- Jan. 11: Coventry Schools Restructure Intended to Meet $1.5M Deficit
- Jan. 13: Coventry Schools Restructure Vote Delayed
- Feb. 5: Parents Demand Delay On Coventry Schools Restructure
- Feb. 8: Cowart Withdraws Coventry Schools Restructure Plan
COVENTRY, RI — Superintendent Don Cowart’s Coventry Schools restructure plan has been tabled four days, moving the district’s Plan B to a 4 percent FY25 increase at $81,452,219.
That would be $2.89 million more than the FY24 budget, and also the cap of what any municipality is allowed for a yearly tax increase, Cowart explained during Monday’s Coventry School Committee meeting.
“Once Thursday’s meeting took place, and I withdrew the proposal for reconfiguration, we had to switch gears quickly at the central office to go back to a model where we’re doing five K-5 elementary schools,” Cowart said. The budget, including supplies, staffing and materials, is all changed as a result, he said.
Cowart said he will provide updates to the budget draft through to the Feb. 29 voting deadline for the School Committee to pass the document.
After Cowart’s announced withdrawal of the restructure plan Monday, Sen. Leo Raptakis noted Gov. Dan McKee’s budget had allocated $842,000 in school aid that can partly offset anticipated loss of federal aid the plan was intended to address.
Cowart acknowledged the improved position, but noted it might have been better without recent changes to the state school funding formula.
“That’s a great number, but because the governor and the state recalculated their funding formula for schools, it’s actually less than what we would have gotten in the current funding formula, said Cowart during Monday’s meeting.
The 4 percent increase also includes the updated state aid amount.
Opt-in bussing, part of the restructure plan, is still an option. Cowart said that since the district’s three-year contract with Ocean State Transit is ending, they are exploring moving the district to an opt-in system where families could choose to have their kids bussed to school, or not, perhaps saving the district money.
Cowart said he will release more detail on the district’s FY25 budget between now and the Feb. 29 meeting.
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