 5% reimbursement rate could mean to the budget ? It could mean the difference at minimum of $7.5 million on a $150 million bond. That's a lot of money! 

School Committee members, please slow this train down....hold more open community meetings where residents can ask questions without the constraint of a formal agenda because people have lots of questions.  Building consensus, support and trust comes with information.  Please examine what other towns have done, what they are being faced with in terms of budget implications.  The taxpayers are being asked to pay more every single year. 

The Superintendent also said yesterday that even if the Town Councils of Richmond, Hopkinton and Charlestown do not "endorse" moving forward with new construction, the School Committee can still move forward, in essence, you don't need the approval of the Town Councils to push ahead. But the Towns own the land (and the existing school buildings?) where they want to build new schools. So in the spirit of cooperation, if town officials say we don't support moving forward with new construction b/c that would saddle our taxpayers with debt we can't afford and the School Committee moves forward anyway, how is that a cooperative partnership? Can the towns say "sorry we don't give you permission to build new on land we own?"  There are so many questions that need to be discussed thoroughly and not rushed.  The Superintendent should be sharing the opinion she received from Jon Anderson on this topic with you and the Town Councils in which she states in order for the Stage 2 application to move forward, Town Council approval isn't necessary, (even though it states on the RIDE website that in order to move forward with Stage 2, SC and TC approval is needed).  

We are at a crossroads, you are the decision-makers who will shape the tax realities of thousands of people in our district.  That is a very heavy cross to carry.  Please consider your votes very carefully to represent not only what's best for the students and educators, but for the taxpayers who pay the bill.  Thank you and have a great day.

Most Sincerely, 

Louise D. Dinsmore

President, Chariho Forgotten Taxpayers