Residents to vote on $150M Chariho school bond

Residents to vote on $150M Chariho school bond


CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton residents will get to vote on a major school bond Tuesday.


The $150 million bond will go towards building three new elementary schools, as well as safety upgrades to the main campus.

It’s something that some parents believe is desperately needed.

“Seeing the conditions of the school, they’re not safe security-wise and just things that are breaking every day falling apart,” Liz Rekowski said about her son’s elementary school.

Chariho Superintendent Gina Picard said the issues are widespread, from holding classes in trailers, asbestos and damage from flooding.

“The teachers try to put on the AC than the lights go out and then the Chromebooks can’t get charged and the smart board goes out. That’s not what our students deserve,” Picard said.

Picard argues that taxpayers will actually save money by approving the bond and building new schools instead of renovating because they will be able to get a 76-81% reimbursement from the state.

“These are once in a lifetime bonuses. We’ve never seen things like this is school construction, and I don’t think you’ll see it in our generation,” Picard said.

Picard said it will be the last opportunity to get these reimbursements, but not everyone is onboard.

“Vote no” signs are set up across all three towns as many are concerned about the potential tax increases.

In a letter to the community, the president of the Chariho Forgotten Taxpayers group Louise D. Dinsmore wrote, “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.”

However, some parents think there’s no time like the present.

“Do we kick the can down the road or do we just take it head on?” Don Rekowski said.

The bond must be approved in all three towns for the project to move forward. If it fails, Picard said the school will go back to its renovation plan and lose the reimbursements.

Polls in Richmond, Charlestown and Hopkinton will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7.

Residents can stop by their respective town halls to take part in early voting on Monday at the following times:

  • Charlestown – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Hopkinton – 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Richmond – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.