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Netcoh Praises Vote for $350M New High Schools Bond

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Veterans Middle School, 2401 W Shore Rd, Warwick, RI, is the venue for the Warwick School Committee meetings.

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Veterans Middle School, 2401 W Shore Rd, Warwick, RI, is the venue for the Warwick School Committee meetings.
[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Veterans Middle School, 2401 W Shore Rd, Warwick, RI, is the venue for the Warwick School Committee meetings.
WARWICK, RI — Darlene Netcoh, President of the Warwick Teachers Union, praised Tuesday’s approval of the $350 million bond to replace Toll Gate and Pilgrim High Schools during Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting at Warwick Veterans Middle School.

The measure passed by a 59.2 percent margin with 18,057 votes in favor and 12,419 opposed. “Thank you to Warwick voters for making the right decision for Warwick,” Netcoh said at Wednesday’s school committee meeting. “Why should we sit back and watch all these other districts around the state build these nice new schools?” “This is for the future of Warwick, for the kids, and also for the residents,” Netcoh added. “Now our schools can host tournaments, the district can charge money for tournaments that are hosted here. It’s a revenue-generating source. There are just so many positives.”

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) may reimburse the district for the construction of the new high schools for $314 million out of the $350 million bond instead of $300 million as originally anticipated, according to Stephen Gothberg, Director of Buildings and Grounds.

The total cost to replace Pilgrim High School is estimated at $175 million. The total cost to replace Toll Gate High School is estimated at $174.5 million.

Gothberg said last May if the bond referendum were approved, RIDE would reimburse the district for an additional $8.9 million, which would lower the expense to taxpayers.

Now that the bond has been approved, the School Committee will have to return to the City Council next month and seek their approval. The design of the new buildings would begin in January 2023.

In other business during their meeting, the School Committee also approved a student data privacy policy and a policy concerning students experiencing seizures.

The student data privacy policy reads in part:

The Warwick Committee seeks to ensure the protection of the privacy of students attending the Warwick Public Schools in a manner consistent with the federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and Rhode Island student record regulations.

 The Warwick School Committee and school district understand the importance of keeping student data private and secure, takes its responsibility to protect student information seriously.

 The rapid development and progress of new technology tools and applications, especially online and “cloud-based” services, introduces new challenges and concerns about the safety and security of student information. Managing student data privacy and security is an ongoing and dynamic process that will require regular review and revision. The efficient collection, analysis, and storage of student information is essential to improve the education of our students. As the use of student data has increased and technology has advanced, the need to exercise care in the handling of confidential

student information has intensified. The goal of this policy is to ensure that student data is kept private and handled securely in accordance with the law, while at the same time allowing for the efficiency and value that technology tools can provide.

The following strategies will be implemented at both the district and school level to ensure student privacy is protected.

The Director of Technology shall serve as the person responsible for ensuring accountability for privacy laws and policies.

It is the intent of the District that any new applications and online services that teachers wish to use with students are reviewed to ensure that the application or service is appropriately rigorous and of high quality, meets student privacy and security standards, as well as be in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal policies and laws. The purchase and implementation of approved applications and services shall depend upon the availability of funding and approval of the Superintendent.

All contracts with third party vendors who have access to student information shall adhere to relevant state and federal law.


▪ Performs an institutional service or function for which the school or district would

otherwise use its own employees;

▪ Has been determined to meet the criteria set forth in in the school’s or district’s

annual notification of the FERPA rights for being a school official with a

legitimate educational interest in the education records;


The School Committee also approved a policy accommodating students with seizure disorders or epilepsy:


The Warwick School Committee is committed to providing direction to school administrators, staff, students and parents / guardians about the appropriate response on both a school-wide and individual level to minimize the inherent risks to students and others who have been diagnosed with epilepsy or seizure disorder. Epilepsy is a neurological condition affecting the nervous system, specifically the brain. Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has had at least one

unprovoked seizure and demonstrates a tendency to have recurrent seizures. This tendency is determined through clinical assessment and investigations. The underlying cause for recurrent seizures (epilepsy) can be varied and include, but not limited to, genetically determined conditions such as Angelman syndrome or one of many epilepsy syndromes and/or brain structure abnormalities for a variety of different reasons (such as trauma/injury/bleeds). Seizures can also be a symptom of other medical conditions affecting the central nervous system such as

low blood sugar, infections, acute trauma/injury, metabolic or immune disorders.


The district will develop and follow an individual health care plan and/or an emergency health care plan for each student with seizure disorder or epilepsy. This plan will be part of the student’s permanent school health record. Each individual health care plan will include an individual emergency plan element. The health plans will be updated annually, and more frequently as needed. The school’s Nurse Teacher will coordinate with the student’s parents/guardians and health care provider, and train and supervise the appropriate school district staff member(s) in proper procedures for care for students with epilepsy or other seizure

disorders to ensure a safe, therapeutic learning environment. Training required may be provided by a national organization that offers training for school nurses for managing students with seizures and seizure training for school staff member(s).”

Joe Siegel
Author: Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel is a regular contributing writer for His reporting has appeared in The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro and EDGE.

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