Chariho Teachers Deserve our Respect…..So do the Taxpayers Who Pay the Bills

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can watch Louise Dinsmore’s recent appearances as a guest on The Current’s In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse video podcasts here and here


As a parent whose child attended Richmond Elementary School from K-3, I witnessed the love, dedication and professionalism of Chariho teachers and teaching support staff.   There is no question, we are blessed with an amazing community of teachers and professionals.

Last year, the school budget process opened my eyes to the following reality – The School Department has a habit of overbudgeting and underspending, ending the year with budget surpluses, putting money aside for the “fund balance”, and then asking the taxpayers for more money.   Simultaneously, multi-year teacher contracts are passed without any regard to what the taxpayer can afford.   In teacher contract negotiations – WHO REPRESENTS THE TAXPAYERS?  No one!  Contracts are passed and those costs automatically go into a “fixed cost” line.   Wait, what?  Therein, lies the problem and is the $45 million elephant in the room.

Fixed costs of salaries and benefits equal 83% of the school budget.   During these significant economic challenges, we should not be approving a 3-year teacher contract UNTIL a 3-year budget forecast is completed which includes provisions for school consolidation, school choice, vendor contract renegotiation, and a push for relief on burdensome state mandates that can’t be funded locally.   Moreover, the Chariho Act must be amended to allow for ONE opportunity for the school budget to be passed by the voters – not 3.   There is no incentive for the school department to offer the taxpayers their most fiscally responsible budget when they have 3 attempts to get their budget passed.   This process is completely rigged against the taxpayers.

The taxpayers are not unlimited ATM machines.   We are members of this community who deserve respect.   We are not “irrelevant noise” as described by an outgoing school committee member.   We deserve to see a realistic 3-year budget plan that is affordable and reasonable and includes shared sacrifices for everyone.

If you are a taxpayer who feels unappreciated, you now have a voice with the Forgotten Taxpayers PAC (  Our mission is to lead grassroots efforts to champion and promote fiscal responsibility, keeping the taxpayers at the forefront of all decisions relative to town and school spending.   Taxpayers – you now have a voice!   Join us.  For more information, email

Louise Dinsmore

Richmond, RI

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