COVENTRY, RI — The School Committee has postponed its meeting Jan. 16 for a cost-saving Coventry schools restructure vote to bridge a $1.5 million deficit, pending detailed responses to three hours of public questions at Allan Shawn Feinstein Middle School’s auditorium Jan. 11.
“First and foremost, we want to thank all the parents and staff who attended the School Committee Meeting on January 11th to hear the elementary reconfiguration proposal and to voice their comments and questions. We are working on assembling more detailed documentation to address the questions raised and will share them within the next week, well in advance of the next meeting to discuss the proposal,” Coventry Public Schools wrote on their Facebook page at about 3 p.m. Friday.
On Jan. 11, School Committee Chairman James Pierson said he would ask for more information on the financial impact of the plan, among other details, before allowing the restructuring to move to a vote. Scores of parents and teachers urged the Committee to provide documentation about the pros and cons of the plan following Superintendent Don Cowart’s presentation of it during its first introduction to the community during the Committee’s Jan. 11 meeting. Speakers also criticized them for not coming to the meeting with those details prepared, and for scheduling a vote on the plan less than a week after its first introduction.
Coventry community organizes to continue opposing restructure plan
While the Jan. 16 meeting and vote on the plan has been indefinitely tabled, students and parents are staying active on the issue.
A group of concerned residents and members of the Blackrock Elementary community are planning a rally at the school on Monday at 1 p.m.
Online, Chris Schuler has posted a petition to halt the plan, “STOP the Coventry Public School Reconfiguration Proposal”
“On January 9th, residents of Coventry, Rhode Island were shocked with news of a proposal to reconfigure our schools by Coventry Public Schools. A decision that was to be made in a matter of a few business days,” the petition reads.
“The community response was clearly a mandate. In complete and full opposition to the superintendent’s proposal. His plan reeks of educational jargon, student and teacher disenfranchisement, and ignorance to the children and families that make up this school system,” the petition continues.
There were 212 signatures on the petition as of 10 a.m. Saturday.
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