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RICHMOND â€” At the town council meeting, School Committee Member Robert Cardozo reported that even though Richmondâ€™s cost will increase 1.31 percent, the 2015 Chariho school budget will be $500,000 less than 2014. He also said that Charlestownâ€™s portion will decrease 2.6 percent and Hopkintonâ€™s will be 2.71 percent less than in 2014.
He said that the major reason for Richmondâ€™s increase was twofold.
â€śOne is decrease in state aid to education â€“ ours went down by approximately $140,000. And our population in the district went up â€“ and that is the offsets as to why Richmond is up a little bit,â€ť he said.
Cardozo said that state aid to education is the â€śgreat equalizerâ€ť because the amount each town will contribute is very similar: Charlestown 32.8 percent, Richmond 34.2 percent, and Hopkinton 33 percent.
â€śWhen you start to look what state aid to education, Richmond got $5.2 million, Hopkinton got $5.6 million, and Charlestown got 1.7 million,â€ť he said. â€śThatâ€™s the equalizer â€“ the state aid to education. Itâ€™s something that people have to start to understand.â€ť
Town Council Vice President Henry Oppenheimer disagreed.
â€śWhen you look at what people pay on an equalized valuation property basis, weâ€™re still, and Hopkinton is still, paying significantly more than Charlestown,â€ť he said. â€śThatâ€™s the bottom line.â€ť
Oppenheimer added, â€śAnd thatâ€™s how taxpayers look at it â€“ what theyâ€™re paying for the same education. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m going to subscribe as a town councilor to that being an equalizer because it is not.â€ť
Cardozo said that his perspective was from the three townsâ€™ contributions to the district, not the individual taxpayerâ€™s.
â€śAs three townsâ€™ contributions to the district, it is somewhat equal,â€ť he said. â€śIf youâ€™re going to say on an individual basis, you have a case. But, not if you look at it from a town basis, you donâ€™t have a case.â€ť
For more, pick up today's Chariho Times.