- 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
COVENTRY, RI — Tonight Superintendent Don Cowart withdrew his Coventry Schools restructure plan, reflecting on the public outcry and opposition to the plan.
While he intended the plan as his best effort to provide the Coventry School Committee options in dealing with impending deficits and future fiscal challenges, “We also must consider public feedback,” Cowart said.
Therefore, he said he would withdraw the plan and ask the Committee to not vote on it as planned. The statement was met with enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
“I want to say thank you for taking the time to listen,” said Kenneth Spiro, noting his past harsh criticism of Cowart’s credibility, calling the decision to withdraw the plan, “A good first step to rebuilding that credibility with the town.”
School Committee President James Pierson thanked several people who complimented Cowart on the decision to withdraw the plan, asking for their continued support, “When the Town Council is putting its budget together and they decide to not fulfill their obligations,” to the school department, he said.
The Coventry Schools Restructure Plan would have converted Blackrock School to an early learning center, creating two sister-school pairs: Washington Oak (K-3) / Western Coventry (4-5) and Tiogue (K-12) /Hopkins Hill (3-5). The middle school and high school remain as-is. This approach would eliminate 10-15 elementary teaching positions, saving the district $2.1 million with pending retirements, “allowing the district to maintain intervention and support services for students,” according to Cowart’s Jan. 19 message to the community.
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